Category Archives: Survey

Manila Survey

Arrival
When we arrived at the Manila airport, we got our luggage and walked to the exit, and was greeted by a police officer who asked us where we were going.

After I had informed him of where we were going, he found us a van and lead us to it. A man helped us load the van and told the driver where to go.

Then I remembered I didn’t have any Filipino money on me. The guy said it wasn’t a problem that he would first take us to the money changers. The man who helped us load the van asked me for a tip. I didn’t have any Filipino money on me, so I offered him Chinese money, he gladly accepted it. Then he asked for a tip for the police officer who asked us where we were going. I gave them a larger tip than they needed but it was late, and I was not thinking straight. We were then driven to money changers (a place that looked like i was going to get jumped) and then to the place we rented.

First Impressions
My first impressions of Manila reminded me of… Mexico. Driving down the streets, I realized how much China has spoiled us.

Depending on where you were in the city it felt like Mexico or America with its own Asian flare.

Lodging
The place we rented was nice. We were pleased with it the entire stay.

We stayed near the Mall of Asia. When we visited the mall it felt like we were in America. Everything was in English. We recognized many of the stores.

We didn’t visit too many places outside of the area we stayed.

English
All of the signs were in English. I would say that 98% of the signs that we saw were in English. It was a weird feeling. But it made getting around very easy.

Speaking of English, the majority of people that we talked to speak English. I would say 2 out of 3 people spoke English good enough to be able to communicate with. The 1 out of the 3 wouldn’t understand what I was saying and had to get a friend to translate.

Because English was so prevalent, it made getting around the city and ordering food extremely easily.

Even many of the radio stations and most of the TV stations were in English.

Tagalog
There was something very interesting that happened… when they spoke to each other they didn’t speak English. I would say 90% of the time they would speak to each other in their language.

It would seem obvious that English is a great tool but the heart language is a mix of both with Tagalog being the main language that they want to speak.

Religion
A huge globe in front of the mall lit up and had different ads and Bible verses on it, with the saying “Glory to God” after each Bible verse.

The Catholic and Christian influences were obvious throughout the city. There were sad sights liked the Catholic idols.

Food
The Filipino food that we tried was great!

Transportation
The jeepneys commanded the road with their huge noise, clouds of smoke from the exhaust and ridiculous looks.

Taxis were convenient and plentiful though we walked most places.

People
The people were very polite and welcoming for they most part. I was thinking it was going to be like Japan, but it was more casual, more like Southern hospitality in America.

I realized how nice they were when we returned to China. When we got to our hotel in China on the way back, the doorman stood there and looked at me as we struggled to get three kids and all our luggage out of the taxi. In the Philippines, the doorman would come and get all your stuff and take it to your room.

Airport
The airport receives the “2015 Worst Airport In Asia Award”! Not only was terminal one extremely small, under construction and old, they charged a fee that has to be paid for everyone before you go through security. Good thing we had a credit card!

Then they had a lot of weird things that they required you to do that I have never had to do before.

For example, before you entered the seating area at the gate you were required to check in and go through another bag search. If you wanted to leave the seating areas to use the restroom or get something to eat, you had to turn in your boarding pass, and they gave you a card with a number on it.

Not to mention, all our flights were late, to and fro. (But that is expected when flying in China)

Conclusion
Overall, there wasn’t a huge wow factor, but for our first trip there, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the city and country.

