Writings and Christian Artwork
by
Ray and Gail Keffer

 

 

 

Children of the World: Li Po, Liat, and Mongi

by Ray Keffer

Cast

Narrator

Li Po Chaing - a runaway boy who is 12 years of age.

Ho (Liat) Chaing - a runaway girl of 6 years, dressed as a boy to protect her from those who treat girls as slaves and lesser beings.

Mongi - an orphan boy of 13 who travels the camel trade routes of the Middle East.

Rabbi Solan of Damascus

Rabbi Gohanna of Jerusalem

Theos and Apollos- followers of John the Baptist

Ben and Joshua - two local poor, Samaritan boys

Judas and Levi - disciples of Christ

Jesus - the One and Only

Setting: A read through rehearsal of the script for a special service at the church. The Narrator calls the cast together to begin reading.

NARRATOR: Okay cast, weíre ready to read through the script. You all know your parts. Is everyone ready? (Pause) Good. Letís begin.

Li Po Chaing and his sister, Liat, have run away from their home in China. Liat was mistreated by her father who wanted another son, who could work the fields with him, not a daughter, who will be a burden. Li Po was upset at the way his sister was being treated, especially when Liat begins to find it difficult to walk due the Chinese custom of binding up a girlís feet to keep their feet small. Li Po, because he loved his sister, takes Liat by the hand, and they run away from home. Li Po unbinds his sisterís feet, and he carries her most of the way to Shanghai. Li Po hires on a boat as cabin boy on a trading boat, and stows Liat away on the boat in the harbor at Shanghi, To protect her, Liat is dressed as boy, and Liatís new name is, Ho. The boat sets sail, and after a time, the young runaways find themselves in a strange land called Persia.

Once ashore, Li Po and Ho disappear into the crowd on the dock looking for a new home. They are befriended by a Persian boy named, Mongi.  Mongi works for some camel caravan traders, and he arranges for Li Po and Ho, to travel with the caravan. The young Chinese boys will have food and the protection of the camel drivers. Li Po carries Ho when he cannot find a ride on a camel for him. Mongi teaches Li Po Aramaic and some trade languages he has learned over the years on the camel trading routes.

At night, Li Po and Ho, hear many stories around the campfires from the camel traders. Among the stories they hear, was a tale of a young Jewish boy who was born in a stable in Bethlehem, Wise men, from the traders country, left their homes to find this special child. These wise men followed a new star, which lead them to a far country in the west. Once there, they found the Jewish child who was called, the Son of God. This child was sent by God to save his people. The wise men presented this child with gifts and worshiped him before returning to their homes in the east.

Li Po: Mongi, are the things we hear about the young Jewish child true?

Mongi: Iím not sure. I heard that story many times. All I know is that when the wise men returned here from the west, they spoke only of praise and the wonder about the young child. They joyfully told everyone what they had seen and heard in the west.

Li Po: The traders said that this child was Godís son. That he would do many things for his people, like feeding the poor and healing the sick.

Mongi: Iím sure that most of what they said around the camp fire was just talk. You cannot believe everything you hear those camel traders say.

Li Po: But what if itís true? If I can find this child, maybe my brother could have his feet healed. He could walk again. (Pause) Who would know for sure if these tales about Godís son are true?

Mongi: I donít know for sure, but when we get to Damascus in a few days, we can go to a Jewish temple and perhaps get the information you seek there.

NARRATOR: The camel caravan arrives in Damascus. LiPo is anxious.

Li Po: Mongi, do you know where this temple is in Damascus?

Mongi: Yes. Why?

Li Po: I need to go there. I need to find out about this Son of God who heals the sick. Please, promise me youíll take us there when we reach Damascus.

Mongi: Alright. But we have some work to do in Damascus first before we can go to the temple.

NARRATOR: True to his word, Mongi takes Li Po and Ho to the temple to see the rabbi. Li Po is anxious to ask the rabbi about the story concerning the birth of Godís son, and the visit of the wise men from the east.

