From the General Director There has been a significant increase in the number of Chinese immigrants throughout Europe. They travel thousands of miles to this foreign land in hopes of a better life. They raise their children here and work hard to provide for their families. Over the years, mission organisations and churches in Europe have never stopped reaching out to this group of overseas Chinese. The fruitful results of their effort can be seen in the establishment of many Chinese churches and fellowship groups. A noted change in this new era is that the collective feature of the Chinese immigrants in Europe is changed from a Cantonese speaking group with similar social and cultural backgrounds to a Mandarin speaking group with diverse social and cultural backgrounds. For this reason, we have made it one of our strategic priorities to evangelise the new Chinese immigrants in the UK and continental Europe. The history of Chinese migration to Europe can be traced back to more than a century ago, but the influx of Chinese immigrants began in the 1960s. Most of them were from Hong Kong, and worked in the catering industry. Soon after, students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia came to study in Europe. Some found jobs upon graduation and became permanent residents in their destination countries. The early Chinese churches in Europe were comprised of people mostly from this group of immigrants. If we consider this group that has taken root in Europe as the ‘old immigrant’ group, then after China opened its door to the world there has been a quiet formation of the ‘new immigrant’ group in Europe. Many Labourers from Fujian, China arrive in Europe by illegal means, and become the main source of cheap labour. Today, they are gradually making their way into the catering industry, which is no longer dominated by people from Hong Kong. Besides catering industry, small trading business is another popular occupation for the new Chinese immigrants in Europe. These are mostly people from Zhejiang province in China, and they have legal residence to live and trade in various European countries. Recent political changes in Eastern Europe have attracted many new Chinese immigrants to seek business opportunities there. Though Europe in general does not encourage immigration, but as long as one can find long term employment it is still possible to apply for immigrant visa. Therefore, the number of Chinese scholars and professionals with highly specialised skills residing permanently in Europe is on the rise.
INSIDE There is no end to this flow of love - Living Water ~Yin Ling Leung Labourer Ministry in Transition ~Ping Ting Chen New Chinese immigrants in Europe and their need for the Gospel ~Simon Tam Changed forever –Romania Short Term Mission ~Berechiah Lee
In this issue of COCM Link, we invite you to get to know the people in this ‘new immigrant’ group. They are people with unique needs, challenges, as well as difficult issues we might not feel comfortable to talk about. But we believe that churches and mission organisations need to be informed and prepared in this special period of transition. It is important to continue our effort to evangelise this new wave of Chinese immigrants, because as long term residents in Europe they will make a lasting impact in their local communities and workplaces once they become effective witnesses for Christ. To make the most of the present opportunity, we need to respond to the changes of the time and adjust quickly to meet the needs of this new group in our mission field. As we reach out to share the gospel with them, we should also intentionally equip the believers among them so that they can become mature in Christ, ready to participate in the building up of Christian churches in the future. We pray that as this generation of Chinese new immigrants mature in faith, they will join us to face the unfinished task, to bring the Good News not only to the Chinese, but to all people in Europe.
