Reaching Chinese migrating to Africa
The world’s attention has been captured by the waves of migrants/refugees fleeing war and strife in North Africa and the Middle East, but making less headlines are the Chinese migrants coming into Africa. Millions of Chinese people are relocating to Southern Africa. Burrowed in the Zimbabwean populace is a huge, unexpected mission field of hundreds of thousands of Chinese immigrants.
Initially, when the Chinese started arriving in Zimbabwe, they were met with hostile attitudes. However, during the worst of the economic crisis, Chinese shopkeepers were able to continue importing, bringing some relief to Zimbabweans. This ability, in turn, won the appreciation of local consumers.
Despite Zimbabwe’s large Christian population, the Chinese in Zimbabwe remain a relatively unreached people group. Not many churches have seen the need to reach these people.
Nonetheless, many people, including Christians, have a negative attitude towards the Chinese. That attitude may be fueled by stories of alleged plunder of wealth and local resources of host countries to which they have moved.
The Chinese are usually aware of these negative attitudes. Consequently, they barricade themselves in Chinese-only communities and support groups. This barrier is strengthened by the small number of them who are able to speak English or other local languages.
Christians ought to see the Chinese as a special gift from God. We cannot preach to them in their country but in His loving wisdom, God brought them to a country where people are free to worship.
- Change our attitude towards them.
- Try to learn something about their culture – their festivals are great conversation starters!
- Treat them with great courtesy and love even when there is a clash of culture.
Wherever possible, befriend a Chinese person and invite them into your home. Few of them are Christian but they all seem to have a deep underlying spiritual hunger. They will often give you an opportunity to share your faith as long as it is situated in a conversational setting rather than a high-powered evangelistic presentation. Your love for them as individuals, saved or unsaved, is the greatest evangelistic tool you have.
- Pray that many Chinese will be saved and return home to influence many more for Christ.