How I Prayed for Learning

It was grey and drizzly that day in March of 2020. I was holding my 3-year-old’s hand and wearing my baby as other parents swarmed outside the elementary school, waiting to pick up our kids. Swirling rumors had solidified: due to spreading Covid, our school, like others across the nation and eventually the world, was shutting down.

The apocalyptic scene will probably be burned in my mind for the rest of my life. On that dreary Friday, I realized my husband and I were ultimately responsible for learning within our family. Since then, a confluence of circumstances (not merely Covid) led me to begin homeschooling.

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“While learning is more than formal education, it is not less. Learning also seems to be the topic over which many Chinese friends are spending the most time, energy, and concern.

This month China Partnership has intentionally prayed for “learning” in the church in China. Over the last two and a half years, this topic has been at the forefront of my mind. While learning is more than formal education, it is not less. Learning also seems to be the topic over which many Chinese friends are spending the most time, energy, and concern. I am praying for learning for the church in China in three main areas: childhood education, structured theological education, and evangelism and discipleship among students in China and abroad.

Childhood Education

I began formally homeschooling a year ago, which has inspired me to understand the educational choices others make for their families. I do not believe homeschooling is God’s call to all believers, but I have become curious why so many Chinese brothers and sisters are going to great lengths to pursue a Christian education for their kids.

I recently exchanged messages with a dear friend in China who is also homeschooling. She said belief in God has helped her and her husband understand that good education is not being crammed with more knowledge – instead, it is having fellowship with and loving different kinds of people in their own areas of strength. She desires to weave learning and faith together as a whole, teaching her kids to know God and to use his words as the basis for their worldview. She does not want an atheistic education, like the one she received, for the next generation. 


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This beautiful vision comes with a steep cost. For many Chinese families, that price includes visits from government officials, intimidation, threats, lack of job security for parents, and an uncertain future. When I pray for learning, I pray for my friend and the many thousands of families like hers seeking to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. May God protect these families, guide them, and give them wisdom as they make difficult decisions and painfully count the cost.

Theological Education

I also prayed for theological education. Due to the growth of the church over the last decades and political reasons influencing the theological education available within Mainland, this is an area of great need for the Chinese church. It is also an area of great promise, as Chinese have the chance to integrate intellect and application in a way that is not typically done in Western seminaries.

This month Sister Xu, a sister in a Chengdu church, shared her reflections on how formal theological education has blessed her life and ministry over the last year. As she has come to understand how God has moved throughout human history, she has also fine-tuned her own spiritual radar and begun to taste the grace and love of the Lord in a new way.

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“May God protect these families, guide them, and give them wisdom as they make difficult decisions and painfully count the cost.

The Chinese church is in desperate need of lay leaders and full-time Christian laborers who have depth of training and understanding. I pray more and more churches across China are able to offer their people opportunities to deepen their learning so they may come to know and love the Lord more. 

Chinese Students at Home and Abroad

One month ago, our family welcomed some long-time Chinese friends to the States as the husband began graduate studies here. Our friends are believers, and are eagerly hoping to join a local congregation. Their arrival reminded me to pray for Chinese students to come to know Christ – both within China and overseas.

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“I pray more and more churches across China are able to offer their people opportunities to deepen their learning so they may come to know and love the Lord more.

As the new school year begins, students are arriving at their campuses, settling in, and trying to figure out how to begin a new life. As they devote years to intellectual exploration and preparation for their long-term future, many will also be open to exploring questions of faith and the meaning of life. Ministry to Chinese college students faces many obstacles these days, and is an area in desperate need of prayer. Within China, many campuses are not open to outsiders, and students are inaccessible and hard to get to know. Even overseas, the Chinese student circle can often feel like an unwelcoming and closed-off group.

Pray that God will open doors and make a way for more students to hear of his love and mercy. Pray for those seeking to reach college students to have creativity, authenticity, and above all a spirit of discernment. May God reach those he is calling, and may more and more students come to know his love.


E.F. Gregory is a mom of three young children. She lives in the San Gabriel Valley on the border of East Los Angeles, where her husband is a P.C.A. church planter.  

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for God’s guidance on Christian education, for more opportunities for theological education, and for Chinese students to come to know and follow him during their time in school

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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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