Ho: This is certainly a big building. Look at all the funny writing on the wall above the door way. I wonder what it says.

Mongi: It says: "My House shall be a House of prayer for all people."

Li Po: If itís true, it certainly would be wonderful.

Mongi: Itís true, Li Po. I know Persian traders who have entered this temple to pray, and the rabbi has welcomed them.

Li Po: The rabbi must be a special person. (Pause) Letís go inside.

NARRATOR: Li Po, Mongi, and Ho enter the temple and find the rabbi very willing to listen to Li Poís questions about the Jewish child.

Li Po: Rabbi Solan, I have many questions for you. I have heard that years ago a child was born in Bethlehem who was called the Son of God, and that wise men from the East followed a star to find him. Are these stories true?

Rabbi S: You do have questions donít you my son. Iíll try to answer them for you as best I can. (Pause.) Some 30 years ago, the events you describe are reported to have happened. A child was born in Bethlehem who was said to be the son of our God, Jehovah, as foretold in Jewish scriptures. It is true that wise men from the East did pass through here looking for this child.

Li Po: Then Godís son was born in Bethlehem as the traders said.

Rabbi S: Well, weíre not sure if he really was the son of God as mentioned in our Torah. You see there was no verification of his birth by my church officials. I do remember hearing that the Bethlehem child you mentioned was moved by his father, Joseph, to Egypt after the visit of the wise men. It seems that King Herod issued a decree that this young child was to be killed, as he thought this Bethlehem child was a threat to replace him as king.

Li Po: It was said that Godís son could do many things for his people, like feeding the poor and healing the sick as a sign of Godís love for His people?

Rabbi S: God does indeed love His people! (Pause) It is written in our scriptures that when our Messiah does come, he will do among other things, feed the poor and heal the sick. But you see, we Jews believe that the Messiah of the Torah has not yet come.

Li Po: But this Bethlehem child does exist, right? Also the coming of Godís son as a child was foretold in your own scriptures. True?

Rabbi S: Yes, but... (Li Po interrupts)

Li Po: Rabbi, I must find Him. (Pause) How old would this child be today, Rabbi?

Rabbi S: Probably near 30 today, but he cannot be our Messiah of the scriptures. As a Rabbi, I would know that! God would have told me! (Pause) Were he the Messiah, my church leaders in Jerusalem would have acknowledged this child by now, so the child you seek is not the Messiah. Heís just ah - ah - a NOBODY!

Li Po: The camel traders mentioned a name - Jesus of Bethlehem. Does such a name mean anything to you?

Rabbi S: Well I have heard of a prophet who was developing a small following in that area.. Heís a wild man who eats honey and grasshoppers. His name, I believe, is John. He keeps annoying people with his cries of "Repent! Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand!" (Pause) Utter nonsense.

Li Po: I was told the babyís name was Jesus, not John. Maybe this "John" knows of Jesus? How would I find this John, Rabbi?

Rabbi S: Youíre wasting your time. But if you must, (Pause) go to Jerusalem and check in at the temple there. Look for Rabbi Gohanna. Tell him that Rabbi Solan sent you.

Li Po: Thank you, Rabbi Solan. Youíve been a big help. Ho will walk yet! May God bless you, rabbi!

Rabbi: May God Bless you my sons, but youíre wasting your time on such a long journey. You hear me. A total waste of time.

NARRATOR: Li Po tells Ho and Mongi about what he has found out concerning Jesus, and that they must find a way to Jerusalem. Once there, they are to seek out a rabbi at the temple. Mongi searches around the camel traders gathering place until he finds a group leaving for Jerusalem which can use some boys as helpers. Mongi was successful. The three boys are able to travel with a camel caravan to Jerusalem. Once there, they will leave the caravan to go to find the temple and Rabbi Gohanna.

Mongi: Li Po are you sure that this is the temple that Rabbi Solan told you about?

Li Po: Yes, Mongi. I am sure that this is the right temple. This is the temple that all Jews must visit during holy days, and where they have their first child dedicated to their Lord. (Pause) This has to be the place. Now all we have to do is to find Rabbi Gohanna.

