Ms Hu Susu hails from Henan Province and is a fifth-generation Christian. This young lady heard God calling her into Christian work at the tender age of 17 and has since been preparing herself for ministry in her country. She is pursuing a graduate degree at Singapore’s Trinity Theological College (TTC), specializing in Christian Education. She shares her story with us.
SINGAPORE – I am blessed to be born and raised in a Christian family with members who had served or are currently serving as Christian workers. At 17, I experienced a spiritual turning point in my somewhat uneventful Christian life, at a summer camp organized by a group of Christian language teachers from America.
These American teachers did not need to share overtly about their Christian faith; the way they conducted themselves during the camp was a living testimony for Jesus. Their lives made such a great impact on me I wondered how Chinese Christians could likewise learn to live out our Christian convictions in our daily lives. I wanted to learn how to teach Biblical truths in greater depth so that the spiritual lives of fellow Christians could be built up. When I shared this burden with the American teachers, they said to me encouragingly, “Henan has so many Christians, they need people like you!”
God Called Me
That was when I felt God calling me into full-time Christian service. At 19, I was accepted into Nanjing Theological College. After four years of studies and a year of serving in church, I felt that further training was necessary. I wanted to specialize in Christian education and so I considered coming to Singapore for further training. By God’s grace and through the kind support of China Christian Council/National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM) and TTC, I am thankful I have this opportunity to pursue a Masters degree in Christian Education.
God Empowered Me
Because I was so young when I first entered theological training, some people wondered if I could remain true and committed to the Christian calling with so little life experience. For this matter, my favourite verse in the Bible is a great encouragement.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
Through Paul’s exhortation to young Timothy regarding his responsibilities within the body of Christ and being a living example to fellow believers despite his youth, I am assured that God can use young people like me to serve His people.
God Showed Me The Power Of His Word To Meet China’s Spiritual Need
The spiritual needs in China are great but there are very few workers. In Zhengzhou City where I serve, the church exists as a cluster of about eight churches and has nearly 20 000 members in total. Yet, there are only about 10 ordained pastors and 10 pastoral workers. Our week is often packed with ministry within the city and surrounding towns. As a result, there is very little time for rural missions, where the need is great among elderly believers.
The Bible plays a pivotal role in the spiritual life of Chinese Christians. For many of them, the Bible is the only spiritual resource they have to sustain their faith. This is especially so in the rural churches where the majority of believers are elderly and illiterate. My grandparents were preachers in a very poor rural village in Henan where the elderly congregants who are farmers have barely enough money to buy a Bible. These elderly believers sustain their faith through Scripture memory and getting younger Christians to read Bible verses out to them. Despite abject poverty and material lack, these elders continued to exude spiritual joy as they memorised and recited Scripture together. My great-grandmother in her old age, with her eyesight failing, would recite Scripture and sing hymns as a form of devotion and worship on a daily basis. The devotion of these elderly brothers and sisters in Christ to God’s Word is truly inspiring.
God’s Work Through United Bible Societies (UBS) And Amity Press
The work of UBS and the Amity Press has gone a long way in answering the need to avail God’s Word to believers in rural China. I heard about UBS when I was serving in a church where UBS supported Bible literacy classes. UBS’s support to the Church in China has made the Bible more affordable and the generosity of their donors worldwide has made free Bible distribution in poor rural areas a reality. However, the need is so vast that there are still rural areas where Christians do not have their own copy of the Bible. I hope that there can be more publicity for the Bible needs amongst the Chinese churches in our cities so that Chinese believers can also play a part in supporting this great work of promoting Bible distribution and literacy. With more collaboration between UBS and the local Chinese churches, may God expand His ministry to bless more Chinese people!
Interviewed by: Angela Teo
Edited: Pamela Choo
Photo: Ellyn Chan
2014 © United Bible Societies China Partnership