Atheist Chinese Students Struggling With Loneliness, Culture Shock in U.S. Find Christ Through Campus Ministries

Members of the Agape Chinese Evangelical Church pose in front of their church in Dayton, Ohio, USA.(Facebook/Agape Chinese Evangelical Church)

Thousands of Chinese students, many of them professed atheists, are finding Jesus in America, helping them overcome loneliness and culture shock.

According to Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, more than 304,000 Chinese were enrolled in American colleges and universities in 2015. Twelve percent of those students accepted Christ, CBN News reported.

Their conversion as followers of Christ is the handiwork of Christian ministries on campus, whose members reach out to Chinese and other international students, offering them friendship and the comfort of Christ.

Regent University student Li Xiang is one of the thousands of young Chinese whose lives have been transformed by their embrace of Jesus.

When she first stepped foot on American soil some years back, Li said she was overwhelmed by the culture shock and homesickness. America was totally different from the land she has known—in almost everything.

"Loneliness was totally unavoidable for me. No matter how hard I tried to keep myself busy, I just felt empty," she said.

The spark that gave her life new meaning and vibrancy came when she was invited to a church dinner. "It felt strange that the people there shared an amazing dinner with me and started to talk to me as friends and buddies," Li said.

She said her new Christian friends have taught her how to pray. "When I got really confused, I tried to pray like other Americans do. I just felt God was next to me and church leaders began to explain more to me," she said.

At the forefront of the mission to bring the Gospel to foreign students is the Agape Chinese Church.

The ministry's main focus is to invite foreign students to church, using contemporary music to bridge the language and cultural gaps.

"Many students told me they have never heard of this type of music. Although they don't know Jesus, they can sit there quietly to listen and feel the music. They love those songs," Li said.

Agape church members nurture relationships with the students, making them more willing to learn about Jesus and the Bible.

"The purpose of this ministry is to allow younger Chinese to know Jesus. They are living in us, and they will face trials and uncertainties. Our church provides help to them. And we want them to feel the same love that Jesus gave to us," explained Joshua Wang, pastor of Agape Chinese Church.