Dear Praying Friends:
More than 240,000 students and scholars from China attend universities in the United States alone. Thousands more can be found in Canada, Europe, and Australia. Many others have enrolled in private schools in the West for high school education.
In addition, a great number of university professors and public officials participate in three-month long intensive programs on how to teach their subject in English, or other specialized topics, such as administration.
Closed Doors, Open Doors
Traditional missionary work is illegal in China, though other ways of bearing witness to the truth and grace of Christ are still open.
While in the West, however, Chinese students and scholars may be freely approached by Christians, though discretion is required. Groups of officials, in particular, are closely monitored, but even they will accept sincere invitations of hospitality and help.
Others present no obstacle to Western believers who desire to introduce them to God’s beauty, love, wisdom, and power. In fact, many of them come with a desire to learn more about Christianity. Some have already believed while in China, and are eager to meet Western Christians.
True, most of the new wave of undergraduates arrive with purses (a majority are female) full of cash, credit cards, and the latest electronic gadgets. Smartly dressed, they are used to all the comforts of life and ready to explore the storied pleasure-spots of America, the Caribbean, and Europe at the first opportunity.
With ambitions set on high grades, internships and jobs at the most prestigious corporations, and/or entrance into elite graduate schools, they may have little interest in spiritual things.
And yet . . .
They also come from a society that is unravelling, where corruption, pollution, and rampant greed have bred cynicism and empty souls. Once they arrive in nations that bear the marks of previous generations of Christians, they sense a difference.
In particular, genuine expressions of love often melt their hearts and awaken a desire for more. Far too many of them have known little intimacy with their parents, who race frenetically to succeed so their children can have the brightest futures.
Since 1988, when we returned from China, we have concentrated upon these highly intelligent and potentially very influential Chinese. As our team has grown, God has given us access to students and scholars in several places:
Charlottesville: Kevin and his wife Sarah, along with our Chinese assistant Nancy, work with the undergraduate, English-speaking Chinese Christian Fellowship to reach both American-born Chinese and newcomers from China. They also help with the Mandarin Sunday school class that meets at the church we used to attend. Over the years, we have seen several dozen baptisms as a result of these ministries.
Jason and Kristie Truell have just moved to Richmond, British Columbia (near Vancouver), where Jason serves as pastor to the English section of a Chinese church. Jason also preaches in the Chinese section and in fellowship groups.
Randall and Connie Chan live in
Cambridge, England, where students and scholars from China abound. They lead their church’s outreach to Chinese; Connie teaches piano to Chinese children, whose parents are also open to the gospel; and Randall assists two Chinese churches elsewhere in England.
Dori and I stay in touch with these China Institute Partners, as well as with Global China Center Associates across the U.S., like John Barwick, who leads an evangelistic Bible study in a Chinese church in New York, and Yading Li , who pastors a Chinese church in California.
Please pray for us to be effective witnesses of Christ to this important population.
Ask God to use you to befriend students from China.
Start by reading Reaching Chinese Worldwide (available from Amazon) for more information and ideas.
Visit our web sites, and introduce them to your friends.
Yours in the love of Christ,