Mongi: Well letís start looking for him. Iíll ask that fellow in the robes over there. His clothing is similar to that of Rabbi Solan. (Pause) Excuse me sir. I am looking for Rabbi Gohanna. Do you know if the Rabbi is here today.

Rabbi G: Rabbi Gohanna is always here. (Pause) What do the likes of you want with such an important man as he?

Ho: We seek information from him about a man named, John. Rabbi Solan of Damascus told us he would know of this, John.

Rabbi G: John? John, who? There are a lot of people named, John.

Li Po: This John who cries out for everyone to repent! The kingdom of God is at hand!

Rabbi G: Oh, I see. (Pause) Well I am the Rabbi Gohanna who you seek. Rabbi Solan is a good friend of mine. (Change of attitude.) How is the good Rabbi?

Li Po: He is well, sir. He is a very kind person. He spoke highly of you, Rabbi.

Rabbi G: Thank you. Li Po. You are a well mannered young man. Why do you seek this, John? He canít be a friend of yours?

Li Po: No, not yet. I am hoping to find John so that he can direct me to a man called, Jesus. It is he whom I am really seeking. This Jesus who was born in Bethlehem about 30 years ago.

Rabbi G: Leave me think, Jesus. Jesus, hmm. I think you mean, Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter from Nazareth! He would have been born in Bethlehem about 30 years ago. Both Joseph and Mary are of the House of David so they would have been in Bethlehem then. It would have been the year that the ROMANS forced my people to travel to our ancestral homes to be counted for one of their many taxes. Bethlehem is the city of David, so they would have gone there to be counted for the tax. So their son, Jesus, would be a man about the age you are seeking. As a matter of fact, I was here when Joseph and Mary dedicated their son, Jesus, to God. It was quite an event as I recall it. Simeon, an old man, who prayed at the temple a lot, and Anna, a prophetess, blessed their child, Jesus . They made a big fuss that He was the long awaited Messiah, and that Simeon could die in peace now that he had seem the Messiah as God had promised him. Nonsense! (Pause) Well of course, this Jesus was not the Messiah, but it made Simeon and Anna happy to think he was the Messiah. Any way, Joseph was his fatherís name.

Li Po: I donít know his fatherís name, or where he is from; but Rabbi Solan told me this John might know where he would be.

Rabbi G: Well Rabbi Solan has guided you well. If this Jesus you seek is the one I think he is, then John would know of him. John and Jesus are related. Johnís mother, Elizabeth and Jesusí mother, Mary, were cousins. To find this, John, who they call John the Baptist, you need to go out the south wall of the city and travel southward into the wilderness. Ask people along the way if they have seen, John the Baptist. Trust me, youíll know if they have. He lives in the wild and seldom comes in town. (Pause) Trust me when I tell you, that people who have met John, will easily remember him. (Pause) Now my children. Go in peace. May the God of Israel be with you.

Ho: We thank you for your help Rabbi Gohanna.

Mongi: Come on. Letís get going.

NARRATOR Li Po, Ho, and Mongi leave Jerusalem by the south gate in search of John the Baptist. Their hearts are filled with high expectations of finding John the Baptist. (Pause) They travel for seemingly endless miles searching for him. As they approach a well near a small village, the boys make two new interesting acquaintances.

Mongi: Look. Thereís a well over there. We can fill our skins with water. Iím just about out of water.

Ho: My bag is empty. I guess I drank too much as we traveled here.

Li Po: Well, we need a break. Letís fill our water bags. This land is so dry down here.

Ho: Look brother, there are two men with walking sticks approaching us. They do not look as though they mean to harm us?

Li Po: No, little brother, Iím sure they do not mean to harm us. This well is open for all to use. (Pause) Greeting strangers.

Theos: Greeting, indeed. Are you boys finished getting your water?

Mongi: Yes, sir. We are finished.

Apollos: What brings you boys to this well; you are not from Israel!

