February 1, 2008 Volume 21, Number 22
SPOTLIGHT ON MISSION
Ancient Chinese symbols tell God's story
Intercultural Network Canada crosses cultures to share Jesus' message
By Kelly Rempel | ChristianWeek Staff
The Discovering God Through Chinese Characters booklet is making a big impact as it tells God's story through ancient Chinese symbols.
LANGLEY, BCCenturies-old Chinese characters are making the gospel come alive for immigrants of many ethnicities.
Intercultural Network Canada (ICN), a division of Power to Change (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), has been working with Canada's newcomers since 2003. Its mission is to "cross cultures to reach, resource and connect ethnic leaders for Jesus Christ."
"We exist because of the need," says Shirley Eu, who leads the Tools and Strategies department for Intercultural Network. "There are a lot of immigrants coming to Canada, looking for a better life, and we would love for them to find eternal life. We cross cultures to connect with them. We say Christ is the answer to all their needs."
A large number of immigrants, particularly in B.C., are from Asian countries. Most are highly motivated risk takers and highly educated. But, says Eu, many don't know about Jesus or have any idea about the person of Jesus Christ.
Two of ICN's newest resources, the Discovering God in Chinese Characters booklet and the Discovering God in Chinese Characters leadership training DVD are helping to bridge that gap to sharing the gospel particularly with Chinese, Koreans and Japanese people.
Drawing on ancient Chinese history as well as Bill Bright's Four Spiritual Laws booklet, these tools show how Chinese letters (characters) when broken down into their smaller parts (radicals), have direct correlation with the gospel message.
Created thousands of years before Christ's birth, the characters demonstrate a startling understanding of God's relationship with man, says Eu.
"The ancients knew about Jehovah, the triune God, for a very long time. They called him Shangdi," she maintains. "They put it into the Chinese characters for us to discover today. It's actually mind-bogglingGod put Himself in the very language.
"Is it coincidence, or was it actually designed and left for us to understand it this way?"
The resources use 10 characters to describe creation, the fall, and the redemption of man through Jesus' sacrifice. For example, the character for "blessing" is made up of the radicals "God" and "lamb."
"Blessing, thus, comes via God's lamb," says Eu. "The Chinese people are to look out for God's lamb, but who is God's lamb? When we look at John 1:29, John the Baptist points to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
The booklet is having an amazing impact, not only with Asians, but also with Africans, Sri Lankans and people of other ethnic backgrounds who are interested in the language.
"We always thought of Jesus as some Jewish guy who has nothing to do with our culture," says Eu, who was born in Singapore. "Hearing God's message in a language I understand is powerful and makes me want a relationship with the God who speaks directly to me."
"I studied Chinese literature in university and I never saw this explained in this way," said one Taiwanese lady after a Discovering God presentation. "I want to receive Jesus because he has spoken to me in my language."