Getting to know the people....
Today we learned more about the history of Christianity in China. Christianity first came to China in 635 C.E. (A.D.). Christianity has been brought to China a number of times and encountered a number of struggles including times in which Christians were oppressed due to their religion. While Christians came to China to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they also learned much of the religions that were influential to the people of China. During our trip we are doing much of the same, we are learning about Buddhism and have visited a temple. As we continue in our journey will be looking at other religions and their dialogues with Christianity.
However, we got the experience to join in a worship service at the seminary this morning. It was fantastic to sing hymns, hear the Scripture text and sermon, and witness the people living their faith. It was truly fantastic to see the similarities that we share with them in their worship practices. The worship was conducted in Cantonese and headsets were provided so others could listen in Manderian and English. This experience left me overwhelmed with the thought that the message of Jesus Christ can be shared with so many and in a variety of languages within a single worship experience.
After lunch, we were able to speak with some current seminary students from Hong Kong and International students from Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. To sit down and hear what they are learning about and realize the similarities and differences that we are experiencing in seminary and in the church was great. Though the language is different and we are separated by an ocean, the people in other nations are facing similar issues and joys that we experience in the United States. The faith of the students was inspiring. They shared their reasons for coming to seminary and answering God's call. Some of them coming from Christian families and others did not. In Laos the dominant religion is Buddhism (96%) and many of the Christians are oppressed for their beliefs. Yet these students were answering God's call and wanted to serve the Lord back in their homeland. To hear these testimonies of God working in their lives and in the lands was a great reminder of the whole creation being in God's hands and cared for by God's love.
I pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ within other lands.