Almost every American I’ve spoken to about going to China has emphasized the giant “culture shock.” So leading up to and arriving in Xi’an my only expectation was vague; that this place and these people were going to be extremely different. I made the mistake of letting this expectation influence my mind into thinking they wouldn’t be able to completely understand the gospel. Over the past week, getting to know the Chinese students on this campus has opened my eyes to see that they can be touched by the Lord and have just as strong faith as we do. The differences in culture vary but this doesn’t change who God is and their ability to believe in Him.
The two bible studies we have led for these students have absolutely been my favorite part of this trip. It is so incredibly encouraging the way they engage in discussion, sharing what they know and believe to be true about following Christ. Hearing their thoughts, it’s evident that many of them are very knowledgeable about the Bible and enjoy studying His Word. They show great intrigue in fully accepting Christ and it has been a wonderful motivation to walk with them while we can to help plant and flourish their faith. A Chinese student, who goes by the English name Linda, brightened my night as we were walking home from dinner on Tuesday. I asked her how she began going to Bible study and she naturally continued discussing her opinions and questions about God and Christianity. She told us that she was definitely considering becoming a Christian, but after more study of the Gospel.
A more challenging discussion came up another day at lunch when a widely experienced Chinese professor, Paul, expressed doubt; his concern was that the Chinese, or anyone, may be left out if they don’t even know Jesus exists. He asked “How does God love those who don’t know Him?” explaining that it doesn’t seem loving to let these people live without knowing of Jesus, if believing in Him is the only way to be saved and live in heaven. I did my best to answer saying, those who have faith work to reach the ends of the Earth so that every human has a chance to live with our Father in Heaven.
Like Paul, the students are very intelligent and often as they study the bible, they encounter doubt because of logical reasoning. So my biggest prayer is that it’s not through study that they become Christian, but through the divine spirit placing on their hearts a pure love and faith for God. I have already felt a growth within myself and I pray that each soul we touch will continue to grow even after we leave.