Despite new proposed government regulations in China, TWR Canada’s intensive seminary-level training program for Chinese church leaders, SOTA, now has 1,923 active students! As well, there are already 901 graduates from the SOTA program, and this year we are looking forward to seeing over 1,000 more students graduate!
The Chinese government has proposed new internet regulations that will limit the distribution of religious resources online. If the government approves these regulations, which our ministry leaders anticipate they will, it will be illegal for any Christian content to be circulated online in China. While this news is devastating, we are thankful that before we knew of these proposed regulations, God led us to begin development of the SOTA USB! The USB is a memory stick containing all the SOTA content. It doesn’t need internet, which allows students to study secretly without being online. It can be connected to smartphones, computers and projectors and can be used by individuals or in groups. This small tool gives great flexibility and allows students to continue their seminary studies.
We also have technology that will make it easy to produce copies of the SOTA USB. The process of producing and distributing these USBs is inexpensive and effective for students’ learning.
While these new regulations in China are disheartening, God is proving his faithfulness to us yet again by preparing us well for this roadblock. We praise God that the new government regulations will not affect the usefulness and distribution of SOTA content through China.
We are also excited to report that the SOTA centres in China, Canada and Germany have hosted hundreds of student meetings to help students grow in their learning and to help us get to know the students better. We have also been running ministry-focused camps like a preaching camp, a worship camp and missions camps. Additionally, this year we will be hosting two new camps: a Bible study camp and a children’s ministry camp. We are very encouraged by how God is shaping and growing the ministry through these camps.
Stories like this one of Brother ZH are not uncommon.
Brother ZH is a SOTA student who has spent the last two years ministering to Tibetan people. He and his wife have led many to Christ — even their five-year-old daughter invited kids to their home, and now the couple hosts a Sunday school for all of them!
Brother ZH has found that Tibetans receive gospel teaching well; however, it’s hard for him to help them live out biblical principles in a culture where Christianity is not the norm. He says he is eager to grow in his discipleship skills. A short-term missionary introduced Brother ZH to SOTA, and he says it has helped him build a solid foundation for his faith.
“[SOTA] helped me apply the Bible without taking the Scripture out of context; many difficulties have also been solved as a result of this study. The greatest part is that they helped me prepare my sermons more systematically and more accurately. These two courses [New Testament Survey and Old Testament Survey] helped me so much in my preaching, my Bible study and my personal Bible reading.”
Brother ZH says SOTA gives him a sense of belonging when missions work gets lonely.
“I also thank God that the SOTA staff actually came and visited me. Last year, I joined the SOTA mission camp; not only did I meet my teachers, but I also made friends with many other SOTA students … I can’t explain in words how much SOTA has helped me in my mission.”
Brother ZH says he will introduce his missionary friends to SOTA in hopes that they too can learn and develop a solid biblical foundation and confirm their spiritual gifts while learning as students.
Pray for Brother ZH and other church leaders like him in areas hostile to Christianity; pray that they will experience spiritual growth and maturity as they live out the call of God on their lives. Pray also for our Chinese ministry team as they continue to discern the Lord’s leading for the ministry today and into the future. And praise God for his faithfulness in providing the tools to equip his people to do his work!