Growing up as an Asian American, I remember wanting to be accepted and more Americanized. In high school I felt that I didn’t belong since my Chinese was better than most of the youth my age since I interacted with Chinese people constantly. I wished I was more like my peers whose Chinese was poor, so that I could fit in. But God had other plans for me.
Recently, I’ve been hearing and learning a lot from Epic Movement meetings regarding using your passions and gifts to serve God and expand His kingdom. At the Crossroads Conference (a Cru conference designed for Juniors and Seniors about to graduate), Roger Hershey talked about using our talents to serve God. At UC Irvine’s weekly meetings, two speakers both shared that our passions and gifts equal evangelism. Epic Movement has reinforced what I’ve learned for many years and challenged me to further apply my passions and gifts to my life.
My church fellowship, Evangelical Formosan Church of Irvine (mostly students from Taiwan), outreaches to Chinese international students at UC Irvine. Through these outreaches, I began to see the change in the student’s lives after seeing them go to church and receiving Christ. The change in their lives was so dramatic that they strengthened my faith in Christ. Coupling what I’ve learned in Epic Movement and at my church, I quickly developed a heart to reach native Chinese students for Christ.
I now use my language ability to reach the lost on my campus. During freshman year after Epic conference, I led a girl from China to Christ. Recently, I’ve invited a few of my classmates and Teacher’s Assistants to church, and two classmates now attend my church fellowship regularly. Two students were baptized recently and they received Christ, and for the very first time they came to church. Praise God!
Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22 says, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” Paul is telling us that if we have a heart to reach a certain group, we need to become one of them, so that they can understand the gospel. In order to reach international Chinese students for Christ, I learned their language, spoke their language, hung out with them, and acted like them, in order to reach the gospel to them. Had I held on to my negative stereotypes of “fobs” or the attitude of them needing to be American and speak English before I could tell them about Jesus, I would not have reached them. God is convicting me that when we evangelize, we need to really get to know their story and their culture, and not bring our own “church culture” or “Asian American culture” in our gospel presentation. That way they don’t think church is an American thing, but that they can relate to in their cultural context.
I learned that many international students from China seek community among their people, and our church really helps foster that need, which in turn, lead many toward Christ. I feel God is telling me to let go of my past attitude of resentment towards Chinese, and let Him use it to glorify Him, especially on campus. I hope all of us will be willing to see a place where God can use our culture to bring others to Him.
Chris Yin, 4th Year, UC Irvine