Jesus Crucifixion

jesus-crucifixion-01

This is the best “crucifixion” scene of Jesus, and the view count speaks for itself.

I could rattle off a heap of “quotes” about Jesus Christ to try and convince the world what he did for us, but the best we can do is let this video stir your “heart” and let the Holy Spirit speak to you where you are sitting and watching this, if you open your heart.

All I can say is you will never know the love and power of Jesus unless you seek him and search for him, then he will open the door and answer you.

When you get a “revelation” of him, then you will know that he is “your” Savior. Don’t wait till it’s too late.

You can “pray” right where you are and “talk” to him right now.

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, workplace insights

Thirty Years in China

thirty-years-in-china-01

Thirty Years in China; Four Observed Trends
By: Joann Pittman

Thirty years ago, I set off for what I thought would be a “one-year” teaching stint in China. Twenty-eight years later, I moved back to the States. Either I’m really bad at math or that was one very long year.

I worked in three different cities: Zhengzhou, Changchun, and Beijing. I wore many different hats: English teacher, Chinese language student, Chinese language program director, English teaching program director, cross-cultural trainer. I learned lots, and of course, made many mistakes.

I count myself privileged to have had a front row seat to watch China transform itself from a country on the brink of social and economic collapse to the world’s second largest economy.

My connections to China actually predate 1984, though. I grew up in Pakistan in the 1960s during a time when Pakistan was one of China’s only friends. My mom drove us to school every morning, and along the way we passed the Chinese Consulate, with its imposing portrait of Chairman Mao. As kids, we had a nickname for him, but it’s probably better left unspoken. It was from Pakistan that Henry Kissinger made his secret trip into China that laid the ground for Nixon’s visit in 1972. When I was in junior high school, there was even talk of a class trip to China; unfortunately the Chinese government. decided it was not in their interest to have a couple dozen American 8th graders roaming around their country.

My first actual visit to China came in 1979, the first year that China “opened up” to American tourists. I was doing a summer internship in Hong Kong, and when the opportunity to do a three-day tour to Guangzhou with a group of American college students came up, I took it. What I saw was a country unlike anything I had ever seen (and I had seen a couple dozen countries already). China was just three years out from the end of the Cultural Revolution, and the exhaustion and oppression was palpable. I remember thinking that if it continued to open-up, it might be interesting to work there someday. As I look back over three decades in China, these are some of the trends that I have witnessed.

1. Ration coupons to Wal-Mart
When I arrived in China, ration coupons were still in use. The political campaigns of the 60s and 70s had brought scarcity (and even famine), so essential foodstuffs were rationed: meat, flour, sugar, and eggs. As foreigners, we could not get the required ration coupons, which meant that we could not purchase any of those items. However, our school was given extra ration coupons so they could feed us. The ration coupons remained in use until the end of the 1980s.In China today, there is no shortage of food or consumer goods available to those with purchasing power. Every major city has a Wal-Mart or some other big box store with food and other items stacked floor to ceiling. Sometimes when I see older people wandering around in these stores, the ones who experienced the famines of the 60s, I wonder what they are thinking.

2. Isolated to Engaged
In the 1980s the world of a Chinese citizen was quite small, existing primarily of family and the work unit. It was difficult to travel within China, and almost impossible to travel outside of China. The students that I taught knew almost nothing of the outside world, and I was the first non-Chinese they had ever seen. I remember one of my students telling me that he had secretly learned English from VOA broadcasts while hiding under the bed. Today the nation of China is fully engaged on the world stage. Its economy is integrated with the global economy and China is seeking to establish itself as a major world power, a second superpower to act as a counterweight to the United States. Chines citizens are traveling and living and working abroad in record numbers as passports and visas are easier to get. In the 1980s I worked hard to explain what a “hamburger stand” was (it was a lesson in the textbook we used), but today kids often ask me if we have McDonald’s in America too.