Rev. Henry Lu
Reaching the Chinese to Reach Europe
There is no end to this flow of love - Living Water Yin Ling Leung
Cover of Living Water special edition
Living Water magazine is an evangelistic publication that is specifically written for Chinese immigrants in the UK and Europe, working in the catering sector. Living Water was founded in 1974. Initially, there were only 100 subscriptions but it has now risen to over 11,000. Readers have become more diverse with an increasing number from Mandarin-speaking backgrounds. Missionary Yin Ling Leung was born in Hong Kong. She has been a COCM staff worker since 1994. Over the years her ministry responsibilities included the publication of the COCM Link and a variety of literature materials. She became the chief editor of Living Water from 2007 until now. Let us learn more about Living Water’s development through Yin Ling’s eyes, and at the same time get to know Living Water’s reader group – Chinese immigrants living in the UK and Europe. 1 2
Living Water was first published in 1974 as an evangelistic publication. During that era, COCM co-workers had to travel north and south to spread the Gospel, but their work was far from fulfilling the needs of the Chinese in Europe. To paint a picture of that time, we can imagine sheep scattered all over the vast field, but shepherds were few. Therefore an evangelistic magazine for the Chinese in Europe, Living Water, was published to meet the need. Why was a Chinese publication so important at that time? Firstly, communication was not as advanced as it is now. It was either timeconsuming or costly. For instance, an airmail letter took 5-7 days to reach one's homeland, the alternative of making a long-distance call would cost a fortune. However, with the intense desire to connect to one’s culture and family, one would treasure receiving every piece of material in Chinese. But such material was hard to come by. It goes without saying then, that evangelistic publication in Chinese was almost nonexistent. In short, the field for literature ministry was vast. Rev. Frank Cheung was the first staff to start this literature ministry. The Living Water magazine was solely for restaurant people and was produced quarterly. It was sent by post to around 100 restaurants on the visiting list. The early group of Chinese immigrants almost all worked in the catering sector. They were mainly New Territories people from Hong Kong. Most of them were scattered in different areas in the UK and Holland. In 1975, during the Vietnam war and the political uprising in Cambodia, a lot of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees escaped to Europe. They settled in France, Germany and Scandinavia to lead new lives, mostly as catering workers. In the 1980's, many Chinese from Wenzhou came to Europe. They did not only enter the catering trade, but also became traders in leather and fashion in Italy, Spain and France. Many of them succeeded in their businesses and became well-established business people. At the end of 1989, the UK granted 50,000 Hong Kong families the right to settle in the UK. In the same year, the Berlin wall came down and Eastern Europe became free from communism. This opened opportunities for Chinese to go to Eastern Europe to trade. In addition, there were many illegal immigrants from China coming to look for work. After China opened its door to the world, many scholars and students came to study overseas. Quite a lot of these scholars have settled in Europe. According to statistics from the Chinese embassy, there are about 90,000 Chinese students in the UK. Needless to say, a great number of students from Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan graduated and settled in the UK in the last 3 decades. All these Chinese, who immigrated to the various European countries, have enlarged the Chinese communities and have enriched the lives of their compatriots in Europe. As we ponder over this brief history of the Chinese coming to Europe, it is not difficult for us to see the diversity that exists in the Chinese communities. This presents our publication with some difficulties and challenges. The original target group for Living Water were people from Hong Kong, who were in the catering trade. We used Cantonese terminologies to make readers feel at home. But for the immigrants from Mainland China, the Cantonese style proves mystifying so when they picked up Living Water, they didn't have a clue what they were reading. This is because on the one hand, the printed words are in traditional Chinese character and on the other hand, there is a cultural difference.
However, we do not have the resources to publish another magazine aimed specifically at the mainland Chinese. There are no professional writers in our current team, so it is not easy for us to 'squeeze' out writing of good quality. I can't help being reminded of the apostle Paul's words as a first century missionary: 'To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. ... I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.' (1 Cor 9:20-23) Under the premise of 'I may share in its blessings', we have made some adjustments. In 2005, on top of the traditional Chinese version, a simplified Chinese version was published. One Mandarin-speaking volunteer helped to proofread all the articles. In 2007, I was assigned part-time to be the chief editor. I tried to put in simple explanations for the Cantonese terminologies so that our readers from Mainland China could find them more understandable. Moreover, we invited writers from a Mainland Chinese background to write articles in order to reach out to people from the trading and catering sectors. At the same time, we visited Chinese Christian communities in France, Spain, Denmark, Hungary, Finland and Serbia to listen to how they were struggling with life and what their needs were. We interviewed people and collected some moving testimonies and stories to encourage readers to fight the battle of life, and to enlighten seekers to find the way to the Lord. In the short term, this is a way from which some readers from Mainland China can derive a measure of spiritual food, but how long can we satisfy their appetite? We greatly need you to pray together with us for this literature ministry; to pray for more writers who have the vision to join us in this work of using vivid language to depict life stories so that we can publish something more suitable for this group of readers. We also need to grasp opportunities to distribute Living Water, so that more people can use it as a channel to share the Gospel. As it is, we are grossly lacking in manpower. This Living Water magazine has been around for 37 years. In this period of time, we have changed editors many times. There have been numerous writers, artists, proofreaders, typists and volunteers. These people have put their heart and soul into it without any regard for reward or recognition.
