While in Taiwan, I spoke with a woman who serves as a missionary in the Middle East. As she explained to me her understanding of her basic mission, I knew immediately that I wanted to make it my own as well.Her goal is “To live among them a life of beauty; a life of health; a life of love, so that they will want to ask, ‘What is your secret?’” Did not our Lord Jesus say, “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”? (Matthew 5:13, 14, 16) His disciple John wrote, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The once-impetuous and voluble Peter had obviously changed his approach by the time he penned these words: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed (1 Peter 3:15-16). Even the Apostle Paul, a preacher and a teacher who believed in the power of verbal proclamation, exhorted the Christians at Philippi to “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless [innocent], children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14-16). What if those who seek to influence Chinese sought first to live a beautiful life - one filled with love, joy, and peace? What if we made it our goal to be “quick to listen, slow to speak”? Non-Chinese, especially, might do well to aim to understand before we presume to share our opinions. Chinese rightly consider themselves practical people, who value actions more than words. Perhaps we should re-orient our priorities, putting “show” in front of “tell.”
Our Part: Presenting Examples
Our associates are all seeking to evince genuine interest in Chinese culture by diligent language study and careful research. We hope to win trust by listening, learning, loving, and living a life of beauty before our Chinese friends. At the same time, we are producing a major new resource to present Chinese with a whole host of “beautiful lives” as examples. The Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity (BDCC), is an on-line treasury of true stories about Christians in China. Emphasizing Chinese believers more than missionaries, the fully-developed BDCC will portray the rich heritage of Chinese Christianity. Visit www.bdcconline.net to see the beginnings of this major long-range project. Our aims are (1) to encourage Chinese believers; (2) to change the perception of non-Christian Chinese, especially intellectuals, who have been taught that Christianity is a noxious foreign imposition; and (3) to create a network of people around the world, including within China, who are pondering the past, present, and potential role of Christianity in Chinese society.
Your Part: Prayer
Pray that all our associates will demonstrate what it means to be a follower of Christ. Ask God to mobilize many people to participate in the BDCC by contributing stories of Chinese Christians. Uphold the financial needs of the BDCC in prayer. As you know, most of our ministry is supported through unsolicited donations to China Institute from individuals and churches, but the BDCC requires even more substantial funding. Thankfully, it has evoked interest from several Christian foundations. One has offered us a matching grant. Before we can receive this money, however, we must have an equal amount - $57,000 – from other sources. Please pray that God will move others to give.**