Seoul Survey: Thoughts

This was our third time to go to Seoul, South Korea for a visa run. I remember the first time we came to Seoul after being in China and we were just like, “wow!” Each time we go we find something new. This past trip I wrote down some thoughts as we spent four days there. Here they are:

  • Credit! You can use your credit card everywhere, including the taxis. We used a card the entire trip with the exception of the street market vendors. (No, I am not endorsing credit cards.)
  • It is always a weird feeling eating Taco Bell in Asia but it taste the same!
  • The street markets are filled with people! One area we went to claims to get 1.5-2 millions visitors daily! It really was incredible.
  • The city layouts are a lot more different from China. China has what I call the “communist block” layout. In Seoul you didn’t see anything like that.
  • I can buy real Red Bull there!
  • We tried speaking Korean during our time there. The people seem to enjoy that we were trying. We used an app for that. I was also surprised how many words sounded like Chinese and how many people could speak a little English.
  • There were many noticeable church buildings in the city with crosses on top. At the same time there were many places that had places to offer incense etc. to idols.
  • WiFi! The internet at the hotel was incredibly fast and there was wi-fi all over the city. You just needed to buy a day pass and you had wi-fi access wherever you went.
  • The electrical outlets were different and we couldn’t use American or Chinese plugs. The hotel gave us free adapters.
  • The shopping district was really worth a visit to see tons of people, not really kid friendly.
  • We saw people carrying gospel signs, preaching and giving out tracts and/or literature at the markets and airports.
  • Seoul is expensive.
  • A lot of the shopping areas were catered for Chinese people.
  • We went to a Premium Outlet that was nicer than ones we have been to in the States.
  • The North Korean and South Korean tension still exist and is very saddening though South Korea is making money of it in tourism. I would have liked to spend more time in the DMZ area but many things were closed because of the holiday.
  • All of us agreed that Seoul was like an American city in Asia.
  • The appearance of the gospel was present (churches, street preachers). I am sure a city of it’s size still needs more laborers. I would think one would need to consider it in the same way they consider an American city, meaning is this a key city to spread the gospel from vs. I am bringing the gospel to people who don’t have it.

Shenyang, China (3 of 3) City Comparison

To help give a better frame of reference for this city, I want to compare it to the two cities that we currently have two team members working in. I really think this is the next city we should send someone to advance the gospel.

Thanks to the high-speed railway, each of these cities are easily connected to each other. You can now travel from any one of these cities (Harbin, Dalian, Shenyang) to the other in less than 4 hours.

Consider the following stats…

Population: City / Sub-provincial City / Urban Population
Harbin / 10,635,971 / 4,517,549
Dalian / 6,690,432 / 3,683,941
Shenyang / 8,106,171 / 5,967,526

Area: City / Sub-provincial
Harbin / 20,500 sq mi
Dalian / 5,111 sq mi
Shenyang / 4,997 sq mi

Population Density: City / Sub-provincial
Harbin / 520 per sq mi
Dalian / 1,200 per sq mi
Shenyang / 1,600 per sq mi

Capital Type: City / Sub-provincial City / Provincial Capital
Harbin / Yes / Yes
Dalian / Yes / No
Shenyang / Yes / Yes

Transportation: City / Airport / Train Station / Subway
Harbin / Yes / Yes / Yes
Dalian / Yes / Yes / In Construction
Shenyang / Yes / Yes / Yes

As you can see by comparing a few statistics, this city is definitely a city that we need to have a presence in. It is a key city to reaching the Northeast. Will you help us pray for Shenyang, China. Will you pray that God will raise up laborers and send them there?

References: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Shenyang, China (2 of 3) Second Thoughts

My wife and I decided to get away for our anniversary. This was our first time to leave the kids in China, we didn’t want to go too far, so we decided to go to Shenyang. I wasn’t too impressed with the city the first time I visited it, but wanted to give it a second chance. We could get to the city in about an hour and forty minutes via the high-speed railway. We found a nice hotel online and planned to spend two nights and three days there. Here are my “second thoughts” about the city from the trip:

The people are friendly. This is probably the friendliest city that I have been to in China to date. Everyone seemed to be smiling and happy. It didn’t matter if it was the taxi driver, waiters, or people at the market, everyone seemed to by friendly. People complemented my Chinese way more than people do in Dalian, it was weird. (I am not sure if that is because of them being more friendly or if it has to do with the foreigner ratio).