They are using the power of literature to proclaim the goodness and power of Yin Ling (second from the right) visiting God. They are shops in Belgrade another kind of missionary, ones who evangelise using literature and the power of words. We thank God because in the midst of all this, He has been guiding us in this work. The members of our publication committee all come from different backgrounds and have different talents, yet as we meet together, it is like when Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish. The work that we do is multiplied in His hands. I am so thankful to God that I have such faithful committee members. Living Water has been targeted for the Chinese in Europe. A large number of readers have benefited from it and wanted to subscribe for their friends and relatives in other countries. So to our surpise, there are new subscribers not only from all over Europe, but also from Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and even North America. We now have over 11,000 subscriptions for Living Water. We have asked them why they wanted to subscribe to Living Water, or why they would recommend us. They replied that the articles we write are simple and down-to-earth, and don't have a lot of complex ideas or spiritual jargons. In addition, they find a closeness between our material and what they face in their daily life so they can easily connect with the articles. It warms their hearts that someone empathizes with their loneliness. Some readers write to us to say that they want to believe in Jesus and subscribe to Living Water; some write to request copies to give to their friends. These correspondences open our eyes to see how wonderfully God is working beyond our expectation! God's grace is abundant and there is no end to this flow of love. Praise and glory be to Him!
Labourer Ministry in Transition
Ping Ting Chen
Pastor Ping Ting Chen is from Fu-Jian, China. She came to the UK to study in 2003. To respond to God’s call for full time ministry, in 2004 she began her theological training at the COCM Bible College. She graduated with a Bachelor of Ministry degree in July 2007. Since then, Ping Ting has been serving at King’s Cross Methodist Church in London. Her main ministry is with the immigrant labourers. Through this ministry, Ping Ting comes in contact with many labourers from mainland China. She has the opportunity to learn about the hardship and despair in their lives, as well as some of their misunderstandings about the Christian faith. In the following article Ping Ting shares with us some of her experiences and reflections.
Chinese churches in the UK serve a wide range of people from various groups, which include older generation immigrants from Hong Kong and South East Asia, as well as recent new immigrants, students and scholars from all over mainland China. Here I want to introduce a special group to you. They are the labourers from coastal areas of Fu-Jian. Fu-Jian has a long immigration history, especially the areas around the coast, for example, Fu Zhou, Fu Qing, Chang Le, Lian Jiang, etc. Tracing back to the end of the Yuan and early Ming Dynasty, the Fujianese took advantage of being able to travel by sea to reach countries in South East Asia such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and others. Toward the end of the Qing Dynasty, Fu Zhou in Fu-Jian became one of the five trading ports in China, and it allowed
the Fujianese to interact even more closely with foreign countries. After China opened its door with its economic reform policy, a mass of Fujianese left home for Japan, Korea, Europe and the USA. Traditionally, the Fujianese (particularly those in the coastal areas) has a mindset that one was born to leave home and to venture to far and away places in the world. Young people would be looked down upon as without aspiration if they did not want to think about “going abroad.” They would borrow loans from their relatives in order to pay for the expenses to go abroad. In addition, there are professional “snake head” groups that provide “one stop service” throughout these areas. They offer all kinds of illegal means to smuggle people to other countries. During the year 2000, the fee to Taiwan was around 80,000 RMB 1, 200,000 RMB to Japan, 300,000 RMB to the UK, with the USA being the most expensive at 400,000 to 500,000 RMB. The stowaway normally would pay this sum by carrying hefty debts in addition to selling everything of value from the family. After that, the stowaway must endure extremely harsh conditions on a dangerous journey. Some of them lose their lives on the way; others are caught and sent back home even before reaching their intended destinations. Of course, there are also the lucky few who are able to finally set foot on their “paradise”. But upon arrival they have to find work immediately and in the days to come they would labour around the clock in order to pay back their debts (capital and interest payments). For Chinese Christian churches established all over the UK, I believe each church has, to a greater or lesser extent, Fujianese immigrants in its congregation who need pastoral care. Compared with the early immigrants from Hong Kong or the more recent overseas students and scholars from mainland China, the Fujianese immigrants have far more complicated backgrounds and this presents a greater challenge for churches that minister to them. As mentioned earlier, the coastal cities of Fu-Jian have been opened to the outside world for a long time and Western missionaries were given opportunities to spread the gospel there long before they entered the inland areas of China. Hence, in Fu-Jian’s big cities and rural areas alike, the fruitful results of the Gospel can be seen everywhere. Many families have been Christians for several generations. Among the illegal immigrant labourers, many claim to be Christians, but a deeper conversation usually reveals that they are not clear about their faith and even have serious misunderstandings. For example, their beliefs go like this: I am a Christian because my grandparents are Christians; and since I am 1
