An OMF worker who walks alongside local believers to see them grow, shares her insights. We hope that knowing and understanding more of what our workers face, will drive you to prayer, and to considering whether you can play a part in serving the body of Christ in urban China.
Q: What has been one of the biggest joys as you’ve gotten to know Chinese believers?
A: Seeing God at work in their lives. It’s a privilege to be able to share with Chinese zhiti (“members of the Body” – how they often refer to brothers and sisters) some of the spiritual riches we’ve inherited through centuries of Christendom. At the same time, this richness is expanded and embroidered as they take what we share and apply and change it in their own situations. Secondly, it’s fun just enjoying their friendship!
Q: What is a common struggle you see them face?
A: J.B. Phillips translates Rom 12.2,
“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould…”
For most of us, most of the time, we act culturally rather than Christian-ly. For Chinese believers, the weight of culture is crushing. In their daily lives these cultural norms are seen in expectations from their families (e.g. pressure to marry non-believers), and in the headlong rush toward ever-more consumerism and worldly status. Liberating the Gospel to have its true force in individual and congregational lives is the most ignored challenge in the Chinese church, as it is for many of us.
Q: What is your prayer for Chinese believers?
A: That they may fe el God’s love and delight in them (Zeph 3.17) – not just know it mentally. And that they be freed and transformed by that love to become whole. And thus to transmit God’s love and presence in healthy, redeeming ways to all around them – in families, workplaces, and in society at large.