Growing number of Chinese students in Europe has raised a great need for evangelism. Overseas Campus Magazine (OCM) is launching a new Europe Edition for the unreached in Europe.
OCM first received the vision to pioneer Europe Edition in November 2004 when it recognized that Mainland Chinese studying in Europe has increased tremendously over the years since the 9/11 tragedy in the U.S. Most recently, the number of Chinese students going to Europe has even exceeded that of the U.S..
"In Europe, Chinese books and magazines are not very common. Therefore, through our Chinese Christian magazine OCM, we can proclaim the gospel to many Chinese students who are not easily reached," said Joanna Su, who is the wife of OCM chief editor Rev. Edwin Su and is now in charge of the Europe Edition.
Su added that the target audience of OCM is primarily Chinese non-Christian students from Mainland China. Under the governance of the Communist Party in China, Mainlanders generally have less exposure to religions. However, the hearts of these overseas Chinese students are more opened to the gospel in a new environment and it is easier to convert them to Christians.
Su further explained how the changing demand of OCM in Europe has finally led to the expansion of OCM. In the past, there are a few hundred orders from Europe for OCM United States edition. Most of the readers are more mature adults with their families settled down in Europe and they can afford the high cost of buying the magazine. However, now there are more students who are less financially strong in Europe, so OCM has planned to distribute the publication for free.
OCM aims to print 10,000 copies for the inaugural Europe edition in June 2006. From then, OCM Europe Edition will publish simultaneously with OCM U.S. Edition in a bi-monthly basis. 70 percent of the contents of OCM Europe Edition will be the same as that of the U.S. Edition while the remaining 30 percent will be contributed by writers in Europe mainly focusing on Christian testimonies.
The outlet of OCM Europe will be mainly Chinese churches, bible study groups and fellowships, from where Christians may evangelize their non-Christian friends through introducing OCM to them. Chinese restaurants, workplaces and bookstands are also other locations under consideration to distribute the publication for free because of the high production cost.
Su added that as most of the Chinese students in Europe are from the United Kingdom and Germany, OCM is expected to be widely distributed in many cities across these two countries.
Since the printing and publishing of OCM Europe Edition are set to be done in Bamberg, south of Germany, the U.K.-based Chinese Overseas Christian Mission (COCM) will become the sole distributor for OCM in the United Kingdom. COCM is responsible for compiling a list of Chinese churches, bible study groups and fellowships across the country, and asking them the number of copies needed.
COCM has also benefited greatly from the cooperation with OCM. Since most of the Chinese students in the U.K. are Cantonese-speaking, COCM is lack of human resources to develop the Mandarin-speaking ministry, which is rising in need. Thus, the mainly Mandarin-speaking team from OCM can open a new way for COCM to fulfill its dream. Similar case has happened in Canada and it has been proved to be effective.
In long term, OCM Europe Edition plans to only focus on the ministry with students in campus. OCM has been very successful in guiding students to Christ since two missionary couples set up the Berlin Training Center in September 2004. The Training Center offers bible studies, spiritual life building and counseling. As it closely co-worked with a Chinese church in Berlin, Chinese students are drawn from many different campuses in West Germany or even East Germany.
Su unveiled that with Berlin as the center, OCM would look to expand further to the North and to the East starting from March this year. Another training center will be also set up in Munich, a major German city in the south near Bamberg- the printing and publishing base of OCM Europe Edition.
When asked about the expectation for OCM Europe Edition, Su said, "Through OCM, we hope that more people can come to know God and believe in Him."
Indeed, OCM Europe Edition has a great potential to influence China. Despite the fact that OCM has been testified by many Mainland Chinese Christians as an important guide in the process of committing themselves to Christ, it is worth to note that most of the Chinese students in Europe will be going back their homeland after graduation.
"The situation is Europe is different from the U.S. Many Chinese students got a job and settled down here after graduation, but Europe is not a common choice for Chinese to migrate to. As these Chinese students who have become Christians go back to China, they can reach out to people around them with the gospel," Su expressed the hope in those overseas Chinese students.
Currently, CEO and chief editor of OCM Rev. Edwin Su is touring around the U.K. to meet with the Chinese church leaders and pastors in many cities. Rev. Su introduces to them the vision of OCM Europe Edition and to build up relationships with them. The trip will be closed on Feb. 9.