10 RMB is equivalent to 0.95 GBP or 1.52 USD according to current exchange rate.
a Christian, God is supposed to bless me in everything I do (no matter right or wrong). Such misinterpretations of the Christian faith even exist in Fu-Jian’s local churches. Some of the labourers once told me that their illegal entry into a foreign country was blessed by their pastors and the whole church prayed for the entire stowaway process. There are also those who engage in illegal activities after they settle in a foreign country, such as selling pirated DVDs, tobacco or even planting marijuana. They feel comfortable attending and helping out at church every Sunday and making regular offering with money they earn this way. In their minds, as long as they can make money, they don’t need to think about right and wrong in terms of the means (they think they earn the money by working and not by stealing or robbing), so it is God’s blessing. There are others who come to church with all kinds of motives because they have learned that attending church will be beneficial for residence application. So after coming once or twice, they would ask the church for help to provide reference letters to prove that they are “residents of good character.” Moreover, some even demand the church to collaborate with them in their asylum application as “religious refugees”. On the other hand, their moral value is very vague. Residing in a foreign country illegally, it is very common for them to be separated from their spouses and families for up to a decade. Some could not tolerate living alone in a foreign place so they would find a new partner and even have children outside of marriage. Such status causes many family problems which lead to social problems. When churches involve in cases like this, we must honestly share with them God’s Word and encourage them to repent sincerely and to reexamine their faith in the light of the truth. The labourers ministry is currently undergoing a special period of transition. Since the Conservative Party came to power, the Home Office has reinforced tougher border control and taken stronger action against illegal immigration. As a result, a large number of illegal immigrants have been deported back to their home country. Many illegal labourers who have stayed in this country for decades have chosen to return to China voluntarily due to the realization that they have no chance to apply for residency, the current exchange rate between the GBP and RMB is no longer to their favour, and it is becoming difficult to find jobs. Not long ago, I assisted an illegal labourer in the process of returning to his home in China. During the period of his illegal stay in the UK, God spoke to him constantly and encouraged him to honestly face his true status. His lawyer suggested that he could have a high success rate to obtain residency by using a fake name and ID. However, after a long time of struggle and prayers, he chose to respond to God’s prompting and revealed his name and true identity to the Home Office. Because of his confession, he was detained and had to be deported back to China. While he was waiting in detention centre for deportation, his relatives and friends gave him a lot of pressure and blamed him for being so foolish. As long as he gave a fake name and false address the government would not be able to send him back home. And if he made up a fake story about being persecuted by the Chinese government, he might even get to apply for political asylum status. Yet, this brother stood firm in the truth. He did not change his confession and he also actively shared the gospel with fellow Chinese in the same detention centre, encouraging them to obey God’s leading in confession and repentance of their sins. This brother went back home right before Chinese New Year after being away for seven years.
