George and Barb Zarris Prayer Letter: A Donkey for JesusPaul Hattaway’s life was a mess, and he knew it! The dire state of Paul’s homelife was unimaginable. His father was hard-working and honest, but detached. Paul often received severe beatings with a belt that left him black and blue, but he never one time heard his father say “I love you.” An older brother and sister had begun experimenting with drugs, and a tidal wave of evil deluged his home. His schizophrenic sister often heard demonic voices telling her to do violent things. She attacked her father with an ax, tried to suffocate Paul with two pillows, and then walked away cackling her sinister laugh with demonic pleasure.

High school was no escape. It felt like prison, especially science, where his brain could not grasp the concepts. Teachers missed his learning disability and prejudged that Paul had a bad attitude and didn’t care. At barely sixteen, Paul was called to the principal’s office to receive this ultimatum: “We don’t want you here any longer! Your life will never amount to anything! You are a waste of oxygen!”

Paul spent the next two years at dead-end jobs, trying to find out the purpose of his life. At age eighteen, he left New Zealand for Sydney, Australia—the promised land for work—but not for Paul! He spent one year—derelict and starving—camped out on a public restroom roof. Not a single person helped him or even looked his way. One desperate night, he cried out to the Creator he was sure existed, but Whom he knew nothing about. “God, it’s me—Paul. I’m not doing very well. I don’t know what to do. I really need a job. If You are there, can You please help me?”

The next morning, as he climbed down from the roof, a local man watched him, assessed his condition, handed him a bag of potato chips, and advised, “Go west, outside the city. There are manufacturing jobs there.” He handed Paul ten dollars and
pointed him to the nearest train station. Disembarking at Blacktown, Paul wandered for hours until he entered a canvas shop right before closing. “You looking for work?” the foreman asked. “I just fired a man! Can you start tomorrow?” With an advance of one week’s salary, Paul got a room, a shower, and the best sleep of his life; but he didn’t yet realize that God had him on the line and was reeling him in.

One year later, Darren, a shy fellow worker, bowed his head on Friday afternoon and asked God to give him someone to invite to church. When he looked up, Paul was standing in front of him with a cart full of canvas. After work, they talked for an hour, and Paul agreed to go to church.

October 18, 1987, Paul entered a warehouse filled with hundreds of happy, loving people whose faces shone as if lit up by flashlights. He could sense that their love for him and for each other was genuine. Although he didn’t understand much of the sermon, he knew two things: his life was a disastrous failure, and he was a sinner who needed help. Paul reached out in faith and asked Jesus to forgive his sins and give him salvation. As he ended his prayer with a hearty “Amen,” something extraordinary happened! The joy of the Lord bubbled up inside him, and he laughed! He could not contain himself.

The next day, he bought a Bible and began reading it voraciously, sometimes twelve hours straight. At church four months later, a Chinese preacher, Harry Lee, shared his testimony of eleven years in a Chinese prison. He summarized the torture and deprivation as “my honeymoon with Jesus.” Paul was astounded! Two weeks later, the testimony of George Chen, another imprisoned Chinese pastor, hurled Paul’s life in a radically different direction. Pastor Chen ended with the plea, “There’s a famine in China for God’s Word. We need able-bodied men and women to come to Hong Kong and carry bags of Bibles into China. Will you be a donkey for Jesus?” It hit Paul like a bolt of lightning! He knew what God wanted him to do—be a donkey for Jesus!

Two weeks later, Paul was walking the streets of Hong Kong looking for the mission guesthouse. The following day, he carried his first 200 Bibles into China! By the end of his 6-month visa, Paul had made 52 trips into China, including a 54-hour train ride to Kunming with 40 bags containing 1 ton of Bibles. When the house church pastor met Paul at the rendezvous point, he saw the mound of bags, fell across the top, and sobbed uncontrollably! Paul never forgot the gratefulness of the Chinese Christians. He knew then he had found his life’s purpose—he would be a donkey for Jesus!

Editor’s Note: For the next 25 years, Paul carried Bibles into China, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, and India. He met with thousands of indigenous house church pastors (many of whom had never owned a Bible) in the most remote corners of the planet. He founded Asia Harvest to provide support for indigenous church planters and to fund the Bibles for the China project. Because of his efforts, 10 million Bibles have safely reached believers inside China, plus millions more have been delivered to other Asian countries.

Paul is the foremost authority on missionary endeavors in China from the first century until the present. His documentation of the recent 40-year Chinese revival is unparalleled.

After a major stroke in 2013, God told Paul to stop traveling and write. He has completed a riveting autobiography, An Asian Harvest, and has documented eight detailed histories about the growth of Christianity in eight Chinese provinces. Much of the information is unpublished; it is firsthand, eyewitness testimony from pastors and church leaders whom Paul met during his courier years.

Paul’s love for China and the Asian continent is so intense that when he was asked how long he planned to remain in Asia, he replied, “For the rest of my life and then for the 1,000 years during the millennium.”

Missionary Josh Hedderman
Online Ministry

PRAY for our online ministry. In the first 3 months of 2024, over 1,700 people have accepted Christ through our social media ministries. We want to build a studio this year, as God provides the funds, so that we can produce more content.

It Is Finished!

The rebuild of the 17-year-old radio station in Monrovia, Liberia, is complete, and all the funds for this project have been raised because of the very generous gifts of many CRI supporters. THANK YOU!

Missionary Benjamin George
Media Works

We have purposed to be the church that uses technology to the fullest to see God’s message spread. We started our church YouTube channel on March 3, 2024. I have been astounded by the number of people who have seen the Gospel through that means alone. In less than a month, we have posted 90 videos, acquired 210 subscribers, received 31,000 views, and acquired 365 hours watched. (Send this link to a Spanish-speaking friend: @IglesiaVictoriaPosadas).

George Zarris
Christian Radio International