The Chinese New Year of the Monkey became the Chinese Year of the Rooster on January 28, 2017. Our reflection on the Chinese Monkey year (2016) reveals a fruitful year for the ministry. In late 2015, the major assignments at Macau Bible Institute were completed, and International Ministries received an invitation from Yunnan Province Christian Council and Christian Three-self Patriotic Movement committee (YCC & TSPM) to help with their theological training. After the area director Dr. Ben Chan discussed the invitation with us, we quickly moved to Hong Kong and started the Global Chinese Training Ministry in January 2016, and now we have three major ministries: Yunnan Christian training, visiting Hong Kong churches and exploring mission partnerships in Taiwan.
Yunnan Christian training, our primary focus in 2016, has four areas of ministry which also are part of the three years plan: (1) training at Yunnan Theological Seminary and four Christian training centers, (2) a teacher conference, (3) raising scholarships for the students, (4) providing books for their libraries. In four Yunnan trips, we visited Yunnan Theological Seminary, the Bible school, Christian training centers, preached at churches and provided training at the Christian training centers for more than 600 students. During the first visit, we quickly identified with the Apostle Paul’s Macedonian Call: “Come over … and help us.” (Acts 16:9). For details of our first and second trips, please reference our four published journals on https://internationalministries.org/teams/445-wu .
The last half of 2016 was our busiest time. In October we had the third Yunnan trip to the Nujiang area where the Salween River, a river from north to south, passes through a mountain valley. It is called Nujiang Grand Canyon and the “Gospel Grand Canyon” because there are more than 200,000 Christians living in this Nujiang Grand Canyon. Ninety percent of the people of this rural area are believers, and nearly every household believes in Jesus Christ. We were inspired from learning many missionaries’ stories such as James Fraser, Allyn Cooke and Isobel Kuhn; especially their ministries for the Lisu people. A team of four, including both of us, went to the Lisu Christian Training Centers which are on the south side of the Nujiang Grand Canyon. Although the tuition, board and fees are not expensive, some of the student families live in the mountains with low income and need financial support in order to study at the Christian training center. The students are young but eager to learn the Bible. Some students are very sharp and wish to pursue advanced theological education in order to serve the Lord in the future. Please join with us to pray for those students and for their wishes to equip themselves to serve our Lord.
In November, our biggest team of seven people, including our area director Dr. Chan, went on our fourth Yunnan trip, which was not only for training but also for visiting 8 churches of Wa and Lahu ethnic minorities in total. We visited one historic old wooden church which was built about 90 years ago by an ABC missionary. We had to take off our shoes in order to enter the “Holy Ground.” A new church currently in construction is following this historic church’s architecture. All the churches are built on the mountain top and have the most beautiful views of the countryside. Although the mountainous scenes with the blue sky are beautiful, to reach some of the churches requires a bumpy and slippery ride through the cliffs and hills. One of the churches just built a drivable road in 2016. Most of this church’s members speak only their dialect because of limited contact with the outside world, and a majority of the churches do not have an indoor restroom. But these ethnical minorities are giving their most beautiful location to build their church for God.
As mentioned above, another ministry was to visit churches, especially the Swatow churches at Hong Kong, and invite them to join the Yunnan Training ministry. Our third and fourth Yunnan trip teams had some members from those churches. We invite all those who have a heart for teaching these ethnic Chinese Christians to join us in our ministry.
This past year we went to Taiwan twice and visited six theological seminaries. From the visits, two seminaries have indicated an interest to partner with IM and requested a missionary to help in their seminaries. One of theological seminaries’ purpose is to equip students to be faithful workers in the Church and society and to participate in God’s mission among the indigenous communities. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38). We pray that those who have a burden for theological teaching will receive the Macedonian call.
May God bless your heart for His mission work in this New Year! Happy Chinese New Year!