Category Archives: China

Chinese Cultural Obstacles and Coming To Christ

Chinese Cultural Obstacles and Coming To Christ

One day I was on the bus going to teach English.  We made a left hand turn and suddenly there in the middle of the road was a dead body.  You could tell she was a DOT street sweeper by her uniform and large bamboo broom laying near by.  To my surprise, a fellow DOT worker was just a few feet away sweeping the street as if the lifeless body was not even there.  There seemed to be no concern for the now dead co-worker, no compassion in his eyes, no sadness for the loss of a co-worker, he just went on like nothing was there, jut a pile of cells now void of life.  What  causes this type of reaction or behavior that is so cold to life and death?  I believe that there are several reasons for this kind of reaction or behavior to the death of a fellow human being.

Humanism is taught and has been taught for decades in schools and universities across China.  It has almost removed the God-consciousness in the hearts of the Chinese people.   Atheism is the State religion and has permeated every aspect of life from birth to death.  The knowledge of God has been so repressed and suppressed that it is common to hear Chinese people say I believe and trust only in myself when asked what do you believe in.  Because of the teachings of communism and evolution there is a great spiritual vacuum in China that has created a spiritual desert in the hearts of the Chinese people.

Two more obstacles are the misunderstanding of sin and the lack of forgiveness.  The Chinese strive to accomplish the impossible task of making themselves good.  They believe that man will do good because human nature is ultimately good.  Without the Bible the Chinese people misunderstand the truth about sin and how man is born with a sinful nature.  Mencius, a Chinese philosopher, taught this as well and it has deeply impacted the Chinese while communism re-enforced this idea that man is good.  The Chinese hold up endurance and tolerance as virtues, but, there is a drought and famine of forgiveness.  There is no forgiveness in the Chinese culture.  The Chinese are enslaved to bitterness, vengeance and hate.  There are deep wounds and scars on the souls of the Chinese people.

Chinese people suffer from a lack of fellowship founded on love.  My Chinese students often tell me they are lonely.  How can one be lonely in a country of 1.3 billion people?  Easy, when there is no true love (I Cor. 13) there is loneliness and emptiness in life.  They come from large families and communities, but, because of the past tragedies of their history, people are alone and afraid.

The last obstacle explains why I saw what I saw on the bus that day.  When I first went to China many years ago the one thing God used to get my attention and show me the desperate need the Chinese have for the Gospel was the hopelessness in the eyes of the people I saw.  Eyes that were filled with emptiness, hopelessness and fear.  In China you are not supposed to talk about death it is taboo to mention it.  For the Chinese death is greatly feared because it is the end of all that they know.  Life is over, nothing more and nothing else.  Unfortunately for them they are gravely mistaken.

Life does go on.  That is why the Gospel is so desperately needed in China.  The Gospel awakens the God-consciousness that has been suppressed (Rom.1:19).  The Gospel reveals the true nature of man and deals with the problem of sin clearly and decisively (Rom. 3;23-25, 6:23).  The healing power of Christ will bring freedom and forgiveness to the Chinese people.  God’s love, so amazing, so divine it demands my soul, my life and my all.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ so powerful that even in the midst of such spiritual darkness it will cut away all the lies and shine like the sun at midnight.

Da Yong
American serving the Lord in China
Contributor – Baptist.org

Featuring : Chinese Cultural Obstacles and Coming To Christ
email: btw4ayear@yahoo.com

China is Full of Chinese People, Right?

China is Full of Chinese People, Right?

Wrong!  When I first starting serving the Lord in China I too thought China was full of Chinese people.  This is true for a large part of the population, but, the Chinese government recognizes 55 ethnic minority groups and Paul Hathaway in Operation China documents over 450 ethnic minorities.

When we see pictures of the average Chinese person we are most likely seeing a person from the Han people group.  The Han are for sure in the majority, 92% of the population of China is Han.  In fact they make up about 20% of the entire population of planet earth!  The Han people consider themselves to be descendants of Yan Di (Yan Emperor)and Huang Di (Yellow Emperor).  The name Han comes from the dynasty that followed Qin.  Enough about the majority let’s talk about the ethnic minorities of China!

What does ethnic minority group actually mean?  Well, here is a definition for you: pertaining to or characteristic of a group of people that share common and distinct culture, religion and language.  These characteristics bind together a group of people into communities, tribes and villages.  They often are isolated because of where they live and go unchanged for hundreds of years.  The group often has a distinct style of dress, speaks a dialect, they have certain physical features, dances and customs practice at certain times of the year and much more.

