Chinese, Hindus, Muslims - Main Target of Student Body
Old China hands and present day news correspondents seem convinced that students can take seriously the opportunities open to them with the normalization of relations between the U . S. and China. The Chinese World Mission Center has been fast on the uptake, providing a four week special emphasis for students in pursuit of missions to China. Headed by Dr. Danny Yu, the CWMC's "Study Institute of Chinese World Mission" has channeled dozens of interested American born Chinese evangelical students.
In the course of their study, these students have wrestled with the major issues facing the Chinese peoples today. Alan Gates, missionary with the Conservative Baptist Foreign Missionary Society in Taiwan, has presented students with a thorough policy which enables them to determine the next steps necessary to reach the Chinese. Published in his latest book, Think China Gates has put forth a study guide which takes into account the major historical, cultural and political currents affecting both the Chinese Church and mission agency policy.
David Adeney, formerly a missionary under the China Inland Mission (now OMF), addressed the students on the dynamics within the Church in the People's Republic of China. "The old kind of Christianity, the institutional, westernized Christianity, has died," he noted, "but a new truly Chinese church has sprung up." This new church seems to be based upon a strong lay leadership, with its roots in the family yet it has no printed Bibles or Christian literature to speak of. And the suffering of believers has been intense.' He went on to say that Christian movements have even emerged within some of the large communes.
Alumni Continue Projects
Some students, upon completion of the IS/China courses, have decided to enroll in the certificate or master's degree program in the Teaching of English as a Second Language, as a means of perhaps actually working in the People's Republic of China someday.
Other IIS students (those enrolled in the month or semester series of world perspective courses) have interfaced with the Institute of Chinese Studies and have directed their thesis project towards specific Chinese peoples. One project, which investigated the Chinese Muslim peoples of Northwest and Central China, actually had to interface with both the Institute of Chinese Studies and the Samuel Zwemer Institute (a major Muslim research Center working in conjunction with key international mission centers).
Don McCurry, director of the Samuel Zwemer Institute, has channeled the energies of IIS students as well. Three students have actually produced a Handbook for Christians working with Iranians in North America. The study guide, developed in interviews with Iranian believers, special Iranian friends and key missionary personnel, will assist North Americans in communicating more sensitively to the Iranian peoples at their doorstep.
Another team of ten IIS graduates pioneered an "Advanced IIS" course in South India, where the group is now working adjacent to an indigenous Indian missionary society called the Friends Missionary Prayer Band. By becoming involved in language acquisition, development projects and evangelistic efforts, the team members hope to discover their potential roles in the Hindu context. Bruce Graham, leader of the project, is mapping the distribution of the predominantly Hindu population of North India, where the ratio of Christians to non Christians (except for the Northeast) is about one tenth of one percent.
Don Richardson, well known author of Peace Child has found IIS a great place to transmit to the younger generation the concept of "redemptive analogy" a communications model that has revolutionized missions. Richardson, whose work with Regions Beyond Missionary Union in the tribal mosaic known as Irian Jaya, has encouraged some IIS grads to consider working with his mission.
The most significant thing I learned from IIS," stated Jon Lewis (a new RBMU candidate), "was an understanding of the vital role of the mission societies. There is great value in relating to an agency instead of attempting to go by ourselves." Lewis acquired a Master's in TESL and is aiming to work with the Quechua of South America, where key breakthroughs are beginning to open this formerly resistant people to the Gospel.