Who do we say Jesus is today in East Asia and the Pacific?

Who do we say Jesus is today in East Asia and the Pacific?

Xiaoling Zhu, former Executive for East Asia and the Pacific

Who is Jesus? He is a carpenter, a teacher, a peacekeeper, a healer, a savior, the Son of God, the King of kings ……. According to the Bible, we could go on and on.

“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus is a teacher, and our mission stories are a part of Jesus’ teaching Story. From the deep south of the Philippines to the highest mountain in the world in China, we are working with our partners, providing financial and mission personnel recourses for different levels of education for the poor and minorities and for theological education.

As we sit in the meeting room in Shanghai Mo En Church, one member of the CGMB Youth leader delegation asks a Chinese pastor this question:

“What is your method to get so many people into the church on Sundays?”

“Open the door! The door opened, and the people came in. In China, it is not the shepherd looking for sheep, but sheep looking for a shepherd.”

Every day, 6 churches are born in China! But they have happy problems: among 30 million Christians, there are only about 2,000 ordained ministers. Therefore, theological education is more needed here than anywhere else in the world!

CGMB sent James and Carolyn Higginbotham to Nanjing Seminary, the first couple of mission personnel sent by international churches to teach at a Chinese seminary. Now, Dr. Samuel Pearson is teaching at the seminary.

Along with Nanjing Seminary, we work with many Seminaries, such as:

  • Pacific Theological College in Fiji
  • University of Otago in New Zealand
  • Tangintebu Theological College in Tangintebu
  • Silliman University and Northern Christian College in the Philippines 
  • Tainan Seminary in Taiwan
  • Chungchi Seminary in Hong Kong
  • Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, Shangdong Seminary, Shanxi Seminary, and Anhui Seminary in China 

Crossing culture and faith, we also work with more than 50 schools and communities in East Asia and the Pacific to help our brothers and sisters in educational development, where such development is hard to find. We hear their crying, we hear their reading, and we hear their laughing with hope.

More than 85% of students at Southern Christian College in the Philippines are Muslims. When asked, “Why are you interested in studying at a Christian College?” The answer was, “Here, we feel safe and receive better education.”

I would like to share a letter from a Tibetan schoolgirl:

I Am Lucky!

I am Lamu (beautiful fairy in Tibetan), a nine-year-old girl. My parents are Tibetan herdsmen. When I was very young, my parents were gone. My uncle told me that my parents died from a snow slide when they were shepherding, and from then on, I lived with my uncle’s family.

My hometown lies in Dao Fu County, Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture, a remote mountain village in northwestern Sichuan Province, China. The natural condition is extremely bad, with interlaced ravines and continuous snow mountains whose average altitude is higher than 3,500 meters. My forefathers always lived here, and they made their living by herding and planting some crops, such as barley.

In my uncle’s family, they have two children and me, and our lives were hard. When I was a little girl, I went out to pick up cattle excrement as fuel for fires with my two brothers. Our food was barley and herbs from nearby mountains; even so, we often were famished for food. In winter, I often stood in the snow with my old, dirty Tibetan gown and looked to the night sky to pray. I prayed that God would bless me and give me a happy life.

Cold wind beat upon my face, which made me come back to earth. I could do nothing but look at the school from a distance and envy those children who could go to school. I had no choice but to play with children who were as poor as me; I had no choice but to go to graze cattle and sheep, dig up herbs, pick up cattle excrement, collect mushrooms, etc.

I was longing to go to school and study. Dad and Mom, could you hear me?
The sisters were moved by my prayer. In the spring of 2001, someone from the county told my uncle that Sichuan Radio and TV University would assist us, and I could study at the Er Wan Elementary School of Dao Fu County. What good news!

I lived in the school and wouldn’t experience starvation in a world of ice and snow anymore. There were iron beds for all students. Two big greenhouses were donated by uncles and aunts, where we grow vegetables we have never seen before and learn how to grow vegetables twice a week. At school we can have so many kinds of fresh and delicious vegetables with hot rice which I had never dreamed. The teachers distributed new school bags, books, clothes, and shoes to me. I was changed so completely that I could hardly recognize myself. I began to know that the luminous thing in the classroom in the evening was the electric light, and the thing that can speak and send a signal is the TV. I was so curious. How great the outer world is! I felt I was in heaven!

As I sit in a bright classroom and look at the wildflowers out of the window, my mind returns to my hometown. My relatives and childhood friends are there. “How are you? I really want to tell my parents, who passed away, how lucky and happy I am now!”

I wish the uncles and aunties Zha Xi De Le (luck and happiness)!

Did you hear their crying, prayers, reading, and laughing with hope?

Teacher, we will follow you wherever you go.