Seeing Beyond the Impossible
In China, there is not only a great need for Bibles and theological resources but as church growth continues, local pastors and lay trainers also need background knowledge in areas such as church leadership, practical theology, spiritual healing, prayer, family and marriage counseling and worship.
We’ve found over the years that a Chinese Christian may have the Bible memorized from Genesis to Revelation (like many of them do) but that does not imply he or she knows how God’s Word applies to their 21st-century life and everyday challenges.
For example, in one situation we were asked to provide training to a group of Chinese Christians that ranged in age from their early 20s to mid-50s. They had been in this training center for 9-months learning everything from church management, administration, the four Gospels, the Letters of Paul, Old and New Testament theology and more. After being there only for one-week, we discovered that many of them were in deep need of healing. One young lady had been raped twice when she was in her mid-teens. Another young man had practiced prostitution. Another young student wanted to get married but desired prayer for impotency and the list goes on. So on the outside, their desks were piled high with Bibles, theological reference books and Christian materials but inside they were broken, insecure, fearful, emotionally unstable and in many cases, angry.
Like Yeshua (the Hebrew word for Jesus, which means salvation), when we teach Chinese disciples God’s “new way of life,” based on His Truth and His Word, we first address core issues; otherwise, Bible training is futile. This means we have to get to know the students and it isn’t done through social networking, texting or emailing. It’s accomplished one-on-one.
Everything in China is based on genuine and trustworthy relationships or guanxi. Yeshua built strong, eternal bonds with His disciples and taught mostly through daily life experiences. We try to do the same. A good example is our relationship with a training center in Zhejiang province where we’ve gotten to know the pastor and the students well over the years.
A training center in zhejiang province
We worship with them during the weekdays and weekends.
Although the Chinese put teachers on a pedestal, we work alongside them. It’s a good time to fellowship and share testimonies and stories.
We take time to discover what ministries are closest to their heart so we can better design our training sessions to best suit their church and ministry needs.
At this training center we help equip and support the youth who have a heart for missions and are heading out on a short-term trip.
Marriage and Enrichment retreats
A family in harmony, prospers in everything.
A Chinese Proverb
The extended Chinese family, once known for its stability, harmony and ability to weather difficult times together, is eroding. Annually, for the past 12 years, the number of divorces in China has continued to climb. In 2014, the nation’s capital saw one in four marriages fail. Liu Lin, a Beijing divorce lawyer, believes this unfortunate trend is due to three primary factors -- China’s greater prosperity, the explosion in social networking and an increase in individualism. Lin says they’ve all contributed to Chinese couples not being able to communicate, thereby causing friction, tension and eventual dissolution of the marriage.* *http://www.forbes.com/sites/russellflannery/2015/07/12/social-media-is-fueling-rise-in-chinas-divorce-rate-lawyer-says/#e72703b1eda8
East Gates’ investment towards helping China resolve this mounting problem is by holding Marriage Enrichment Retreats (MER). We invite experienced Christian MER teachers to come counsel and teach and the response is overwhelming. As one can imagine, the need is always great and the qualified instructors few.
George and Linda Kuo (pink sweater) teaching couples at a MER in Aiji, China.
George and Linda Kuo have their Masters and certifications in Family and Marriage counseling. Over the years, we’ve partnered with them to provide effective MERS in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Aiji, Zibo, Hangzhou and many other cities in China. Young and old come. Some couples sit on a train for 26 hours to take part.
There have been many situations whereby spouses enter the MER thinking their relationship is hopeless, yet in a few days, they leave with a totally different perspective on one another through greater biblical understanding of who they in God’s eyes and what a true covenant relationship is all about. By going through a number of real-life, practical scenarios, they are equipped with a more effective love language that works.
Marriage restoration requires a certain degree of humility, vulnerability and desire for what God truly wants in one’s marriage. The rewards are life-giving.
Connecting and bonding feels good again.
Even something as simple as a heartfelt hug can begin the restoration of a broken spirit.
We teach all who attend how to look in the Bible to find gems of wisdom regarding why God created the institution of marriage and how it represents our eternal covenant with Him.
Couples that pray together, stay together.
training the east gates way...
Discipling students to God’s way of life is more than just giving them a Bible and teaching them theology. More importantly, it is coming alongside them, walking in their shoes and helping them build a personal relationship with their Creator so they can start making right decisions and glorify Him with their chosen path for Life.
Given the momentous times we live in, there is an incredible thirst for God’s Truth in China. We are blessed to have the calling and opportunity to invest in this nation’s eternal welfare. As one Religious Affairs Bureau official once told us, “One more Christian, one less criminal in China.”
baptism ~ an outward expression of an inward intent
"Repent -- change your views, and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it -- and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise (of the Holy Spirit) is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to as many as the Lord our God invites and bids come to Himself."
Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.