When he called us he was very frank in sharing the many issues he had to face at home, getting a job to support his family, his relationship with his wife as well as with other family members. But he will rely on God’s grace to conquer these problems, for he knows that he is walking in God’s will. On the other hand, the British government granted some resident visas to those labourers with families and children in the UK. Most of those obtaining resident visas are women and children. Nowadays, many Fujianese who gained British residence no longer want to live on hard labour. If conditions permit, they prefer to buy a takeaway business from the early Hong Kong immigrants, or open a neighbourhood grocery store to support their family. Once settled, they would immediately submit documents to apply for their children left in China to come to the UK. These children in China are called “leftbehind children” meaning their parents left them to live with grandparents when they were very young in order to go abroad to work. They only receive money from their parents as a form of compensation. The majority of these “left-behind children” cannot focus their attention to study in school. Instead they hang out with teens who get into troubles and fights. Once their parents gained British residence and apply for them to join them to live in the UK, these teenagers have to deal with the stress of trying to adapt to a new family environment, a foreign
country and its culture. Meanwhile, the parents are busy making a living and have no idea how to connect and communicate with the children who have not been around them for many years, let along to guide them in this time of adjustment. To provide pastoral care for them, churches need to pay more attention in listening to these young people’s inner voices. In contrast to the second generation Chinese born and grew up in the UK (the BBC), these young people have hidden in their hearts feelings of anger (they feel they were abandoned by their parents), jealousy (they feel their parents only love the siblings born in the UK), and helplessness (they feel they don’t know how to adjust to the new language and environment). The ministry to the labourers is not an easy task. On the one hand, we need to accept them with love and understanding; on the other hand, we need to teach them with God’s Word so that they can establish the right moral value and standard, living out their faith in their daily lives. Just as we are all sinners in God’s eyes, God redeemed us by His righteousness and mercy. The Christians who have legal resident status in the UK have no right to look down on the illegal labourers. On the contrary, we need to have more patience and love to guide and to wait for these brothers and sisters to turn back to the Lord while we humble ourselves to walk with them along this journey heavenward.
New Chinese immigrants in Europe and their need for the Gospel Simon Tam
Exploring the current situation of the new Chinese immigrants in Europe and their need for the Gospel is a huge topic. Many facets are involved. Our missionary Simon Tam joined COCM in 2005. He has mainly been involved in church planting and itinerary ministry in England, Switzerland, Finland and Romania, helping the churches and fellowships in pastoral work and teaching. Here he shares some important observations as well as reflections from his personal experiences. His article paints a graphic picture of the Chinese immigrants in Europe and their needs. May it help us to lay hold of Paul’s Macedonian vision in Acts 16:6-10 “come over to Macedonia to help us.”
Background of Chinese in Europe The Chinese in Europe originate from different regions and groups, among them are typical ones from Guangdong, (eg. Hong Kong), Zhejiang (e.g. Wenzhou, Qingtian), Fujian (e.g. Fuqing), Indochina Peninsula (e.g. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) and Taiwan. There exists much diversity and complexity in terms of lineage, geography, dialects and subculture. Their reasons for and
ways of immigration are also different. For people from the coastal provinces like Zhejiang and Fujian (including farmers, Missionary Simon Tam in labourers, businessmen, Switzerland students and cadres), they migrate in a chain like fashion that is they have links overseas to family, business or work. Immigrants from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were mainly refugees who came from Indochina in the 1970s. In Switzerland, the Chinese community consists of Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese in the catering sector, intellectuals and professionals from China, students, women from South East Asia who are married to nationals, refugees from Indochina and second generation Chinese born and bred there. In Romania, the Chinese are mainly from Qingtian, Wenzhou, Henan and Fujian in Mainland China and most of them have small businesses. Basically in Europe, the new immigrants from Mainland China mainly use family reunion as the reason for immigration. Then there are professionals, those doing research or sent out by the government living and working in Europe. Illegal immigrants are another group whom one cannot ignore.
Simon, with brothers and sisters in Romania, went to the construction site to share the Gospel with the mainland Chinese workers.
Two basic characteristics of Chinese in Europe The majority of the Chinese in Europe work very hard to earning their living. Take for example those in the Romanian capital of Bucharest who get up at 4 or 5 in the morning to begin a day’s work in the Red Dragon and Europa markets. Then at the end of the day, exhausted from work they still have to go to the warehouse to arrange the goods after closing the shop. For the Chinese in the catering trade in Holland, the UK and France, they have to be on their feet from morning to night, after closing for business they still have to clean the kitchen and the shop floor and only then can they retire to their rooms to rest. In order to excel in their work the Chinese professionals in Switzerland and the UK take their work home after office hours and bury their heads in it. These are the snapshots of the Chinese living and working overseas. Longing for home is another characteristic. Living overseas with family and relatives by one’s side gives one warmth and security. But if one were living overseas alone then the longing for home can be very acute. The labourers in Romania and Finland are there on their own and they feel very lonely. I once helped labourers to buy phone cards so they could call their families regularly to keep in touch, especially at Chinese New Year time. They were very grateful. Their longing for home was written all over their faces.
