China Partner revisits its roots with October trip

By August 16, 2018

China (MNN) — China Partner is taking a trip to the province of Jiangxi in October. Yes, it’s about bringing a new tool for small group ministry to the local Church, but it’s also about history.

“China Partner has had many years of partnership with church leaders there in [Nanchang] and in that province, and over the last 25 years we’ve also been very much involved in helping them get their new Bible school established,” says Erik Burklin, President of China Partner.

For this October trip, they’ll be working with a new young pastor who recently took over the Bible school and is the lead pastor of the Jiangxi province. Their goal is to minister to a new generation of leadership via experienced Christian leaders and teachers.

This place isn’t just special because of a new generation. Burklin is a third generation missionary to China, and it all started in this same region.

“In 1925 when my grandfather moved from Germany to Shanghai with the mission organization that we today called OMF, or Overseas Missionary Fellowship,” Burklin says. OMF is a descendant of Hudson Taylor’s ministry, and Gustav Burklin worked under their umbrella.

“He met my grandmother in Jiangxi province,” Burklin says. “She was already there serving as a missionary, and they fell in love, got married, and had three kids.”

Gustav and his new bride Lina served as missionaries in Jiangxi province for another 25 years until communism took hold of China’s government and all foreigners, including the Burklins, were sent home.

“During their ministry time there they planted several churches, which is really an amazing feat in itself when you think that at that time, everything was so primitive and so poor. They were very tough conditions.”

And remnants of their work are still making an impact. Burklin says when he visits the region, some people will pull him aside to reminisce about his grandparents.

The Burklins on ministry in China (Photo and header photo courtesy of China Partner)

“This is… a very moving time when you hear these testimonies and hear these believers tell you this, and I’ve had the distinct privilege of preaching in these churches that [didn’t exist] when my grandparents got there.”

God’s Word was planted in the region in part by the Burklin family’s work. Now, where Erik Burklin’s grandfather used to wander from village to village passing out Christian literature, there’s a Bible school.

“They’re training up to 100 students to become pastors at that particular school, many of whom… will go on to further education at a bigger seminary [upon graduation].”

God’s compassion is at work in these students, who plan to pour back into the area where they first heard the Gospel preached.

Little did Gustav and Lina realize how far and how long their impact would reach, and yet all along God had a plan for the Burklin family.

Pray for the preparations being made for the October trip and for the students at the Bible school in Jiangxi.

Want to support the upcoming trip? Click here to find out how.

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