3. Conformity to Self-expression
One of the enduring images in my mind of China in the 1980’s is the uniform drabness of it all. In addition to the sky and the buildings all being various shades of grey, everyone was still wearing the same dark blue or green “Mao suits” (Chinese call them Sun Yat-sen suits, by the way). Everyone dressed alike and thought alike. The political and social system had no room or tolerance for self-expression. Today, one only occasionally sees Mao suits worn by peasants or construction workers, and everything from fashion to architecture seems to scream out “LOOK AT ME!” The post-90s generation is all about individual self-expression and their own (as opposed to state-mandated) social connections.

4. The Church: Hidden to Visible
In the 1980s the church was in survival mode, having just come through the Cultural Revolution during which religions were banished from Chinese society. Churches were slowly beginning to reopen and pastors were being let out of prison and back into their pulpits. By and large, the church was invisible to society around it. Throughout the 90s and 2000s the church moved into the shadows it was visible, but not very. As it became more visible, it found ways to serve the needs of society. And today, there is even the beginning of a sending movement, with missionaries leaving China to go to other countries. To go from survival to sending in the space of 30 years is an amazing testament of God’s grace and the power of the gospel.

It will be interesting to watch what happens in China over the next thirty years. To quote Rob Gifford, author of China Road: Journey into the Future of a Rising Power, “the next thirty years cannot and will not be like the last thirty years.”

See my personal blog “Outside In” for more China stories.

thirty-years-in-china-02

Joann Pittman is Senior Vice President of ChinaSource. She is the editor of ZGBriefs and Chinese Church Voices, as well as a regular contributor to ChinaSource publications. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and most recently, cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has previously taught Chinese at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul (MN), and is currently a guest instructor at Wheaton College and Taylor University (IN), teaching Chinese culture and communication. Joann has a BA in social sciences from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul (MN), and an MA in teaching from the University of St. Thomas (MN). She is the author of Survival Chinese Lessons, published by Dawson Media. Her personal blog, “Outside-In” can be found at joannpittman.com, where she writes on China and issues related to “living well where you don’t belong.” You can find her on Twitter @jkpittman.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

Luring Kids Into Religion

luring-kids-into-religion-02

In a new set of “education” rules, the Chinese Communist Party is urging citizens to “spy” on their neighbors and “report” parents who raise their children in a “religious faith or have them attend religious services.”

In the northwestern region of Xinjiang, the government “released” the new education norms, with special “emphasis on religious formation,” according to the U.S.-based human rights group China Aid.

The new “rules,” which will go into effect on November 1, stipulate that parents cannot “organize, lure or force minors into attending religious activities,” or force them to “wear” religious dress or symbols.

Moreover, they cannot even “tolerate” that children attend “underground scripture studies.”

If parents are seen to be encouraging religion, “any group or person has the right to stop these kinds of behaviors and report them to the public security authorities,” the norms state.

While China officially guarantees the “right to religious freedom,” the Communist Party tightly “regulates” religious activities, including “religious education,” and discourages minors from receiving “religious formation.”

Chinese law “prohibits” children under the age of 18 from receiving “any” religious education, and the government approved Christian church, the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement,” explicitly “bans” its members from bringing their children up in the Christian faith, labeling the practice “brainwashing.”

luring-kids-into-religion-03

Earlier this year, the “ruling” Communist Party issued an “ultimatum” to parents that if children do not stop “attending” church, they will be “barred” from attending “college” or entering the “military.”

A government office in the central Guizhou province sent a “notice” to all of the schools in the area “announcing” the decision, in an effort to “discourage” citizens from attending “independent house churches” and to switch to a “church under government control.”

The severe “policy” of the ruling party has insisted on government “dominion” even over personal matters such as “faith and family size.”

At the time, government officials “forced” members of the Huaqiu Church into “signing a document” stating that they would no longer “take minors to church.”

