Questions with Answers: Mentoring Chinese Students
A billboard in one of China’s megacities reads, “In Education We Trust!” As seen in the stories below, there is great need for Christian academics and professionals to be loving mentors and witnesses to Chinese college students. Consider the stories of Lee and Weichao.
During the final year of his Ph.D. studies at a top research institute in China, Lee became a Christian and started to grow rapidly in his new faith, becoming very involved in his church and frequently inviting other students to join him. With the end of his studies looming, however, he wrestled with the problem of what jobs to apply for. “I don’t know what to do,” he said. “If I go on to an academic career as a scientist, I’m afraid I’ll have to hide my faith, and let God down. I wouldn’t be able to be very active in church if I were in an important position in a research institute. But being in a high position as a scientist could also give opportunities to influence people …”
In another area of China, Weichao and his foreign Christian friend headed back to the office after lunch and chatted about faith and atheism. Weichao, in his early thirties and blessed with an incredible mind, was a graduate of one of the China’s top universities and already well-established in a scientific career. “Why are you an atheist?” asked his colleague. Weichao laughed, replying, “I was born in China, so I’m an atheist. If I’d been born somewhere else, maybe I’d be a Christian like you. But I don’t see any reason to change now.”
In recent decades, China has thrown its doors open to foreign experts and English teachers. Living on or near a university campus, Christian teachers and professors can impact the next generation of China’s leaders. While teachers can make an impact in the classroom through their academic knowledge, it is the opportunities to invest in the lives of the students outside of the classroom that can really change lives. China’s students are searching—for truth, for hope and for genuine relationships. China’s Christian students are in need of mentoring and discipleship. Foreign teachers can make a difference as they “hold the word of life” (Philippians 2:16).