Like many countries around the world, living as a Christian in China can be dangerous due to government-imposed religious restrictions. At TWR we are committed to creating, translating and distributing Christian media in heart languages through formats customized to the region-specific need. We all need the hope of Jesus Christ, and as strict lockdowns continue in China which prevent our SOTA team from visiting churches and SOTA student centres, we are responding to their needs in new ways.
This week as we share an update on TWR Canada‘s ministry in China, we are reflecting on James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (ESV). We praise God that through trials, the Chinese ministry remains steadfast in continuing to hold preaching, pastoral, missionary and Bible study fellowships that provide teaching, assurance and encouragement to students. This time of fellowship, small group discussion and prayer offers the strength and motivation the Chinese ministry needs during these often challenging times.
Among the 13 participants of the Chinese ministry’s missionary fellowship, some recently had to leave their mission fields to return to their hometowns because of COVID-19, political, health or family issues. “It is very difficult for them as they do not know how long they have to wait before they can return to the field,” Ruth, the newly appointed Chinese ministry director, shared. “We hope the missionary fellowship will act as the platform for all our missionaries to share and receive support from fellow missionaries during this period of waiting.” Pray for these missionaries who are under trial, awaiting their next steps. We praise God that this year we have a new SOTA student who serves in Nepal and a missionary couple from a new SOTA centre who joined the fellowship!
In the preaching fellowship, participants take turns preaching while the rest of the group listens and then offers commentary. This exchange allows the preacher to learn from feedback and adapt their message as needed. The audience must pay close attention to their own biblical understanding to be able to offer constructive feedback. This multi-level enrichment of doctrinal understanding cements knowledge that then enables these pastors to preach to larger audiences in need of the gospel.
We also see the impact of engraining doctrine through the Bible study fellowship. William, SOTA international director, instructs the group on leading a Bible study by providing the biblical content, teaching and application of a particular biblical passage. The group then follows the same pattern for another passage of Scripture on their own. In a recent Bible study fellowship, William introduced the concept of drawing and understanding structural diagrams of biblical passages. After William used 1 Peter as a demonstration, the students were required to apply what they learned through an assignment using 2 Peter. One student shared the following:
“Through this study, I understood the importance of structural diagrams for the study of Scripture, and gradually began to understand how to draw them. In addition to the structural diagram, I learned how to summarize the teaching from Scripture. I think that getting the ‘accurate and universal teaching’ at the end is the most important part of the Bible study.
“The person who puts in the most effort in this fellowship is definitely William, whose efforts are obvious to everyone and has become a good example for us. William has indeed lived what he taught, and teaches by example. His attitude and dedication to the study of Scripture will motivate us for a lifetime. It is important for SOTA to organize this type of fellowship. This is very helpful to the students.”
Praise God for the impact of these fellowships on the group members as they grow in biblical knowledge and leadership skills. Please pray for all those who attend these fellowships to stand firm in the trials they face.
Your prayers and support help our Chinese ministry team continue the work of addressing our worldwide need for Christ.