The city is aged but modern. There are many old buildings and last time I only really saw the old buildings. But this time we discovered a very modern city that shows signs of becoming even more modern. (A visit to the “Middle Street” will show this to be true.) I didn’t see signs of huge growth like you see in other cities, but I think that is because the city is already huge! The city has age to it and I learned that needs to be respected.

The city is full of culture. Like I stated above, the city has age to it. It has been around a long time. Therefore, what comes with its’ age is a lot of unique culture. There is a lot of old Chinese architecture (like the Imperial Palace). There seems to be a good presence of minority groups who also express their unique cultures (such as seen in Korea Street and the Muslim Food Street).

The city has a huge population! Population of 8.1 million. It is actually has the largest urban population in the Northeast (5.9 million). Everywhere we went there were crowds of people. I guess last time the areas we visited wasn’t where the people were because this time we found them. We visited several different parts of the city and there were thousands and thousands of people.

The city is a transportation and business hub. Because of its’ location the city can easy connect to surrounding Chinese cities. Therefore, it has become a transportation hub having one of the busiest airports and serves as a railway hub for the Northeast. This location also makes it a great hub for businesses.

The city has great potential for our team and the advancement of the gospel. Will you consider taking that gospel to this city?

Shenyang, China (1 of 3) A New Survey

In August I had the chance to visit the city of Shenyang for the second time. The first time I visited the city was in May of 2011. I wasn’t very impressed with the city and wrote my thoughts here. This time, I fell in love with the city. Why such the drastic difference? I am not sure, but probably because of time and experience.

Time: The first time we spent less than 24 hours in the city. This time I spent time over a period of three days and two nights in the city.

Experience: Being in China longer (knowing more culture and language) has helped me to know how to properly survey a Chinese city.

Basically, my time in the city and experience to know what and where to look were limited.

Another thing that I realized is that it he takes more than one visited to really get to know or get a feel for a city. Everyone is used to the way “their city” is and judges everything through that lens. I have found that time spent in a new city helps you learn that what seems to be apparent weaknesses at first can actually be strengths and vice-versa.

Despite what initial reactions where, I want to give a second review for the city and am praying to mobilize someone to work with our team, Project China, to move to this city and start a church.

In these few post, I want to give you a new look at Shenyang from our recent trip and then compare it to the other two cities where we already have team members stationed.

Will you join us in praying for a laborer to be sent to Shenyang, China?

Student Religious Belief Survey

The Aim and Purpose of the Survey

When we had the large group come down and help us do three days of outreach, I mentioned that we did a survey. The survey was called the “Student Religious Belief Survey.” The aim of the survey was to make an approachable way to meet people we don’t know in a public setting and let them know about the church if they are interested. We targeted the University since it has a high density of people in a small area.

The group that I went with targeted the guy’s dorm going door-to-door asking people to take part in the survey. The last question that we asked was essentially “Do you want to know more about Christianity?” If the answer was “Yes!” we handed them a card with the church information on it and offered to give them a free Bible.

The survey was also useful in collecting phone numbers that we could follow-up with via text message. For example, we sent everyone a text thanking them for participating in the survey and gave them basic information about the church. For those who noted they were interested, we send occasional texts reminding them about the church or church activities.

We have had at least 2-3 people come that I know of that were a direct result of the surveys. There may be more, since we have had a lot of first-time visitors recently, but I don’t know the means in which they heard about the church.

Crunching the Numbers

After collecting all the surveys, we crunched all the numbers together to find out what the most common answer was for each question.

You can download the full results of the survey here.

I will list some of the information and the questions that we asked with the top answer for each one below.

  • 100 Surveys completed and turned in.
  • 53 of those surveyed claimed to be male.
  • 51 provided their cell phone number.

Questions and The Top Answers

Q: What do you think our society needs?
A: Moral Development.

Q: According to your observations, what is the situation and trend of Chinese families?
A: Happy and will continually be happy.

