Editor’s note: Melody Hong became a Christian in high school through foreign teachers at her school. She is now a wife and mother, endeavoring to raise her children in the Lord. Today, she shares with us her initial introduction to Jesus, and how she was drawn to God’s love through witnessing how her teachers interacted with one another. While the concept of God was completely new to her, the Holy Spirit called her to himself.
This story is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Chinese Christians about how they came to know and follow God, and has been edited and condensed for clarity and length. This is the second part of this interview; the first part can be found here.
“God Was Very Attractive”
Melody: After I got into college, I met some Christian workers.
CP: How did you meet them?
Melody: I met a college classmate who had a Bible with her. She was walking around school with a Bible. I was told there were a lot of Christians in the college, but I did not know any. That day I saw her walking with a Bible, and I was so surprised. So I asked her, “Where are you going?” She told me she was going to study the Bible with Lyn. I didn’t know Lyn at the time, I went with my classmate, and that was how I met her. After that, I studied with her.
We learned a lot of material that I could implement and use to share the gospel with other students on campus. But very importantly, I think it was the companionship of my friends’ lives that had a greater impact.
CP: Do you think your faith grew in college?
Melody: I think my faith was established, and has grown since college. I believe this is because there were many studies and other things, such as the companionship of Lyn and other friends. We learned a lot of material that I could implement and use to share the gospel with other students on campus. But very importantly, I think it was the companionship of my friends’ lives that had a greater impact.
CP: Did you go to church at this time?
Melody: Yes, but only a few times, very erratically. The church was far away, and very inconvenient. I was more dependent on workers in the university, because it seemed those relationships were deeper. The church relationships did not seem to go too deep, so it was hard to keep going.
I think God was very attractive to me, and it seemed as if everything about him was very meaningful. That was how I felt at the time.
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I learned, in my junior and senior years, that there was a type of job that served God [full-time]. I felt God had touched me to do that, but I was afraid. I thought it would mean great trials. You could not work outside, and you might not earn a lot of money. In China, when parents send you to college, they have an expectation that you will get a good job and make good earnings. So there was a big challenge, and I was afraid my parents would be disappointed.
CP: When did you tell your parents about your faith?
Melody: When I was in college. Their thinking was, since I was studying English language, maybe I was interested in things concerning English culture. They felt it would be good to learn about this, but they did not know how serious I was. It was hard for me to tell them.
CP: Tell me why it is so hard for Chinese people to tell their parents about their faith [and especially about pursuing full-time Christian work].
Melody: They will think I am crazy. They will believe I am brainwashed or something like that, and that I am so brainwashed that I do this kind of work.
In China, when parents send you to college, they have an expectation that you will get a good job and make good earnings.
“My Heart Would Not Be Peaceful”
CP: Why did you decide to do this work if you thought the price was so big?
Melody: If I didn’t do it, I would have disobeyed God. My heart would not be so peaceful if I didn’t do it. After I made the decision, I think everything was good and became very peaceful.
I enjoyed being with the students. I did this for two years. I prayed to God, “Will it be good for me to do this?” I think God really touched my heart to keep doing it for a second year. I used to think the life of a Christian worker was lonely. But when I started to plan for my departure, I realized it wasn’t an identity or a life [that I enjoyed], but it was the students in school. I felt that was my burden.
During the last year, it was very clear to me that this was my last year. I felt that year would not be used to seek the answer of whether or not to continue in that type of work, but instead I should cherish and treasure it, because it was my last year. I went to [another city] after I completed that year.
When people come to faith after they begin working, they bring a lot of traditions from their family of origin, but not from the Bible. But I think my experience in the university gave me a very good foundation about Christian life and family.
I think the shortcoming of [college groups] is focusing too much on preaching the gospel. It brought great change and blessing to my life, and does a lot of work that is good and beneficial to others. But there are some shortcomings. There is no perfect group.
I am still grateful, because my life changed a lot. I feel that most of my family’s current situation, including my relationship with my husband, the process of getting acquainted with him, and the way we get along with each other can be attributed to the teaching from our college group. In fact, I think this is very different from people who come to faith in Christ after they start working.
We discovered that when people come to faith after they begin working, they bring a lot of traditions from their family of origin, but not from the Bible. But I think my experience in the university gave me a very good foundation about Christian life and family, and all sorts of other things.
Melody Hong is a pseudonym for a Chinese woman who came to faith as a teenager through the witness of foreign teachers at her school.
Pray for full-time Christian workers in China, and especially for young people facing family pressure.