Tuesday, April 8, 2008

March 2008
Hello Friends,

I know that it has been several months since I have given you all an update, but I wanted to wait until I was able to be back in the States to write. I wanted to have the freedom to share more of what has been happening. It was really refreshing and rebuking. It was refreshing to freely discuss spiritual things with friends, and also eye opening to reveal areas that needed polishing. It was so great to be in a “real church building” and to be able to freely and openly go to worship.

During winter holiday, I was able to visit Beijing for 10 days, and I also spent most of the break with one of my students Angelina (Wang Chien) who lives in Yin Chuan (Northern China). I truly believe that God has orchestrated our friendship. My heart is truly broken over her lost soul. I thought that I cared about people who weren’t saved, but I have learned being in China surrounded by ”lostness” that you don’t love someone until you are their friend. I met her friends and family, saw where she grew up, and somewhere in Yin Chuan the boundary of teacher and student turned to a friendship. We have had many discussions about the Bible and God and many times one conversation is 1 step forward, and the next conversation is 2 steps backwards. One day, while at the Emperor’s Buddhist Temple after we saw everything, we sat down on a bench in the temple and talked about Christianity and Buddhism. That was the most frustrating conversation because I felt that I needed to “win the argument” and “say all the right things”, but at the end of the conversation, God convicted me that no matter what I say He is the one that opens the eyes of the heart.

Living in a “closed country”, there isn’t the freedom to share openly with everyone you meet your faith. Being a witness means time—and a lot of it. Once trust has been established, then one is able to share a little bit, but at the same time, being a Christian comes out in daily life and philosophy here. One of the hardest things about being a Christian is that the Chinese see it as the “western” way to heaven, but that Buddhism is the “eastern” way to heaven. While Christianity is so hard for them to accept, they readily accept evolutionism even though it is a “western” idea. Also, because of China’s history of foreigners forcing change here, it is a delicate balance sharing and not demanding.

This semester I am only teaching my Oral English students at the University. I have 3 classes that I have really enjoyed getting to know. My students are so sweet, and we have so much fun. I have the best job in the world! My boss at the university is also my leader here in China with B.M.M. The relationship with my co-workers is fun and relaxing. There are ½ Chinese teachers and ½ foreign teachers.

After this year in China, I will be attending Calvary Baptist Seminary for a graduate degree in Bible. Since being here, I am also seriously considering getting more training in education and E.S.L. (English as a Second Language).

I remember one time when missionary Earnhart said in one of his letters “to be flexible on the mission field is too rigid, you need to be fluid.” After living here, I am finding that is so true. Many required meetings, dinners, etc… have been relayed last minute, so being fluid is a continual process. Time is also a subjective thing. While most things start on time the importance of ceremony makes many things last longer than it seems they should.

I have learned to appreciate communication (ie: understanding a language) and with that to be more patient with people who are trying to learn English in the States or here. While I understand the idea of many conversations putting into words what I want (and the right tone!) is much more difficult than I imagined it would be. I am just grateful that I have books and other translation tools, while many that have come before had nothing.

Another thing I have learned is that obedience is so important to God. I have been reading in I Samuel about King Saul. Many times he would mostly obey or “had good intentions” but in chapter 1? God tells Saul that he rejected him because he wasn’t a man after God’s own heart. Since Saul didn’t obey, he wasn’t able to have his son be king, and more importantly God’s spirit left him.

Learning how to pray for other missionaries has been another thing I have learned. Sometimes you feel so alienated from accountability; there is the temptation to just let the small things slide, but living a biblical life means that the principles stay the same no matter what country one is in. A missionary struggles to read his/her Bible, the language and cultural differences, loneliness, and diet. I’m not writing this so that you will pity me, because I love it here, but I also want you to know real life issues that we go through every day.

Five women have been saved this past year. It has been exciting to see them grow. Two women who were saved just before our arrival were baptized, and it was the sweetest time of testimony. Nancy is a girl who was recently saved; her father was very angry when she became a Christian. Please pray for her father to be saved.

Two newer Christians (both women) were both recently married to unsaved men. Please pray for them that they would be godly wives and that their husbands would be saved. One of the girls was dating before she got saved, and the other newly saved had an arranged marriage. It is so heart breaking for them to ask prayer for their husbands to be saved.

Please pray that God would send more men to our church. There is only one consistent Chinese man that comes currently. Chinese men are very dictatorial, so the fear of “losing face” and control often makes them uninterested. 75% of Chinese Christians are women which makes it difficult to give a group over to natives.

Thank you for your interest, prayers, and support. I appreciate the love that you have shown me. Thank you so much for all of the personal notes, letters, and gifts. I will try and reply to each one a.s.a.p. 

Only His,
Sarah Evans

P.S. Please use discretion with this information. Also, please do not use any religious words when writing e-mails and letters for personal safety and the safety of others. Thank You.

Also, please do not e-mail this letter to anyone without my mom’s permission.

1 comment:

CLComstock said...

Sarah, it is so neat to hear how things are going in your life. I saw you got to go to Hannah's wedding - totally cool. Wish I could have been there.
Love ya,
LeAnna