God’s Mission: Return To China

Last month I talked about ‘runology’ (润学), the expression used to describe the high numbers emigrating overseas from China. But there are those with a very different sense of calling from the Lord, such as Rex Chen.

Rex shares that “he was very reluctant to leave China a decade ago and even considered giving up studying in the United States.” One reason was that he was “faced with leaving my closest relatives — my grandparents who had raised me since childhood. They were elderly but had not yet come to faith. As the only Christian in my family at the time, I was very worried that if I went to study in the United States, there would be no one to continue sharing the gospel with them, leading to eternal regret.”

Today, 12 years later, Rex has “achieved academic success in the United States.” But “despite the deteriorating domestic situation in China and the fact that I had no relatives left in China, I still resolutely decided to return to China.” Rex’s thinking is challenging. “The root cause lies in my faith. I deeply understand that the current domestic environment in China is quite unfavourable, leading many people to ‘run’ to Western countries in pursuit of a better life. However, I believe that Christians should uphold a different value system from the secular world, prioritising God’s kingdom over self-interest (Matthew 6:33).”

“Recently, many Christians around me have chosen to run abroad for various reasons. Some say, ‘I don’t want my children to grow up in an environment like China.’ Others say, ‘There is a lack of good church life and freedom of speech in China, making life too oppressive.’ And some say, ’It’s hard to make money in China now.’ Although these reasons seem valid, they share a common trait: they do not prioritise the needs of God’s kingdom. Often, such people are in the majority.”

For Rex “a Christian’s primary responsibility is their duty as a Christian and their responsibility in God’s kingdom. We should first examine whether our actions align with God’s will and values and whether they benefit God’s kingdom, rather than merely considering what benefits our earthly life. The cost of being a Christian is high.”

Rex is especially disappointed with seminary graduates who are unwilling to return to China. He argues that “given the worsening situation in China, the expulsion of many missionaries, the dismantling of many churches, and the urgent need for more ministers to return to serve, I thought most of them would return to China. However, the reality is quite the opposite; at least 80% of seminary graduates from mainland China choose to stay in the United States… Among them are those who came to study on church donations from China… Do seminary graduates truly not know the needs in China, or do they think China doesn’t need them?”

Rex ends with a challenge: “Three months ago, I returned to China, and I found the situation more urgent and desperate than I imagined. From a spiritual perspective, China is like a dried-up pond. I hope more people will come to serve in China, as it urgently needs your help. I am waiting for your arrival here.”

Pray for those who return to China like Rex Chen, in obedience to the Lord, that the Lord would protect and bless them and their ministries.

Pray for some who should return but are unwilling or afraid.

Pray often that the Lord would raise up labourers for the harvest field in China.

Source: ChinaSource article: Homeward Bound: A Christian’s Return to China by Rex Chen

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