Conference 2016: Interview with an Attendee from Charlottesville
Editor’s note: During the course of the CP Conference 2016, we had the opportunity to interview a variety of attendees and hear from their experiences. The attendee in the following interview is a Chinese national living in Charlottesville, VA, working as a medical researcher for the University of Virginia. He is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church and helps to serve Chinese students.
How did you learn about the China Partnership?
Our church is involved in global mission and we also have a focus ministry on the Chinese. The CP is one of the major organizations that has a burden for the gospel for the Chinese. Our church has been part of that. So in the Chinese ministry meetings, we heard a lot about the China Partnership. We have updates and annual meetings and so on.
How many years ago did this start?
About six or seven years ago.
What is your church like?
Our church is big, about 1,500 members. It’s kind of a big church. Because we are in a university town and a lot of internationals come to the university, so we have more and more internationals. Even if the majority of the members and attenders are American, more and more international students come to the church, especially Chinese.
Why did you come to the conference this year?
I’ll give a short answer. I attended this conference last year in Atlanta and this year our Director of Global Mission encouraged us to attend this meeting. He wanted three of us, or at least two of us Chinese to join in.
What is something that you’ve learned over the weekend?
I’ve really learned a lot from both the Americans and the Chinese pastors. One thing is that the gospel itself is the foundation and the base for everything. It doesn’t matter if we talk about church planting or about grace movements, in every aspect and topic, even preaching, the core is Jesus Christ and he is the gospel. Everything is based on this.
How will this impact what you do back home?
Because we have Chinese groups at the church and Chinese Sunday school classes, normally we focus on that group and the church, but I think this is the big picture – the gospel movement. It is God-planned and we are a part of that, so I think that vision is broader and more motivating.
How have you seen God work in your church in the last 15 years?
A lot! One thing is that in recent years, more and more internationals have come to our small town, Charlottesville. More and more people come not just to the university, but also come to the church. I think the church is not just fast-growing in China, but also God has sent people to America and they go to church here. For the missionary, there is no longer the need to just go abroad, but at home we can be missionaries among the internationals. A lot of Chinese people go to our church – that’s God work. God sent them.
How have you seen God work in China in the last 15 years?
If you look at the number of believers in China this year compared to fifteen years ago, or even ten, the change is huge. The Christians are growing in this land.
What is one thing you wish the American church understood about the Chinese?
The cultural barrier is not just a language barrier. The culture is different, and the cultural difference can impact the relationship. The relationship – if we want to tell them the gospel, or help them grow in Jesus Christ, I think the personal relationship is important. And that is Chinese culture – the relationship is first.
Also, the cultural background in China is Buddhist, and the majority of Chinese have no religion, or they have multiple religions called traditional Chinese religions, which are not really religions, but what everybody follows, like worshipping their ancestors. The majority of Chinese families do that. I think this is really different, a real cultural difference.
What do you pray the most for China?
I pray for more souls to be saved. First, I pray for my father, my mother, brothers and sisters, my teachers, my classmates. The ones whose names I know, I pray for them. Hopefully they can become Christians. Second, I pray not only the people I know, but generally I pray for the Chinese people to know Jesus. Third, for the Chinese government to be a godly government with God’s wisdom, and God’s mercy, and also speaking the truth, leading the nation with truth and not personal opinion, socialism, or communism.