Q: What is the largest religious group you came in contact with growing up?
A: Buddhism.

Q: Continuing from the above question, the reason you know that religion is?
A: Family or relatives’ religious belief.

Q: Do you believe in the existence of the spiritual world? (Can choose multiple)
A: No Answer.

Q: How do you regard death?
A: A man dies the way a lamp goes out.

Q: Would you like to learn more about Christianity?
A: No.

For more details on the survey, download the full report.

Shenyang, China

Last Thursday I had to go to Shenyang to visit the U.S. Consulate and get pages added to my passport. It was a good trip. I went with my language school teacher and it provided a good time to talk Chinese all day. It took four hours by train to get there (China’s high-speed rail). This also was my first time to visit Shenyang. After getting my business done at the Consulate we had about three hours to visit the city before we had to get on the train and head back. Here are my first impressions:

  • The city seemed old and outdated.
  • I saw more abandoned buildings that new construction projects.
  • Their Chinese sounds more jumble together.
  • The subway was amazingly clean and nice!
  • Had a lot of old Chinese architecture and history/sites.
  • The U.S. consulate was disappointing and not very exciting.
  • Other foreigns that I mainly saw were Russians (besides those at the embassy).
  • A lot of the stores were closed by 5:00 PM. Made the place feel eery.
  • Didn’t feel as big as our city and had a different feel …seemed poorer.
  • Heard that it gets cold like here
  • Smoggy, foggy, windy, and dusty.
  • Needs the GOSPEL!

We only visit the area around the embassy, the train station, and “central street.” So my first impressions are limited to these areas.

I talk to three other Americans at the embassy and two of them were teaching at international schools and one guy was retired and “traveling.”

This is just one of the many cities in China that need laborers! It might not sound like the most romantic city or exciting place to live your life in but it is a city with millions of souls who need to hear the Gospel.

Will you consider your life to bring the Gospel to Shenyang, China?

Notes from the Villages

This past Friday we went out surveying villages surrounding our city. During our time surveying we found out a lot of interesting information about the religious condition of the villages.

Firstly, let me tell you a little background about what we are doing. We had three teams go in three different directions with the task to survey villages looking for existing churches, Christians, and pastors. We are interested in the villages because they have less appeal for full-time workers, less financial support for gaining valuable resources, and many times less educated and trained Christian leaders. We want to try and help change that.

Secondly, on our first survey of the villages we found out a lot of information about the villages and surrounding townships. The findings seemed to be relatively the same for each team, which went in three opposite directions. Our team went about 70 kilometers (43.4 miles) outside of the city at our farthest point. We visited around 10 villages and here is what we found:

  • Religion, Religion, Religion! RELIGION is here in China! Honestly, I was expecting for us to go into a village, ask about a church and there wouldn’t be any, but the opposite was true! There were people who said their village had several “churches.”
  • More investigating into the several “churches” showed us there is major separation between these groups. “We believe this way and they believe that way,” type of attitude.
  • The cults are there. The one main question that was asked to see if we should even continue with them was “Do you believe Jesus Christ is the only way of Salvation?” Some agreed, some wouldn’t answer, and others said they believed differently.
  • Openness. Many people in the villages knew about these groups. We would just pull into a village and ask whoever was outside if they knew of a church that served the Lord. Usually we only had to ask two or three people before we found someone who knew about the “religious scene” of the village. They would then tell us what house to go to or take us there and introduce us to the people. No room for hiding.
  • People we very hesitant about us (understandable). They seemed to be aware of cults and other false groups coming into their village and/or they were scared of the government.
  • Even though we found some Christians, they still weren’t the majority of people. Our team would ask groups of people if they believed and they would kind of laugh and say no.

Those who claimed to be Christian (believe in Jesus Christ only) and were willing to talk to us, generally had the following characteristics:

  • They had no pastor!
  • They would meet every once-and-awhile with other believers in the village.
  • There was no organized local church for them to participate in.

