16 Feb by James Hoh CM-
I chanced upon Gabby, a young Malaysian who has spent eight years in China, doing missionary work and church planting in the cities as well as the most backward rural areas. He was back in Kuala Lumpur during the Chinese New Year. Sporting a flat-top, a hair style popular some eight years ago and an ever-ready smile, he tells his story in three parts. This is the first installment: his personal experience.
Eight year ago Gabby (not his real name) was only 22 years old and was working as an assistant to the General Manager with a major bank In Kuala Lumpur doing corporate acquisitions. Not until one fine day he sensed the Lord asked him to put aside some time to serve Him. When he approached his pastor for guidance, his pastor asked him instead to be equipped. He was sent to Graduate School of World Mission in Manila and God miraculously provided more than enough funds for his studies.
In that school, he met many who sold their houses and cars just to finance their trainings there but they were passionate in serving God for sure. There, Gabby saw something that is bigger than his career!
Gabby came back to Malaysia after a year’s training in the Philippines. He was approached by his pastor again but this time it was for a vacant position of administration cum teacher in house churches in China. Gabby seemed to fit well into that position. The China side gave Gabby two weeks to consider.
God spoke to Gabby during a worship service: “Son, it’s time to go.” However, getting direction from God maybe easier than getting blessings and approval from his earthly father especially when Gabby has a good prospect and a good job.
But after a lengthy discussion with his dad at a ‘teh-tarik’ stall, approval was reluctantly granted when Gabby told his dad that he would just spend about two years there.
He remembered what he said: “Since you are still young, go ahead.” But little did Gabby’s father know that the two- year mission work has been stretched to eight years now and he has also married a Chinese wife with a one-year-old daughter now.
The two months after the “Teh Tarik” session, Gabby packed his bag and off he went to China – to an unknown land and facing an unknown future but with God’s blessing.
God has known all along and has prepared Gabby for the challenges. Just after one month of settling down in China, the senior pastor of the underground church left China so abruptly that they left without even finishing their dinner. The family left in a hurry for security reasons.
Over a span of eight years, Gabby has been to over 70 cities doing training, conducting youth camps, helping out in counseling workshops and many other missionary works. Gabby, in this interview, gave his observations about churches in China and how it is like serving God there:
1. Although the churches in China are underground, they are much bolder in professing their faith.
2. There seems to have no bridging activities like what we see in Malaysia where in order to bring friends closer to have opportunities to share Christ, activities such as outings, BBQ get together and parties are organized to reach out to the unsaved.
3. Christians just share the Gospel in trains, on buses, online and offices without Church initiation. People are open to the Gospel all the time and everywhere. There are no intentional outreaches yet people are added quickly into churches.
4. Underground churches do church ministry in a simple way. They meet in apartments with no musical instruments but a CD player for sing-along worship sessions. No computer and LCD projector is needed.
5. It is natural for the Chinese to worship the Lord from half an hour to two hours and listening to the sharing or messages for another half to two hours with no complaints.
According to him, Christianity is growing very fast in China. Unofficial figures put the number of Christians at 100 million. But that figure was five years old. It could be more than now. One could easily spot the Cross displaying on top of buildings openly everywhere as one journey through the breadth and width of China. God is working mightily in China.
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