Editor’s note: Amy is a member of the post-80s generation. An only child, she grew up in China with parents who expected her to excel academically and had rigorous standards for who she would be and what she would accomplish. She became a believer when, after university, she studied abroad in the States. This is the second part of the story of how she came to know Jesus. The first part of her story can be found here.
The Coming-to-Faith Years
China Partnership: After you decided to trust Jesus, did you start going to church?
Amy: Yes. Actually, there were many people at this international fellowship who came to faith. Eventually, they started a church. There were lots of former international students and people from various countries who had graduated but continued to live in the city, as well as international volunteers and current students. I went to this church.
CP: How did it affect you after you finally made the decision to become a Christian?
Amy: Let me put it this way. Deep in my heart, I had been very insecure, and struggled a lot before I decided to become a Christian. But after I made the decision, I knew God always watched over me and I could rely on him. This was how I felt at the beginning. I also prayed and confessed my sins every day.
Still, one day I read Romans 7, which has a verse saying: “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” At that moment, I realized I was this kind of person. I felt I had deeply hurt my parents and friends with my words. When I read this verse, I suddenly realized that I was truly a sinner, and I went and cried for an hour or two.
It was the first time I thought I had nothing to be proud of in the presence of God. I used to think, “Oh, the church people invited me, I should show them some respect.” I did show respect, and it was as if I was doing a lot for them. However, at that moment, I realized that God loves me and I really did not have anything to be proud of. All I could do is prostrate myself before him. I believe this is the way people should be in the presence of God.
That moment left a deep impression on me and made a great impact on me. Gradually, I learned that the reason I thought there was no meaning or hope in life before I came to Christ was because I did not know God.
CP: How long were you at this university?
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Amy: I was there for two years, and then I came back [to China].
CP: Did you always plan to return to China after graduating?
Amy: I didn’t plan to come back or to stay overseas. I thought about seeing if there were any job opportunities in the U.S. that might suit me. I studied business management in graduate school, and I wondered if I should apply for research positions and strive for a PhD. But eventually, I took a course and realized this work was not suitable for me. Later, I came back to China.
Faith, Family, and Career
CP: Did you tell your parents about your faith?
Amy: I told them when I made the decision to believe in Christ, and even sent them pictures when I got baptized. They may have been a little upset, because they worried that the things that happened during the Cultural Revolution would happen to me, too. They didn’t say anything. I also sent many other pictures, and they saw that I was very happy with my friends. They must have thought that it was better to have friends from church than to have no friends at all.
However, after I came back to China, they started to show strong opposition because I was now in China, not in America anymore. Yes, they were very much against my faith. At first I thought about staying in my hometown and finding a job there to be close to them. But later, because of their strong opposition, it became too uncomfortable for me. I was already an adult, but they wouldn’t let me go to church. I felt very uncomfortable, and so I moved to Beijing.
They, especially my mother, thought my faith was false. They said there was nothing to believe. They would say this every day. It was too stressful for me, so I went to Beijing.
CP: What did you do in Beijing?
Amy: A company from near my American grad school had a branch in Beijing, and I went to work there. This company was owned by Christians, and they wanted to evangelize the workers in China. I went to observe their work, and I realized it was actually quite difficult for them. This company had both Christian and non-Christian employees. Although it was doing well in the United States, the environment in China was different.
Some individuals who were unhappy with their current jobs would often go to look for better ones. On the contrary, the situation was better in America. People who worked in a factory there were considered to have a stable job, and were satisfied with that. In the United States, a lot of people would even work at the factory for 20 years. But the workers recruited in China were young. They had just graduated from college, so they might not be willing to remain factory workers for long. It is hard.
Also, they thought Christian faith was American. They had this type of mentality.
CP: What did you do?
Amy: I really didn’t like my job at that time – but by then I had already met Wang Xu [her now-husband].
CP: Where did you meet him?
Amy: At one of the events he organized. I volunteered at an event he organized in Beijing, because he needed volunteers. At that time, I had not yet found a job, so I went to [a city in southwest China] and stayed there for awhile.
CP: You volunteered with his work?
Amy: Yes. We were serving seniors and people with disabilities. I thought, “I’ve never been involved in such things. I didn’t know there were people in China doing this kind of ministry.” So, I went and volunteered with his group for another month. We started dating around that time – but my parents were against that, too.
Amy is a pseudonym for a Chinese woman born in the 1980s. Some identifying details have been changed to protect her identity.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray for young Chinese Christians who face opposition to their faith from their parents.