Now, Christian children “attending” the church are no longer “eligible” for the college entrance exam or “admittance” into a military academy. Moreover, parents who “take” their children to church are subject to “punishment.”

luring-kids-into-religion-04

Authorities also announced the termination of “welfare and social security benefits” for Christians who are “caught” attending church services.

A local source said that “practicing” Christians would no longer be eligible for “social security benefits or old-age insurance.”

County officials “called on the government in the towns and villages to order believers to sign [a guarantee], stating that if they gathered again, their welfare would be cut off,” the source said.

The Chinese government has “ratcheted” up its persecution of “unofficial” religion not under government “control,” especially against Christianity, which is experiencing “dramatic growth in the country.”

In its annual report on international “freedom” released in August, the U.S. State Department “denounced” China’s continued “suppression of religious liberty.”

luring-kids-into-religion-01

Despite China’s official policy of “freedom of religious belief,” the report states, in practice, “the government exercised state control over religion and restricted the activities and personal freedom of religious adherents when these were perceived to threaten state or Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interests.”

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

Amity Printing

Amity Printing – the world’s largest Bible printer

Amity Printing Company is a joint venture between the Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies. The company was established in 1988 with an ongoing mission and priority to serve the Christian church in China.

Besides our domestic production, Amity is a major exporter of quality Bibles and presently exports internationally to satisfied customers in over 70 countries.

More than 20 years of hard work have made us thin paper printing experts and the main production center for Bibles in China.

amity-printing-01

Based on our high quality printing service and corporate image, our company has built a good reputation at home and abroad. By the end of June 2016, more than 150 million Bibles have come off our production lines.

This figure includes Bibles destined for mainland Protestant and Catholic churches and Bibles export in more than 90 different languages such as English, German, Spanish, and French, together with many African languages.

amity-printing-03

Amity is certified as National Printing Demonstration Enterprise, a Key Enterprise for Culture Export. We take the lead in the printing industry in gaining the certification of High-tech Enterprise and High-tech Product, the FSC Chain of Custody, ISO9001, ISO14001, GB/T28001, China Environment Labeling and AAA Enterprise Credit Evaluation.

The company gains the “Benny” Award of the Premier Print Awards, the Green Enterprise, the 3rd Session of China Press and Publication Awards, the 4th China Print Gold Awards.

amity-printing-02

We are well-equipped for meeting the demands of worldwide Christians through an annual capacity of over 20 million hardbound books at the new factory site which covers an area of 85,000 m2

Our goal is to stay focused on our mission, work hard to produce high quality Bibles for the local church and overseas Christians, and at the same time, maintain a responsible role within society.

amity-printing-04

The Amity Foundation advocates for migrant workers.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

October 2016 Update

Rolf is back in China and back to work. He left here on September 30th for Beijing to spend the night to visit a former student and his wife and their baby. He was Rolf’s class monitor at one of the universities he was teaching at some years ago and through Rolf he accepted Christ. After graduation he started his own business. He today is a successful businessman, a wonderful family man and he and his family are still walking with the Lord. Thank you Lord for allowing us all to be a part of this story!

Before Rolf left we made a trip to Michigan to surprise some longtime friends at their open house to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary and their 45 year anniversary with CRU (Campus Crusade)! When we were on staff with CRU and we were raising our support we very much appreciated him and his help as our support coach. Sherri has a high school friend that lives nearby and we were able to spend the weekend with them enjoying their warm and wonderful hospitality. It was the last weekend before Rolf left and it was a pleasant getaway to enjoy together and with friends.

Rolf has a full schedule with his business and finance classes. He teaches Monday through Thursday from 2pm – 4pm and 7pm – 9pm. He has 12 returning students and 47 new students for a total of 59.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”. II Timothy 2:2.

The most exciting news is what is going on with his new “Faith or Fiction” class that started up the Saturday after he arrived! Two of the ladies that went through his first class have become devoted Christ followers and valuable helpers to Rolf. They have carefully recruited these new people for this class – 21 in all!! Four of the students are from last semester that had wanted to join. The others are their neighbors and from the church.

