Living As Sojourners

Editor’s note: This month, we are praying for the church in China to hold fast to Christ. But as we pray for Christians in China, we also want to pray for Chinese Christians who, for various reasons, no longer live in China.

Today Pastor Zeng, a church planter who now lives in Southeast Asia, wrote about how he and his family held fast to Christ even as they left their homeland. Pastor Zeng said that, although moving is difficult, a Christian’s true home is in heaven. Earthly uprootings can take their proper perspective when we remember that Christ is with us wherever we go.

This essay has been lightly edited for clarity and length.


One Day, We Will All Move To Heaven

Thank you, Lord! Moving is actually a difficult thing, and it has been especially hard for my wife. A stable environment allows people to rest, and to enjoy the beauty of that rest.

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“Through the salvation God has given us, we see that his promises are faithful and will never fail. One day we are all going to move to heaven. We look forward to moving to that best place which God has prepared for us.

The first time we moved, it was for our children’s education. We wanted them to go to the church school, and to be involved in it. We had already bought our own house and were happily living in it, but we rented our home out to someone else. Then we rented another house for our family to live in. After a few ups and downs, and because of ministry needs and constant church planting events, we eventually sold our house. When we sold the house, at first I felt a little uncomfortable. Later, I got used to it.


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We see more and more clearly that in this world we are only sojourners and exiles. Through the salvation God has given us, we see that his promises are faithful and will never fail. One day, we are all going to move to heaven. We look forward to moving to that best place which God has prepared for us. With this hope, although moving is difficult, we feel it is also full of joy. Every time we move, we have within us that true hope.

More recently we moved from China to a city in southeastern Asia to follow God’s calling. We moved here for the purpose of doing church planting and establishing a seminary to train more people who can be called to the harvest field and will plant more churches in the future. With this burden, we came to our current city. We don’t know where we will go in the future, but we do know we will move again to plant churches.

There is always a time to move, but every time we move, we are looking forward to the ultimate and real move. I am so thankful to be reminded of where I am going, of where I will live, and of who is going to walk with me there. He is a faithful Lord! He is always with us, even when we are living as sojourners – let alone in the future, when he comes again and we will be together forever.

We Are Sure Of God’s Leading

Currently, I live in a large city. I am a pastor of a church here, helping in their transitional process of institutionalization. I hope we will build a well-institutionalized church here. I came to this city in the summer of last year with my family. Why did we leave China and come here? To do church planting.

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“I am so thankful to be reminded of where I am going, of where I will live, and of who is going to walk with me there. He is a faithful Lord! He is always with us, even when we are living as sojourners.

In China, I felt the lack of workers in ministry, but in China it was too difficult to do anything involving theological training. That is why we wanted to establish a seminary here – and here we are. As a pastor and a church planter, I will surely start planting churches. Since we arrived, the Christian school my children attend was without a pastor. I am grateful they wanted us to promote the Reformed tradition here, in their church. That is how we started our current ministry.

Of course, there were struggles in the process of leaving China and moving here. The main struggle was whether or not our decision was due to God’s calling and guidance. This is a very important issue. We are thankful that, along the way, there has been clear evidence from the situations around us: the support of the seminary, the needs of the Christian school, or even the suitable conditions this country provides for establishing a seminary. We are more and more sure of God’s leading, so we are able to walk this path with peace in our minds.

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“The main struggle was whether or not our decision was due to God’s calling and guidance… We are more and more sure of God’s leading, so we are able to walk this path with peace in our minds.

There have been adjustments in our life since we moved to a foreign country. After all, we had a very comfortable life in China. After we moved here, there is a language barrier and we have had to make some adjustments to our diet. But these are only small things, not worth mentioning, because there is not much pressure financially. This is because God had richly provided for us a long time ago.

As we consider the needs of the seminary students, they will need places to do internships. Because of this we hope to plant five or six churches before September, and the seminary students can do their internships there. We pray that, through church planting, we can provide internship opportunities to seminary students. At the same time, with the students, we can also help with the church planting movement in this country. I believe this is something that is pleasing to God, and he will lead us and complete his work in his amazing way.


Zeng Likun is a pseudonym for a Chinese pastor. He and his family now live in southeast Asia, where he continues to plant churches and lead a seminary.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for Chinese Christians to experience the real and precious presence of Christ in every place they live on earth. Pray for Chinese Christians to remember heaven is the true home of every believer.

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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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