East Asia: When it’s hard to go home

Each year, the Lunar New Year is a highly anticipated celebration for students in, and from, many countries in East Asia. It means big meals, family gatherings, streets lined in red, the pop of fireworks, and a rest from classes.  

This year, the relief from studying is long awaited by students in a high security, unnamed country. Universities have compensated for COVID-19 disruptions in the academic schedule, by continuing classes through breaks. This means that many students have not had a substantial holiday since last spring. Many of these students have not seen their families in months due to strict campus lockdowns. The Lunar New Year break is extremely overdue. 

But going home is a challenge for Christian students returning to non-believing families. Since the definition of success in this country focuses on material security, non-believing family are confused by students who spend time pursuing a “non-practical and irrational faith.” Other students will face pressures from parents who worry that there will be no one to offer up incense for them after they die. Lunar New Year dinners may create stressful conversations between students and relatives who do not understand. It often takes a few years of humble and prayerful witnessing before families are willing to accept their new beliefs or even come to faith themselves. 

With Lunar New Year underway, pray with us for students in this movement.

  • Pray that students will have patience with non-Christian family members who question their life choices. Pray that they will remain a steady witness for Jesus, especially when tensions arise.  
  • Pray that God will give groups and leaders courage and wisdom to know how to continue their ministry in the middle of a pandemic and increasing persecution. 
  • Pray that students will remain strong in their faith, even if they cannot meet in person. Pray that they will be motivated to stay in contact with their groups and leaders, even though it is online.
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