The 12 week class is on Saturdays from 9am – Noon in a classroom that he is able to use in the school. Rolf leads off with the video presentation and then they break into 3 groups for discussion and prayer, one led by him and the other two by the two ladies. He then brings the class back together to wrap it up.

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” Acts 16:5
This is a great opportunity to train them and for them to be able to take over some day in the future when Rolf is no longer there. They are very capable and have a great heart for the Lord to reach out. They already have plans to take a modified version of this program into the church.

PRAY for a good harvest!! And please PRAY for protection for Rolf, the students and for the owner of the school.

Thank you for being on this exciting adventure with us and being a part of what God has done and will be doing!

Leave a comment

Filed under ministry updates, workplace insights

China’s Charity Law

china-charity-law-01
On 1 September 2016, the “People’s Republic of China Charity Law” has come into effect. The comprehensive and detailed law, which consists of 112 articles, is designed to promote charitable engagement and to regulate the third sector. The legislation opens the door to a more participatory and pluralistic society.

Since 2005, China’s third sector has been waiting for the passing of a new charity law. After the government started to draft the law in 2014, there was a process of two years extensive discussion, research and consultation among academia, the NGO community, the public sector and the government.

Until the National People’s Congress passed the law on 16 March 2016, recommendations, forums and workshops influenced the legislation, giving it a cooperative and concordant character.

The new Charity Law sets new standards and regulations for charitable organizations. Among others, the access for registration and the approval to conduct fundraising will be standardized.

Furthermore, charitable organizations must be solely registered at the public affairs department of the county, city, provincial or national level.

Besides their new rights, social organizations will also face new obligations regarding transparency and management requirements, improving their accountability to the donors, the beneficiaries and the society.

china-charity-law-03

The law is expected to boost good governance and the general development of the philanthropic sector, but in particular grass root and community organizations, which will be eligible to apply for fundraising. Up to the present, many small-scale organizations were operating in a legal gray-area due to the lack of a regulatory framework.

Moreover, many had to channel the raising of funds for projects through more experienced and longer established organizations. The Amity Foundation and its partners were such organizations, which provided those services free of charge for many years.

“The law brings many expectations and comprises effective mechanisms to enhance good governance. It is a good law and the key lies in the implementation”, says Shu Peng, the director of the Shanghai Amity Research Center.

Compared to developed countries, China’s third sector is still in an early stage and underdeveloped.

According to the CAF World Giving Index of 2015, China is ranked 144 out of 145 countries. China Daily stated that in 2014, the United States charity sector represented 2 percent of the national GDP compared to China, 0.16% of the GDP.

The Charity Law, as it is known, focuses on groups dedicated to antipoverty efforts, disaster relief, environmental protection, and public health, among a handful of other areas.

The measure, along with a number of regulations that followed it, make more charities eligible to raise funds from the public and eliminate the onerous dual registration system under which they had to receive approval from both a supervisory department within a relevant government agency and China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The law does not cover “legal, political, or religious organizations”—the cornerstones of an independent civil society, as that concept is understood in the West.

Its vision of acceptable charitable activity is narrow.

china-charity-law-02

China’s Charitable Turn?
China’s new charity law provides much needed clarity and transparency

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture

Covenant Eyes

Covenant-Eyes 01

Do you need some “Internet Accountability?”

Find peace of mind with “Covenant Eyes” which monitors the “websites” visited, the “search” terms used, and the YouTube “videos” watched, and lists them in an easy-to-read report that is “designed” to start a conversation about “healthy” online habits.

Covenant-Eyes 02

Parents, see where your kids “go” online. Adults, reduce Internet “temptations” and protect the “relationships” you value most.

Remove Secrecy. Reduce Online Temptations.

Sign up with an “accountability” partner and have a list of all “visited web pages” e-mailed to your partner.

Better than any “web” filter and will improve your “walk” with Jesus Christ.

Learn more about Internet Accountability.

Leave a comment

Filed under workplace insights