'A bridge to the Chinese'
February 8 2002 by Matt Webber , Special to the Biblical Recorder

'A bridge to the Chinese' | Friday, Feb. 8, 2002

Friday, Feb. 8, 2002

'A bridge to the Chinese'

By Matt Webber Special to the Biblical Recorder

Positive stories that involve the relationship between China and the United States are rare. But for one N.C. Baptist college student there is proof that God seeks and finds just the right people far beyond racial, political and geographical boundaries to accomplish His will.

The brave, yet modest, man who allows himself to be such a willing vessel is Benguang "Bright" Du, a native of China who has made his way to the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University via places like Orlando, Fla., and a host of personal challenges. Only those closest to him know the exact route he took to leave his native land.

Details of short stints in American towns and Christians who nurtured him along his covert journey are sketchy at best. And because he is reluctant to share the whole story of how he and his family came to America for fear of retaliation, Bright says simply, "God has called me here for His purpose. God is making His plan possible through Gardner-Webb University and the Baptists of this state."

He explains, "China does not want any of its citizens to apply to any Christian schools in the U.S.A. There has never been such an application approved by that government. So, many Chinese will come to America to set up businesses first, and they pick up Christianity later."

For this reason, Bright said he feels the call to missions. He senses an opportunity to begin a Chinese church in the Chapel Hill or Durham areas is imminent because of the large population of internationals who come to study or work in research-oriented fields. He believes he can minister to his fellow countrymen who have arrived in America without true knowledge of Christ's saving grace.

The goal, Bright says, "is to establish Chinese churches wherever a group of Chinese have settled. This kind of church is going to be a boat to carry the overseas Chinese to salvation. This kind of church is going to be a disciple-training center, to reach out to Chinese wherever they live."

He readily acknowledges that having large-scale plans for future missions work is a dream that many have had.

"Look at me," Bright said with a laugh while using his hands to describe his slight frame. "I have big ideas but I am a small, insignificant person. I don't speak English perfectly. I knew what God wanted me to accomplish for Him, but I didn't know how I was going to get the education I needed to speak intelligently about Jesus Christ. And that's not just for people from China like me. There are people in America who want to come to a school like this, but they can't make it here on their own."

Bright pauses for a moment, then smiles. He shakes his head and laughs. A soft-spoken man by nature, he launches into an uncharacteristic loud voice, "There is no way I can go to divinity school on my own! I look at the money I am getting to take my classes and I see that it comes from churches, from former students, from the North Carolina Baptist Convention ... I am supported by people who don't even know me!"

His thoughts turn to one word: sacrifice.

"I look at what I am doing to learn God's word and I know very well that it is a sacrifice of my time and a sacrifice of even my family. But I am not alone in my sacrifice. People who want to see more ministers in the mission field know that those ministers need training. And they sacrifice for these ministers. They pray, and they take time to encourage me, and they give their money to support people like me. I thank God that I am not alone in my sacrifice!"

Just recently, Bright moved from Shelby, where he served at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, to Durham, where his sponsor church is Hope Valley Baptist. His commute to divinity classes has grown from a few minutes to more than three hours. Despite this latest set of changes, however, he says he is blessed with a school that educates him, a growing community of believers that embraces him, and a God who loves him.

"You know the ministry," he said. "You go where it leads you."

And considering Benguang "Bright" Du's journey to this point, it is apparent that this relocation, too, is just temporary. It is just the latest stop, the latest step, in what has been one man's sacrificial pursuit of God's will in his life.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Matt Webber is director of university communication at Gardner-Webb University.)

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2/8/2002 12:00:00 AM by Matt Webber , Special to the Biblical Recorder | with 0 comments
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