Connections: Yen-Sha Lim
A Miraculous Journey
Upon Yen-Sha Lim’s election as president of the National Chinese Fellowship last year, she became the first female leader of any of the 21 ethnic minority fellowships in the U.S. Assemblies of God. She served on staff of a San Francisco church for 26 years with her husband, Steve, before he became academic dean at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Mo. Lim recently sat down with Pentecostal Evangel News Editor John W. Kennedy to explain God’s miraculous provision in the past and to discuss her hopes for the fellowship’s future.
evangel: How did you become a Christian?
LIM: As a young child, I heard Assemblies of God missionary Leonard Bolton preach in Bangladesh, where I grew up. It was the first time I had heard of Jesus. I accepted Him as Savior eventually.
evangel: Did you know you wanted to enter ministry at an early age?
LIM: When I was 12, I felt God calling me to ministry. I started thinking about Bible school, and when I saw a Central Bible College yearbook that a missionary had, I felt God leading me to attend the school. But my dad was not Christian. And at the time, where we lived, females didn’t go anywhere unchaperoned. The idea that I could go anywhere by myself was unthinkable. I knew it would take a miracle.
evangel: Yet you did graduate from CBC.
LIM: For some reason I started losing weight; doctors didn’t know why. My mother, who never questioned my father’s authority, said likely I was sick because he wouldn’t let me go to America to study. Finally, he consented to let me go. It was a miracle!
evangel: Other miracles followed.
LIM: A missionary itinerating in New York showed slides of me teaching Sunday School in Bangladesh and mentioned in passing, “This girl feels God’s call to come to CBC.” Julius Fried, a lawyer who helped establish Teen Challenge, told the missionary he wanted to help me. He was my sponsor and helped to pay part of my tuition. The Lord opened every door. I was full of faith.
When I was at CBC, many times I had no spending money; I would find five or 10 dollars in an envelope in my student mailbox. When I graduated from Bible school, an anonymous donor paid my remaining bill. I didn’t owe a cent.
evangel: How did this impact your family?
LIM: Just before I graduated, my dad wrote a letter to me, saying that he and my mother had seen how my God had taken care of me, so they had decided to serve the Lord. Today, my whole family is Christian.
evangel: How do the many ethnic Chinese living in this country present an evangelism opportunity?
LIM: There are so many Chinese coming into the States as students and scholars. We need to realize that missions is at our doorstep. Once these people accept Christ, it will have a great impact among their friends and relatives who they will try to reach in their culture.
evangel: What are some practical ways that U.S. Christians can interact with students from a foreign country?
LIM: We can help them get adjusted and invite them to church. When I was at CBC, a family gave me a Bible, took me out to dinner, and showed love to me.
evangel: What are your goals for the National Chinese Fellowship?
LIM: I never dreamed that I would be in this position, being a female, because every lead pastor of our churches is a man. Most of our churches are small and struggling to get the resources they need. We need pastors for the mission field in the States.
I hope to connect these churches closer together and encourage them. They speak different dialects and belong to different subcultures. Once we establish a strong bond and have the same vision, then church planting will be easier.
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