Darkness to Light, Part 3: “The Darkness Would be Completely Transformed by God”

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Editor’s note: Grace transforms. In recent decades, millions of Chinese people have met Jesus and had their lives turned inside out. Their hopes, dreams, families, leisure, and (in some cases) occupations have changed because of Christ. 

This is the first in a series of stories about Chinese coming to faith. The personal experiences of these Chinese believers flaunt the inescapable truth: God is real, and meeting him changes everything. Our hope is that these interviews challenge and encourage Western believers to examine their own faith, as well as reminding them to pray for their brothers and sisters in China.

“Lola” is a bright young woman who attended one of China’s top universities. Her résuméis full of professional accomplishments. Though her life is full of modern success, turning to God meant trusting him more than the ancient, vindictive spirits her mother served. Before Christ, Lola thought often of life’s pointlessness, and from her teen years struggled with an awareness of her own internal darkness. As with many young, urban Chinese, she first heard of God’s grace during her college years. This is the third and final section of this three-part interview with Lola, detailing her experience encountering and growing in the gospel. Make sure you check our Part 1 and Part 2!

After college, what did you do?

I went to grad school at the same university. I was pretty sure the decision was from God, because I met someone who had an HR role in a non-profit. I thought what she did was cool – she cared about people who helped others. I thought, “There are a bunch of people in the world who work. They manufacture, they teach, they babysit, they manage. I want to serve them and help them do what they do, better.” 


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In the third and fourth years of college I was challenged to consider if I wanted serve college students on campus, but I didn’t want to do that. I decided if I wanted to serve young professionals, I needed to be one, to get a job and see what that life looks like.  

What did you study in grad school?

It was similar to my undergrad in business studies. Academic-wise, I didn’t really learn much in grad school. In the first year of grad school I was constantly thinking I want to quit because I wasn’t learning much. 

But then I started a six-week internship at a [Christian] non-profit in another city and ended up staying for a year. 

Why did you decide to stay? 

It opened my mind to see how you can serve people with a heart from Jesus. It was not like when I was at school, when we lived in a bubble. That non-profit served the poor, people with various problems. They were not trying to convince them to believe in Jesus, they just loved them. A lot of what I did in college was trying to share God with people. I felt like, “I do care about these people, but is this the only thing I do with them?I cannot just hang out with them.”

That trip was super eye-opening. That year changed and transformed my life. My faith grew deeper. I lived with a family who had mentored me back in college and observed how they raised their kids. As for my job, I saw how what I learned at school and my professional skills could contribute to something beyond just making money. 

After that I went back to finish school and took a consulting job with a professional firm. The first two years I was there I worked like a dog. I didn’t think much, but I learned a lot. As for my relationship with God, I was constantly struggling with questions like, “What is the value of what I do? How can I bless people around me?” It wasn’t that there were no opportunities, but I didn’t have the capacity. I wanted to love my colleagues, but I myself struggled so much and didn’t have any say on the team. I didn’t have any influence on people around me. I started to ask God, “Do you want me to become a manager in a firm like this, where I could have my own team, impact them, and help them grow in a different way?” 

But I realized that if I kept staying,my faith and character were not mature and strong enough. I’m pretty sure I would have become a manager like my manager, which I didn’t like. It was time to move somewhere I could grow my professional skills, and where it was more holistic, spiritually and personally.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

For me, coming to know God, my previous experience with all those fake gods was a big factor. Also, my thoughts around the meaning of life. Once I came to know God, he equipped me with knowledge, and constantly challenges me with real life experience. I love it.

What do you mean you love it?

I remember that, for a while, when I was working for a firm, I didn’t feel close to God because I was working so hard. I feel like I had lost meaning again, I was just running. I told myself, “If you don’t do it well—that is, my relationship with God—if you’re not serious about this, then just give it away. Either be serious about it or don’t have it.” And I thought, “I have nowhere to go. My life is in him.”

That sounds like Peter, who said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Even though I can’t do it well or I’m not in a good place, I have nowhere to go. It’s all in him.

If you were to share one thing about your experience walking with God, what would it be?

I’ve always loved Philippians 3:8: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

When Paul met Christ, everything he considered as treasure became nothing.

Why does that speak to you?

I was constantly thinking about that when I was throwing the wine away. In a very specific way, what I believed would be the controller of my life had no control over me at all.

To another extent, all the struggles, the darkness, whatever lies I believed about who I am… that would be completely shaped and transformed by God. 

Last year I read through Philippians a lot. I want to grow in him in joy. In the past, I thought joy was knowing how to suck it up or to be positive in a hard situation. I wanted to learn that skill.  But after I read through Philippians, God helped me get a little taste of Paul’s joy when he was in prison. It’s not like Paul is positive about it. His heart is completely not there, his heart is on Jesus’s gospel and the Philippians. When he heard the gospel is spreading and the Philippians are growing, that’s where his joy came from. He’s so filled with joy that his surroundings or the situation don’t even matter.

It’s not him sucking it up, but he is focused on something else so completely that he doesn’t care. That’s quite challenging.

Yeah. The first couple months I was reading through this, nothing came to my mind or heart. But I feel like slowly the Spirit helped me and opened my heart. I am really thankful. God so wants me to know him, he is more than happy to help me taste a little bit of what his kingdom feels like—what great joy feels like, what it means.

“Lord, I understand I’m your daughter—but what does that really mean? I want to know.”

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Further Reading

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Nanjing: Love Under Pressure
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Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
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Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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