Dear Praying Friends:
“Moving without Mom is hard!” The newly-arrived student from China was standing amidst her luggage, confronting the challenge of adjusting to life in a strange place. “I don’t understand. It wasn’t this difficult when I went off to college in China,” she went on. Like many others, she had thought that it would be easy to continue her studies in America; only the place would be different. Remember, those who make it to universities in the West have overcome daunting obstacles and represent the “best and the brightest,” so they have some reason for their self-confidence. Thankfully, this student had a young woman from our church to help her navigate the rough waters. Maybe not as good as Mom, but then – would Mom have known much about life in Charlottesville?
Showing them love
Especially for the first few weeks of their sojourn, these young people are in need of our help, particularly practical assistance with settling in to a new place. After that, when studies consume their time, ongoing friendship, including meals in our home, outings with the family, and trips to historic sites can make them feel cared for. Maybe the most valuable gift we can give is genuine interest in them, expressed by sincere questions about their country, culture, family, and reactions to their host culture.
Speaking the truth
As Christians, we know that what people need most is a saving relationship with God as Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, and we want to share our faith with them, but we may now know how. A few suggestions: - Make it known that you are a Christian and that you go to church. Invite your student(s) to attend one service with you, as a cultural experience, then out to lunch afterwards. Before the service, explain what is about to happen, perhaps going through the order of worship and reading the passage of the Bible for the day. Afterwards, ask for an honest reaction. - Give your student(s) literature in Chinese. Contact Ambassadors for Christ and order Bibles and materials from the Mainland Chinese Literature Ministry for students from China, or for their magazine, Ambassadors (http://www.afcinc.org/). Write me for information about which of my books might interest your Chinese friends. Give a subscription to Overseas Campus Magazine (www.oc.org). - Cooperate with English-speaking international student ministries, such as ISI, Inc.; Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship: Reformed University Fellowship. - Work with Chinese-speaking student ministries: Ambassadors for Christ (www.afcinc.org); Overseas Campus; and China Outreach Ministries (www.chinaoutreach.org). - Co-operate with your local Chinese Church. - BE PATIENT!!! Don’t press for a “decision for Christ” or assume that a sincere interest in the Gospel - or even a desire to believe – indicates true repentance and faith. Remember that 85% of all Chinese who “believed” in Jesus in the U.S. fall away from that faith when they return to China. It normally takes at least a full year, and usually two or three years, of consistent Bible teaching before a person from China can understand enough to make an informed commitment to follow Christ. Let the Holy Spirit do His work, at His pace, and in His way. - Learn more. To understand the Chinese in our midst, it’s important to find out more a bout their background. Several good books are available, including China Road, by Rob Gifford, and China: Ancient Culture, Modern Society, by Dr. Peter Yu and me, which should be available from Eloquent within a month.
Pray for us
We have increasing opportunities to serve Chinese in the West. - Dori and I are trying to mentor a couple from China with a really effective outreach to Chinese at U.Va. - We serve as advisers to Chinese Christian Fellowship (CCF) at U.Va. Their welcome dinner is tonight, August 29th. - On Sundays, I teach a class in Chinese at our church and once a month, I preach at a Chinese church in Charlottesville - I shall be the speaker at evangelistic events in North Carolina (9/25-27), Charlottesville (10/2), and Pennsylvania (10/10-11). - There is a possibility that I shall offer a class on theology and life for Chinese in Charlottesville. Wisdom is needed if obstacles are to be overcome. - Randall and Connie Chan continue to have openings to serve Chinese scholars and their families in Cambridge, England. Connie prays with her piano students, while Randall engages their families in conversation as they wait in the parlor. They also spearhead their church’s outreach to internationals and mentor Chinese Christian leaders. - My books in Chinese, and our web sites in both English and Chinese, are read not only in Asia but also in the West. The Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity now receives 400 unique visitors a day www.bdcconline.net). As Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), so your intercessions are crucial to the effectiveness of any activity. Thank you so much for praying!
Your fellow worker in the vineyard,