Chinese Church Voices

God’s Grace in the Life of a Peking University Grad

From the series Stories of Faith from Chinese University Alumni

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.

This is the seventh in our series of testimonies from alumni of Tsinghua University and Peking University. These testimonies are translations of selected chapters from books published by ReFrame MinistriesThe Reason for You II: Tsinghua Testimonies and three volumes of Peking University Testimonies. In each case we post an excerpt from a testimony and include a link to the full testimony in downloadable form. Watch for more in the coming months.

For more information about these testimonies, see “Capturing Chinese Stories.”

God’s Gracious Hand in My Life

Jing KONG (Chemistry, class of 1992)

I Could Not Deny the Existence of God

I was an atheist from a young age. When the Tiananmen incident of 1989 happened, I was in middle school, and it left a deep impression. My conclusion was: a student ought to study hard, instead of spending time on such useless things; the only tangible and visible success was good grades and good studies.

Guided by such thoughts, I spent my four years in university “deaf to the events of the world,”1 and limited myself to my own narrow perspective. When I graduated from college and was preparing to study in America, a church near my future school sent me a letter, welcoming new students, and mentioning that they could help with shopping and settling in. I threw the letter resolutely in the trash, thinking to myself, I really need to keep my distance from such people. At the time, I thought that anyone who believed in God was surely out of his or her mind.

In this way, I continually rejected church invitations to join various activities throughout the first two years of my doctoral study.

In my third year, several classmates from Peking University transferred to the school where I was studying to do their doctoral studies. I was very happy with this reunion of classmates. Three of them had already become Christians—Zhang Zhongqiao, Jiang Chunhui, and Shen Hong. Though Shen Hong had come here the year before, I only just learned that the school had a “fellowship,” with activities each week. Initially I thought that they were absolutely brainwashed. Who would still believe, after so many years of school, that there is a God in this world? But because we spent a lot of time together as classmates, I would often hear them talk about it, and came to feel that the belief of Christians was not as ridiculous as I had initially thought. Occasionally I joined their fellowship activities.

At the time, the fellowship would invite a different speaker for each gathering, to share on various topics relating to faith. One time, it was Professor Qian Kun from the University of San Francisco, sharing on evolution and God’s creation.

Professor Qian Kun mentioned that evolution was merely a theory. If we analyze the evidence supporting evolution from a perspective of conducting scientific research, we find that the evidence is not sufficient to prove the question. For example, studying structures through comparative anatomy can neither prove evolution nor disprove creation. Furthermore, some “evidence” comes from people’s imagination. For example, the imagery of the Peking Man at Zhoukoudian is drawn from the imagination based on a few fragments that are supposed to be skull pieces. Professor Qian Kun specializes in marine biology, and he mentioned the discovery of the Chengjiang fossils and the “Cambrian Explosion.” In geology, the Cambrian Explosion is considered the beginning of the Cambrian period, when the vast majority of invertebrates appeared within a brief window of a couple of million years. The academic community generally acknowledges that this cannot be explained by evolution. On the other hand, this matches exactly the theory of creation in the Bible.

Though I had always taken the theory of evolution as truth, now that I had heard Professor Qian Kun’s speak, I suddenly felt as if I had been taught lies. My resistance to the existence of God and God’s creation began to break down. After this, for a time, I searched for more information and listened to more discussions, and I increasingly felt that evolution—with its theory of something coming from nothing, of simplicity evolving to complexity—was too improbable. Darwin’s book is titled On the Origin of Species, not the origin of life. Life is so complex and wonderful; how could it begin on its own? How can a person’s soul and conscience evolve?

Through a period of increased study and consideration, and through joining fellowships and studying the Bible, I came to conclude that “the world was created” was the most reasonable answer to be found. I could no longer deny God’s existence.

And so, I was baptized in 2001 and became a Christian.

A Change of Life Direction

I graduated with my doctorate in 2002. Before graduation, my advisor encouraged me to apply for a teaching position at the school. But I have always been very introverted and felt that teaching at the school would be too difficult. Since I had partnered with some colleagues from the NASA Ames Research Center during my doctoral studies, I accepted their invitation to work with them. At the time, my husband Dong He was already working in the Bay area. He was baptized during Christmas, 2001. Since the Research Center was also in the Bay area, we didn’t even have to move.

But when I started working, I found that I felt completely lost. There really was no work-related stress at the time; it was a nine to five job, and no overtime on the weekends. All we needed to do was find an appropriate research direction. We did not even have the stress of applying for funding. However, on the one hand, I did not know what direction to take in my own research, and on the other, I had a lot of negative emotions when it came to research. I had studied chemistry, and my doctoral research was in nanomaterials. I found that research wasted a lot of resources for the sake of writing a couple of papers. Furthermore, at the time I misunderstood the purpose of papers, and felt that writing a paper was like reporting the news; even I would not go back and read my own papers from a couple years ago. What would be the purpose of doing this kind of research? It seemed like it offered no contribution to society. So, what was my purpose in life? It felt like I could look into the future, seeing myself at retirement, yet unable to find value in anything I had done. I felt very pained and very lost.

I thank God for his mercy. A sister who was leading fellowship at the time lent me a copy of Hudson Taylor’s biography. Hudson Taylor arrived in China in 1853 to share the gospel and spent the rest of his life in China. When he went to China back then, he faced truly unimaginable difficulties. But his life had influenced and blessed countless people. I read the book in one sitting on the plane. From reading his biography, I felt that his life was so worthwhile. It had eternal value. This was something I desired.

At the time I thought that I ought to be a missionary as well. I considered this for a time but felt that since my husband and I were new believers, and our parents were not yet believers, being a missionary seemed unlikely. But I also felt that if I were to switch to teaching at school, then maybe I could encounter more students and colleagues, and tell them about the Jesus Christ that I knew. Then my work would have eternal value. So, I decided to transfer and apply to teach at the school.

I started my work at NASA in July of 2002. By November, I felt like I could not continue at all because of the pain I mentioned above. However, the deadlines for applications for teaching positions in chemistry were before the end of the year, so I would not make it. But I did not want to wait another year, so I grit my teeth and applied in the area of chemical engineering and materials engineering (the deadline for the engineering department was later).

I told my doctoral advisor the change in my thinking. Coincidentally, the electronic engineering and computer science departments were looking for someone to do material synthesis and asked my advisor if he could recommend any students. My advisor recommended me. I was hired after the interview. I never thought that I would work in electronic engineering and computer science after having studied chemistry, but this is what happened. I often think that this was all part of God’s wonderful plans. We as humans truly have nothing we can boast of.

This is an excerpt from an English translation of the original Chinese testimony which is available for download. The original Chinese testimony is found on pages 144–152 of《从未名湖到生命泉():百名北大学子的信仰之旅》(Peking University Testimonies 1) available from ReFrame Ministries.

Read the full testimony to learn about God’s continued work in Jing Kong’s life as she battled depression and faced challenges in her work and family life.

More about the Author

Jing Kong was born in Tangshan. She was at Peking University from 1992 to 1997 earning a degree in chemistry. She now lives in Massachusetts. Jing Kong became a believer in 2000 in California and was baptized in 2001 at the Home of Christ Church in Menlo Park. She is now serving part-time in the City Outreach Ministry of the Chinese Bible Church of Greater Boston.

Her favorite Bible passage is: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. . . that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:8–10)


  1. Translator’s note: This phrase is the first half of a Chinese idiom, the remaining half is “buried in the books of the sages.”
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ChinaSource Team

ChinaSource Team

Written, translated, or edited by members of the ChinaSource staff.          View Full Bio

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