The Hui are spread across all of China; they’re present in nearly every county. An excellent avenue for reaching such a large and dispersed people should be through Han Chinese house churches, which are also spread across China. These house churches are beginning to recognize the need to share the Gospel with Muslims and with the Hui, but there are significant challenges to overcome in order for the Han Chinese to reach the Hui.
Han Chinese often think of Muslims as dangerous; they’ve seen many images on the news that cause them to associate all Muslims with terrorism, and consequently, the Han fear Muslims, the Hui in particular. One member of a larger Chinese house church even recommended that “good, spiritual Christians should not eat in Muslim restaurants because it is idolatrous,” and this, of course, includes Hui restaurants.
Many Han Christians also believe that it’s nearly impossible to successfully share the Gospel with a Muslim. This theological concern was surprising to me, though it shouldn’t have been. I’ve met numerous traditional Han Christians who avoid eating in restaurants that display Buddhist idols. I suppose it’s not a big jump then for Han Christians to have the same mindset for Muslim restaurants, which often display photos of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, as well as Arabic passages from the Qur’an.
One of the greatest needs for the Kingdom to grow among the Hui is cross-cultural training for Han Chinese churches. Cross-cultural training not only gives information about Islamic belief and culture but also seeks to challenge negative attitudes, which are barriers to bringing the Gospel to Muslims. Good cross-cultural training is experiential and helps form new patterns of thinking, behaving, feeling, and relating.
As part of cross-cultural training, the above quoted church member went into a Muslim restaurant and sat directly underneath a poster with a Qur’anic verse. He spoke in a friendly manner with the waiter, asked appropriate questions, and introduced the waiter to the Bible. The waiter even showed excitement at having access to the Bible. The church member recognized that his previous feelings and behaviors had been ethnocentric, and that God wants him to love, befriend, and share the Gospel with the many Muslims in China.
Please pray with us that his experience will be multiplied among Chinese Christians. Pray that Chinese house churches will be willing to make sacrifices to reach their neighbors. Pray they will develop a love and passion for seeing Hui come to Christ!