Last night my husband and I went out to dinner. After dinner we ran in to a group of foreigners. I asked if they are teaching english here in China, and they confirmed that they teach at a school not far from our home. We got to talking and in the conversation I asked if they had seen the sun that day. It was a particularly polluted day, so the sun looked red, and wasn't bright. We were talking about how bad the pollution was, and my husband made a scriptural reference to a scripture that talks about the moon turning to blood. The woman immediately said, "Are you Christian?" We told her that we are. She then said, "So have you been able to do a good work here?" I explained to her that our church has an agreement with the government of China that we will not proselyte here. In exchange, they allow the Chinese national members to meet freely with each other. I explained that we honor that agreement. We also explained that foreigners meet in our home every Sunday for church. She commended us, and told us we would be blessed for our efforts.
I guess I'm naive, because this was a little bit of an eye opener for me. I didn't realize that many people are coming here to "teach english", with the aim of secretly proselyting Christianity. It's against the law to proselyte any religion here. People are allowed to be religious, but aren't allowed to proselyte. I really thought that most of these teachers were just coming because they couldn't find another job in the States.
I am remembering back to a couple I met at the airport when I came home from the States last summer. They said they were coming to teach English at a school here in Wuhan for three months. They also mentioned that they were Christian. Now I am thinking they must have looked at this three month assignment as a mission.
I will continue to honor the agreement our church has with the government of China. I think by so doing, we build a relationship of trust with them. And our church's position has always been that we go through the front door, not the back door, and then only when invited. I think the day will come when China opens to proselyting, but that may not be in the near future. But I think we do more good by waiting on God's timing.