Planting the Seeds of Righteousness: Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia
“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’” —Hosea 10:12 (NLT)
During a recent journey through some far-away places, I was reminded of just how shaky our world is truly. Memories of various encounters and conversations with people from all walks of life reflected a human, real-world perspective during this trip. Each place bore an important theme:
First on the itinerary was Hong Kong, where discussions about China underscored the theme of tension. In conversations with a national advisor, a non-governmental agency worker, and a Hong Kong doctor, I learned quickly about the roots of these tensions:
- There is discord in the Chinese government between “old school” and progressive fractions
- Public tensions also exists between Beijing and Hong Kong democracy activists
- Religious disagreements persist within the population, which the Chinese government classifies as 30% Buddhist, 7% Christian, 3% Muslim--and 60% atheist.
All three individuals with whom I visited confirmed reports that I hoped were not true: There is continued persecution and tightening control with China’s information-gathering budget, which is now surpassing its military budget.
I also learned that Hong Kong, though a place of much anxiety, is also a place of immense hope.
One source, a medical professional, warned us that the youth simply cannot win against the Chinese government. His path to making a difference? Retire and help plant M:28 groups! With the poor being pushed out of the cities, not only are humanitarians challenging emerging, but countless new opportunities for ministry are coming to the forefront.
I am thrilled to called Singapore a place of action. I spoke with people who are actively sharing their faith and changing the lives of those around them. While there, we found ourselves blessed by talking with an international student who had returned home and is now an influential government advisor. After sharing with us about his time of discipleship in the United States, he spoke of his devotion to his local church.
He went on to explain to us how grateful he is to represent Jesus Christ in his government. He also spoke of his quietly resisting constant Chinese attempts to steer his country away from American influence. Truly a modern-day Daniel.
This story highlights the importance of one person’s call to action—of acting on one’s faith. I pray that we may all listen to the call and continue to spread the Good News despite any challenges we may face!
“Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers.”—Acts 12:24 (NLT)
The Land of Oz has recently become aware of the incredible number of incoming international students! Some estimates put the total at 600,000. This is the largest group outside the United States! They have realized the economic benefits of these “best and brightest” students. Many of these scholars visit the land Down Under to experience its natural beauty and affable atmosphere; many of them also happen to attend private universities charging the highest fees possible.
But how are we to reach Christians in Australia?
With the nation’s tiny Christian population, believers in the country are keenly aware of the spiritual opportunities before them.
When my wife and I walked into a large church gathering, a woman abruptly left her small group and greeted us. She had just retired from the mission field. We asked her what she was going to do next. That’s when she said she felt a calling to work with international students. Mind you, she has no details of who we were or about our organization. In the next moment, she asked us what we did. After giving her an overview of International Students, Inc., it was the woman’s turn to realize, yet again, what an awesome God we serve!
Nearby, I heard some commenting on how they believe that American Christians often give astute advice and analysis, but little practical help. What ISI is giving us,” they said, “we really need.”
I am thrilled that we are now connecting more trainers to the four major Australian cities signed up and waiting for M:28 seminars!
Lord of the Harvest
My experiences have led me to ask: How would the Lord of the Harvest see this picture—these stories of tension, hope and action?
The lost sheep are many, the laborers are few—but the Gospel’s light still dispels the darkness in human hearts. There is salvation in none other than Jesus Christ.
For more information:
Learn more about some of the Asian countries where our programs have influenced international students.