Li Po: No sir. You are right. We are not from Israel. We came here seeking a holy man who is said to be in this region.

Theos: Who might this holy man be? Maybe we can be of help to you?

Ho: He is a man called John the Baptist! Do you know him?

Apollos: (Shocked) John the Baptist! (Pause) Why do you seek him?

Li Po: We seek his counsel. We are looking for a man called, Jesus. We have been told that this John might know where to find him.

Theos: Who are you three? Spies?

Mongi: Do we look like spies? Two Chinese boys and a Persian?

Apollos: Easy, Theos. Easy! No, you do not look like spies. You see we were followers of the man you seek, John the Baptist. We are particular cautious these days.

Li Po: What do you mean you were followers of John the Baptist?

Theos: You obviously are not from here. (Pause) John the Baptist was beheaded yesterday by the prince to please a young female dancer.

All three boys: Beheaded?

Mongi: Oh, No!

Ho: Thatís terrible!

Apollos: Theos. Be careful what you say to these boys. They may have been put up to questioning us! We may not be safe.

Theos: Apollos, Iím sure that these boys can be trusted. You obviously donít .

Apollos: Well....

Theos: As a followers of John the Baptist, we are in danger from his enemies, so we must be careful what we say. His enemies have tried to silence him for years, and they finally succeeded. He was a man of peace. He harmed no one.

Li Po: But why was he killed?

Apollos: He insulted the prince who had John arrested. The rabbiís considered him a threat so they made no protest of his arrest. Later that week at dinner, the prince was enchanted by a dancing girl, Salome. He promised that he would give Salome whatever she wished as a reward for her dancing. Salome, influenced by her mother, asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. The prince complied .

Mongi: How terrible! It cannot be true, not after what we have gone though to find him.

Ho: What are we going to do? Have we traveled all this way for nothing?

Li Po: Wait! Maybe not. Sirs. We are shocked at the news of John the Baptist, and we pray that your hearts may be lightened. However, you still may be able to help us.

Theos: Perhaps? What is it that you seek?

Li Po: We are seeking the cousin of John the Baptist, who is about 30 years old. His name is Jesus, and he is said to be from Nazareth. We were hoping that John would be able to tell us where to find him.

Apollos: Jesus? You mean that Jesus and John were related?

Li Po: That is what we have been told. Do you know Jesus?

Apollos: I know of him. He was here weeks ago, and John baptized him in the river. Then the heavens opened up and a dove descended on his shoulder, and a voice said: "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased."

Li Po: Then he is the right Jesus as we were told.

Theos: Who told you what?

Li Po: We were told by people in the east that a babe, the Son of God, was born about 30 years ago, and that He would do wondrous things for His people , like healing the sick and feeding the poor.

Apollos: Maybe he is the Jesus you seek. When John was in jail, he sent Theos out to see Jesus to find out if he were the Messiah? Jesus never answered his question. He said to Theos, tell John that I am preaching my Fatherís word to the poor as well as healing them.

Li Po: Do you know where this Jesus went after that?

Theos: He said that he was to be about His fathers work. That was 5 or 6 weeks ago. I havenít heard anything about him since the baptism.

Li Po: I wonder what he meant by doing His Fatherís work? Oh well, weíll find out since we know that he is alive.

Theos: Yes, Jesus is alive. (Pause) You know, come to think of it, there have been a lot of people passing us all day. They seem to be going south. People of all sorts: rich, poor, lame, dirty, even women were traveling as a group. Ask that group of children over there, maybe they can be of more help to you? They maybe children from the village.

Ho: Thank you for your help, Theos and Apollos.

Mongi: Letís get going. Weíll find Jesus. Li Po, Iíll carry Ho for a while.

Li Po: Thank you, Mongi. (Pause) Theos and Apollos. I am sorry about your friend, John, but it was Jesus, we sought. I know that we shall find him.  Have a peaceful journey.

Theos: Good luck boys. Weíll pray that you find Jesus.

