Last Thursday I gave GL a call with a late Happy Chinese New Year greeting, and we chatted about life and Christianity back home. GL has been back in Shandong, China for a month now, after spending 5 years in Sydney and 3 years with Mandarin Bible Fellowship. He was amongst one of the first batch of undergraduate overseas students we have who came from China, and then suddenly it is already the farewell time.
Life back home has not been easy for GL. Getting adjusted to live with parents again. Getting used to environment and Chinese ways of doing things. Getting used to a different church... From GL's description, 3-Self church back home has reasonable teaching, but the churches were mostly populated with elder ladies. On a regular Sunday, there might only be 3-4 young faces at a church service, and that was amongst over one thousand plus regular church attendees. Church pastors also seem to be lacking in this relatively-small city in Shandong with only 1 million residents, where many preachers have to rotate and give sermons in different churches every week. Many church pastors and elders are also female, and this phenomenon made reaching out to men even more difficult.
And GL has his own challenges. Coming back home with exposure to Christianity in Australia, GL was called by the church to give talks in house meetings. He told me that he has been trying to gather what he has learnt from the gospel of John last year, and present it to a group of 20. I wish he would concentrate a bit more in the Bible studies while he was still with us, and I would definitely make sure he is theologically ready if I know it is going to be what he is facing one month after returning home. It's a bit too late to say these I guess, but then it is sort of a wake up call for those who are ministering Chinese students. Getting them ready, as there are so many opportunities for them to use every single bits they have learnt from you when they return home!
There are still ways we can continue supporting them, thanks to today's communication channels. GL would like to get his hands on copies of past MYC talks (he just wanted to translate Grimmo's talks and present it), which I need to source that. Even though not requested, but he would also like lots of prayers from us.
All the best.