Ethnic groups in China are often referred to as nationalities.  The Chinese word minzu  is used when translating the English words “people” or “nationality”.  Ethnic minorities are all Chinese citizen despite often being referred to as nations, the Chinese word minzu does not refer to a person citizenship.

Most of the Chinese ethnic groups are very similar to the Han Chinese in physical features, but, there are some that do not resemble Chinese in the least.  Take the Uyghur people of China.  They are a Turkic ethnic group living in the western part of the country.  If you were to meet some of them on the street or see them in pictures you would never consider them to be Chinese citizens.  You probably would think they were from Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan.  They are all Muslims and would very much like to gain independence from China.

One of the saddest things about the Uyghurs is that at one point in their history to be Uyghur was to be a Believer in Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, Christianity just disappeared from Uyghur society for a few hundred years.  No one really knows why this occurred, but, it did and today to be Uyghur is to be Muslim.

China is a diverse country.  There are hundreds of cultures, thousands of dialects and millions of people who need to Lord!  Most of the Ethnic Groups of China are unreached and  85%-95% unevangelized.  The need of laborers is great because the harvest is plentiful.  A good friend of mine used to say before he passed away “not everyone is called to go, but, everyone should struggle with the possibility”.

Da Yong
American serving the Lord in China
Contributor – Baptist.org

Featuring : China is Full of Chinese People, Right?
email: btw4ayear@yahoo.com

The Year of the Rabbit, Happy Chinese New Year!

The Year of the Rabbit, Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year (known as Spring Festival in China) begins with the new moon on the first day of the new year and ends with the full moon 15 days later.  That’s right, Chinese New Year is a 15 day holiday!  The Chinese calendar is based on lunar as well as solar movements.  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving.  The festival was traditionally highlighted by a religious ceremony honoring Heaven and Earth, household gods and family ancestors.  This holiday stresses the importance of family ties.  The Chinese New Year Eve dinner is among the most important family occasions of the entire year.

Spring Cleaning is the first step in preparing for Spring Festival.  Every corner of the house is swept clean which symbolizes a new beginning, out with the old in with the clean.  Spring couplets are step number 2.  Written in black ink on vertical sheets red paper, these Spring Couplets are placed on the left and right sides of entryways and connected by a horizontal one above the door or gate (interesting it is done with RED and only ever RED paper, Passover?).  These couplets are short poems wishing all who pass through the door or gate good fortune in the coming new year.

Red is the prevailing color during this holiday.  The spring couplets are written on red paper.  Red envelopes called Hong Bao filled with money are given to Children by aunts, uncles, fathers, mothers and grandparents.  Traditional Chinese knots tied with red rope are given to friends and displayed in the home.  New calendars are printed with red ink, greeting cards are drenched in red and people wear red shirts, sweaters, socks and under garments for good luck.

This year is the year of the Rabbit.  In the Chinese cycle of dating the years there are 12 animals that represent each year in the 12 year cycle.  The Chinese view time as cyclical as we here in the West view it as linear.  The 12 animals are: dog, dragon, horse, monkey,pig, ox rabbit, rat, rooster, sheep, snake and tiger.  People believe that if you are born in a certain year you will exhibit certain characteristics of these animals.  For example, people born in the year of the rabbit are articulate, talented, ambitious, trustworthy and reserved.  The Chinese will often plan to be married in certain years that are deemed better for marriage, they plan to have babies in certain years that are good for having children and they will not marry if their year/animal is known for not being compatible with the year/animal of a potential spouse.  There is quite a bit of superstition that goes along with the “Chinese Zodiac”.

Lantern Festival is on the 15th day of Spring Festival.  It is the first full moon of the new year.  People all over China go outside and display all kinds of lanterns.  Another important part of Lantern festival is the eating of Xiao Yuan.  Xiao Yuan are small balls made of glutinous race flour.  The balls are filled with many different kinds of fillings that range from sweet to salty and rose petals to walnuts.

Even though there is a lot of superstitions wrapped up in the Chinese New Year, God still makes Himself known to the people of China.  How so you ask?  On every door, gate and window, in every home, on every greeting card you will find the Chinese Character Fu? .  This character is made up of four separate characters: God, one, man, garden.  When these four are combined they created a new character with a new meaning, which is blessing.  God with one man in the garden!

