Our work here in China is a two-pronged work. Our first and primary purpose is winning and discipling our own converts, but our secondary purpose is to teach and train people in already existing churches. There are many more established churches where we live now than where we lived the first eight years of our work in China. Many of the Christians here are fifth- and sixth-generation Christians. Unfortunately, as the churches have suffered less persecution and more freedom, many have lost the zeal that previous generations had. However, there is a huge pool of potential soul winners here, and it is going to take a lot more than just our team of 40 Americans (21 adults/19 children) to reach the masses of people.
Just to give you an idea of the huge numbers of people, I want to share some numbers in comparison to the United Sates. The total area of the province we live in and the four provinces surrounding us is exactly the same number of square miles as New Mexico, Arizona, and Hawaii together. However, in this relatively small area, we have 300,200,000 people compared to 317,694,000 in the entire United States. So we have 95% of the entire U.S. population in 6.5% of the land area.
Our city, with a downtown population of 3,095,500 people, is just the THIRD-largest city in our PROVINCE. If we were in the U.S., we would be the third-largest city in the COUNTRY, only behind New York and Los Angeles. When the surrounding suburbs are included, our city population is 9,122,100 people. If we rely on just our team of Americans to give the Gospel to the people of our region just one time in the next 20 years, we would have to give the Gospel to 41,123 people PER DAY, and our region just makes up 22% of the entire country! Therefore, it is vital that we not only reach people ourselves, but we must also train our people to reach their own people.
To give you an idea of what we are doing to try to reach this city, region, country, and the world, I am going to give you my schedule of
meetings last week. Keep in mind that other team members are also having other meetings. Beginning with last Saturday, I preached in a local, pre-existing house church with a little over 100 in attendance. After I preached, my wife and I met with the young people and taught on Christian dating. On Sunday morning I preached to our team of Americans, along with other foreigners. One of these foreigners, who is not a member of our team, was just a marginal Christian when he began attending our meetings, but he is now also preaching and having meetings in the Chinese churches. On Sunday afternoon from 1:30 to 4:30, my wife held a meeting in our home for ladies. From 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., we held a meeting in our home, along with my son, my nephew, and their wives, that mostly consisted of local college students. From 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., we held a meeting, along with one of our team families, in our home for our neighbors and other acquaintances.
On Monday evenings we go to an English Corner at a local university. This is where we have met almost all of the young people who have gotten saved and now attend our Sunday evening meeting at 5:00 p.m. On Tuesday evening, my wife held another meeting for ladies in our home while I went to a meeting where I taught 12 local pastors. On Wednesday morning from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., we have a men’s prayer meeting in our apartment. On Thursday evening we went to an English Corner in a local teahouse where we were able to talk to people about the existence of God. Three of these people are supposed to be at our next Sunday night meeting at 7:00 p.m. On Friday evening I went to a meeting with one of our team members to teach about 16 young people who all lead their own meetings with college students at local universities.
Also, every Tuesday through Friday morning from 9:00-12:00, I meet with one of our most mature disciples who moved his family across the country with us when we moved from the northeast to our current location. We study the Bible together in Chinese, so he is teaching me Chinese while I am teaching him the Bible.
Most of the rest of our time is spent working with our English school, giving the Gospel to individuals, preparing for these meetings, and dealing with problems that come with working with people. Please pray that God will use us to make disciples that will get the Gospel to China and the world.
In His service,