Photo by Tony Cece

Monday, September 9, 2013

Center for Global Missions Travels to China

Members of the Center for Global Missions team.
Photo courtesy of Lauren Pell
By Brett Wilson
September 6, 2013

"When you're in America, in a Christian school, you get this familiarity with the power of the Gospel," said Regent University associate professor Dr. Clifton Clarke. "You've grown up with it, you've seen it, and you've grown personally in its power."

Though he has a heart for seeing his students grow in Christ from an educative perspective, Clarke is also passionate about ministering to the unreached and unfamiliar. This summer, Clarke and a team of students spent two weeks in China, ministering to university students, some of whom had never even heard the name of Jesus Christ.

According to Clarke, in present-day China, the younger generations are rejecting communism as an ideological approach to life. However, the effects of the Communist Revolution—which replaced religious icons with ideals of the political party—has left gaping holes in the spirituality of the Chinese people.

"There is this vacuum where people tell you that they don't have a religion and that they have envy for people who do have that worldview," said Clarke.

This curiosity about faith was, according to Clarke, the greatest advantage his team had while sharing the Gospel. One young man in particular, a young student named David, stands out. Clarke ministered to him one year ago, and invited him to accept Christ into his heart. David did, and invited his friends to do the same.

"It was the most powerful conversion I've ever seen," said Clarke. "You've got this guy who was saved thirty minutes ago and he was sharing the Gospel—not just sharing, but sharing in a way that was integrated in the Chinese culture."

A year later, Clarke was able to reconnect with this same "dynamic" young man. Clarke continues to share this story with the students who accompany him on these trips.

"It was life-changing, it was eye-opening and it was daunting in many respects, but our students were amazed by how God used them to win people to Christ," said Clarke.

One such student was Lauren Pell, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS). Pell said that though she was timid at first about sharing her faith with others, fearful that her efforts would be "awkward" or "ineffective."

"God proved me wrong, and I loved having deep conversations about Him with people who have been told He wasn't real," said Pell. "They asked such genuine questions and were so interested in hearing about Jesus."

Pell explained that she was strengthened in her faith, and appreciated the chance to become bold as she evangelized with her team members this summer. However, she also had the opportunity to grow scholastically, as she learned to collaborate with the other members of the team, and communicate with people from different parts of the world.

"This trip gave me opportunities to work with and learn from a lot of different types of people," said Pell. "And working on a team of both graduate and undergraduate students from different parts of the country and walks of life really helped me grow as a person."

Learn more about the School of Divinity and the Center for Global Missions.

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