NARRATOR: Li Po, Mongi, and Ho meet up with a group of children who were from the small village. They said the people are seeking a new prophet in the area who is performing miracles and saying a lot of strange things like: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." "Love your enemies." These words struck a hopeful chord in Li Poís heart. He knows for sure that this ,Jesus, is the child he had heard about from the Persian traders. The children, that Li Po, Ho, and Mongi have met, are Samaritan children. Some of them join the trio of boys in their search to find Jesus.

Ho: Wow! Look at the size of this crowd! How many people are here?

Li Po: Thousands, Iíd say. What do you think Mongi:

Mongi: I agree thousands. Iíd say five or six thousand, anyway.

Ben: Iíve never seen such a crowd. Iíve heard that they get large crowds like this in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, but we Samaritans are not welcome there!

NARRATOR: On that day when the 5000 gathered to hear Jesus, He showed compassion on the crowd. He healed the sick, fed their spirits with hope, and then physically fed them all with just five loaves of bread and two fish. After all have eaten, there was food left over. Quite a miracle.

Li Po: Ho, we must find a way to see Jesus, so He can heal your feet. I so want you to be able to walk again.

Ben: Do you think that he would heal my sick baby sister, Ruth?

Li Po: Why, not. He has healed so many men and women already, why not heal children as well? Besides, Jesus seems like a person who loves children.

Mongi: That boy, Joshua, who we met in town, lives with his uncle. He said that he cannot live with his sister and mother because they are forced to live in the valley of lepers. Do you suppose that Jesus would heal them?

Li Po: Iím sure that He would heal Joshuaís mother and sister if Joshua has enough faith in Jesus as I do. Iím sure that Jesus can heal his mother and sister even if they cannot come here! (Pause) Why donít you go with Ben into the village to get his sister, Ruth, and bring Joshua back with you.

Mongi: Good idea. Then we can all go to see Jesus as a group, and we can ask to be healed together.

Li Po: Right. Ho and I shall stay here to keep an eye on Jesus. If he leaves the area, Iíll mark the trail like we did on the camel route in the desert so youíll be able to find us.

Mongi: Right, Li Po. Weíll be back as soon as we can. Come on, Ben, letís hurry.

NARRATOR: Li Po and Ho watched as the crowd began to leave after being fed both spiritually and physically by Jesus. The disciples work hard to keep the crowd away from Jesus who is tired from the long day. Jesus needs time to rest and to pray. (Pause) After a few hours Ben, Joshua, and Mongi return as Jesus has not left. Dusk begins to settle in. All but a hundred people or so people have left. The boys reunite, and all agree that Li Po should speak for them. As the boys move forward, they are approach by two of the disciples, Judas and Levi.

Judas: What do you boys want?

Li Po: We wish to see Jesus.

Judas: And why would an Chinese boy like you want to see Jesus.

Li Po: Jesus doesnít care that I am Chinese, or that Mongi is a Persian or that the others are Samaritans. He said that we are all children of God. God loves all his children!

Levi: Jesus was referring to Jewish children, not Samaritan children, not Persian children, and least of all not Chinese children!

Li Po: Thatís not true. Jesus said that Ben, Joshua, Mongi, Ho, and I are all children of His Father. Jesus did not restrict his love to Jewish children alone!

Judas: Jesus wants nothing to do with dirty street children like you. Now get out of here.

Li Po: No! We wonít go until we have seen Jesus. We have traveled a long way to find him. Now that we have seen and heard him, we are even more determined to see him face to face!

Levi: Judas! Get Peter and Andrew. Weíll need them to get these little troublesome children away from here.

Li Po: (In a loud voice.) No! No! (In Chinese) MASTER! MASTER! Please come! I need you!

NARRATOR: With the cries of Li Po in Chinese, a white robed figure emerges from among the trees. (Pause) Itís Jesus. He replies to the cries of Li Po in Chinese.

Jesus: Li Po! I am here. I heard your cries.

NARRATOR: Li Poís eyes swell with tears as he sees Jesus, and He hears his the voice of Jesus speak to him in Chinese.

