Gideon Lim is pastor of a small Chinese mission in Shreveport – but his vision extends much farther than just that area.
Note: Leading up
to the Week of Prayer for State Missions and the Georgia Barnette State
Missions Offering (September 18-25), the Baptist Message will present
reports on ongoing missions work across Louisiana. Information and
photographs for the articles have been provided by the Louisiana
Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union.
Gideon Lim is pastor of a small Chinese mission in
Shreveport – but his vision extends much farther than just that area.
Indeed, Lim’s efforts have left what one Louisiana
Baptist leader called “fingerprints for Jesus” around the world.
And that is just fine with the young Chinese pastor – he expects his church to be a missions force elsewhere.
“The potential of this ministry is very huge,” Lim
says on a DVD testimony for the Georgia Barnette State Missions
Offering, which lends financial support to the Chinese Baptist Mission.
“Even though right now, we are small, we see more and more Chinese
coming in. …
“Also, the impact of this ministry is beyond
Shreveport, …” Lim continues. “Many of those who accept Christ, they
will carry the gospel with them wherever they go. And we’ve had people
who accepted Christ here and then went to China. And in China, they
spread the gospel.”
The Chinese Baptist Mission in Shreveport was
launched in 1980 by First Baptist Church of Shreveport. It remained
within the church’s missions department until 1999, when it officially
became a mission congregation.
Lim arrived at the church in 2001 to assume his
first pastorate. “It’s God’s calling – that’s why I’m here, …” he
says. “I felt called to reach out to the Chinese.”
Lim says he sees the congregation and himself as “growing each other.
“They are helping me grow to be a better pastor and
I am helping them grow to be better Christians,” he says.
Initially, the mission focused on Chinese refugees
from Vietnam. Now, it seeks to impact two main groups in Shreveport –
Chinese scholars who work at the Louisiana State University Medical
Center and Chinese restaurant owners and workers in the area.
The Chinese professionals represent one of the
largest international groups in Northwest Louisiana. Usually, the
scholars stay in the area for three to five years.
If reached during that time, these intellectual
Chinese can carry the gospel back to mainland China, where the impact
could be huge, Lim and others note.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Chinese also work in the 30
or so Chinese restaurants in the Shreveport area. They also are in need
of the gospel, Kim notes.
However, many of these persons are working during
regular church services. Thus, in order to reach them, the Chinese
mission launched monthly late-night services in 2003. The services
begin at 11 p.m. – and usually attract about 20 persons. Some 10
individuals have accepted Christ as their savior since the services
In addition to those local efforts, Lim says he wants the congregation involved in the broader missions task.
The Shreveport mission already partners with Chinese
congregations in Monroe and Ruston to engage in joint efforts. Members
also have been involved in various short-term international missions
It all is part of Lim’s vision of the mission serving as “a sending base financially, and in man power.
“That’s what I envision here,” he emphasizes.
“To put it this way, we model the church of Antioch
in the Book of Acts. Even though they were small, they were constantly
sending out people.”
In all efforts to impact Chinese people with the
gospel, Lim stresses the importance of prayer and friendship
evangelism, of earning the trust of others.
He also encourages other Louisiana Baptists to pray for the ongoing work of Chinese Baptist Missions.
He cites three requests:
• Pray for the leadership of the missions, that they remain sensitive to God’s will and leadership
• Pray for the heart of the people. “Many of them,
they came here without a clue of the gospel,” Lim notes. “They never
heard of it. Their dream here is to pursue the American Dream just like
all Americans. So, it’s very hard for them to see the need of the
“It takes us a long time to reach out to them,” the
mission pastor adds. “Pray for their hearts, that their hearts will be
softened by God’s love and that they will be more sensitive to their
spiritual need, not just focused solely on material need.”
• Pray for new believers to grow and mature in Christ.
Lim also could ask for Louisiana Baptists to pray for the Georgia
Barnette State Missions Offering, which has provided key support for
the mission, enabling it to share the gospel in the heart language of
the Chinese people.
The importance of that cannot be calculated, as Lim’s account of one Chinese woman’s experience illustrates.
He tells the story of the 74-year-old woman from
China who traveled to the Shreveport area to be with her daughter. The
daughter is a member of Lim’s mission, but the mother never had heard
the gospel, he explains.
“But she came here and saw how her daughter’s life
was changed,” Lim recounts. “So, she had interest to learn more about
The elder woman began to examine the Christian faith
and, eventually, accepted Christ as her personal savior. In her
subsequent testimony, she told how she wanted to write all her friends
and relatives in China “to tell them how wonderful it is to be a
Christian and how wonderful the love of God is.
“Prior to that, (she) never had a clue about believing in Christ,” Lim emphasizes.
“But once she accepted Christ, her life changed 180 degrees, and you can see the difference in her.
“So, from not having a clue about Christ to passion for Christ,” Lim summarizes, smiling as he does.
Then, he gives a slight nod of his head, as if to affirm – yes, that is what the work is all about after all.