Here is a story that will inspire you as we begin 2018. God orchestrated the powerful story of a beautiful young Chinese professor that needs telling because it will give you a “behind the scenes” look at God’s amazing work. The Bible teaches us that God is working in ways that we cannot completely understand. In Romans 11:33 St. Paul in delight says this about God’s ways: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Here is a story that illustrates it.
In 2017 God brought a young Chinese professor to Long Beach who, for security reasons, we will call “Shan”. She came to improve her English teaching skills at CSULB. While there Shan came into contact with Dr. David Karber, a professor at CSULB and Cornerstone family member. In addition to his educational excellence, one of Dr. Karber’s desires is to introduce international students and visiting professors to the cultural and religious heritage of America. Over the past years Dr. Karber has brought many Chinese students and visiting professors to Cornerstone Church in a cultural and religious outing.
On her first Sunday, Shan came to Cornerstone culturally curious and spiritually hungry for God. Shan had never heard about Jesus because her family was either Buddhist or atheistic, as are many in the Chinese culture. As Shan listened intently to the sermon about Jesus from the gospel of John series, her heart was moved. She decided to return the next week and hear more about Jesus, God’s only Son. On her second Sunday she was greeted by Barry and Chiffon Frey. Barry and Chiffon, two very enthusiastic followers of Jesus quickly took Shan under their wing. Chiffon and Shan quickly found common ground as two women who speak Mandarin. It was a perfect match...made in heaven. From that Sunday onward, Shan sat with Barry and Chiffon listening to God’s Word. On her fourth Sunday at the end of the worship service the Freys brought Shan to introduce her to me. After greeting her and discovering she was an English professor in China I asked, “Did you understand what I was teaching about Jesus?” Shan answered, “Yes, I heard every word.” I felt led by the Holy Spirit to ask, “Then, would you like to trust Jesus Christ today as your Savior?” Shan said, “Yes, please.” In the next moments we prayed together and Shan put her trust in Jesus! Did God really make the gospel clear to Shan in just four weeks so she could make an intelligent decision for Christ? Was this just a cultural accommodation by a visiting professor hoping to be accepted in America? Or had God proved once again that He is in charge of drawing the lost to salvation in Christ Jesus?
Over the next months Chiffon and Barry befriended and discipled Shan, bringing her to church each week. Sermons about Jesus from John’s gospel, helped Shan quietly grow in her love and knowledge of Jesus, her new found Savior and Lord. With her studies at CSULB coming to an end, Shan knew that the time for her return to China was quickly approaching. Before returning home Shan wanted to be baptized to confess her faith in Jesus publically. So arrangements were made with Mike and Paula Tutterow to warm up their backyard pool for a very special baptism. With the brightest afternoon sun shining down on her smiling face, Shan gave a moving testimony of her faith in Jesus and I baptized her.
The emails that followed from Shan, Dr. Karber and me will give insight into what God did.
(Email from Shan)
Dear Pastor Jerry,
I appreciate so much that I was be baptized by you today. When Chiffon told me that you would baptize me I almost couldn't help myself exclaiming excitedly at that moment.
Today was one of the best day to me. That was an important, meaningful event for me, I experienced the new life was coming to me when the moment I was risen out of the water. I will never forget it.
Becoming a Believer determines my destiny, I will have peace of mind and the assurance of my rest of life. I want to be a better person like you, Chiffon and every one I met in our church and I am sure I will fulfill it.
I feel so sad that I am leaving here soon, but I also glad that I can keep watching your sermon though the Internet when I go back to my hometown.
(Email from Dr. Karber)
Dear Pastor Jerry,
I was so excited when I heard that Shan, my good professor friend from China, wanted to be baptized in recognition of her accepting the Lord Jesus as her Savior. I thank God for His leading in her life and want to say "thank you" for baptizing her. She sent me an email stating that it was the best day of her life! When she was introduced to me almost a year ago at Cal State Long Beach, I was told that "she wanted to visit my church" and I should take her there.
I am so thankful that God allows us to "plant the seed" and know that He will produce the "fruit!!"
Blessings, Dr. David Karber
(Email from Pastor Jerry)
I was blessed to baptize you yesterday afternoon. Your words of testimony were articulate and heart felt. I will always remember your prayer in Mandarin. The Holy Spirit moved me deeply when I heard you pray.
I am always amazed at God’s beautiful way of orchestrating the events of our lives to point to Him. You came to Long Beach as an English Professor from China but you will leave as a Christian sent back to China to share your faith in Jesus Christ.
Always in Christ, Pastor Jerry
There is a postscript to this story. Shan is back home in China and is in touch by email. Her faith is real and her desire is to lead her husband, six year-old daughter and parents to Jesus.
Here is her last email:
Dear Pastor Jerry，
I have no idea about whether you received my last letter because our Net Control. I just want to say Merry Christmas to you and Sue. I am so happy that I can celebrate his birthday this time with totally different meaning in my new life.
As 2018 dawns never forget that God is at work in great and small ways orchestrating the events of history and the details that draw sinners to His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Cornerstone’s worldwide ministry just got larger and more potent with the addition of an English professor in China whose new life in Christ will burn brightly in a dark country. Now that’s something to praise God for as we begin another year!
"Over the past years Dr. Karber has brought many Chinese students and visiting professors to Cornerstone Church in a cultural and religious outing."
"As Shan listened intently to the sermon about Jesus from the gospel of John series, her heart was moved. She decided to return the next week and hear more about Jesus, God’s only Son."
"Sermons about Jesus from John’s gospel, helped Shan quietly grow in her love and knowledge of Jesus, her new found Savior and Lord. With her studies at CSULB coming to an end, Shan knew that the time for her return to China was quickly approaching."
"Shan is back home in China and is in touch by email. Her faith is real and her desire is to lead her husband, six year-old daughter and parents to Jesus."
"Cornerstone’s worldwide ministry just got larger and more potent with the addition of an English professor in China whose new life in Christ will burn brightly in a dark country."