It might surprise you to hear that 2 million Chinese migrants live and work in Africa. However, African church leaders are well-aware and are eager to reach their Chinese neighbors with the gospel. The opportunity is great—and the need urgent—as 100,000 Chinese move to Africa each year.
In seeing the need for outreach, African church leaders also see their need for cross-cultural and theological training. That’s why OMF’s Diaspora Returnee Ministries in Africa is partnering with African pastors and church leaders, training and equipping them to plant churches among the diaspora Chinese.
In May 2016, a Chinese DRM team member and a diaspora Chinese Church in Nairobi organized a training for African pastors in the small town of Wubeye in Western Kenya. The turnout was impressive—76 pastors from 12 denominations. Many Kenyan pastors excitedly shook their new Chinese friends’ hands, saying they were shaking the hands of a Chinese person for the first time in their lives. One African man expressed the familial bond he felt toward Chinese people: “They are our own people, and they are good people!”
The training gave many unplanned opportunities to increase cross-cultural understanding. On one occasion, lunch was delayed, so the Chinese participants jumped in to help. While assisting, they discovered that the stove’s construction (three stones in the ground with no lid) made heating inefficient. They offered a solution. The cooking time was cut in half. As one Chinese team member says about his African friends, “They admired our ingenuity. We admired their pure, simple, humble and teachable spirits!”
“They admired our ingenuity. We admired their pure, simple, humble and teachable spirits!”
When God unites his people in mission, cross-cultural “barriers” become enriching opportunities to love one another. As unity builds, the gospel moves forward in incredible ways. The move of God among the Chinese diaspora in Africa offers a perfect example. Pray for African and Chinese churches as they invest in one another to see the Great Commission fulfilled in Africa and beyond.
The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. -2 Timothy 2:2
Are you interested in being part of the effort to reach East Asians outside their home countries? We may have an opportunity for you to get involved!