“The gospel . . . is the power of God that brings salvation.” Romans 1:16
China: Needs in the Church
Albert is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and Northeastern Illinois University with a M.A. in Counseling. He has been in ministry since 1986. He would plant an American Born Chinese (ABC) church, located in San Jose in 2002. With the vision "We are a Gospel centered family that loves God wholeheartedly and serves others sacrificially."
Dr. Peter Wang came to the church I currently serve in the Fall of 2016 and shared the ministry of Chinese Bible Mission in China. I was interested in how our church can help. Perhaps, our church can send someone who speaks Chinese over as a short term missionary; or perhaps, help them financially. Never in my wildest dream that I ever thought that the person would be me. With the recommendation and enthusiastic encouragement of Peter, I answered to the call of going as a guest instructor in the seminary.
Counseling is a major part of my training as well as my work in pastoral ministry. I feel quite adequate in English but most certainly not in Chinese. I don't read and neither speak the language well. I have learned Chinese in my early years, but it has been more than 50 years ago. Teaching in Chinese was incredibly daunting. God knows my weakness. Sarah, my wife who is able to read and speak Chinese helps me to translate my classes outlines and notes, about three hundred slides. She labored more than two weeks translating all my class notes into Chinese. The last Chinese word was literally typed in before I took off for China. During the process of translation, I also discovered different type of apps for translation. Wow, what a big help!
About God knowing my glaring weakness, one church member commented that I should not be worried about anything but my non existent Chinese language in China. My Congregation has never heard a lick of Chinese from me in the past 30 years. Indeed I needed help big time. While in China, without the help of Sarah, I also found out that I can't get access to the translation apps. What am I to do? Like the song, "All by myself, I don't want to be" is how I felt -all alone in the hotel room. Guess what? To my wonderful surprise, God provided an English major student to be in my class, who was invaluable in helping with the more 'technical' counseling words. God indeed goes before me and beyond. I experienced His presence the day before I left as I was called to visit a cancer patient after speaking at two morning services. By the grace of God, after some counseling and sharing of the Gospel along with a local pastor, he accepted Jesus as his own personal Savior. There is no better way to end the two week ministry than to see someone coming into the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior. When we first met him, he was lying in his cold hospital bed motionless and in deep despair; without hope and purpose, perhaps just waiting for more bad news to come. After a time of counseling and with much tears along the way, miraculously, when we told him that we're leaving, he literally sprung out of his bed and happily walk us out of the hospital with a renewed purpose and hope. That afternoon I saw the transformation power of our Savior.
Back to my main task in China, the 25 student pastors I had in my two week class were extremely courteous and at the same time enthusiastically eager to learn. I must say that they all deserved more than an "A"… If there is such a thing? I remember in one of my class when I put up a quote on my keynote presentation and asked them for their opinions, I saw everyone staring back at me in bewilderment. They all pointed at my presentation. I looked back at the presentation and it was all in English. I bursted into laughter, with the class laughing at me and was reminded that they don't read or speak English at all. Yes, the two week of classes were all taught in Chinese by yours truly. A near impossibility, two weeks prior to the trip. The Counseling classes were scheduled from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm. It entailed the "Preparation of the Counselor" and the "Understanding of Personality and Suffering" from a secular and biblical perspectives. As 'face saving' is so important in their culture, sharing of their struggles openly have never been encouraged. When I administered the Personal Inventory Test, they were shocked to hear about their fellow students' histories and struggles, which also explained why I have extra individual sessions with the students during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Class sessions also quickly became a personal spiritual and psychological evaluation time for the students. Quite a few come from homes or backgrounds that have many challenges. They carried along with them all the baggages of pain and anger. My hope is not only the students learn to counsel others but also will find healing for themselves through the classes. My personal take away is that we may not be adequate, but our God is more than sufficient when we apply our lives for His purpose. Second, there is a great need for training pastors and I am so appreciative of what Chinese Bible Mission is doing in Asia. My prayer is that more will answer to the call of the Great Commission. As it is written, "the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
Albert and Family