Chinese New Year 2

Chinese New Year is just around the corner. 2019’s Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 5. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be re-publishing a series of posts that I wrote last year to help explain this great holiday and how its celebrated.

The festivities for Chinese New Year actually begin on Chinese New Year’s Eve. The highlight of the evening is the 年夜饭 which in English is often called the reunion dinner. The dinner is traditionally very large and includes many different meat dishes with chicken and pork typically a must. Fish is also very common. In Hakka homes (Anny Grace is Hakka), we typically have eight dishes, each with a different featured meat. Pork, beef, chicken, duck, and fish are all a must.

Reunion dinner.
Reunion dinner.

In northern China, dumplings are an essential part of the reunion dinner meal, while 年糕 , “year cake” is often made and given as a gift to relatives and friends in the south.

After the meal, firecrackers are traditionally lit just outside the doorways of houses to scare away evil spirits and usher in the new year. Fireworks are also increasingly common. In modern China, New Year’s Gala is broadcast on television and watched by families throughout China in the hours leading up to midnight. The Gala includes musical, comedy, and drama performances and has hundreds of millions of viewers each year.

Firecrackers.
Firecrackers.

After all of these festivities, the big day has finally arrived – Chinese New Year…

Chinese New Year 1

Chinese New Year is just around the corner. 2019’s Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 5. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be re-publishing a series of posts that I wrote last year to help explain this great holiday and how its celebrated.

We are fast approaching a fascinating time of year in China – Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is the largest festival (holiday) on the Chinese calendar. Schools let out, businesses close, and everyone returns to their hometown to celebrate the festival with family.

The few weeks and even months leading up to Chinese New Year can be a busy time in China as Chinese see the festival as a time for everything to be “new”. New clothes are bought, houses are cleaned (this is akin to “spring cleaning” in America), haircuts are gotten, final exams are taken, and business deals are brought to a close – all before the new year.

As the festival draws closer, streets become full to overflowing with the color red, which is a symbol of good luck and fortune. Red lanterns, red banners, red signs, and other red trappings line the streets. Houses are decorated red as well. Red paper with blessings written on them outlines the thresholds of homes and come complete with a red emblem of the character 福,meaning “blessing”, posted on the centers of doors – all to invite blessings to visit their homes for the upcoming year.

I cannot overstate just how HUGE this festival is in the lives of Chinese people. Their year hinges on it, similar to how our year hinges on Christmas and New Year’s Day. It is a time for the people to reset, reflect on the previous year, and look with anticipation at the coming year to see what it has in store.

It’s not until the eve of the New Year finally arrives, however, that the real festivities begin…

January 2019 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,

God is good! He was faithful to bless us in so many ways in December. We were able to present our ministry in 14 churches in SC, NC, AL, GA, WV, VA, FL, LA, and SC. In addition to the meetings, we were able to spend time with family in AL  for Christmas, and I was able to preach and further present China at the Our Generation Summit in OH. The Lord has kept us safe on the road both in December and throughout 2018. We are grateful for the many ways He prepares us to return to China!

In the month of January we are scheduled to be in 9 churches in SC, TN, GA, VA, IN, and  AL. Missions conference season is gearing back up as we will be participating in two missions conferences. We are exciting for these opportunities to present China. Please pray that the Lord would both allow us to be a blessing to churches and continue to raise our support as we travel and share the burden He has given us to make Him known in China.

Vision Baptist Mission’s Vision For China team was privileged to publish and release our book, A Thousand Lives, in December at the Our Generation Summit. The book is a passionate plea for a pipeline of unashamed believers boldly proclaiming the gospel in China and has contributions from each of Vision Baptist Mission’s eight missionaries to the Chinese speaking world. It is our prayer that this book will be used of the Lord to raise up more laborers to take the gospel to the great harvest field of China and the many other harvest fields around the world.

Visit www.visionforchina.org to check out our book and learn how you can get your own copy!