Mar 3, 2009

Meet China at LU

by Karin Hutson

“What is your name?”

The question seems simple enough, but this Liberty student prepares herself for a battle.

“My name is Zhuo Feng,” she says to the fellow student, noticing the blank look on his face.

“Uh, can you repeat that?”

“J-wah-fung,” she repeats, drawing out every syllable.

“Joe Fun,” he tries with a contorted face.

“That’s a good try. You can call me Esther,” she offers generously.

“Oh, I can handle that. So nice to meet you, Esther.”

And so Zhuo Feng Li graciously makes a new friend. For Liberty students native to the states, welcoming Chinese students should be an equal pleasure. Beyond their challenging names, they come from a country rich in tradition, warmth and opportunity.

Zhuo Feng Li first heard about Jesus through an American professor teaching English in China. Since she became a Christian, her passion has been to serve Christ by teaching in Chinese universities. To reach that goal, Li is currently studying tirelessly in Liberty’s graduate communications program.

Li loves hanging out with her Chinese friends. She respects the majority of the Chinese students at Liberty who do not share her faith, yet she allows Christ to shine through her life and words.

Last semester, Li joined with Liberty professors Dr. Jaeshil Kim and Dr. Christopher Shon to begin a student group. The purpose of the Chinese Student Fellowship (CSF) is to connect Chinese and American students through friendship, encouragement and the truth of the gospel.

The last CSF meeting was called “Dumpling Night.” After making and enjoying the spicy pork dumplings, students competed in a chopstick challenge, trying to feed their partners marshmallows with chopsticks.
They also watched the movie “Most,” which tells how a train switchman made the agonizing decision to let his son die so that he could save the people on a train. Amazed by his sacrifice, the students discussed how the story relates to God sacrificing his son for sinners.

CSF student leader Joshua Grant said the Chinese students “loved dumpling night.” Grant desires to minister in China and enjoys the opportunity to befriend Chinese students.

“I’ve only known most of the Chinese students for a short time, but I already feel like I’m close friends with most of them,” he said.

Future ideas for CSF include a ping-pong tournament and a trip to the Creation Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Being an international student brings unique challenges. The language barrier, for one, must be conquered. Liberty reaches out to such students through the English Language Institute (ELI). Of the approximately 50 Chinese students currently enrolled at Liberty, about half study in ELI, according to the International Student Center.

ELI student Xiaochen Jiang is studying English because her goal is to enter Liberty’s nursing program. The challenge seems attainable with her American friends eager to help her. When Xiaochen moved from the Lynchburg Inn to the hill dorms, one student who was a complete stranger offered to help her move.

“My roommate is very nice to me,” Xiaochen said. “She ordered a Chinese Bible for me.”

She explained how the girls on her new hall introduced themselves and offered to help her.

“If I have questions, I can ask, and people will help me,” she said.

If you meet Xiaochen, however, be prepared to learn at least one Chinese word — her name. She persists in teaching friends her real name and not settling for an English substitute. The last person she met ended up calling her “Chow.”

Whether by learning some Chinese, volunteering as a conversation partner or joining the Chinese Student Fellowship, Liberty students can discover friendships that span the globe and impact eternity. To get involved, join the Chinese Student Fellowship group on Facebook.

Contact Karin Hutson at


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