Our Old Home

By Ruth Bell Graham   •   August 28, 2007

But we tried.

My two sisters, Rosa and Virginia, our brother Clayton, and I returned to our old home in China in May 1980.

I recalled those spiritual giants of my childhood, the missionaries who had worked alongside my mother and father: We visited Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Sophie’s house (now a wholesale grocery outlet), the girls’ school where Lucy Fletcher had tutored us, the hospital compound (now an industrial school). So familiar, so changed. Our old home was graciously emptied for our inspection. Behind the welcoming banner stood all that was left–a pathetic reminder of the home that was–like an old woman no longer loved or cared for.

We even located the Chinese house in which I was born.

For me it was like a death and a resurrection. Sentimental feelings for the place, nurtured lovingly over the decades, died. But an unimpeachable source had informed me earlier that the Church in China today is both larger and stronger than when the missionaries were forced to leave. I realized afresh that God’s work is not in buildings but in transformed lives.

Buildings fall into decay and eventually disappear. The transformed life goes on forever.

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