Sacrifices for God’s Work

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One of 2012’s Bible Teachers attached to Singapore’s Trinity Theological College  (see endnote) was Ms Yumei, a Bible Lecturer at Liaoning’s Northeast Theological Seminary. She shares with UBS that serving God is well worth all the sacrifices she had to fork out….

Yumei says God is worth all her sacrifices

I am the oldest grandchild in a family of staunch Christian believers.

My grandmother wanted to dedicate me to the Lord’s service when I was born. In fact my grandmother christened me “Xian” which means “to dedicate (to God)”, but my mom who thought the name was old-fashioned, later changed my name to “Mei” (meaning: plum flower).

When Church in China re-opened its doors in the late 1970s, most of the pastors and lay preachers were already in their 60s.

When I came of age, my family urged me to consider going into a theological seminary so that I can serve the church as a pastor or a Bible Studies teacher when I graduate. Therefore, with all that family encouragement and my own heart’s desire to serve the Lord, I went into Liaoning Province’s Northeast Theological Seminary in Shenyang city at the age of 17.

Guiding Bible Verse
The guiding Bible verse for my life is taken from John 14:21 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him (ESV).”

This verse impacted me greatly. I told myself: “Jesus loves me so much; I need to love Him in return.” It was this thought that prompted me to obey his calling at all cost. Let me explain: all along my first love was to serve the church in pastoral ministry upon graduation. The need for pastors and full-time staff is pressing, yet upon my graduation from Nanjing Jinling Theological seminary, China’s national Bible seminary, God called me to serve as a New Testament teacher in Northeast Theological Seminary instead of pastoring the church. The voice of God was clear. He gave me a verse in 1 Samuel 5:22b “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. (ESV)”

Choose God above all
I was just newly married then. If I were to teach at Northeast Seminary which is in Shenyang city, it meant that I had to be separated from my husband whose job as a doctor was at a hospital far from Shenyang. At that time, it was impossible for my husband to find employment at Shenyang despite numerous applications.

In the end, I chose to obey the Lord’s call and moved alone to Shenyang to take up the position as a Bible Studies lecturer at Northeast Seminary, with my family’s blessing. In return for my total obedience to Him, the Lord blessed me with a very supportive husband, family members and a happy marriage.

My husband and I lived apart for 12 whole years! We later had a baby girl who was cared for by my husband and my mother these 12 years while I worked in Shenyang.

And God Blesses
I believe God blesses me for my obedience – my relationship with my husband has never been better: our matrimonial bond continues to be strong; our love for each other deepens albeit our physical absence from each other. I also enjoy a very good relationship with my daughter who called me daily for 12 years when we were apart.

My daughter is now 14 years old and my whole family has since been united. God has blessed my husband with a job in a well-known hospital to teach junior doctors at Shenyang city while I enjoy serving the Lord by teaching His Word at Northeast Theological Seminary right up to this very day.

Yumei’s said that what she has benefitted from this 4-week attachment to TTC was immeasurable. Following the success of these past 2 years’ of collaboration, we agree to continue this meaningful and helpful program. We pray for more financial support.
(Project CHN 71252)

Photo and story by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership

Endnote: In 2010, the China Christian Council/Three Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM), Singapore’s Trinity Theological College (TTC) and the United Bible Societies (UBS) agreed to collaborate and work together to raise the academic standards of Chinese Teachers from the Seminaries and Bible Schools.  The idea of a 3 to 4-weeks attachment to TTC was mooted — visiting Chinese Bible Teachers will be attached to more senior and experienced lecturers at TTC where they will learn how to develop a curriculum, structure a course, discuss effective teaching methodologies, set readings and examination, do research and writings.