Buddhist jewelry, short-shorts and neighborhood bars. These are typically not the first things that pop into one’s mind when thinking of Muslims. I live in a city with mostly Han people and roughly thirty percent Hui people. Despite the people group categorization, at first glance it can be difficult to differentiate the Hui from their Han neighbors. Traditionally, the Hui people have a distinct culture that can be characterized from the outside by their clothing and lifestyle choices. However, cultural lines between the Han and the Hui are becoming more and more blurred.
One day as I was heading home on the bus, tired after a long morning of intensive study in language class, I noticed three Muslim women who were more covered than the majority of Muslim women in our city. I asked God for courage to start a conversation, and then began speaking in broken Chinese to these precious women.
As we sat on her lumpy sofa, eating fruit and drinking tea, we explained the Easter story to my sweet, elderly Hui neighbor. We explained that God sent Jesus to Earth and that Jesus lived a perfect life; He never sinned. We told her about His death on the cross and about His resurrection. We explained to her that for everyone who believes He was the perfect sacrifice, and for everyone who asks for forgiveness of their sins, He is faithful and will forgive them.
“So this is life on the frontlines.”
This is what crossed my mind as I sat on Nai Nai’s couch, enjoying a hot cup of eight treasure tea and snacking on delicious bread, waiting for her to finish cooking dinner. Nai Nai is my seventy year-old neighbor who has taken it upon herself to take me in and love on me like only a grandmother can.
“Unfriendly.” “Poor.” “Not Good.”
These are a few words my Han Chinese friend has used to describe the Hui people group as a whole, and unfortunately, this is a very common view; most Han share in her opinions of the Hui. My friend has also said things like, “If somebody stole something, it was probably a Hui person.”
Leslie, Erica, Emery and Jordan are a few friends who live in China, and they’ve noticed that young college ladies in China are usually very busy. When the weekend comes, however, these ladies don’t often feel like studying any more; they much prefer to get together and have fun, which is great for His workers, because they like to have fun, too.