Jing was the mother of a 6-year old girl, self-employed as a seller of imported luxury goods, living a comfortable life in one of China’s largest cities. With her daughter in private school, her husband in a good job, and a modest but decent home in a good neighborhood, her move from a smaller Chinese town to this large city had seen its fair share of bumps, but on the whole proved to be a good decision. On meeting a fellow school parent, living in the same building, the two, in time, became friends. After hearing, however, that her new friend was a Christian, Jing became a little cautious, trying to draw boundaries by talking negatively about her Christian cousin who would only ever talk about going to church – ‘I hope you are not that kind of Christian!’ was the message she was trying to give.
As they continued to get to know one another, one day Jing asked her friend about forgiveness. ‘I’ve been wronged by a family member, I’m finding it hard to forgive – I know Christians forgive people easily, but I just can’t do it. How do you deal with this?’ Her friend shared that forgiveness also didn’t come easily to her, but expressed her thankfulness at Jing’s openness and honesty, and internally prayed that the Holy Spirit would help work on Jing’s heart.
One day, not long after, Jing asked her friend if she had any Christian DVDs or sermons to lend her. Her cousin, the Christian, was too sick to go to church, and Jing thought these things could be of use to her. As Jing’s friend passed on these materials, she asked Jing if she might like to come to church. ‘It would be wonderful!’ It was as though she was already waiting to be asked. The following Sunday they went, and at prayer time, Jing’s friend held her hand and started praying for her family. Jing could not hold back the tears – she had just found out that her cousin had stage 4 cancer. It really dealt a blow to Jing, and yet it was also pushing her forward, towards God.
The next time they met up, Jing couldn’t help but blurt out her questions: ‘Can you pray for my cousin again? Can I pray for my cousin too, and how?’ That day, Jing’s friend sensed that it wasn’t a time to cram her with biblical knowledge, but sensed the readiness in Jing’s heart, and asked – ‘Would you like to follow Jesus and open your heart to Him?’
With tear-stained eyes, Jing looked up and asked, ‘Now? Can I?’ With joy, Jing prayed with her friend to receive Jesus into her heart.
Jing began regularly attending church, joyfully devouring the Bible with her friend, and learning what she could about living life Jesus’ way – as a wife, as a parent, as part of an urban Chinese community. It was going to be a completely different way of living.
In 2015 China abolished its previous one child policy, making it possible for many families to have a second child. Like many people, Jing was not ready to go down this road, with the cost of raising and educating a child so costly in urban China. But God had other plans. Jing fell pregnant – despite having a medical condition that made it dangerous for her to fall pregnant. Doctors told her to abort the child for her own safety, and for the sake of the child who was likely to be born with complications. As a new Christian, Jing wrestled with this. Abortions were common in Chinese society, but as a Christian, she chose to keep the child. As her pregnancy progressed, her faith grew along with the baby inside of her, and, thankfully, she was born safely with zero complications.
Jing is now the mother of two healthy girls. Her husband is still not a believer; she prays that he will one day accept her faith. She struggles to know how to raise her children well, how to teach them in a godly way. As is common for parents of young children in urban China, she stopped going to church after she had the baby. Her Christian friend moved away, and without her friend nearby, Jing feels it is hard to read the Bible on her own. She longs to grow in the Christian faith, but without church or Christian friends nearby, it is hard. Although she is a follower of Jesus, at the same time it seems like life has gone back to ‘normal’. This is a reality for many young believers in China’s cities.
Pray for Jing, and young Christians like her, to be cared for by their local churches. Pray for churches to know how to nurture and grow gospel-minded believers, and for more people to be involved in discipleship in the cities, that the Christian worldview will impact the lives of believers, and through them, the community around them.
#oneinabillion #theurbanbillion #thetaskunfinished