SHANGHAI, China — Mention Shanghai and images of glitz and glamour would come to mind: a city with high-rise buildings, blinking neon lights, magnificent skyscrapers old and new, and hordes of tourists and visitors hailing from both within and outside China.
One is tempted to ask, “Do people need God in this busy and prosperous city?” The answer is ‘yes’ according to Ivy Xu, 25, a Christian for less than two years and recently baptized in a local church.
“I didn’t think that I would become a Christian initially. My friend, Gina, first shared about Jesus with me during our college years. She taught me how to pray when she knew that I couldn’t sleep well due to my Dad’s ill health,” related Ivy.
It was a year later that Ivy received Christ when she moved from Jiangxi to Shanghai in search for a job. “I was feeling anxious when I couldn’t find a job after resigning from one. There was no peace and I was restless. Then Gina sent me a Bible printed by Amity Press and some Christian literature from Jiangxi, for which I was grateful. It was then that I began to read the Bible and pray more,” explained Ivy, now working as a personal assistant to the director of a security systems company.
“Soon, Gina came to Shanghai too and the first thing we did was to go church together. I enjoyed singing the hymns and it was at one of the services that I knew I want to give my life to Jesus. There was a deep sense of peace and calm. I simply made the decision to believe in Jesus and follow Him.”
God’s Word helps her to face the world’s pressure
Ivy faces many challenges today living in the big metropolis, especially in the area of materialism and handling difficult people at work. However, since becoming a Christian, God’s truths from reading the Bible steadied her, enabling her to meet the worldly challenges with faith.
“Shanghai is a city of distractions and temptations. Colleagues around me talk about buying branded goods. The nightlife is also very alluring. But I am reminded of the verse in Romans 6:23 (ESV), ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.’ I know I have to keep away from these temptations and am thankful that God has kept me safe.”
“Moreover, there’s stiff competition at work and I’ve colleagues who are boastful and rude. But reading the passage on ‘love’ in 1 Corinthians 13 helps to change my attitude, from being judgmental to becoming more patient and helpful. Instead of being angry, I am learning to pray for myself and others so that I may have a good testimony for the Lord,” shared Ivy.
Back home, her family has seen the change in her too. “My sister said that I am less self-centered and more loving now. It’s really the Lord’s work in my life.”
When asked what her dream was, she replied, “I don’t wish to get caught in materialism. I don’t need big houses or cars because I know I God is sufficient for me; He is someone I can depend on. I just desire to have more time for my family, friends and church, to live a simple life and to share the love of God through my life testimony.”
Story: Cynthia Oh
Edit: Pamela Choo
2014 © United Bible Societies China Partnership