Bringing cultures together for Christ

My Hope with Billy Graham video, with Mandarin subtitles, has amazing response in Calgary church
By Doris Fleck
Every Christmas and Easter, Calgary’s Truth Chinese Baptist Church holds a joint service with its English and Mandarin-speaking congregations.
This past Easter, volunteer pastor Paul Johnson found a way to bridge the language barrier. Since most Asian churches have worship services in their own language for new Canadians, and in English to retain the second-generation children, Paul showed the My Hope with Billy Graham video The Cross in English with Mandarin subtitles.
“The fact that it had subtitles meant everyone could grasp it,” Paul explained. “It’s the Gospel and fitting for Easter. And even though Billy Graham is not known to this congregation … in Asian culture, age brings with it credibility and wisdom.”
With more than 230 people in attendance, many of them seekers, the response was amazing. The video features the testimony of pop singer Lacey Sturm and it had people in tears, Paul reported.
At the end of the video, when Billy Graham invites people to pray to accept Jesus Christ into their lives, “I had people tell me there were people around them saying this prayer,” Paul said.
At the conclusion of the video, Paul asked university student Bill Yao to speak. Bill first came to Truth Chinese Baptist in high school at the insistence of his mother. Later, his life changed dramatically after he committed his life to Christ at Franklin Graham’s 2010 Rock the River youth outreach. Bill was baptized six days later and God has already worked through Bill to lead others to the Lord, including his father and grandmother.
Bill picked up the heavy wooden podium, Paul said, and used it as an illustration as he talked about Jesus carrying our burden on the cross.
“He walked down one aisle all the way to the back and kept stomping the podium on the floor saying, ‘This is what Jesus did for us, He carried our sins to the cross. What will you do?’” Paul said.
After Bill led the congregation in an invitational prayer, he encouraged people who made a commitment to Christ to pick up a copy of the Living in Christ booklet supplied by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. About 60 booklets were picked up that day, Paul noted.
Truth Chinese Baptist Church also placed a link to The Cross video on its website, which is visited weekly by people from Canada and China.
Paul encouraged congregants to show The Cross to unsaved family and friends. Although he has no way of knowing how many people have responded, he believes My Hope is part of God’s plan to grow the church.
“We’re so full we often don’t have any space on a Sunday,” Paul admitted. “We’re in the middle of an open harvest field.”