Who do we say Jesus is today in East Asia and the Pacific?
Xiaoling Zhu, 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.”
Everyday, 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 it is in any place else in the world!
CGMB sent James and Carolyn Higginbotham to Nanjing Seminary, the first couple of mission personnel who were sent by international churches in the world to teach at a Chinese seminary in China. And 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 are Muslims at the Southern Christian College in the Philippines. When the question was posed to Muslim students, “Why are you interested in studying in a Christian College?” The answer was, “Here, we feel safe and are receiving better education.”
I would like to share a letter from a Tibetan school girl:
I Am Lucky!
I am Lamu (beautiful fairy in Tibetan), a girl, nine years old and my parents are Tibetan herdsmen. When I was very young, my parents were gone. My uncle told me that my parents died from snow slide when they browsed and from then on, I live with my uncle’s family.
My hometown lies in Dao Fu County, Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture, which is a remote mountain village in northwestern Sichuan Province, China. In my hometown, the natural condition is extremely bad with interlaced ravines and continuous snow mountains whose altitude is higher than 3,500 meters on average. 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 I, and we live hardly. When I was little girl, I went out to pick up cattle’s dejecta for firing with my two brothers and our foods were parched barley power and potherb from mountains, even so, we often were famished for foods. In winter, I often stood in snow with my old and dirty Tibetan gown and looked up to the night sky to pray. I prayed that the God would bless me and I could have a happy life.
Cold wind beat upon my face, which made me come back to earth. I could do nothing but to look at the school from distance and envy those children who could go to school. I have no choice but to turn about to play with children who are so poor as me; I have no choice but to go to graze cattle and sheep, dig up potherb, pick up cattle’s dejecta and mushroom, etc.
I was longing for going to school and I wanted to study. Dad and mom, could you hear me?
The fatal sisters were moved by my prayer. In spring of 2001, someone from County told my uncle that Sichuan Radio and TV University would assist us and I could study in the Er Wan Elementary School of Dao Fu County. What good news!
Now, I lived in the school, and I wouldn’t undergo starvation in a world of ice and snow any more. There were iron beds for all students. Two big greenhouse were donated by uncles and aunts, where we grow vegetable twice a week to learn how to grow vegetables, which we have never seen before. 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 schoolbag, books, cloths and shoes to me. I was changed so complete that I could hardly recognize myself. I began to know the luminous thing in classroom in evening is electric light and the thing that can speak and send signal is TV. I was so curious. How great the outer world is! I felt was in the heaven!
Now, I am sitting in bright classroom and look at the wild flowers out of the window, my mind will go back to my hometown. There are my relatives and childhood friends there. “How are you? I really want to tell my parents who passed away that how lucky and how happy I am now!”
Wish uncles and aunties Zha Xi De Le (lucky and happiness)!
Did you hear their crying, their prayers, their reading, and their laughing with hope?
Teacher, we will follow you wherever you go.