Qingchao, 30, leaves behind her family to train as a pastor in China, where there is currently only one trained minister to 6,700 Christians. Here she shares her experience in her own words.
I come from a Christian family and I was inspired to do this by my mother and grandmother who are very pious. When I’d finished my study, my mother said to me, “You are my first-born, you should go into a seminary.” We are very obedient to our parents.
When I first started studying the Bible I thought it was a mystery, but when you grow up you realise that it has the answer to so many problems that you can go to in prayer. When you pray and God answers you can feel that it would just have happened anyway, but then you realise that God helped you.
In my hometown there is one pastor for 500 people. He’s very busy. I became a Sunday School teacher. I learned different insights from the children. That made me realise that I should study more.
Sacrifices for the cause
My children are both aged under five. I left to study here when the younger one was just eight months old. I come here during the week and go home on weekends. It was very hard. I’d wake up in the night thinking I needed to feed him.
It’s been hard to leave my children behind. But if I didn’t come here because of my two sons, I would feel regret.
Yes, I miss them. Sometimes I cry when I think of them. But I remember when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him and told him to ‘feed my sheep’. That’s what the Lord wants us to do. If you don’t know that you can spend your life doing what you like. But if you know Him and He has opened up your spiritual eyes, how can you do that?
God says to me, ‘I know you have young boys but do you believe my blessing? I know you have compassion.’ Compassion is more than pity, it means standing with people. I will stand with the poor and weak. God stands with me when I miss my children. Even though it’s difficult, Jesus can help me.
A helping hand for the journey
The resources we get from the Bible Society help me academically. It helps us to know what Jesus really said. I have also enjoyed reading CS Lewis. It stirs the heart.
It wouldn’t have been possible to do my studies without these books. It’s food from heaven. You must eat this food and food from the canteen every day. Every day we have to pray and every day we must meditate on the Lord’s word.
We must know that his word is light and life. When it comes into your heart it can dispel all the darkness. This is the strength from Jesus. This is a God I can follow and leave my sons at home because it is real.
Qingchao leaves at home her husband, Shuo Zhu, and her sons Zhaofang Li, 5, and Chaozheng Zhu, 2, in Suzhou City.