Missionary in Oklahoma May Be United Methodist First from China
by Elliott Wright
New York, NY, September 14, 2010--The summer of 2010 was busy for the Rev. Fuxia Wang, her first as a missionary of The United Methodist Church. Assigned to ministry with the Chinese community in Norman, Oklahoma, and vicinity, she may well be the first United Methodist missionary from mainland China to serve in the United States.
Rev. Wang, ordained as a full elder of the Oklahoma Annual Conference in June, became a Church and Community Worker, a missionary vocation linked to the General Board of Global Ministries in July. Born in China and an atheist until Christ found her in central Oklahoma in 1996, she is full of passion for works of piety, mercy, and justice.
Her summer was filled with tutoring, preaching, and meeting with pastors and congregations. She also provide services and referrals to the growing community of Chinese-speaking persons, including students, in the region. She is based at the Wesley Foundation of the University of Oklahoma in Norman and works with the leaders of the Norman Chinese Fellowship, the Oklahoma Annual Conference, and the South Oklahoma City District.
Rev. Wang leads Bible studies, discusses theology, and puts the gospel to work in everyday ways. She helps persons arrange cell phone service, apply for Social Security numbers and drivers' licenses, set up bank accounts, and obtain health services. She collects people at the Oklahoma City Airport, 20 miles north of Norman, and develops support for mission broadly defined.
"This is cutting-edge mission and ministry," said the Rev. Kathleen Masters, who heads the Church and Community Workers program at Global Ministries. "Fuxia Wang, in concert with others in the Oklahoma Annual Conference and the Wesley Foundation, is proclaiming the gospel in word and deed to an expanding population. Her energy and enthusiasm for Jesus Christ are totally amazing."
As the start of the academic year approached, Rev. Wang hosted an international student breakfast at the university and prepared for early September workshops on evangelism for a retreat of the Edmond Chinese International United Methodist Church. She was part of that congregation as a student and, then, as staff member of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
Ms. Wang came to the attention of Oklahoma Conference leaders through her ministry with Chinese students and Edmond's Chinese congregation led by the Rev. Puong Lau.
Bridges to Oklahoma
"Fuxia and Puong remind us that the world has literally come to the Oklahoma plains, and we have an opportunity to extend hospitality and God's grace to our new neighbors," said the Rev. Guy Ames, superintendent of the Ardmore District, who had a key role in working out missionary status for Rev. Wang. "Her infectious witness, joyful Christianity, and background allow us to build bridges from Norman, Oklahoma, that stretch around the world. We are very excited to be partnering with Global Ministries in this new mission endeavor."
Rev. Wang came to the US to earn a master's degree in education at the Edmond-based University of Central Oklahoma. She was introduced to Christianity through the Chinese ministry of that campus center and responded to God's call to full-time ministry. After completing her theological studies in California in 2002, she returned to Oklahoma, became a provisional elder of the Oklahoma Annual Conference, and was appointed to the Wesley Foundation in Edmond. She worked at Central Oklahoma University until was appointed to the Wesley Foundation staff in Norman in 2006.
Reaching Out to a Growing Population
Evangelism is at the top of her priority list. "I brought 50 people to the Lord within three years after I believed in Jesus," she says, recalling her first years in Oklahoma. "I invited people to the church and shared the Word of God with them and prayed for them…. I was called a televangelist because I shared my faith with my relatives and friends in China over long-distance telephone."
Now Rev. Wang is reaching out to the growing Asian American population of the Norman-Oklahoma City area, which has approximately 2,500 persons of Chinese ancestry, and that number is growing. Recognizing the ministry as a Church and Community site with a resident missionary enlarges the capacity of the work through the connectional system. It also makes it possible for United Methodists in many parts of the country to identify the work through the denominational provision of Covenant Support for missionaries.
Support for missionaries through the Church and Community Workers program is shared by Global Ministries and a local or regional sponsor, such as an annual conference, school, or community center. These missionaries can also be supported by Covenant Relationships and other gifts through The Advance, the designated mission giving channel of the church.
Date posted: Sep 10, 2010