“Kenny” in Kamala Markandaya’s novel Nectar in a Sieve leads my thoughts to a pastor I visited before my coming to US for seminary study. There’s one thing in common – they both suffered divorce in their cross-cultural ministry.
I will never forget that afternoon in the summer. Pastor X told me his story in his plain living room. He had already got his PhD from a famous seminary in US and came to China several years ago as a missionary. I scheduled to meet him because I want to seek some advice from him before my journey to TEDS. But I think the most important word that was kept in my memory is something he said after telling me his story: “God will also use the 4 years to prepare your wife. This is the most important.” I’m not sure whether it’s the “most” important, but his marriage story really impressed me. His wife, who is a sincere Christian and had a passion for evangelism in China, filed a divorce lawsuit after visiting Beijing with him because she cannot endure a dirty public toilet without a gate, which is quite common in China during the 1980s.
The reading of Chinua Achebe’s novel No Longer at Ease leads me think of my country and some American missionaries in my country. I was led to Christ by American missionaries. They came to my university and made friends with a lot of Chinese students. I was one of those who were willing to study Bible with them and prayed to accept Jesus Christ as savior. I still remember a serious talk between me and one American brother regarding pirated software. He was persuading me to stop using pirated software, which is very common in China and it costs only 1 dollar to buy a CD, from music to enterprise level database. I agree that using pirated software is absolutely not the right thing to do. I also feel guilty while doing so, but if stop doing that I will have no software to use because the legal copies are too expensive comparing to Chinese average income, moreover, everyone is using that and if I don’t use, I will fall behind my class.
Several years later, as a manager working in Microsoft, my salary can afford me to buying legal software. But many of my friends are still using illegal copies because their salaries are still quite low. It is still hard for me to tell them it’s not the right thing to do because I’m no longer in their situation. But I think it’s already easier than letting the Americans to tell.
原文标题：Seven Standards of Excellence for Short-Term Missions
译者注：这是Dr. Plueddemann在宣教基础这门课上发下来的讲义，我觉得很好，翻译给大家。注意在美国基督教文化中，并不是直接传福音才算“短宣”，其他短期事工也笼统称之为“短宣”（Short-Term Mission Trip）。
When reading the 6th chapter of Storti’s The Art of Crossing Cultures, I start to realize the important role of leaning languages in a different culture in the mission. Besides what was told in the book, I think language learning can also bring following benefits.
1. Studying local languages can make the local people feel being respected and show also the respect to local culture. From my experience, foreigners who can speak a little Chinese, or even some local accent, can draw people’s interest and people are more willing to listen to him. Such respect can quickly draw two parts closer and make the gospel message easier to be heard.
2. Studying local languages can make connection with local people, which might be the first connection with local community. The first Chinese Protestant was the worker who helps to print the translated booklet. It is because he works day and night so closely with Morrison. While I was in the university, I have seen many Chinese students coming to Christ because the missionaries had practiced Chinese with them and be their good friends.
There is no doubt that we need to have evidence that one is truly converted before he is baptized. However, how to evaluate the evidence and what evidences are necessary are still in question mark. As a Christian from communist China, I have seen all kinds of scenarios. Some churches baptize believer immediately after his confession, some churches need the believer go through a serious of foundation faith lessons and pass the exam before baptism, while some churches even need the believers to show the evidence of their convert through good deeds including reading Bible daily and tithe.
I brought this topic up to front after reading the case of A GROUP CONVERSION and the analysis of Matthew 28:16-20 in Moreau’s book. The group conversion is rare in the modern world, but the similar situation will occur while a short mission trip is made to a place while there’s no local church that can follow up the new believers. I have seen several cases during my ministry that a baptized Christian know nothing about the doctrine of salvation and finally left Christianity because he don’t think it is what he want.
这一期的《中国国家地理》，基督徒不可不读。因为这一期的杂志，记载了一个可歌可泣的宣教士故事——伯格里（Rev. Samual Pollard）。文章题目为，《石门坎：“炼狱”还是“圣地”》。