In recent years, churches in China have begun to send missionaries overseas. This article in the Christian Times is about missionaries to Laos, Pakistan, and Cambodia sharing about their experiences in a church in Anhui.
"When you see the local need it will become clear: The Chinese church does not lack people or money. What we lack is love." These are the heartfelt words of a Chinese missionary to Pakistan.
During a recent church service at Yingshang county, Anhui province, six Chinese missionaries brought together photographs and personal experience to share the ways they have encountered Gods grace and presence in missions and to communicate the needs of the mission field. Picture after picture displayed the impoverishment and struggles of the local people, while the heartfelt and sincere plea of the missionaries touched the nearly thousand brothers and sisters in attendance. With one collective voice, those present prayed for the missionaries and one after another the congregation brought their offerings before God, willing to contribute prayers and money for the sake of the mission work.
Missionary to Laos: Restaurant Evangelism
Moved by the Holy Spirit, one couple in their fifties, accepted the church's call to mission work in Laos. They willingly renounced the ease and comfort of lifes golden years to go to an unfamiliar country to serve an unfamiliar people. There, God gave them the wisdom to open a restaurant. And although they had never received any formalized culinary training, by Gods grace their business developed smoothly:
I had never been a chef before. I cooked only home-style food. Whatever customers asked me to cook I would do it or else I would just guess and kind of throw it all together. But I prayed often. Whenever I was cooking I would pray, 'Lord help this to taste good.' I would also pray that customers would receive God's blessing.
The couple is especially grateful to God for granting them such wisdom and opportunity. Many kinds of work rarely provide occasion to share the gospel, but restaurant work, however, allows for many opportunities to interact with people and share the message of the gospel with them. The wife also testified to the work of sanctification God had done in her own life, "There, I often thought of those I worked with in the past. I often cried and felt grateful for them. I used to have a bad temper and was easily angered, but God used my experience in Laos to change my life. I can say now that no matter how you treat me, I am willing to stick it out with others."
Missionary to Pakistan: Distributing Aid and Constructing Homes for the Needy
Last November news from Pakistan brought reports that floods had left large numbers of people homeless. After seeing the desperate state of the Pakistani people, this young couple developed a profound burden for the area and without hesitation chose Pakistan as their mission field.
From the photos the husband presented it was evident that many people lacked even the most basic housing and were living in makeshift straw huts; following the floods even more people lost their homes. Farmers there do not have their own land. Most are sharecroppers and are required to give half of their crop to the landowner. And if disaster like a flood strikes, those living in such conditions will not only face the loss of their entire crop but also the difficulty of paying rent.
"When you see the local need it will become clear: The Chinese church does not lack people or money. What we lack is love." To the church as well as the Christian brothers and sisters in attendance, the husband offered a sincere invitation, "I hope that everyone can remember Pakistan, remember the needs there, and offer up your prayers. I also hope that everyone can participate more tangibly, truly, and practically in the work of missions.
Following the service, this missionary told Christian Times: "In Pakistan, we are not able to preach the gospel too openly. We primarily cooperate with Christian NGO's to distribute aid and materials. In the end we would tell them we are Christians and that the aid is also a gift from other Christians."
This year the couple helped eight households build new, single story homes. "After we help them build their new homes, we continue to interact with them, arranging regular times to go see them and share the good news of the gospel."
Cambodian Missionary: Establishing a Church and an Orphanage
Those in attendance were surprised to learn that of the missionaries living in Cambodia, this young man had been serving the longest. This year, he was joined by another elderly church worker to help set up an orphanage.
During the past two years of mission work in Cambodia, this young missionary has tasted both joy and sorrow. He and his fellow worker have farmed land and raised pigs. And when the farm was not working, God opened up another door and lead him to set up a Bible "school", and to gradually plant a church. Today there are around twenty young people who have come to faith and are serving in the church.
The local children have left the greatest burden on the missionaries hearts. Following birth, a lot of children are neglected or die prematurely and those who survive are left with few educational opportunities. Many even lack enough food and clothing.
When asked about where he found the strength to persevere in Cambodia, he told the Christian Times: "Why did I stay? If you were there you would also be moved. Even people who aren't easily moved would be moved at the sight of those children. There is a rural area with over one hundred children, most of whom have no way to get education. Some even have no clothes to wear. Some older children can go to school, but they have to cross a busy street. On average, seven or eight children would die in traffic accidents every year. To see the look in their eyes is very touching."
After the missionaries finished sharing, many in the congregation were deeply touched and jumped up to offer money to the missionaries and the mission work. The host had to repeatedly urge people to wait patiently, assuring them that at the end of the service those who felt led to give would have an opportunity to contribute.
Collectively, those in attendance first offered their heartfelt prayers for the missionaries, the work, and the needs of the mission field. Senior pastors also placed their hands on the missionaries and offered a special prayer.
There was a palpable enthusiasm during the time of the offering as the red collection plates were passed. Every portion of the offering given carried the weight of the burden felt for the mission field along with the hope and blessing that might come.
Perhaps, the Chinese church has many areas where growth is needed, but when it comes to those who are destitute, homeless and without a shepherd, Christians in the Chinese church could not and have not turned away from their responsibility. On the road of worldwide missions, the Chinese church is on the move.
At the time when the Chinese church must bear the weight of the task of global missions, let us beseech God to bless the Chinese church and lead her to grow and mature healthily, so that she will be more faithful and competent to Gods Great Commission in carrying it forward.
Original article: 海外宣教：中国教会在行动
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