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The Partnership of Missions and Business in China

In an article for Today's Christian about the rapid growth of the church in China, Rob Moll tells the story of a missionary and businessman called Uncle Daniel, offering a glimpse into God's work in a seemingly closed society:

Uncle Daniel spent years as a missionary to China's rural villages. There, he said, it was like the Book of Acts, complete with miracles, exorcisms, and mass conversions. From 1982 to 1992, he experienced arrest, persecution, and tremendous success planting churches in Henan province. But, Uncle Daniel says, "I started very, very poor. While I was very poor, I had no home. I had a wife. I had children, but I had no food." At the time, he considered it a spiritual badge of honor. "But a brother came to talk to me and said I was wrong to neglect my family." Instead, the man suggested to Uncle Daniel, "I would like to help you to start a business."
After ten years as a missionary, Uncle Daniel's family called him back home to the southern coastal city of Wenzhou. He now owns and directs a number of factories in the rapidly growing city. Yet, Uncle Daniel still considers himself a missionary. "For me as a businessman," he says, "I put it in this order: Increasing my business productivity to build God's kingdom and send out his servants. That is the three-pointed triangle of my life."
Because of people like Uncle Daniel, churches are springing up like bamboo shoots in the city—and wherever these churches send missionaries, including many to the Middle East. And no matter what country these missionaries move to, they are fully supported by the profits of the city's Christian-owned businesses. "We want to be part of the global church," Uncle Daniel says. "We want to be part of the reinforcement for world missions."
After more than 25 years as a church leader in China, Uncle Daniel sees God's hand in the country's economic and political assent. "God has his eyes set on China. I am seeing that in the policy of the government. I am seeing that in the change of the politics and economics and the change in our morality."
Last Christmas, Uncle Daniel's church, as well as other unregistered churches in Wenzhou, provided "parcels of love" to the city's needy. "I believe God will allow China to become strong," says Uncle Daniel, "not just for political reasons, but far more for his kingdom purpose."

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