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.
“I Never Heard There Was a God”
China Partnership: Growing up, your family did not have any sort of faith.
Melody: We did not have any faith – but it was not just my family. All the people I knew had no sort of faith. I had never heard there was a God.
CP: How did you first hear about God?
Melody: When I was in high school, about 15 years old.
CP: Before that, had you ever thought much about why you were born, the meaning life, or things like that?
Melody: I did not think much about those things until I heard about God. I just took everything I was taught in school for granted. I heard about Christianity from a foreign couple who were teachers in our school. They were Christians, and they shared the gospel with me.
I did not want to repeat the lives of those around me, or even the lives and marriage situation of my own parents. From what I had seen, I had no hope for the future. I did not understand why I had to work so hard. I did not understand why I had to get married. But when I watched them, I thought there was hope.
They ran a club, and because I wanted to improve my English, I applied to work in their group. I had the opportunity to get to know them, and we became friends. Easter was an opportunity for them to share the gospel with me and the group of students that were involved in our club.
They did not start with the gospel like we usually do, because they knew it was very difficult for Chinese people to believe in the existence of God. They began with creation, how God created the world, and how people fell. They also gathered some evidence to prove that creation, not evolution, was true. This is because, in China, we were taught that evolution was the truth.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
CP: What was your reaction?
Melody: Initially, I was shocked. But it opened up my world, because it was something I had never thought about before. It was hard for me to believe, but it turned my old life upside down.
I don’t think the truth they spoke truly touched me at the time – what really touched me was their viewpoint. They were so different from other people I knew. They were very loving, giving, and sacrificial. When I was with them, I knew they loved me, and I felt very comfortable with them. I noticed that, as husband and wife, the way they reacted to each other and how they got alone with each other was completely different from what I had seen in my background. I found this very appealing.
At the time, I thought the reason they were so different was because of their faith. I did not want to repeat the lives of those around me, or even the lives and marriage situation of my own parents. From what I had seen, I had no hope for the future. I did not understand why I had to work so hard. I did not understand why I had to get married. But when I watched them, I thought there was hope. I believe that is what made their faith so appealing to me.
I didn’t know why, but a voice kept speaking inside of me, saying I should accept it. I didn’t know what to do, so I went back to them. I said the prayer again, and studied the Bible with them again.
CP: What do you think of marriages that you see in society today? How do other people around the community live?
Melody: I think people are prone to a lot of fighting. There is neither much respect, nor much tolerance. People do not want to go to bat for each other, and everything is all about themselves. The most important thing is people do not enjoy their marriages, but just feel it is time to get married. I do not think my parents enjoyed being together, but they also felt you definitely had to get married. If you asked them why, they could not tell you. That was not what I wanted.
“A Voice Kept Speaking Inside Me”
CP: Did you say a sinner’s prayer with this couple?
Melody: Yes. Actually, I said the prayer twice.
The first time, I thought what they talked about concerning the Bible and other things were all too new for me. It was brand new, and I thought I needed some time to digest it. But [I prayed] because they were going back to their country soon.
Then they started discipleship training. We studied the Bible together, but when the study started, I realized I actually did not believe its contents. I did not believe what the Bible said, so I became very miserable. I did not want to pretend to be a Christian and study the Bible with them, so I talked to them.
I told them I thought it was very good to have faith, and that I thought their faith was very good, but I found it hard to believe every word the Bible said. How could I believe in something when I had not even read the whole Bible? I felt I needed a lot of time to read the Bible before I could actually believe it.
CP: What did they say?
Melody: They respected my decision and said it was okay, so I stopped studying the Bible with them. I didn’t really read the Bible then because we had to study a lot, so I didn’t have a lot of time. Also, if you didn’t believe in the Bible, it was very hard to keep reading.
But I felt something strange. I didn’t know why, but a voice kept speaking inside of me, saying I should accept it. I didn’t know what to do, so I went back to them. I said the prayer again, and studied the Bible with them again. It was completely different from the first time.
Melody: I don’t think I had as many doubts about the Bible as before. Even though I didn’t understand everything, my heart was more open. There were lots of things in the Bible that I didn’t understand, and we needed to learn more about them. But I needed to open my heart.
I felt I was different from others. I felt I was a Christian, even though I had no clear idea about what it meant to be a Christian.
CP: Why do you think you were you willing to open your heart?
Melody: I still remember when my friends said the word, “trust.” Because of my upbringing, I could only think about trusting after I fully understood something. But they said, “With faith it is different. It is something you don’t see, but choose to believe. That is trust. If it is something you can touch and you can feel, that’s not trust. It’s not that you only believe what you can see.”
They also said, “It is like love – we cannot see it now, but we believe in the existence of love because we see how people love each other. We can’t see God, but we are willing to choose to believe him. We will see God through all that he is created, or through the sharing of Christians we can see love. Then, in turn, we can see God.”
That turned my understanding of what belief is. At that time, I was willing to believe. But, because the couple left very quickly, there was no one to help us or teach us the Bible. We were very busy, though, because that was my last year in high school. We had to study very hard to prepare for the college entrance exam. I didn’t grow much that year. Sometimes I felt I needed to pray, but it was mostly about studying hard.
But at the time, I also felt I was different from others. I felt I was a Christian, even though I had no clear idea about what it meant to be a Christian. They had a great impact. The result – just look at where I am now.
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 the Holy Spirit to move inside Chinese young people who are hopeless about the future. Pray God will call them to himself through the words and witness of his people.