One World, One Dream

7 August 2008

Are we ready for the Olympics extravaganza?

by Victor Sun, General Secretary, Langham Foundation-Hong Kong

8 August 2008

Are we ready for the Olympics extravaganza? We in Hong Kong are eagerly waiting for the opening ceremonies on 8th August at 8:08 pm, when the spectacular 17 days of competition begins. The Chinese government is doing everything possible to make the games a success by spending billions of dollars on the city. In the last few months, 30 sport stadia and 44 training centres have been erected, new air-conditioned buses were put into service and pollution factories were either shut down or relocated. I was in Beijing just two weeks ago, landed in a state-of-the-art airport with the world’s largest passenger terminal (designed by Sir Norman Foster) while three additional subway lines were opened the following day to ease the ever-growing traffic. By hosting the XXIX Olympiad in 2008, China is not only showing her best face to the world, she is also sending out a clear message that the country is ready to take her rightful place in the family of nations after re-emerging as an global economic giant. What is ironic is that since January, the Western media has made China the centre of attention first with the snowstorm, then the Tibetan riots in March to be followed by the Sichuan earthquake in May.

For the last 30 years, we have witnessed China’s gradual opening up from the isolation days of Cultural Revolution. People’s livelihood has improved, especially for those living in the urban area. In general Chinese citizens today enjoy greater freedom compared to the previous generations. Along with the rapid social change, the church in China has also thrived, and many young people are openly claiming to be Christian believers. The 2008 Olympics is the largest international event hosted so far in the country’s history, it will no doubt provide ample opportunities for fellowship between local and foreign Christians. Some Beijing churches are organizing special cultural and musical shows as part of the celebration.

There is a severe lack of pastors and Bible teachers in China today. There are too few seminaries to keep pace with the staggering growth of believers. This is where Langham Partnership International through the Langham Foundation in Hong Kong can contribute to building a healthy church in China. Currently we have ten Langham scholars from that country (excluding those from Hong Kong). Three of them have obtained their doctorate degrees and returned home to serve. At the same time, the Langham Foundation is helping a number of seminaries and universities inside China to expand their libraries with evangelical books while our first preaching seminar for China mainland pastors will be launched later in September this year.

We would value your prayers during the 2008 Olympics. Remember to thank the Lord for building his Church and his Kingdom in China despite the difficult times in previous years. Pray also for God’s protection for the visitors, athletes, foreign and local Christians that no harm will befall them. Pray too that God’s eternal purpose will prevail and that many will come to acknowledge his goodness and sovereignty (“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. – Psalm 127:1). Lastly we pray that God will allow the body of Christ to grow and mature. One day we hope to see that the church in China can become a blessing to the nation and the world.