Jeshurun‘s faith journey led him miles from his home in China through circumstances that only God could have orchestrated—on a path that eventually led him to the Christian Reformed Church and Calvin Theological Seminary.
As a student in a Beijing college, Jeshurun started thinking about his life’s meaning. Surrounded by only questions, he felt no hope, no confidence in his future. He had grown up in a poor family and studied hard, but his heart was not in his studies.
At about this time, a close friend became a Christian and shared his faith in God with Jeshurun. “I was curious,” he admits, “but I wondered if God could change me.”
The culture had taught him that there is no God, and that anyone who believed in God had lost their mind. Jeshurun could not turn to any other person at the college, but he privately decided to attend a nearby church.
“It’s interesting that I chose a church, not a Buddhist temple, to search for God. No one told me to go to church. I know now I was led by the Spirit.”
Jeshurun first went to a Three-Self church, the officially recognized church in China. Again, he credits the Spirit for that day’s message, based on Romans 1:20—creation itself proves that God exists! Another verse pointed out that God is eternal, answering his other question about meaning for the future.
“I made a decision that day,” says Jeshurun. “God is real. I bought a Bible. I knew I needed to read it to know God. And God strengthened my faith through his Word.”
Planting the Seed of Service Two months after becoming a Christian, Jeshurun began to share his faith in God with people. “God planted the seed in my heart to serve him.”
He joined a Christian fellowship at the college. Following his third year of studies, Jeshurun knew he wanted to continue serving, but the idea of being a pastor did not enter his mind.
“I was hoping to hear God’s call in a clear voice,” Jeshurun remembers. “But throughout the whole year I did not hear it. I was disappointed.”
After graduation, Jeshurun faced many struggles. God seemed to be closing doors for his ministry opportunities, so he used his university training and found a job as an engineer instead. Working as an engineer, he faced moral dilemmas and resigned.
That night he received a call from his pastor, who was also an assistant in a small seminary. She invited him to take classes there. “It was a confirmation from God that I made a good decision.”
Reaching the Youth After one year of theological training, Jeshurun became a copastor in the house church. He served there for two years, especially reaching out to young people. “Most people in the house church were older than me.”
In 2007, with the vision of serving the young generation, the pastor encouraged Jeshurun to plant a new church to serve college students. Jeshurun pastored this church for five years.
One of the tools Jeshurun used to disciple new believers was the devotional booklet Chinese Today produced by Back to God Ministries International, the media ministry of the CRC.
Although at the time Jeshurun had no idea of the role that the CRC would play in his future, he notes, “It’s interesting to look back now and see God’s hints in the events of my life.”
The young church grew quickly from 20 to 50 people in the first year. But then Jeshurun began to face many difficulties: relationships with coworkers, huge expectations of him as a young pastor, and fears about government opposition.
“I faced my fears and prayed a lot. God knew my weak knees and protected me. He knew our church was so young—we were all younger than 30. I pictured God’s care for a newborn baby.”
Jeshurun became convicted that he needed more training to serve this young church in Beijing. But he wasn’t sure where that would be.
The Road to Calvin Seminary
At one point, Jeshurun’s wife, Zoey, became pregnant. “We already had one child. Due to the one-child policy, we knew we needed to leave China before the second was born.”
Jeshurun’s friend, Rev. Jin, president of the seminary in Beijing, then referred him to Calvin Seminary. In May 2012, a CRC conference took place in Rev. Jin’s church in Beijing.
Rev. Joel Boot, executive director of the CRC, met Rev. Jin at the conference and encouraged Jeshurun to apply to Calvin Theological Seminary.
He submitted his application in August 2012, followed by a period of struggle, waiting, and praying.
“During the waiting time, I felt depressed. My wife was having a difficult pregnancy. I wondered if God didn’t want me to attend Calvin Seminary.”
After the seminary accepted him, Jeshurun had to make many preparations before coming to the United States. Faced with immigration and financial issues, he and his family relied on their faith as they went through the process.
But, he says, God is always at work. Through local church offerings, scholarship opportunities, and the generosity of friends, Jeshurun was able to attend Calvin Seminary.
“From that time we knew God would provide everything for us,” said Jeshurun.
In late December 2012, Jeshurun, with Zoey and daughter Missie, left for the U.S. to attend Calvin.
They hope to be in the U.S. for four years while Jeshurun studies for an M.Div. degree and then return to China to serve God in whatever way he calls.
“I have experienced God’s providence and his hand on my life. Through the entire process, God affirmed his will to lead me here for further study.”