Li Po: Master Jesus. I knew you would answer me and come to my side. (Pause) But how did you know my name?

Jesus: I know the names of all my Fatherís children, Li Po. I was waiting for you. Your prayers have been heard by my Father. I am here to help you in His name.

Li Po: Thank you, Jesus. My brother, Ho, and the others with me need your healing touch. These men will not allow us to see you.

NARRATOR: Jesus rebukes Judas and Levi for denying the children access to him. (Read To Levi and Judas below.)

Jesus: My young friends, these are my disciples. They will not harm you. (To Levi and Judas) Please leave us along. Children are always to be allowed to come unto me. My love for them must never be denied! Never! (Pause) Now Li Po. You said that you and Liat have traveled so far to find me. What need do you have of me?

Mongi: Liat? Who is Liat?

Li Po: Mongi. Ho is not my brother. He is really, Liat, my sister. Only Jesus, the Son of God, would have known that. I disguised her as a boy to protect her. (Pause) Jesus, for years Liat had her feet bound by our parents, and she cannot walk. My parents did not want her because she was a girl, and girls cannot work as hard as boys. I loved her too much to see her mistreated, so we left China. (Pause) In Persia, when we heard of your birth. We hoped that we could find you so that she could have her feet healed in order for her to walk again. We not only found you here to ask for her healing, but more importantly, we have found the road to eternal life with you and your Father in heaven.

Jesus: Li Po. Do you love me and believe that I am the way to eternal life?

Li Po: Yes, Jesus. With all my heart.

Jesus: I know what you desire for Liat, now tell me what you desire for Mongi, Ben and Joshua?

Li Po: Mongi is an orphan, and heíd like to have a family to love him. Benís little sister, Ruth, has a high fever, and she may not live. Joshua has a sister and a mother who have Leprosy and they cannot live at home with him.

Jesus: Do you children believe that I can do what Li Po asks of me?

All: Yes, Jesus. We do!

NARRATOR: reads line bold below in Jesusí speech.

Jesus: Liat - in the name of my Father, stand up and walk. ( She does) Ben - bring me your sister, Ruth. Father in your name, I restore health to this child. (Her illness leaves her) Joshua - your faith has restored good health to your mother and your sister. They are waiting for you at home. (Joshua tearfully bows before Jesus.)

Liat, Ben, Joshua: Thank you Jesus. Thank you. We Love you!

Liat: Oh, brother, I can walk.

Ben: Ruth. Letís go home. Everyone will praise God for your good health.

Joshua: (Crying) Mother and sister healed! Until I heard you message, Jesus, I did not think their healing was possible. Oh, Jesus. You are the Messiah!

Jesus: What about your Li Po. What will you do now that Liat can walk?

Li Po: Now, Iíll look for work to support us so we can continue to be a family. Iíll miss Mongi though; he has been like a brother to us.

Jesus: Mongi, I did not forget you. Unknowingly, you, Liat, and Li Po have become a family. Should the three of you separate, life would be difficult for all of you. The love and concerns you have for each other has made you a family. All you need now are some adults to love and guide you into adulthood.

Mongi: The three of us are family?

Jesus: Yes, Mongi, family!

Mongi: Youíre right, Jesus. The three of us have become family after our time together, only I never stopped to realize it.

Jesus: The three of you will need some help though to survive as a family. My disciple, John, will take you to friends of mine who will help you find loving people who will help you. Will you go with John?

Li Po: Of course, Jesus. Who are your friends?

Jesus: Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. They are very giving people who will love you as they love me.

Li Po: Well family, are we ready to go with John?

Liat and Mongi: Yes, we are ready!

Li Po: Then let us go with, John. Bless you, Jesus.

Jesus: Bless you, my children! Remember I will have a place for you in my heavenly mansion!

NARRATOR: The faith of these children was strong enough to know that Jesus was their hope and salvation. Remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world - Jew and gentile alike. Li Po, Liat, Mongi and the Samaritan found this out for themselves. Seek Jesus out for yourself.  Heís waiting for you.

 

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