Happy Chinese New Year!  And may God continue to have mercy and grace on us!

Da Yong
American serving the Lord in China
Contributor – Baptist.org

Featuring : The Year of the Rabbit, Happy Chinese New Year!
email: btw4ayear@yahoo.com

China, Planning A Trip to the Middle Kingdom

China, Planning A Trip to the Middle Kingdom

There seems to be an attraction with China these days.  The news often reports on it’s economic boom, it’s sprawling cities and on occasion it’s environmental problems.  In high schools across the USA the Chinese language is now offered along side the traditional Spanish and French classes.  What is the hype all about?  Well, my response would be come and find out for yourself!

As Believers we can not only go to China as tourists and experience an ancient culture and culinary delights, but, also as a fellow brother or sister in Christ and share the joy of ministering and being ministered to with our fellow Chinese Believers.  Here is what you have to do to plan a trip to and prepare yourself for a visit to China.

First and foremost you need to have a passport.  Believe it or not only 37% of Americans have a passport, that means 2 out of 3 people cannot even fly to Canada.  So, go down to your nearest post office and apply to get one now.  It is an additional piece of identification and it is just good to have.  There is nothing like holding a passport in your hand and getting it stamped by a customs officer!  Unlike the UK, Germany, Korea and many other places that do not require Americans to apply for a visa to enter the country China does.  You cannot enter China without a visa in your passport.  How does one get a visa to enter China?  Well, you can contact any travel agent and they will help you secure a visa, for a fee of course, but, allowing an experienced company to do it for you is much easier than doing it yourself.

If you are just interested in a tour, simply contact a travel company and ask about their tour packages to China.  If you are adventurous, plan it all on your own by booking flights (international and domestic) and hotels on-line.  Pick a few cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Ching Qing to travel to and search out the best spots to visit while in that city.  Either way you will have an experience of a lifetime.

As a Believer I suggest you plan a ministry/tour trip to China with a mission agency.  Just about every missions agency has ministry/tour trips to China.  These trips often take place in the summer months when school is out and involves teaching conversational English as a means to reach out with His love and grace.  In China English is a HUGE deal.  Every child is required by law to begin learning English in kindergarten, at least two hours of English per week.  There are English educational companies in every city teaching English to children after school and on the weekends.  The best part about this love affair with English is it allows you to hit the ground ministering!  No two year Chinese language school, you can get off the plane and share your testimony with just about any young person you encounter.  Kind of reminders me of Greek in New Testament times!

Here is what our mission agency does – Every summer we conduct Summer English Camps all over China.  What is Summer English Camp?  Chinese students sign up to take part in a two week camp, where they learn conversational English and cultural things about the USA.  Three English classes in the morning, we break for lunch, activities in the afternoon (sports, crafts, singing and such) and early evening activities like playing board games, free talk and movie time.

What is required of you?  That you speak English!  Yes!  it is that easy.  About 150 people come every summer.  We break them up into teams of 30 members (depending on your location in the US), we train and prepare you to teach, minister and live in China.  We also do all the preparation as far as getting your visas, plane tickets, hotel reservations and touring.  All you have to do is raise your funds and get trained and show up on time for your flights.  The camps are two weeks long and after two weeks we take everyone to a famous city for about three days of touring some of the greatest and oldest places in the world!

So, if we are teaching English, how do we minister?  In the classroom we teach things like Christmas and the true meaning of it, Life in the USA (this is my house, my school, my CHURCH), Thanksgiving and why the pilgrims came to the USA, I think you can see where this leads them to questions.  After classes when you are hanging out with the teens they will ask why do you go to church, what does it mean to be a Christian and at this point you are free to share as much as they want to hear, in ENGLISH!  And they understand it and some accept it and believe!  We work with local brothers and sisters to plug them into fellowship.

I guarantee that if you come with us to China you will never be the same.  It is life-changing trip that will leave you more like Him, with life-long friends, with a better understanding of the world and it’s need for Him and who knows, He may call you into full-time service with me and I am always looking for those that will answer the high-calling of going and making disciples for His glory!

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Da Yong
American serving the Lord in China
Contributor – Baptist.org

Featuring : China, planning a trip to the Middle Kingdom ??
email: btw4ayear@yahoo.com