Editor’s note: In honor of Women’s History Month, CP’s prayer initiative is focusing on our sisters in Christ. Featuring interviews with five different women, March’s content provides a special glimpse into the ways the gospel is impacting the hearts of China’s women.
This interview is with the daughter of a ministry leader. She discusses her life in the US; what the gospel has taught her in life; and the two women she most looks up to.
CP: Please briefly introduce yourself.
Daughter: I have been studying in the US most of the time, so I only attend [my mom’s] church during winter or summer vacation. I am also currently planning to go to graduate school in the US. I have been in America for about five years now. I spent two years there in high school and then went to college. During this time, I went to Switzerland for one year as an exchange student.
CP: How old are you?
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Daughter: I am 22 right now, and I will turn 23 after my birthday in October.
CP: How has the gospel impacted your friendships, including your friendships with friends from other countries and friendship with Chinese friends?
Daughter: As for the impact of the gospel on my friendships in a foreign country, the gospel has helped me make more friends because Christian culture or Christianity is a foundation of Western culture. Many of my Chinese classmates do not know what it is. But I think that because I have some knowledge of Christianity, because I’m a Christian, I can understand many aspects of their life, like political or cultural things. I can understand what they are talking about and what their starting point is. It seems that [the gospel] has opened up a whole world for me, giving me a different perspective.
As for my friendships in China, I do not know at the moment what impact the gospel has had on them because I became a Christian at an early age, and I have spent most of my time in the US. But the gospel may have made me more open.
There is one thing that clearly stands out. When I am in the US, I use Uber a lot. I will often chat with the driver. Many of my Chinese classmates will ask, “Why are you chatting with this person? You will almost certainly never meet him again in your life.” They can’t understand why I am so friendly and patient toward Uber drivers and why I want to chat with them. The gospel teaches us to love others, so I will often interact with strangers. Many of my non-Christian classmates cannot understand why I would be so kind to strangers.
CP: What are the differences between Chinese girls and American girls in your opinion?
Daughter: I think it’s very hard to say. This is the question that I thought the most about last night. I feel like there are sometimes many stereotypes. People may think that Chinese girls are quieter and American girls are more extraverted, but I feel like in real life, there are extraverted Chinese girls, and there are quiet American girls. So, it is difficult to summarize a large group of people with just a few words. I think the only relatively obvious difference is that Chinese girls are usually more conservative. In their minds, there are some things that only girls should do and there are some things that only boys should do. They think there is a relatively clear distinction between the two, whereas in America they don’t seem to make this distinction. I feel like this is how Chinese girls are.
CP: Can you give an example?
Daughter: For example, playing basketball. In China, this is considered a boy’s activity; but in America, people think it is better to have everyone playing together.
CP: Do you mean both boys and girls?
Daughter: Yes. I think this may be the biggest difference. I feel like this is probably a result of cultural influence. Culture also influences how Chinese and Americans interact with each other. It is difficult to explain.
CP: Did you become a Christian at an early age? Are you a second-generation Christian?
Daughter: Yes, I came to faith under the influence of my parents at home.
CP: At about what age do you think you fully understood the central point or meaning of the gospel?
Daughter: It seems like it was in middle school. There was a period of time when I suddenly understood the gospel a little more, but it is hard to pin down when exactly I came to understand the gospel. I think it was a gradual process of growth. I think I slowly grew in the faith after encountering different situations and more difficulties. It doesn’t seem like there was one point in time. It seems like by the age of 15, I suddenly understood the gospel. I don’t think there was one point in time when the change happened.
CP: Throughout this gradual process of maturing, how do you think the gospel has influenced your relationship with your parents, or how do you think it has changed it?
Daughter: I think it has helped me understand them better and made me more grateful toward them because I know there are many things we do not deserve. I used to think, “Other people’s families are like this, and other people’s parents are like that, but our family isn’t like theirs.” I think the gospel has made me more grateful and helped me understand that I have many things that other people don’t have. I feel that I don’t deserve so many of these things, and this makes me more grateful. It also helps me understand my parents better. My communication with them has improved.
CP: Is your father a believer?
Daughter: No, he has not believed yet.
CP: I know that your mother is a believer. How is communication different between the two?
Daughter: When I interact with my mom, since we’re both Christians, we will do things that only Christians do, like pray. If we have worries, we will say, “Let’s pray!” But I do not do these things with my dad. This is a very obvious difference.
CP: Considering that you and your father have different religious beliefs, do you think you show more understanding toward your father, or do you think he shows more understanding toward you?
Daughter: I think there is mutual understanding. My father often thinks about materialistic things. Whatever he does, he wants to see immediate results. I don’t think Christianity teaches that if I do something, I will definitely obtain some material benefit or financial benefit. Because of our faith, we care less about those things. We understand that people can accomplish things even if they are not motivated by money or material things. In showing understanding toward my father, I try to understand his situation and to think from his perspective.
CP: Overall, what is the biggest way that the gospel has transformed your life?
Daughter: I think the biggest way the gospel has transformed me is by teaching me that everything is in God’s control. Many of my non-Christian friends worry about what they will do tomorrow, how they can get a job, where they should go to school, how they should care for their parents if they get sick. They worry a lot. I feel like they are very anxious and try to control everything by themselves. If anything doesn’t go according to their plans, they will be at a complete loss. Some of my classmates have also told me that they are very scared of death. They are afraid of their parents getting sick. They don’t know what they would do if that happened. But I think I’ve got all the answers to these questions, so I don’t feel like I need to worry much about them. I know that whatever happens, even if it is something bad, it is part of God’s plan. This has made me more optimistic.
CP: Is there something that still makes you anxious, even though you believe in God? How do you deal with it? What changes have you made?
Daughter: Yes, there is one. In college, we rent a house off campus. One of our housemates had to leave because of her job, so she created an advertisement and rented out her room to a person we didn’t know. This girl whom none of us knew had very different habits from us because she was from Africa. She smoked hookah and made the house very smoky. We tried to talk to her about this many times, but she told us that it was her culture and that we couldn’t interfere with it. We didn’t know what to do. I was especially frustrated about it because my room was right next to hers. I really was very, very angry, but I also didn’t know what to do about it. I couldn’t kick her out, but her actions really were affecting all of us. This was a great challenge to me. I was very mad about it. I still don’t know what to do now. In this situation, I talk to my brothers and sisters at church and ask them, “What do you think I should do?” And they say we should pray.
CP:Is there a sister at your church or even a non-Christian elderly woman whom you hope to become like in the future?
Daughter: Is there an elderly woman whom I wish to become like? There are some women whom I do look up to, but I cannot say that I want to become like them. One is my grandmother on my mom’s side. I really admire her. Her generation experienced many difficulties, and she managed to leave her village to work in Beijing. Later, she came to live in Guangzhou. I think that must have been very difficult. People in her generation needed much courage and hard work just to survive. So I respect her a lot. The other person is my mom. She has very strong faith in the Lord. Many times we will say, “God is unfair,” or, “Why did God do this?” But she will say, “This may be the Lord’s good plan.” Her faith in the Lord is incredible. It is unshakable. These two people are my role models.
CP: What personality traits of theirs do you hope to have when you grow up?
Daughter: I hope to have my grandmother’s perseverance and her attitude toward her work. It is worth my time learning these things from her. As for my mom, I hope that I can have her strong faith in the Lord and her thirst for the Bible. I am not there yet. I want to learn from both of them.
English translation provided by Amy, Rachel, Brent, and the China Partnership translation team. Please refer to our reposting guidelines for permission to share on your blog or website.