THE LANGUAGE PROBLEM
We need the Chinese-speaking meeting because a number of the immigrants who are the relatives and the parents of the young graduates do not know much English. They may be able to speak enough English to get by in their business, but they have a real problem listening to a message in a Christian meeting. They also have a hard time listening to the testimonies and they cannot praise or pray, uttering their feelings to the Lord freely. Because of this situation, these Chinese Christians have suffered greatly. As a result, they went somewhere else to a Chinese meeting. Some of their children are coming to our meetings, but they will not come because they cannot understand anything. They are forced to go to other’s Chinese Christian meetings. This shows us that there is the need of meeting the problem of this language barrier.
In addition to this, even the younger generation who graduated from the schools in the United States still have a problem with the language. They also can function with the English language adequately in their business or in their school, but it is difficult for them to listen to a message. It is also difficult for them to utter something in prayer or in praise. Because they feel awkward, this becomes a frustration to them. Once a Chinese-speaking meeting begins, they immediately become happy and released. Even the ones who graduated from the universities in the United States are really happy and feel released. They can utter everything in their prayer, praise, and testimonies. Some of the English-speaking saints who have come to the Chinese-speaking conferences and who have had to use the earphones for translation, have learned to sympathize with the Chinese. They know what a suffering it is to wear the earphones and now they understand more of the problem. These English-speaking saints testified that they are now qualified to sympathize with so many Chinese who must wear the earphones in the meeting for translation. This is really a suffering. Again, we can see that the need is here.
CHINESE-SPEAKING MEETINGS NOT CHINESE CHURCHES
We must realize that we are not setting up Chinese churches. These Chinese-speaking meetings are a part of the local church and these meetings are still under the one eldership. This is absolutely a part of the local church and not an independent church. In some places the saints may feel awkward concerning this. They may feel that this would begin to make the church in their locality Chinese. Also, some of the saints may not be happy to see that in one building a Chinese-speaking Lord’s table is going on upstairs and an English-speaking Lord’s table is going on downstairs. They may not understand how one church can have two kinds of Lord’s tables at one time. This may become a bothering to certain saints.
The elders should do their best to make this situation understandable to the saints. This is entirely for the Lord’s interest. All the churches can testify that the Chinese-speaking saints have really been a strengthening to the local churches. The Chinese-speaking meeting has always been a positive thing and a strengthening to the church. This is not only a help to the Chinese-speaking side of the church but also an indirect help to the English-speaking side of the church. This is a plus to the church in the increase, in the financial support, and in the functioning of all the members. This has been and still is a real help to the Lord’s recovery. Perhaps it would be better to have a joint Lord’s table once a month in a locality for the English-speaking saints and for the Chinese-speaking saints. Thus, at least once a month all would come together in order to keep a “mingled” atmosphere. This may also be quite profitable.
When we use the term “Chinese-speaking meeting,” we stress the word speaking. We do not consider that it is a Chinese meeting, which is based upon the race. This meeting is based upon the language. We have made it clear that anyone who can manage the English language for the purpose of the meeting must go to the English-speaking meeting. The Chinese-speaking meeting does not depend upon race but upon your language. If anyone can manage the Chinese language, he is free to come to the Chinese-speaking meeting.
(Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)