A former Olympian serving Christ in China

By February 8, 2005

China (MNN) — A former American Olympian is following in the footsteps of Scottish Olympian Eric Liddell. HOPE International’s Michael Smedley is now serving in China.

Smedley says, “He came over here immediately after his Olympic gold medal and he spent the rest of his life here in China doing mission work. I was alternate on the Olympic team the last two rounds and now I feel like God’s really called me to this environment as well.”

HOPE International is providing micro-enterprise lending to help the Chinese people not only economically, but spiritually. “We’re trying to expand our mission here to increase our depth and breadth of outreach, basically to reach poor clients and reach more clients here in China and be able to integrate that into churches more prominently.”

He believes this program could have significant spiritual impact. “We’d like to reach poorer clients and go to the more rural areas where they have not heard the Gospel. They have no idea what the Good News is and bringing that to these people is what our true mission is here at HOPE International.”

Micro finance in China is not prominent there and not widely accepted by local government leaders. However, Smedley says this outreach is effective. “We use the micro finance as a way to integrate our staff employees who act as missionaries to go out and make the loans and that’s their way of getting into households to communicate the Good News to people,” he says.

HOPE International is one of just 17 groups lending money to help get businesses established in China. Pray that the government would be more accepting of the program so it can expand.

If you’d like to help finance this outreach, go to the web site http://www.HOPEinternational.org.

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