A psychology professor named “Nick” came to Seattle with his wife and daughter in the spring of 2014. His wife spoke limited English, but we had many great conversations with them, including a lovely dinner at their apartment. Nick’s father came to Seattle for a four-month visit, and has now returned to China. Before Thanksgiving, we were privileged to witness Nick, his wife, and father be baptized at a Seattle church. Nick wrote us about his journey, parts of which follow here:
When I came to America, I wanted to know more about Christianity. In China, I studied psychology and I practiced positive psychology methods to improve my happiness, such as writing three good things every day. I insisted on writing gratitude for nearly six hundred days. This practice did improve my happiness, but still I found it was not enough. The happiness could not last long. There was still a hole unfilled in my soul or spirit. So this feeling moved me to look for solutions in religion.
When I wanted to find a church, my neighbor, who also is a visiting scholar, introduced me to a Chinese church. One day, one of the leaders of that church phoned to say he and his wife would like to visit us. I felt happy because before then no one in America said they would like to visit us. We talked a lot and felt cared for. In fact, lots of brothers and sisters gave unselfish help and love to students and visiting scholars when they arrived in Seattle, and we could feel the love and friendly atmosphere when we went to meetings on Sunday morning. The Christians’ smiles and love made me feel warm and helped me form a positive attitude about Christianity.
Then I began to attend Talk Time, which is a weekly activity for Chinese students and scholars to practice their English with local Americas. Talk Time also became a catalyst for my belief in Christ. Every week’s meeting was really my happy hour and I longed to attend this meeting. The volunteers are so nice and warm. We not only learned to express opinions, but also learn the American culture. Because this activity is organized by Christians, I got the impressions of what the real Christians will be. In fact we spent a lot of wonderful time in these classes. In your classes, I could really understand what you say and gain much insight, and I feel really happy, just like a festival, every time I talked with you and other volunteers.
Because of limited vocabulary and listening ability, I could get roughly 50-60% of the meaning in classes at the university. So one day I thought, why not pray to ask God to give me more wisdom and understanding before the seminar? So I prayed before class, and it turned out that I learned more. Afterwards, I often prayed to God for what I needed to do. I prayed for courage, for wisdom, for progress, and things always became more satisfying.
Although I am now in Seattle, I still have about ten graduate students in China who need to be guided for their thesis. And I still have some research projects to be finished. At first I want to avoid these things, because I just want to do what I want and not do these things. I became rather angry about these things. But the Bible told me if one does not do what he should do, or does a lot of what he should not do, he is in sin. So I prayed for God to forgive me, and I began to take my responsibilities seriously, even though I am now in America.
Before, when giving suggestions to students for their research thesis, I easily got angry when they cannot understand me. But now, even when they cannot get my meaning immediately, I have become more patient. I think it is God’s love to make me slow to anger.
In sum, I have realized that God is love. This is the most important and first rule in doing everything. If we continue to believe in God everyday and rely on this love, we will love neighbors, love family, love students, and love the jobs we are doing. We will always find ways to solve the problems we confront due to this unchanging and continuing love. Advanced techniques, methods, money, time – everything is secondary, compared with this love.
My wife feels more peace and joy now. At first, she was reluctant to come with me to Seattle, because she cannot speak English. She felt imprisoned in our apartment and lonely and sad. But when she gradually accepted Jesus as her savior, she become more and more joyful and had better sleep. She is so happy and so thankful to God’s grace.
My father came to Seattle to visit us for several months and began attending church with us. After he accepted Jesus as savior, my father has read the Bible every day, sung songs every day, listened to preaching every day. He has peace and joy from his belief. He says he came to United States with empty hands, but returns with a full harvest, because he now knows Jesus.
The Fullners are campus ministers with China Outreach Ministries. They serve Chinese international students full-time in Seattle, Washington. All student names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.