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Yong Mei Wang

Living and Dying for Christ

By Yongmei Wang

January 2014

 

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

-- John 12:24 --

 

Eleven years ago my husband I were on a short mission trip organized by the Bridges International. Our destination was the campus of a famous college sitting on the Yangtze River in China. I clearly remember one night. It was cold and raining. We walked down several muddy streets until we finally entered a residential building near the campus.

 

As we opened the apartment door, we saw 20-30 college students kneeling on the floor, praying fervently. They prayed for the salvation of their friends and families. They prayed for the government and for the salvation of all living in the “10/40 window” (This term is used by missions strategists for those people in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between latitudes 10 and 40 degrees north. This area has the greatest concentration of needs and the least access to the Christian message than any other region in the world).

 

Where did these young believers come from? How could there be so many of them on this campus?

 

At the time, I had been a Christ follower for about six years, but I had lived in U.S. for more than fifteen years. In the U.S., I had many opportunities to hear about Christ, and I had complete freedom to seek God. That was not the case in China. The majority of the Chinese people have not heard of the name Jesus, and one may face persecution for preaching the gospel to strangers, especially to college students. It is illegal to preach the gospel on campus.

 

The group leader was a young lady about thirty years old. I will call her Mary. She was from Malaysia, and she became a believer during her middle school years. About eight years earlier, Mary and a Christian sister were sent to this campus by their church. To the officials in China, they were only foreign students studying Chinese, but they had come to China primarily as missionaries.

 

When the two sisters arrived on the campus, there was not a single believer other than them. Mary quickly learned to speak Chinese (her family is half Chinese), and they were able to communicate with the Chinese students without much problem. Eventually they began a Sunday morning worship service in their apartment. One by one, the number of people who participated on Sunday increased. By the time we visited them, six of her disciples had decided to serve Christ full time. To this day, eleven years later, they are still serving the Lord in China.  

 

In her twenties, Mary had spent all her energy on this campus ministry for the Lord. Because of her special assignment, there were no time and room for romance in her life. “Girls of my age would be dating, but I was all alone,” she explained. “Sometimes I felt down. But then I came before the Lord, and He always comforted my heart.” As I listened to her, the Lord reminded me of John 12:24.  Here is one kernel that died but has produced so many seeds.

 

I then spent some time recalling my life when I was Mary’s age. I had first heard the gospel during my early twenties. Although I learned about and experienced the love of God in many ways, I refused to be a Christ follower. I had my own dream, and I did not want Jesus to be in charge of my life. My aspiration was to become a professor and be a famous scientist. So I pressed on toward my own dream against all odds.

 

But God was in control. At age 30, I had a sad realization. Despite all my hard work and my effort, my dream of becoming a professor was not reachable. It was evaporating into bubbles in front of my eyes. I wept bitterly but it was no use. In the very pit of disappointment and sadness, I began to reflect on my life over the last ten years. With new eyes, I began to consider the God in the Bible. Finally I decided to give my life to Jesus and let Him take control. It was then that I became a Christ follower. Three months later, I received a faculty position offer from a University in North Carolina. God is in control indeed.

 

Two years after our mission trip to China, I received an invitation to Mary’s wedding in Hong Kong.

 

Till this day, I am constantly reminded of dying, dying to my own dreams, dying to my pride, dying to my ambitions. “So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (I Corinthians 4:12).

 

Brothers and sisters, let us move into 2014 with a commitment to “die” so that Christ can be glorified and many thousands may come to know him.

 

About the Author

Dr. Yongmei Wang is a Chemistry Professor at the University of Memphis (Tennessee), and she is on FollowOne’s board of directors. Yongmei and her husband helped begin and still coordinate an effective outreach to the Chinese scholars in Memphis. They also help lead the Memphis Chinese Evangelical Church. Yongmei and her husband Dawei have three young children, a daughter and two adopted sons. 

 

A Word From James 

Putting the needs of others ahead of our own desires just goes against our “bent” toward sin and selfishness. It will be impossible for us to live that way in 2014 without the power of the Holy Spirit. Come Spirit, come! Is there a way FollowOne can help you, your children and your church take new steps in response to God’s call to serve lost and hurting people? Call us (407) 366-8485.

 

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