Three ways for sharing the Gospel with new Chinese immigrants in Europe Many new Chinese immigrants in Europe have weathered countless storms in life and are very tough. There is also a big diversity in their subcultures and level of education. If we just preach the Gospel to them we are only reaching them on the rational level. How can we best share the Gospel with this group of people? Let me suggest 3 ways. First, ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14). Jesus is our best example for sharing the Gospel. A brother in Romania once said to me, ‘As you live among us and understand the situations in our daily life, you will know more about the need for the Gospel and the need of the believers.’ Living among them you see the greed, blackmail and dishonesty of the Romanian police and customs officials; Drunkards and troublemakers being a
nuisance to Chinese takeaway workers in Holland and Finland; Chinese women married to residents in the UK and Switzerland struggling with marriage and family problems. The situation in each place is different. May God give us sensitivity and discernment for the needs of each individual, the heart to empathize with them and a deep understanding of the country and the local culture as we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead people to Him. Second, we need to clearly explain the content of the Gospel with our words. We are convinced that the Gospel is the power of God. We need to skilfully use the materials from Evangelism Explosion, Four Spiritual Laws and Gospel Bridge, especially the parts with drawings and verses, to attract people’s attention and to facilitate their understanding, particularly for people from the grassroots and the elderly. I once visited a family with two sisters in Holland. We shared the Gospel with a couple. After chatting for some time I took out a copy of Gospel Bridge and explained to the wife in detail. She had previously attended meetings in the church but didn’t quite understand the Gospel. After my explanation she said that it was helpful to have a clearer and more concrete understanding of the Gospel. Third, we are to testify with our lives. Let people see the peace of Christ, the forgiveness out of love and the hope that we have. I remember visiting a brother with terminal cancer in Switzerland. He was in his prime and has been alone in Switzerland for over 10 years. When I entered the living room the radio was tuned in to a programme in Hong Kong. Man always has a longing for home. He was very frail physically but his face showed peace and comfort. This brother was almost at the end of his life but he was still optimistic and openminded. This was God working in him. As the cancer had already spread to his bones I could imagine the pain he was going through. If pain made us grow closer to God, humbled us, and transformed our life then this would be a blessing. The testimony of his life created a deep impression in his younger brother who had come to take care of him. A brother and I explained the Gospel to him. Touched by the testimony of his elder brother as well as our help and concern for him, he was determined to go to church back home and to learn more about God.
The challenge of the Gospel With every round of ministry work in the Europe field there comes with it fresh understanding and experiences of the need of the Gospel in the local area, as well as a deeper realisation of the challenges in sharing it to satisfy the needs of the human heart. Two indelible events occurred during my time in Romania. In December 2009 violence broke out in the Niro market district in the capital Bucharest. The chief landlord at Niro took it into his own hands to use riot police and customs officials to forcibly board up the shops and to forbid traders from carrying on with their business. Some Chinese were beaten up by the police. The traders, including Chinese, Arabs, Romanians, e t c w e re d e e p l y wounded in body
and spirit. When I went to visit the market I came across two people who were non believers and they poured out their stories to me. They asked angrily, ‘Was God asleep? Why did God not punish and destroy these evil people?’ In this unrighteous society only the Gospel can bring comfort to relieve pain and anger in the human heart. Another event occurred on 26th May 2010 when fire broke out around four in the morning in the fifth and sixth block of the Red Dragon market in Bucharest. The devastation was enormous as the shops and all the goods in them went up in flames. Many witnessed their shops being destroyed and broke down in tears. The Red Dragon market was the largest distribution centre for Chinese merchandise not only in Romania but also in the whole of south east Europe. About 2,000 shops were affected by the fire. Afterwards two brothers and I went to visit our compatriots affected by the fire. We saw some laying out their goods on the floor and others setting up shop in temporary booths. They were sweltering in the heat and feeling helpless. As we were greeting them a non Christian lady became curious and asked who we were. We explained to her our purpose for coming and conveyed to her the condolences from the church
congregation. We also shared the Gospel briefly and prayed for her. In the ever changing circumstances of life so many people are waiting to hear the Gospel from us. Matthew 9:35-36 says ‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ Often we do not see what Christ saw and do not have his vision because we pay little attention to the need of the Gospel in Europe. My experience of ministry in Romania is only a snapshot of the Europe field. There are over 2 million Chinese scattered in different countries in Europe. They face different kinds of temptations, difficulties and tensions, for example, marriage and parenting problems, gambling, pornography and illegal status etc. Ezekiel 34:6 expresses very well the needs of the Chinese in present day Europe: ‘My sheep wandered all over the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.’ Are you willing to go into their midst to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them?
