Monthly Archives: April 2011

April 2011 Update

This is a copy of an email Rolf sent to Sherri of how he spent this Easter in China. Hope your Easter was Christ filled and as incredible. Jesus is alive! Hallelujah! And He certainly is alive in China no matter what the government would like!!

“We had an incredible Easter Service here in Shijiazhuang. The church was completely full (2000) and another 500 or so sat outside on the steps up to the church listening to the service over loudspeakers. The pastor used scripture passages from Luke, Mark and 1st Corinthians to share the Easter message of Jesus betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection.

After the 2 hour service they rearranged the podium to make room for a 70 person choir dressed in beautiful white, red and purple robes and pulled up a large screen.  For the next hour they showed a film of Jesus’ betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection, accompanied by scripture passage readings and choir singing through each stage from the time the Roman soldiers arrested Jesus all the way to is resurrection from the empty tomb. The film ended with Jesus showing himself to his disciples.

There was a lot of weeping and crying in the church and not many dry eyes. The Chinese people were glued to the screen and you could hear often oh’s and ah’s coming from the benches. When the film began many people from the outside started to come inside and the ushers started to squeeze them into the already overfilled rows of benches. We hardly could move anymore and it became quite uncomfortable, especially for me as I could not stretch my legs any longer sideways to prevent the locking of my right knee. Well, a small price to pay in relation to Jesus’ suffering”.

After the service we had lunch. I had three new students and two previous students and some Chinese friends who joined us. There was a lively discussion going on during lunch and at times it seemed to me that the conversation got a little testy, especially between the men. I was told after the lunch that one man told another one that he was not a Christian (believer) and he should not join us the next time for lunch.

Needless to say I was speechless of the directness of the Chinese when they talk with each other. Another student said that there were many different religions and that he was a practicing Buddhist which started another round of heated discussion, all in Chinese of course. I was sitting there thinking that this could spark another “revolution” if it got out of hand. Thank goodness the lunch was soon over and everyone calmed down and left peacefully.

It looks like I will have my hands full talking with some of these students one by one about Christianity and what it means to be a “real” believer. I am so glad I have taken along enough of the “Anchor for the Soul” booklets which are an excellent tool to share with the students. Everyone comments how clear the message is. Vincent (a student) said it is the best booklet he has ever read explaining how one can become a believer. He read the whole book from cover to cover in one afternoon and soon thereafter prayed to receive Jesus.

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He Is Not Here, He Is Risen!

If you ever been to Sunday School you have most likely heard that verse. It is so well known among Christians that we seldom really feel the depth of what all it has to say. This verse IS the gospel, the good news, that explains to us all how to receive eternal life.

No matter what some people try to say, the words are true. God loved the whole world, each and every person on it. Man was created by God and mankind is offered redemption by him. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and wants all to have eternal life (1 Timothy 2:4).

God showed this love by sending His Son. That is what many Christians are celebrating at Easter. The fact that Christ, who lived a sinless and perfect life, was sacrificed and sentenced to a death which he did not deserve to pay the penalty for sinners like us so that we can have a life that we do not deserve.

Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all”.

So to pay for our sins Christ was nailed to a cross and crucified. What a sad story, at least if you end it there! Too often many of us do. If asked why they are saved they will answer quite readily because Jesus died on the cross. But that is only half of the story!

Luke 24:1 reads: “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!”

Jesus did not remain dead, but instead he was resurrected. As Paul reminds the Corinthians, if Christ was not raised from the dead then our faith is futile and we are still dead in our sins. It was his resurrection that allowed us to receive the ability to be raised again as well and live eternally with Him.

In 1 Corinthians 15:16 it says: “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins…20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead… 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive”.

Because Jesus was not in that tomb, because he was not there but had risen, we too will be raised again when we meet death. Those who believe in Him, who place their faith in Jesus Christ will also be raised and given everlasting life. But that is only given to those “who believeth in him.” Those who do not believe will perish and spend eternity apart from God in everlasting punishment. The question you must answer this Easter is, “do you believe?”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

The love of God at Easter
is there for all to see-
He died for us and rose again
and won the victory!

God bless you with His peace & joy at Easter

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Duplicity, human rights don’t go together

Every evening, at the end of PBS News Hour, one of the most respected news programs in the United States, one can see images of American soldiers killed the previous day. They usually are young men, generally between 20 and 25 years of age.

Even the most hardened person cannot but feel a pang of anguish looking at these young people whose lives have been cut short by an irrational war. And one can imagine how many vibrant lives have been lost and will be lost until the war in Afghanistan ends.

Awful as these losses are, we should consider another reality: images of some other soldiers degrading Afghan prisoners. The images tell us that the soldiers’ lives have been compromised by war and, equally terrifyingly, war has changed them, too. It has made them lose that essential human value that makes us respect other people at their most basic level. And we suddenly have a vision of the essential evilness of war.

Read more at Duplicity, human rights don’t go together

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Moral of the law

In his latest meeting with consultants to the State Council, Premier Wen Jiabao expressed serious concerns about what he called the absence of good faith and a slide in morals.

He said the incessant stream of food-related scandals, from contaminated milk and pork to recycled cooking oil and the more recent “colored steamed-buns”, testifies to the severity of society’s moral degeneration.

