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By Sam Hutchens
When our family first moved to New Zealand
in January 2018, I had no aspirations to have a
Chinese ministry. I was not even aware there
was a sizeable Chinese population in the city
of Christchurch! Little did we realize God had
different plans.

Two Chinese women walked in for our Sunday
afternoon service in April 2018. One of them
was teaching the Chinese language to one of
our teen girls named Chloe. Chloe had invited
her to come for a service several times, and now
she came and brought a friend. There was one
problem! While their English was good, the
sermon moved too quickly for them to really
grasp what was being said. As I discussed this
with a layman in our church named Warren,
he made a suggestion. We have a weekly Friday
Sam & Juliana Hutchins & family
night Bible Study. He offered to go through
some basic discipleship material with them at a
slower pace while I taught the main study. We
set it up and invited the ladies back.

Two Fridays later, those two women returned
with two more friends, and the weekly Friday
Chinese Bible Study was born. Slowly, over
the course of a couple of months, the numbers
rose from four to nine or ten. Warren moved
very slowly through basic Bible truths, starting
with a thorough understanding of the Gospel.

Most had never heard this before, so there were
questions—lots of questions. Many Friday
nights Warren and I would sit with some of
the Chinese after the Bible Study and answer
questions—questions about creation, God,
Jesus, the Bible, faith, sin, and salvation.

Some of the Chinese baptized in November of 2018.


It seemed as though we might only
answer questions and never actually see
anyone saved. I can remember getting a
bit discouraged after several months had
passed with no apparent progress. Then
one night, I was having a conversation
with one of the ladies named Kristen who
had been coming. I had just answered
three or four new questions, but she still
was not ready to be saved. I must have
looked a little sad because she finished
the conversation by saying, “Pastor, please
keep being patient with us. We are getting
close.” It was just a few weeks later when Kristen
trusted Christ, along with her husband,
Feng. Mike and Jin were saved and then
Tony. In November 2018, we baptized these
five and they became our “core” group of
Chinese believers. All five are still faithfully
attending, growing, and witnessing.

They are not the only ones who have been
saved. David got saved not long after.

Jonathan was attending our Bible studies
and then he moved to Auckland before we
could see him trust Christ. We passed his
information to a Kiwi pastor friend, Paul
Brinkman. A few weeks later, I received a
text from Pastor Brinkman that Jonathan
had trusted Christ! He has since moved
back and been baptized. Then there were
Steven and Lynn. Lily trusted Christ and
is now back in China. Earlier this year,
Fiona trusted Jesus. Her husband, Tiger,
maintained that he was not quite ready,
though we constantly witnessed to him.

He made the decision to be saved on
September 28. Just a few days before, Liam
trusted Christ, and back in August John
was saved.

We now have 15–20 Chinese coming every
Friday night, many still searching for the
truth. Warren still teaches while I do the
English study with an advanced discipleship
class at 6:00 for the believers and a broader
study at 7:00 for everyone else.

In July, we started a Sunday worship service
just for the Chinese. We sing together and
One of the Chinese believers with Sam
they learn songs they have never heard before. We
take an offering and they give. I preach and our
translator, Jackie, translates. We hold an invitation
at the end and invite those who are still not saved to
trust Christ. At the same time we encourage those
who are saved to be obedient to the way the Holy
Spirit is leading them. It is not unusual to spend time
answering more questions after the service to help
those curious unbelievers learn more.

Many still need the Lord, and we pray for them
regularly. We are hopeful that in the next few months
we will see many of these trust Christ.

Yes, we have seen Kiwis come to the Lord. We have
seen good numerical and spiritual growth amongst
our English-speaking congregation. God has been
blessing the church as a whole. As I look back on
nearly three years of ministry in Christchurch, the
one thing that always surprises me most is what
God has done in using our church to reach Chinese
people. By His grace, we will continue to answer
their questions; preach the Gospel; and see them
saved, baptized, and discipled for the glory of God. W
Number 1, 2021