Taking faith home

by Joshua Yu

Each year 10 to 30 out of 6000 Chinese students in Sydney University claim that they have become Christians. But what happens to them after they go back home? This is the story of a returning student whom I personally know well. What he underwent is in many ways quite representative of many Chinese international students.

R came to Australia in early 2014 for his postgraduate degree. During O-Week he was attracted by the games, food, and friendly atmosphere at an euFOCUS Come Home event and started getting involved in the local church, FOCUS small groups and 1-to-1 Bible reading with me. Having understood the grace of God in Jesus, he decided to commit his life to Christ. A few months later R returned to China as he ended his study here.

Sadly it didn’t take long before he began to experienced great hardship. His relationship with his girlfriend suffered greatly due to a lack of guidance. He cannot find any churches in his city. His Christian faith was despised by his colleagues, friends and family members. His view on life was increasingly led towards the pursuit of career and family. He found Bible reading unfruitful due to limited theological knowledge. He has no close Christian friends. His career development was hindered as he refused to become a communist. He found it difficult to articulate and defend his faith well.

R is not alone in his struggles, and there are many students who eventually give up their faith after returning to China.

We have started thinking about how we can help this situation. A few helpful potential measures were developed in a consultation meeting in mid-March this year specifically addressing this issue, including training students as missionaries with a higher purpose, encouraging their expression of faith in their mother tongue, connecting them to Chinese Christian communities, educating them on the history and current situation of Chinese churches and encouraging humility and teaching them the practical aspects of conforming God’s command in their life.

Please continue to pray that God will work through our discipleship programs to help more returning students stand firm in the faith, and that he might also use the current churches in China to fulfill his good purpose.

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