We share his concern, and echo his lament that a nation without fine citizenship and moral fiber can never be a truly strong country, “a country others respect”.

In particular, we share his desire for changes to be made.

The worrisome truth in present-day China is that some of our nation’s, and indeed humanity’s, fine moral values have been stood on their heads, and shamelessness is taking over.

One simple, though in no sense insignificant, example is that honesty is now a personal quality to be ridiculed, and being called a good person is equivalent to an insult. Instead, lying is taken for granted as a natural part of officialdom.

It sounded quite sorrowful when Premier Wen quoted extensively from ancient sages to urge, and encourage, his official advisers to be truth-tellers. But that is part of our moral reality.

Something must be done. But once again we find ourselves facing the same old questions – what to do and where to start.

Premier Wen was correct in portraying upgrading the nation’s morality as “complicated and arduous social systems engineering”. And there is nothing wrong with his proposal to incorporate rule of law with moral enlightenment.

But the crux again is how to make it work. The tricky theoretical distinctions and correlations between morality and laws aside, we believe that improving the rule of law is conducive to improving moral consciousness.

Laws exist not to hallmark moral ideals. Instead, they, in many cases, delineate society’s moral bottom lines. A well-implemented law illustrates to what extent a certain behavior is morally unacceptable.

Compared with hollow rhetoric about morality, it is more meaningful for the authorities to deliver to the national populace the message that they are faithfully committed to rule of law. Or in other words, the law will be taken seriously.

However, the authorities’ persistent inclination to turn everything into political indoctrination may render this a failure. Certainly a national moral rejuvenation will prove impossible until the authorities seriously rethink their favored approach to ideological work.

People need to be convinced that no member of society, be it an individual or institution, will be above and beyond the law. For that to happen, officials need to be convinced the law will no longer be bent in their favor when they violate the law.

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Wealthy falling in love with luxury

When you live a carefree life, with credit cards paid by your husband and a single child taken care of by your parents, what are you going to do with your extra money?

The answer from Cui Tiantian, a young Chinese born in the 1980s, is to indulge herself through in expensive tastes.

The 28-year-old, living in Qingdao in East China’s Shandong province, once read a must-have list of 100 luxury goods for women in a lifestyle magazine, and immediately decided to make a list of her own.

Working for her father’s company, she now reads fashion magazines and makes her luxury-shopping list to kill most of her time at the office.

Earlier this year, she used her year-end bonus on a Louis Vuitton bag. “I felt so good when I was told it was a limited edition,” she told China Daily.

“My happiest moment is to delete one item off my list,” she said.

She is among an increasing number of Chinese youth from rich families who are now the main group of VIP members of luxury brands.

Read more at Wealthy falling in love with luxury

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App gives Net users a unique insight

China’s 457 million Internet users are now able to do more than follow pop star’s micro blogs for news about their next concerts or romantic breakups. Thanks to a test-run of new media platforms, they can now keep tabs on government agencies.

The government’s first app for the iPad, from the State Council Information Office (SCIO), became available on April 6 and was downloaded more than 20,000 times in the first three hours, said chief developer Ling Chen. The free application, available from Apple’s App Store, targets the more than 15 million iPad users worldwide.

Read more at App gives Net users a unique insight

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Law must be more than just words

After decades of legislation, China has finally established its own basic legal system. But that system leaves much to be desired; there are still loopholes to fill. Therefore, in the coming years, more effort is needed.

In China, the economic and political, as well as many other social institutions, are still immature and need to be further developed. As a result, the laws governing finance, the transfer of land-use rights, housing, and ecological protection are far from adequate to meet the needs of healthy growth. So they need to be constantly amended to adapt to changing circumstances.

Read more at Law must be more than just words

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Red-hot growth fuels economy

China’s economy continued its rapid expansion in March as the inflation index climbed to a 32-month high.

Meanwhile, GDP rose marginally faster than expected in the first quarter, indicating that the government still has much work to do to prevent the economy from overheating.

The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 5.4 percent year-on-year in March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday. The growth rate is the fastest since July 2008 and exceeded most economists’ forecasts of 5.2 percent .

Read more at Red-hot growth fuels economy

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Inflation battle set to redouble

China’s bank lending and money supply accelerated at a faster-than-expected pace in March. That’s exacerbating policymakers’ concerns about excess liquidity in the world’s second-largest economy, where inflation is expected to accelerate at its fastest pace since 2008.

New yuan-denominated loans stood at 679.4 billion yuan ($104 billion) in March, while the country’s broad money supply (M2) rose 16.6 percent from a year earlier to reach 75.8 trillion yuan. The figure exceeds the whole-year target of 16 percent set by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) at the beginning of this year, a statement on the central bank’s website showed on Thursday.

Read more at Inflation battle set to redouble

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“Tiger Moms” popular in China

The strict parenting style advocated by Amy Chua, the Yale law professor, in her latest book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is still popular in the country today, according to a recent survey.

Among 1,795 people polled online by China Youth Daily’s social research center, 94.9 percent said they know women who are strict mothers, and 55.1 percent said they see merit in Chua’s parenting.

Read more at “Tiger Moms” popular in China

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