In Part One of this series, we considered the importance of discipling Chinese students as Chinese believers who are prepared to live in a Chinese context (contextualized discipleship). In Part Two, we discussed the need for pre-return training to prepare returnees for the issues they will face when they are home. In this third part we will focus on how to help returnees settle in a church or fellowship where they can serve and be supported in their daily Christian walk. Continue reading “What does it take for returnees to thrive – Part 3”
Link to Chinese article: 中文： http://behold.oc.org/?p=34504
Author: Pastor Dong Jia-Hua
Translation of article in “Behold” magazine by Keith Ranger
He says – “I recently attended a Conference of workers from a number of different places in North America on how to do lasting and effective evangelistic ministry in the lives of international students, especially in the area of being up to date and not behind the times in reaching out to those from China. The expressed need was for relevant and engaging methodology and really making an effort to keep up to date with ‘where these people are now coming from’ in terms of their expectations and priorities. Things can, and do, change so fast! We cannot, and must not, live in the past!
We recently received this email in response to our articles and newsletters.
We have been working with a small group of visiting scholars from China. Your blog and articles are most helpful. They are well researched and contain godly advice. We are having a small workshop inviting like-minded church leaders/pastors to discuss how to help the returnees. We will introduce your website to them. Just last week we had a professor say the sinners prayer and he said he is in conflict as he has to sign the communist pledge to say he has no religion. He will be going home in a few months’ time. We need wisdom how to advise him.
Various articles in the media and news over the last week have reported that the Bible has been withdrawn from sale or banned in China. It’s understandable that we would be alarmed at this news and wonder what this might mean for our friends in China. Thriving Turtles thought it would be good to give a summary of the situation as we understand it, and make some comments and suggestions:
By Devas and Devas, 2015 – used with permission
Marriage, like so much else in China, has undergone profound changes in recent years. In the past, tradition, social expectations and poverty all tended to oblige couples to stick together, whatever the reality of their relationship. Marriages were generally contracted at a young age, married children usually lived with parents, and divorce was rare. Today, in a much more mobile society, grown‐up children may live far from their parents, and opportunities for multiple relationships are much greater. Living together before marriage has become commonplace, at least in cities. Divorce has reached levels similar to that in Western countries. Abortion is widespread, particularly where the one‐child policy is enforced. At the same time, parents put huge pressure on young people to get married and produce a child. All this presents great challenges to those returning to China who have become Christian believers overseas, particularly since the expectation would be that they marry soon after returning. This article is intended to help those working with Chinese students overseas to understand more about the situation of marriage in China, and to encourage them to address this subject with pre‐returnees, so they will be more prepared for the challenges they will encounter.
We recently received this message from a Chinese student.
I am an international student from China studying in Sydney, and became a Christian about two years ago. It’s so encouraging to read about international students/returnees who became Christians overseas. I feel like I am seeing myself in those stories.
Over these two years, I am grateful to have Bible based trainings conducted by Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students. I am also grateful that through these trainings, God is preparing our hearts to stand firm in persecutions, trials, potential harm from cults, and prosperity gospel back in China. God is also working in my heart to go back to China with the gospel as His ambassador. This is like a dilemma for me, knowing the suffering I might need to go through but also China’s hunger and thirst for salvation and justice that can only be found in Christ. I pray that God will reveal His will for me and that the international students, who are seeking God or have become Christians while studying overseas, can know the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and Treasure.
Many international students wanted to stay overseas but didn’t manage to get Permanent Residency. They were forced to go back to home countries without preparation for suffering for Christ. So I also pray that they can be more thoroughly equipped, trained and prepared for suffering back home through returnee ministries like the Thriving Turtles knowing the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and Treasure.
Going home is not what I thought it would be: The unique challenges faced by returnees
This article was written for the Mission Round Table journal by one of our Thriving Turtles team members and is a good overview of the problems faced by Chinese returnees. You can read and download the article here:
The theme for this edition of the Mission Round Table journal is “Diaspora Returnees” so you can look at the whole edition here:
In recent months, news articles have pointed out developments in censorship and communication in China, and I have been asked many times for advice on how to communicate with Chinese people, both here in Australia and in China. There is no easy answer to these questions, but let me try and lay out some of the known facts and then consider what options are available.
In part one of this series we considered the importance of discipling Chinese students as Chinese believers who are prepared to live in a Chinese context (contextualized discipleship). In this second part we consider the need for pre-return training to prepare returnees for the issues they will face on returning home. Experience has shown that there are four key topics that need to be addressed:
We have pointed out that in order to thrive in China, Chinese returnees must be discipled as Chinese Christians who are prepared to live in a Chinese context. This is called contextualised discipleship. Below are links to two resources we have found that explain this important idea.
What is discipleship?
This 12 minute video from gotherefor.com shows Tony Payne from Matthias Media giving a good explanation of Christian discipleship.
What is contextualisation?
What is the importance of considering culture and contextualisation when doing ministry with Chinese? In this podcast Australian Sam Chan and American Jackson Wu discuss these issues . Note: this podcast talks about some complex issues so you may want to listen to it a few times in order to follow their arguments.