Jenny was one of many Chinese who didn’t know the meaning of celebrating Christmas before arriving in the United States. But this year, enjoying a Christmas celebration represented a completely new start for her. She now celebrates our newborn King!
I met Jenny in quite an interesting way. One Sunday morning, we were done with our fellowship meeting and walked to the street outside of the church building. Suddenly, an American lady blocked my way and said to me in a rapid voice, “Come! There is a Chinese. You should share the gospel with her!” I realized that she was one of the church members and knew our ministry well. I followed her pointing finger and saw a young Chinese woman standing across the street looking at us with a bit of embarrassment.
Immediately, wearing my biggest smile, I approached her and greeted her. She told me that she was living nearby and had just walked outside to dump her trash. Unexpectedly, she heard a loud lady’s voice behind her say, “Hi! Are you Chinese?” She turned and nodded, not knowing what to say next, but heard the American lady continue, “Do you know Jesus Christ? You should meet some people I know. Please just stay and wait for a while!” From that first funny meeting, we started to get to know Jenny.
We encouraged Jenny to attend our fellowship and she showed interest. Often during the fellowship meeting, I caught her gloomy eyes and noticed she had a heavy heart. Trying to know her more, I invited her to coffee at the Santa Monica Pier one sunny afternoon. During the conversation, she opened herself up to me. She is a law school student at a prestigious American university and comes from Shanghai where she grew up in a rich family and graduated from a top school. Though she is young, she has been working for years in a very high level position in China and has made a lot of money.
She sounded like she had a wonderful life, yet she had lost herself and was deeply struggling with issues in her heart. She said,
“For years I have been thinking about how my presence as a Chinese, a daughter, and a woman can do good for my country, my family, and my society, but I have been grappling with anger, fear, and frustration. My deep sorrow and empathy for people who are unjustly treated intensifies my anger toward those who should be charged; my earnest love for my family doesn’t lessen any fears of losing them; and my ambition to eliminate unfair treatment between men and women comes with frustration at all times. I care so much, but I am also helpless for I can change nothing. So I left, escaping from my beloved country, family, and even myself. I came to LA last year, hoping to make a difference, mentally and physically. But there is no panacea that cures all, unless I give up and surrender.”
I quietly listened to her, my heart reaching out to her, and my tears welled up.
I could tell how sincerely her heart sought wisdom and guidance in her life. She tried hard to find a way, but had become helpless and lost. It reminded me of a sheep that can go nowhere without having a shepherd! The Bible says in Matthew 9:35-36, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” I cried and prayed for her. Indeed, God was working in her heart!
Since that afternoon, no matter how tight her class and study schedule, she always took the time to attend the fellowship and even began to serve in the fellowship. Her life is changed! This summer we invited her to travel with us to Colorado. On the way to Aspen, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky after a quick burst of heavy rain. “Can I be baptized here like that Ethiopian eunuch did in the Book of Acts?” She asked suddenly. Why not? In that beautiful small town of Aspen, my husband baptized her in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Later in her testimony she said,
“That sunny afternoon a year ago at Santa Monica Pier, I felt blessed after praying. Truly, I am not the only one on this planet that suffers pain, and I am not the only fighter for justice either. I suffered so much and felt helpless because I solely relied on myself, but I am truly so limited. I have been receiving comfort, support, and love from an invisible power since the day my friend prayed for me. I know that power is from God! Now I am ready to live another life, and I know I should depend on our heavenly Father, who created the world, hears us, and cures all. For Him, I surrendered and got baptized.”
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After baptism, she began to share the gospel with her friends. She has been challenged several times by some of her unbelieving friends asking about the difference between her before and now. She answers them,
“I was lost and now have been found. The questions that haunted me for years didn’t vanish, but I have hope and now know on whom I should depend.”
Amazing things continued. One month after her baptism, she called and asked if we could start a Bible study in her home. She wants to invite her friends and classmates to come and hear the Good News. This is exactly what we have prayed for and God answered our prayer! In addition to the weekly Sunday fellowship, we are now having Bible study every week at Jenny’s home!
Last spring, Jenny was chosen along with two other students to represent her law school at an international moot court in Vienna and she is already planning to start her own law firm after graduation. She is incredibly talented, gifted, and well connected. We know she will be among China’s future leaders. The most important thing is that we also know she is a disciple of Jesus Christ. May his name be exalted!
“Chunsun” means “spring bamboo” and is the collective pseudonym for writers in sensitive situations sharing stories of God’s work among Chinese students. The writer of this story is a campus minister with China Outreach Ministries. Both she and her husband serve Chinese international students full-time in Los Angeles, California. All names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.