Summary: We found several small pockets of Christians, who are without leadership and guidance. If we are able to build a relationship with them by giving them some valuable resources and training, we think we can make a difference and further the gospel in these villages.

 

Hong Kong & Shenzhen

We returned on Wednesday from a seven day trip to Hong Kong. We needed to cross the border again and decided to defrost a little bit as well, so we went south. Hong Kong definitely is an incredible place. We were able to see the city, take a break with family and do some touristy things, as well as, cross over into Shenzhen, a city in southern China. Here are a few quick thoughts:

Hong Kong

  • It seemed to be a first class city, well organized, built in multi levels and tiers, and lots of freedom.
  • They spoke Cantonese and many spoke British English.
  • The city seemed to be mixed in culture, language, and religion.
  • It is a city that many base their outreach into the mainland from.
  • Even with tons of religious freedom there still seemed to be a great need of the Gospel.

Shenzhen

  • Crossing the border from HK to China was extremely simple.
  • I was surprised a little that they spoke Mandarin instead if Cantonese, at least from what I understood. (I am sure there is a mix.)
  • It was obvious you were back in the mainland when entering Shenzhen.
  • We only visited the city for an afternoon, but it felt very much like China, just warmer, cleaner, and more tropical than we are use to up north.
  • It is a large, growing and developing city…which means we need more churches and missionaries there.

There are some quick thoughts and for the rest I am going to link to an article that my colleague wrote after recently returning from his trip there: Hong Kong the Populous.

One Missionary’s Story of a Chinese Village

Here is a story from a missionary who visited China in February of 2006. He recalls visiting a small village outside of one of the cities he was visiting. I have pasted parts of the story below that paint the picture of the need in China. This is the same condition of many places in China today!

I also added some emphasis: the areas that are bolded are a cry out for the need of laborers and the parts that are underlined are the problems in much China’s house church movement (lack of male leadership, teach tradition instead of Bible, attendance mainly women, doesn’t clearly/correctly present the Gospel).

“Tuesday morning we left at 6:30 to head to the country to a small farming village about 2 ½ hours from the city….

…The small village had the old Chinese brick building style. There were 3 rows of houses – maybe 50 in all. Each house was surrounded by a mud /straw fence, badly eroding by the winter elements. The streets were frozen mud with large ruts. There were dogs, chickens, ducks and large sows wandering freely. Since one of the main crops there is corn, huge piles of fodder were stacked everywhere along the road. The pigs were freely eating and laying on the pile. Most of the homes were old, but even the newer ones were all the same style. Inside was one large room – maybe 16×16 , with a queen sized concrete bed frame in the middle of the room. At the head of the bed was a small cupboard where they stored the mats and blankets they slept on. By day, the concrete frame served as a sofa and a place to put a short legged table that everyone sat around for meals. Outside the room was a narrow concrete hall that led to the only other small room in the house which was the kitchen. In it was a gas burner and a large wok for cooking , and a pump for drawing water out of a well. There was no bathroom or running water in the house….

…He talked about the 2 churches in that area. Both are led by women and both with different teachings….

…From what they said, they taught about many traditional things passed down from the ideas of people, not really what the Bible taught. Most of the villagers could not read, so just did what they were told. They didn’t use the Bible much in the services. He asked if someone could come to the village to teach. He said that there weren’t many men in the church. If a man would come, the men would also go to church. “Will someone come to teach us?” A heart wrenching question with probably a negative answer…

She had no idea about God, just that her daughter supposedly had been demon possessed and the lady preacher at the church told her she needed to believe in Jesus, so she did. She said, “I believe in Jesus, but I don’t know what the advantage is”…

…I started from Creation and went through briefly what happens when a person gets saved and why it is important to believe in Christ as our Savior. They listened intently and also asked if a teacher would come. Again, my heart went out to them…

Will they ever get a real witness in that village was the question lingering in my mind as we were driving away.”

-Keith Cullers