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 while doing grad school in the States. When she finished and returned to China, her parents strongly opposed her new faith. They were also unhappy when she began dating Wang Xu, a fellow Christian who was involved in mercy ministry work.
A Tense Relationship
China Partnership: Your parents were opposed to your relationship with Wang Xu?
Amy: They were against Wang Xu, against my job, and against my faith in God. What is more, they even came to Beijing. They rented a place in Beijing and lived there. That gave me huge pressure.
I was very stressed, but at that time, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to have intense conflict with my parents. They were against everything. I was an adult, and I had made my decision. I did not commit my crime, and I did not make a bad decision, but they did not give me freedom. As a result, there was great tension in our relationship.
They were against my job, and they were against Wang Xu, too. That is why I didn’t know if I wanted to continue the relationship with him. In my heart, I still wanted to continue, but my parents were so against it. I thought, if they absolutely would not allow us to get married, then what should we do? I didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, their attitude gradually started to change.
CP: Why were they against Wang Xu?
Amy: They knew he had a law degree, yet he choose to do a job like this. [He was involved in mercy ministry to the elderly and people with disabilities.] Why wouldn’t he be a lawyer? That was much better. My parents were probably worried about this.
However, my manager at that time was also a brother. He was very supportive of us. He asked me, “What kind of husband do you want?” I told him I wanted someone who cared about others’ souls, but that my parents were strongly opposed to our relationship.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
He said, “This is really difficult, but think about this: many sisters in Beijing have a really difficult time finding boyfriends before they are 30. [There is strong societal pressure for Chinese women to marry by 30.] Tell your parents about that situation.”
So, I stuck out my neck and continued the relationship. Eventually, my parents agreed.
CP: So you got married?
Amy: Yes. After we dated for more than a year, we got married and moved. On our wedding day, my dad finally decided to give us his blessing, since he believed we were brought together by fate. My mom was still upset and a little dissatisfied. Later, they slowly changed their attitudes, after they saw we lived a happy life, albeit without much money. Eventually, we had a child.
Now they have changed a lot. They also visited our previous church. They attended a dumpling night we had on Chinese New Year. They got to know the leaders of our church, and thought it was very nice that all the people at church were so kind. Before, my mother felt miserable because, although she had raised me, I chose to believe in God. This made her feel rejected again. But when she came to the church, she felt that many people understood her.
The Practices of Our Parents
CP: What is going on in you and your husband’s life right now?
Amy: We have been having Christian gatherings at our home for six months now. This is what takes the most energy in our life right now. Through this, I have met some people who have had similar experiences to myself.
CP: Are you talking about other returnees? [Returnees are Chinese who studied abroad but returned to China after graduation.]
Amy: Yes. Many people went abroad and came to faith in the Lord, and then came back to China before long. Since they came back, they have faced a lot of challenges – as I had, at that time. There are many people – especially young, single people – facing tremendous pressure because their parents want them to get a certain kind of job, and do not want them to attend church. It is very much like the situation I was facing. We just want to encourage these people.
Some of the people we know, friends of my husband, are very enthusiastic about doing charity work and helping the underprivileged. Many of them are not believers, so we hope to share the gospel with them. These people usually have some thoughts about religion. They think, whether Buddhism or Christianity, religion is a way of communication. Of course, what humans really need is to be reconciled to God.
CP: What are your long-term expectations?
Amy: I have been baffled by unconditional love, this idea of loving and accepting someone unconditionally. Even though I have been a believer for many years, I am still sometimes perplexed by this. I struggle with the feeling of rejection. I hope that, gradually, I can have true freedom in Christ, grow more in my faith, and truly love God. I do believe in God in my heart, but there are parts of me that have yet to fully believe. I did not realize this before. I need to grow in areas like family and life.
CP: Is there anything else important you would like to share?
Amy: Although many people in China have come to faith, we still need several generations to mature. Many people who have come to faith in Christ, including myself, still follow the ideas and practices of our parents, because we have been deeply impacted by them. Maybe we will get better generation by generation.
In my observation, in America, this kind of blessing has been passed down for many generations. Even unbelievers are impacted– their attitudes toward people, their compassion for others—are different than ours.
I really believe the Cultural Revolution has done a great deal of damage to China.
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 Chinese Christians to believe and experience God’s unconditional love toward them.