China trip result of Texas church’s local evangelism
“Government officials clearly want enterprise to come to China …,” said Waterview deacon Thurman Alexander (left). They also seek educational opportunities for their people, and foreign investment in projects including schools and training programs.
But, “with regards to traditional mission efforts, we were told specifically that it was not permitted,” Alexander said. The government officials said that freedom of religion exists in China, and that visitors were free to worship as they pleased – and even invite others to worship. However, these “others” cannot be Chinese citizens.
The delegation from the Waterview church, Richardson, Texas, included Alexander; Martin Fu (left), Chinese minister; Jim Grigsby, deacon of the Chinese ministry; his wife, Wilena; and Glenn Rogers, dean of students for the Center for Christian Education, Dallas.
The group met with officials from the State Administration for Religious Affairs. They also visited churches ordained by the government and a government-sanctioned seminary.
The Chinese government invited Waterview members because of the congregation’s 10 years of work among Dallas’ Chinese community. Located within two miles of the University of Texas at Dallas, the church has attracted many of the school’s international students, and offers English-language training classes and a Chinese-language worship service.
“While we have been working to reach our local Chinese community, God has been opening a door to China,” said Robert Oglesby, Waterview’s pulpit minister.
The church also hosts Chinese Culture Days, inviting members of the community to experience Asian food, culture and festivities. Representatives of the Chinese consulate in Houston and the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., have attended. One high-ranking official left the festivities with the comment, “I now have a different view of Christianity than when I came,” said Robert Taylor, Waterview’s minister of administration and evangelism.
Despite the limitations on evangelism encountered on the China trip, “Our group came back with very positive feelings about how we were treated as well as opportunities we felt were open at this time,” Alexander said.