FBC Livingston’s ministry to Chinese students thriving

FBC Livingston’s ministry to Chinese students thriving

It was several years ago when the people of First Baptist Church, Livingston, were first told the world was headed to their town of 3,000.

The University of West Alabama (UWA) was getting an influx of students from China, and the staff asked the community to help make them feel welcome.

The church took that as a wide-open door.

“The first year, we provided basic necessities for them,” said church member Cindy Larkin.

But they all agree the ministry had a slow start. That first year they put Bibles in the welcome packets too and a lot of them were thrown away.

But when things took off, they really did, and now the church’s ministry is thriving. In the past several years, they’ve baptized eight new Chinese believers, including one woman who is a professor at UWA.

“Now our Chinese Christians are leading our Friday night fellowship,” Larkin said. On Friday nights, a local restaurant run by Chinese Christians prepares dinner for the students, then they gather for Bible study.

“God just laid it all out and we are amazed,” Larkin said. “It’s been great.”

Her mother, Lenora Hamrick, and fellow church member Eleanor Ward have been leading English conversation classes on Tuesday nights for years, and Larkin leads a Sunday School class for the new believers.

“We started at Genesis and are going through the Bible,” Larkin said. “It’s really fun. We read it in English and then one of the students reads it in Chinese.”

The members of First, Livingston, build relationships with the students, invite them into their homes, take trips with them and introduce them to Jesus.

Ward said the holidays provide a great opportunity to share culture and the gospel.

“It’s not us, it’s God,” she said. “We are just in awe.” (Grace Thornton)