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”
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 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 (contextualised 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. In the part three we will consider connecting with a Church or fellowship in China. 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.
Stuart Bullington has been working with Chinese students in the US, Asia and the UK for more than 20 years. He suggests that students need to be prepared in three ways in order to succeed when they return to China[i]. Firstly, they need to be discipled as a Chinese believer (contextualized discipleship). Secondly, they need to receive specific training in order to understand the issues they will face on returning home and to develop coping strategies (pre-return training). Thirdly, they need to be introduced into networks of churches and other believers in China (networking). In this article we will consider the first of these – contextualized discipleship.
By David Xing, November 2016
In April 2016 Thriving Turtles conducted a survey amongst Chinese International students at four universities in Sydney: The University of NSW; The University of Sydney; The University of Science and Technology (UTS); and Macquarie University. The survey was targeted at Christian students who were recruited through on-campus Christian ministries of AFES FOCUS, Power to Change and Mandarin Bible Study groups.
In September 2016 the China Source Quarterly Journal was devoted to the issue of helping Chinese Returnees thrive as Christians after returning to China.
Living in another country can be a life-changing experience. The longer the stay and the greater the immersion into that country’s social life, the deeper and more lasting the effects. Adapting to the new culture, making foreign friends, learning a new set of behaviors, and speaking in a foreign language shape the identity and values of sojourners in ways that can never be undone.
The changes that overseas sojourners experience may go beyond the necessary adaptation to a new language and culture; for many, the experience creates an openness to new ideas, new values, and even a new way of understanding life.
The links below are for other website resources that you may find helpful.
By Nick Devas – 20 March, 2014 (used with author’s permission)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ presents challenges to all cultures, whether Western or Eastern.(1) The Chinese have a culture that stretches over several thousand years. It includes many strands, such as Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Many aspects of Chinese culture are consistent with the Christian gospel, such as the high value placed on the family, on respect for others, particularly for parents and elders. But there are other aspects which can or do conflict with the Christian gospel. These can be obstacles for Chinese becoming committed believers, or continuing as believers. Many of the elements discussed in this note are not unique to Chinese culture (e.g. the importance of tradition, luck, social hierarchy, materialism, etc.), but tend to be more pronounced in Chinese culture compared to Western culture.