Finding the Hope of Jesus

By   •   May 1, 2008

When Chang met Jun and his family, she was happy with her situation. She had never been to school, and she could neither read nor write. But her husband’s family was fairly well known and wealthy in their town, and now she would never need to worry about money or her next meal.

Jun’s family was a Christian family, and Chang accepted Christ as well. Over the next few years the couple had three children–first a boy and then two girls.

Then, when their son was about to turn 10 and their youngest daughter was 10 months old, Jun disappeared. His absence stretched from days to weeks, and then to months.

Jun had become addicted to drugs. In his absence, Chang had to look after the children and a helpless father-in-law in addition to shouldering the workload of the family business. At night, she would cry and share her burden with her godly mother-in-law. Although Chinese culture typically would allow a mother-in-law to blame her daughter-in-law for any of her son’s failings, Jun’s mother did not. Instead, she would encourage Chang to kneel in prayer, seeking God’s help.

Chang’s knees became hardened from kneeling, but where was the Jesus her mother-in-law had drilled into her heart? At times she was tempted to give up her Christian faith, but she remained faithful and continued to ask God for strength and provision.

Finally, news came from Jun. He was in a drug rehabilitation center, and he asked her to pray that he would recover from his drug use. Six months later he returned home, free from drugs and committed to Jesus Christ and his family. It had been a hard road for both, but Jesus had proved faithful, and He brought healing to their marriage.

Today, some 15 years later, Chang and Jun Li are Christian leaders in their town, reaching out to many Chinese in the region and telling them of Jesus’ love. Although Chang still can’t read or write, she tells about her life and about the goodness of God. During the My Hope World Evangelism Through Television Project, she invited friends to watch the program and learn how to put their trust in Jesus Christ. Many people in their neighborhood have accepted Christ through Chang’s simple testimony, which they themselves have witnessed over the past 15 years.

MOBILIZING BELIEVERS
Chang is just one of thousands who participated in the Overseas Chinese Project, part of BGEA’s My Hope World Evangelism Through Television Project, which since 2002 has reached millions with the Good News of Jesus. Like Chang, believers who have been transformed by Jesus Christ want their families and friends to know Him as well.

In this phase of the project, BGEA produced five programs in Mandarin, Hokkein and Cantonese and worked through churches to mobilize Christians in seven countries to invite friends to watch a program, hear the host’s testimony and have an opportunity to put their faith in Jesus Christ. More than 5,500 Christians were trained to open their homes for the project.

As this issue of Decision went to press, BGEA had received reports of more than 11,000 commitments to Jesus Christ. One woman was considering suicide due to personal problems. She was a Christian but had not attended church for many years. Just before she was going to follow through with a suicide attempt, she was invited to watch one of the Overseas China Project programs. As she watched, she began to cry. After the program, she abandoned her suicidal thoughts and rededicated her life to Christ.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES
Pastor Ramon asked his sister to play one of the programs for their father, a harsh man who believed in Christ but did not easily forgive others and did not attend church. Ramon’s sister agreed to share her testimony as well. However, their father was more interested in watching news about a large rally that was happening that same evening. He didn’t believe the local TV station, which was covering the rally, would stop its coverage to broadcast the program.

But that’s exactly what happened. The father sat through the program. And when it ended–before his daughter could share her testimony–the father (who is partially paralyzed) painstakingly walked to his wife and apologized for how he had treated her, then apologized to his children. The evening ended with the family praying together.

The next morning, Ramon received a phone call from his father, who apologized for being so strict and for making life miserable for Ramon when he was a child. A few days later, Ramon had another talk with his father, and Ramon reports that his father is now reconciled with God. He is attending church and is serving in the men’s fellowship.

SHARING WITH FAMILY
Chen runs a gift shop. As an eldest son, he had great trouble providing for the daily needs of his extended family. As a result, the family had little harmony. In addition, Chen’s mother was always unhappy with his wife, whom she accused of having taken away her son.

In the middle of January this year, Chen attended a training session for My Hope. He was challenged to follow the Apostle Matthew’s footsteps and tell his family and friends about Christ. Chen was afraid that people might laugh at him as he shared the Gospel with them. He said, “I am very good at telling people about the gifts in my shop. I am very good at telling them to buy my goods, but not at telling them about the Gospel. I began to realize how important it is for us to tell our family members, friends and neighbors about our life as we walk with Christ. So I invited my mother, brothers, sisters and other relatives to my home to celebrate Yuan Xiao, the Chinese Valentine’s Day.”

During the program, Chen noticed that his mother, sisters and the other female relatives were asking for tissues as tears ran down their faces. After the show, the group ate some Chinese New Year goodies and the usual Tang Yuan, a dessert that symbolizes the harmony of the family.

Chen had never told his unsaved family members how he wants them to find the hope he has found in Jesus. But he found the courage to do so as he gave his testimony after the program.

“I did not share much with them on my life before I became a Christian,” he said, “as they had seen for themselves how rotten I was before I accepted Christ.”

Since watching the program, Chen’s brother and sister-in-law have shown interest in knowing Jesus. Their daughter and son have started to go to Sunday school with Chen. Chen’s mother has begun to change her attitude toward his wife. And Chen’s sister also is interested in accepting Christ. Chen continues to pray for the salvation of these loved ones.

One pastor in northern Thailand told how Christ changed his own life 13 years ago when he was a deputy abbot at a monastery of another religion. One night he dreamed that Jesus was telling him to wake up and tell others about Him. He tried to disregard the dream and went back to sleep, only to encounter Jesus again. This time he couldn’t go back to sleep.

The next day, a Christian missionary visited him. Although the two had talked before, this visit was unscheduled. The deputy abbot told the missionary what had happened and asked for prayer. The missionary told him that he must confess his sins, turn to Christ and give up his position at the monastery.

The deputy abbot put his faith in Jesus Christ and told the entire village about his decision to follow the Lord.

He attended a Bible institute and then returned to his home area, where he has pastored a church for several years. He reported that during the My Hope project, 59 of his 70 church members opened their homes for friends to watch the programs, and about 100 people committed their lives to Christ. On Sundays, the church building now overflows with new members, and the pastor says that in all his years of ministry he has never seen such results in such a short time.

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