Chinese Church Voices

China’s Churches Reaching China’s Ethnic Minorities, Part 2

Chinese Church Voices is an occasional column of the ChinaSource Blog providing translations of original writing by Christians in China. The views represented are entirely those of the original author; inclusion in Chinese Church Voices does not imply or equal an endorsement by ChinaSource.

How involved is the Chinese church in cross-cultural missions? Do Chinese churches send missionaries abroad? In this article from Mission China Today, Ming Xian, a missions worker who has been involved long term in motivating, training, sending, and serving ethnic minorities in China shares about the current missions efforts among Chinese churches. This is part two of a two part article. You can read part one here.

Cases of Cross-cultural, Ethnic Minority Missions

We can say that the contemporary Chinese church’s cross-cultural, ethnic minority missions have travelled all over China. Though it cannot be described in detail in one article, below are several cases of church pastors committed to cross-cultural missions. Hopefully these cases can offer a glimpse into the bigger picture.

 Long March in Snowy Lands

A worker from central China left for Tibet in 1984. The sister-in-Christ who became his wife entered Tibet in 1989. It has now been thirty-some years since they started their mission in snowy lands. Along with their service to the Han Chinese members who came from their home and from the inland, they have served Tibetan members. From day to day, they have built relationships with their neighbors; they have met potential targets for evangelism through their business; and they have also provided aid to the Tibetans in poverty on the pasture lands. They have lovingly adopted abandoned Tibetan babies, and networked with various resources to bring Tibetan children with congenital heart defects and various disabilities for medical treatment in the cities. They have lived the same way over the past several decades among the Tibetan people, serving them with Christ’s love. And God's blessing and the fruit of the gospel have accompanied them.

 Woman of the Deserts

A worker from eastern China followed her father to offer aid in Xinjiang, lived among the Kazakhs of northern Xinjiang, and learned the Kazakh language from a young age. She was saved in the 80s, and only after receiving God’s calling did she realize that God had provided for her to live with Kazakhs since a young age for the sake of saving the Kazakh brethren. Therefore, she and her husband, as well as a group of workers, became committed to missionary work among the Kazakhs from the late 90s.

They learned the Kazakh language, entered deep into the Kazakh tents on pasture lands to spread the gospel, helped Kazakh brethren in their work, handed out Kazakh Bibles and gospel recordings, visited and discipled Kazakh brothers and sisters, and trained young Kazakh preachers.

Now, a Kazakh church with local characteristics is being established; Kazakh workers have been trained to begin to serve independently, and are taking up more and more responsibilities.

 The Plateau Ranger

The father of a worker from Yunnan was doing mission work among ethnic minorities on the Yungui Plateau in the 30s and 40s of the last century. He was called to our heavenly home on the eve of 1949, and because of political changes, his wife and child remained and settled in Yunnan. The worker experienced the Dachuanlian [when Red Guards went to Beijing by free transportation and housing to appeal to Chairman Mao] and the “Down to the Countryside Movement” of the Cultural Revolution. Later he returned to the city and became a factory worker, went to night school, and studied theology.

God called him to full-time ministry after the opening up of religious policy in the 80s. God gave him a vision and burden to commit to missions like his parents, and to continue serving the ethnic minorities on the Yungui Plateau.

Throughout the year he rushes between the Wumeng mountains, the Nujiang valley, the Yuzhong Red Lands, the Honghe terraces, the Xishuangbanna plains, the Jingpo great and little hills, the courtyards of the Bai and Nashi peoples, the stilt houses of the Miao and Wa peoples, ethnic churches in towns and villages, and the local minority training centers. He has taken infinite pains for the translation of the Bible for various groups, has organized fund raising for establishing various minority training centers, and has taught classes for training preachers from the ethnic minorities. Though he is in his sixties and nearing his seventies, he continues faithfully with travelling year-round among the ethnic minorities of the Yungui Plateau.

The Eagle of the Peoples

God has blessed this worker from a northern Chinese city with an "ethnic minority complex" since he was young. In the 1990s when he was first called to ministry, he began praying for ethnic minorities, and had the opportunity to live among Mongolian brethren.

Every year, he went to western regions, border regions, and among ethnic minorities for short term ministry. In the late 90s, he went to serve at the mountainous intersection of Hunan, Hubei, and Guizhou provinces, among the Miao people, the Tujia people, and the Kam people. After that, he served in regions such as the Tibetan Plateau and the Xinjiang deserts, and among the Gansu and Ningxia Muslims, and the ethnic minorities of Yunnan and Guizhou. He has been like an eagle who continuously glides in the skies, flying among groups of different peoples, different religions, and different cultures.

At the same time, he has spent years equipping coworkers among the Miao people, the Wa people, the Yi people, the Lahu people, the Lisu people, the Jingpo people, the Hani people, the Bai people, the Zhuang people, the Tibetans, the Hui people, the Kazakhs, and the Uighurs; and assisting ethnic minority churches to develop local sending organizations. His long-term mission is to partner with ethnic minority churches and workers to take up global gospel mission. A couple of years ago ethnic minority sending organizations began sending preachers, and their ministry now spans the Indochina Peninsula.

Training Han workers for cross-cultural missions among different peoples and abroad has also been an emphasis in his mission ministry. The local sending organization of the Chinese church that he and co-workers established has already sent Chinese church missionaries to Xinjiang, Tibet, Yunnan, Gansu, and among Muslim communities, Tibetan Buddhist communities, and indigenous religious communities. They have also sent missionaries to Thailand, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Mexico, and other Asian, African, and South American countries.

The Yak of Sichuan-Tibet

A church leader from a city in southeastern China began leading coworkers and other brothers and sisters in Christ into missions among the Tibetan Kham people. For the past ten years, he has organized short-term missionary teams to serve in the Sichuan-Tibet area. Over a hundred members have been on short-term mission trips to Sichuan-Tibet. Through providing free medical services and medicine, they begin to interact with Tibetans. Through sponsoring their studies, they have built friendships with students. In these ways, they have brought a fair number of Tibetans to Christ. They have also hosted camps and meetings for believing students, as well as hosting discipleship trainings to help their spiritual growth.

This pastor is already in his sixties and is like a domestic yak, quietly persisting, serving in missions with longsuffering. The church that he leads has held an “annual sending conference” for the past five years, and also started a “missions week,” and has persisted in short-term missions for the past ten years. The best summary, reflection, thoughts, hopes, and aspirations of this pastor and his church’s commitment to missions can be found in a passage from this year’s “annual sending conference handbook” of the church:

What can we do in ten years? We can grow a tree in ten years. We can sharpen a sword in ten years. Our cross-cultural missions ministry has also come through ten years, with laughter, with tears, with smooth sailing, with and difficulties. We cannot list out all the experiences we have had . . . A tree needs ten years to mature. And the establishment of the church’s joint-mission team is the fruit of ten years of short-term missions—we can even say that it is a new beginning for our future cross-cultural missions. But a new beginning is also the beginning of fumbling and trying things out . . . The road is long, but we will strive in that mission that is so close to completion!

Original Article: 当代中国少数民族宣教by 今日宣教

Image Credit: Russell_Yan from Pixabay
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