Changed forever–Romania Short Term Mission
Minister Berechiah Lee is from Singapore, married with a son and a daughter. Before becoming a Christian, Berechiah was a spirit-medium in Taoism practices, a gangster, and a captive to drugs for eleven years. In 1992 Berechiah accepted Jesus at the Breakthrough Missions – Drug Rehab Halfway House in Singapore and dedicated his life to God. In 2006 he completed a theology degree at Singapore Bible College. He is currently a minister in Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church, heading the evangelism and elderly ministry. In December 2010, Berechiah went to Romania Bethlehem Chinese Church to do short term mission work. Here, with an outsider’s perspective, he briefly shares his observation of mainland Chinese immigrants living in Europe. Since moving abroad and from my previous experiences, contacts, and conversations with mainland Chinese believers I have formed a rather negative impression about them. For example, not willing to tithe, tend to only receive without giving back, not active participants in Sunday service, Sunday school, Bible studies, prayer meetings, and so on. Thanks be to God, in my two-week short term mission trip to Romania from the 15th-27th December 2010, my impression of mainland Chinese believers has been changed forever.
‘’They don’t want him, we want him, God wants him.’’ The main programme for this mission was to lead a Christmas gospel event, Sunday service, and some
Pastor Berechiah Lee and his family
visitation work. When we were at the wholesale market giving out leaflets to advertise the Christmas gospel event, I noticed that this church does things very differently. In some areas, local believers are afraid to give out leaflets and talk to non-believers, they simply show the way around and leave this work to the mission team members. But here, the brothers and sisters from mainland China were full of initiative, going with the mission team members to give out leaflets and talk to people. Their courage and zeal to share the gospel have made a deep impression in my mind. T h e re a re t w o t y p e s o f C h i n e s e p e o p l e h e re : businessmen with their families, and builder labourers. Even though the majority of brothers and sisters from the Romania Bethlehem Chinese Church are business people, they don’t appear calculating at all. Whether they are at work or rest, they talk about God all the time, His Word, His work, songs that praise Him and of course about other things too. In the visitations I learnt that because it is not very easy to reach the business people with the gospel, so they would like to form a recreation evangelism team
in order to invite the Chinese business people from the community to join the events, hoping to change their dull view of church and also to build up relationships so that on special occasions, they could be invited to church services. The brothers and sisters pray that God would guide them step by step, and that in the future, short term mission members would be able to join them in performances and gospel events. Apart from this, they have another vision. Near the airport there is a construction site with around 200 labourers, if the Lord enables, that would be a great harvest field. Many labourers had limited opportunities to hear the gospel when they were in mainland China, and they were not that open to make contact with churches. But now, working in a foreign country, with no family or relatives around, dealing with homesickness, a mundane life, difficulty in accessing help and the language barrier, they are much more likely to accept help from church. For example, once they went to visit a labourer but no one opened the door; they later discovered that the labourer had passed out. They immediately sent him to hospital for emergency treatment and found out that he had had a brain haemorrhage, leaving his body completely paralysed, with the use of only one hand; even his speech was unclear and unintelligible. During his hospital stay, because of not eating, he was just skin and bones. Later, out of love for him, brothers and sisters made him three meals a day and brought them to the hospital. The church even hired a maid to look after him, and within a month he started to gain weight back, and learnt to walk again. By now, the brothers and sisters had contacted the labourer’s family, letting them know the situation and hoping that they could take him home. Unexpectedly, their answer was ‘’In this case, we don’t want him, you deal with him!’’ Later, a brother from church told me that they had a church meeting and decided that the church would take the man in. He said, ‘’They don’t want him, we want him, God wants him.’’ When I heard these words, I was so touched, that tears almost fell down my face. Praise the Lord that as the brothers and sisters constantly prayed for him, God performed a miracle and this man was healed completely. This brought a great revival to the brothers and sisters in church.
