Dear Praying Friends:
“Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for the harvest.” (John 4:35)
These words are just as true today as they were when Jesus first uttered them by the well in Samaria. He had departed from custom to share the good news of eternal satisfaction with a Samaritan woman, and her friends and neighbors were streaming out of the village to hear and see Jesus.
We don’t have to travel to “Samaria” to meet “foreigners” who are hungry for eternal life, however. They are right here – in our schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces.
With more than 200,000 students from China at our high schools, universities, and colleges, American Christians have an unprecedented opportunity to communicate God’s love in Christ to a group of people who are unusually open.
Ever since the Tiananmen incident in June, 1989, Chinese intellectuals have been searching for a new belief system to replace the outworn creeds of communism, Confucianism, and traditional Chinese religion. For a variety of reasons, they find Christianity to be a viable option, partly because of its doctrine of original sin, which alone can explain the human condition.
They know, too, that Christianity has played a part in the rise of the West, especially the United States. They may have had a Christian English teacher in China, or a friend who invited them to church. Some come with absolutely no Christian background, but are intensely curious.
From first-year college freshmen to seasoned professors on a short-term visit, many of them long to know about God.
“We are here for only three months to learn how to teach our specialties in English,” said one to me last week. “We go to a nearby church on Sunday, and to a Bible study there on Wednesday night. We would love to have you come back to our apartment to tell us more about God.” They had attended our church and the Chinese Sunday school afterward.
I left copies of my books in their apartment to look over. On my next visit, one of them, who had already read half of my autobiography, asked, “Why did you give up a secure life to become a missionary?”
Another visiting scholar, whom I met in North Carolina when I spoke at a Chinese New Year’s celebration given by a Chinese Christian fellowship, said, “Before I left home, I went to different churches for six months, but found that the teaching was not good. I’ve been here three weeks, and have attended this group weekly. Here, they teach us the Bible.”
Then, turning to me, in the most serious tone possible, she said, “You have studied the Holy Bible. Tell me – This story about Jesus, is it true?” I gave her my little book claiming that the Bible is God’s Word, not just the words of men.
Dori helps a few mature Chinese women go deeper in their knowledge by attending a women’s Bible study group led by the wife of one of our Directors, and I meet with a few men in a Leadership Training Course.
“The morn and liquid dew of youth”
For the first time, thousands of undergraduates are coming to America for their college education. Smart, stylish, totally “wired,” and well-financed by their successful parents, they are also willing to explore the claims of Christ.
Though most are very worldly, others will respond eagerly to an invitation to attend an American church or a campus fellowship meeting. Dori and I, along with another China Institute couple, try to guide them into a full understanding of the gospel and its implications for all of life.
The Chinese Christian Fellowship and the Mandarin Sunday school class at our church supplement the worship and preaching to present all aspects of the Way of Life.
Would you pray that God would make our limited efforts effective for eternity?
You may find out more about how to walk through this open door in my book, Reaching Chinese Worldwide.
Your fellow farmer,