A letter from Myoung Ho Yang in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from Hong Kong
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Greetings from the East Coast of the U.S.! We are in the U.S.A. for our IA (Interpretation Assignment). In the two and a half months that have passed since we came back from Hong Kong after two years of mission service, we can tell that we are already acclimated to our life in Hong Kong. I was a little bit shocked when I noticed that my relatively insensitive skin was reacting to the relatively dry climate in this part of the U.S., compared to the very humid climate in Hong Kong. It seems our ears also have been accustomed to being surrounded by people who speak Chinese or Cantonese in Hong Kong. It was a bit unfamiliar to be in an environment where we cannot hear people speaking in those languages every day.
We have been visiting many churches and people to share what God has been doing in Hong Kong through our ministry as mission co-workers. It is a precious time for us to be strengthened by the warm welcome, prayers, and words of encouragement we receive from the people we have met as we travel. We are very excited for this opportunity to meet people who passionately want to hear about Christianity in China and to invite them to join in God’s mission. We are also encouraged when people have been able to feel the hunger of Chinese Christians for the Word of God and spiritual formation and to understand the importance of and urgent need for church leaders in China who are well trained in theology. It is our joy to share God’s mission as we have driven lots of miles and met many people during this IA.
Christians in China form a very small part of the population, but the number of Christians is growing very fast. Some estimates indicate that the Chinese Christian population increased by 5 million last year. Estimates vary widely, but the total Christian population in China is now thought to be somewhere between 30 and 100 million people. This Christian population is hungry for the Word of God and for spiritual growth.
However, there is a severe shortage of well-educated leaders for the church, and there is only one seminary in all of mainland China that offers a master’s level degree in theological education, and that program is limited to a small number of students. The Divinity School of Chung Chi College, where I serve, has been playing a very important role in training church leaders for China since it began offering theological education in 1957. It is the only theological education institution within a Chinese public university, which makes it possible for mainland Chinese students to come to Hong Kong on a student visa in order to attend Divinity School.
We would like to thank you for your prayers for our two sons in the U.S.A. Living away from their parents, they have managed their life well and are prepared for the next stage in their lives. Our older son, Samuel, has decided to attend a seminary with a calling to the ministry. He has begun this new chapter of his life this summer. The younger son, John, finished his college this spring and started to work a couple of weeks ago.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your prayers and financial support for our ministry. For the last two years I have taught courses in worship and sacred music. I have really enjoyed teaching there, but at the same time I sometimes wondered whether I am really speaking to them and whether my teaching ministry is really of benefit to the students. I was deeply encouraged when the coordinator of the Master of Ministry program, also a professor at the school, shared with me an email that one of my students sent to the school. The student “very much enjoyed” my class and “longed to take” other courses of mine in worship and sacred music. Another student has organized a worship committee at church and begun to design worship services, applying what we have discussed in our classes.
We will return to Hong Kong at the end of August for our next term of service. We will continue to study Chinese. I will continue to design new courses and Ji Yeon is looking forward to working with other Christian workers in Hong Kong.
Your prayers and support lift us up greatly, and we appreciate them so much! But also, by praying for us and for our students, colleagues and friends, and by giving your financial support, you are working together with us as co-workers in God’s mission. We ask you to continue to walk together with us to help prepare future leaders for the church in China.
In Grace and Peace of Christ,
Myoung Ho and Ji Yeon
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