HEADQUARTERS General Director: Rev Henry Lu 2 Padstow Avenue Fishermead Milton Keynes MK6 2ES England UK Tel：+44-(0)1908-234-100 Fax：+44-(0)1908-234-200 E-mail：email@example.com Web Site：www.cocm.org.uk
HONG KONG OFFICE Rev Tang Chi-Ming Rm522, Metro Centre II, 21 Lam Hing Street, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel：+852-2549-5288 Fax：+852-2549-5155 E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site：www.cocm.org.hk Chairman: Rev Cham Nai-Bun
MALAYSIA OFFICE Mr David Liew Unit 697-2-2, Desa Kiara,
‘’We don’t know, we walk by faith’’
The Chinese church currently rents a place for meetings, and with that comes lots of inconveniences. At the moment they are planning to build a church that can seat 400 people. Having already bought and paid €150,000 for a piece of land, they are now discussing the design. The whole project will cost around €300,000, the church has €80,000, and with more than €200,000 short, who will pay that €200,000? They say, ‘’we don’t know, we walk by faith, we all contribute what we can, and hope that God will prompt brothers and sisters from abroad to help us.’’ They have such simple faith and trust in God. Such willingness to step out is a precious thing indeed.
‘’Don’t waste time’’
420 North Bridge Road
Even though their Sunday service does not start until 2pm, by 1pm brothers and sisters have started arriving. As long as there were people, a brother would go on stage to lead in reading passages of the Bible until 1.30pm. At first there were only a few people, but gradually more and more arrived, so the number was quite large. After reading the Bible, a sister would go on stage to lead in practising the songs for that Sunday service, until the service begins promptly at 2pm. At first I wondered, why did they bring me to church at 1pm for a 2pm service? The brother who drove me explained, ‘’since we are all here early, let us not waste time. Instead, let us read God’s word together, it’s better than just chatting.’’ After I heard this, I thought it was very meaningful. In many church services, the worship time is prolonged because not Berechiah (middle) visiting the construction workers many members have arrived yet, so worship in Romania becomes a time to wait for latecomers. In other churches, prior to Sunday services, the hall becomes like a canteen, with very loud chatter. Compared to the brothers and sisters here, though they are early, they don’t make small talk, chat, or wait for late-comers; instead they seize the time to draw near to God. What made the deepest impression on me was their attitude ‘’Let us not waste time.’’ How can Christians serve the Lord with faith and strength? The key is not to wait for him to be strong and then serve, but to build up his faith in service so that he will continue to serve. It is only through serving, that we have even more opportunities to experience God’s mighty works. The more we serve, the more we experience, and the more we experience, the more we have faith. We can only continue to serve when we have faith, this way a positive cycle is established. This trip to Romania opened my eyes to the marvellous things that God is accomplishing through the mainland Chinese brothers and sisters. It also reminded me that the day of Jesus’ return is near. Let us do more for God’s work and let more people join in to spread the gospel. I wonder if you have already heard this appeal, ‘’Come over to ‘Romania’ and help us.’’ (Acts 16:9)
60000 Kuala Lumpur, Tel：+60-(0)3-7954-5884 E-mail：email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site：www.cocmsea.org Chairman：Mr Bryan Lee
SINGAPORE OFFICE Chairman：Mr Alan Wong #05-07 North Bridge Centre Tel：+65-6466-7678 E-mail：email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site：www.cocmsea.org
USA BOARD Chairman：Rev Daniel Chan c/o Lily Chuang 38 Stonegate Drive Wethersfield CT 06109, USA Tel：+1-860-257-3986 E-mail：email@example.com Web Site：www.cocmusa.org
CANADA VANCOUVER BOARD Chairman: Mr Lawrence Chen P.O. Box 32528, Richmond, B.C. V6X 3S1 CANADA Tel：+1-778-591-0109 E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site：www.cocmcanada.org
Rev. Henry Lu．Ling Lu．Min Yin． Yu-Mei Wu
Monica Li．Connie Yu．Yun Ku． Cherry Yip COCM Link is a bi-monthly publication reporting on the work among Chinese in the UK and Europe, free upon request. We welcome you to visit our website at
Published by the: Chinese Overseas Christian Mission. Registered Charity No.232651 No.1135892 Company No.7106567
Published on Mar 1, 2011
Published on Mar 1, 2011
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