Our Press Service International young writer ministry developed in 2009 providing two young writers' articles each day for publication in Christian Today expanded to include a full week of international young writers in 2013.
We already had a number of our young writers engaged overseas in missionary endeavours and it seemed like a very positive move to increase the then current cycle of 4 weeks of young writers to a fifth week, that of international young writers.
One of these young international young writers included in this list was Oscar Duan. I met Oscar in January 2013 at the Croydon Park – North Campsie Baptist Church at the 40th anniversary of the combining of these two small separate Baptist churches in adjacent suburbs way back in 1973.
Oscar's mother was the church organist and his step father the Minister, and he was serving the congregation in IT, utilising high technology with hymns up onto the big screen with beautiful scenery. The IT technical material was in Chinese whereas the words on the big screen were in English.
Oscar in his first article for Christian Today wrote about his early life in China through to his high school years and winning a place in the UK University of Hertfordshire (UH) International Campus in Malaysia. (au.christiantoday.com)
He was born in the city of Chongqing (south west China) called the "mountain city" and for the first 19 years of his life he completed my primary and secondary school. He had never heard about the word "Christian".
Oscar Duan found some of the accounting classmates went to church every Sunday morning but he found a better use for Sunday's, a good sleep in. But one of the students kept inviting him to her church in Kuala Lumpur City. He had seen this church building, but it certainly didn't look like a church building he had seen in photographs. He had no idea, he said, how people worshipped inside such a building.
A whole new world
Finally, Oscar went to this "City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur", and was so amazed by the inside of this building. There was a 'big performance stage' in the front centre of the church, the musical team were playing the instruments and leading the singing. After the singing, Pastor Kevin, a young Chinese in his 30s, gave the congregation a sermon that centred "on how God loves us and gave His only Son Jesus Christ to forgive our sins."
Not at first, but eventually, on 26th May 2006, he made a very important decision in his life that he wanted to follow Jesus Christ. Three years later in 2009 he graduated in accountancy and migrated to Australia to be with his mother and step father.
Heyley Duan his wife of 12 months and Oscar were high school students together and knew each other very well, they were very good friends. At the end of high school, when Oscar went off to Malaysia, Heyley won a scholarship to Beijing to study Law but at the end of the law degree felt uneasy and did an administration degree.
Oscar and Heyley emailed each other regularly as good friends do, and when Oscar went to Australia he decided that he needed to re-shape the relationship and began e-courting Heyley and finally made a decision to visit her in Beijing and invigour the courting face to face (as it were).
Oscar returned to Australia with his new bride. The congregation at the Croydon Park – North Campsie Baptist Church were all a little mystified as Oscar returned with a wife. They had heard of such stories in the media but this was in their own backyard.
Heyley says like Oscar, she had never heard about Christians in her high school years and in Beijing it was the same, so when Oscar began speaking to her about his new faith in the Lord Jesus Christ it was all new and not a little weird.
In some form of faith, Heyley decided not only to accept Oscar's proposal of marriage, after all, they had known each other since childhood, he had courted her and she responded and when he made the effort to visit her in Beijing, knowing that adventure lay ahead, Heyley said "I do".
It took a little time, but Heyley with her qualifications is now working in administration in Drummoyne and Oscar is working in accounts for a company in Auburn (and doing his CPA) and they now worship in a youthful congregation at St Johns Anglican close to home. There are classes early Sunday mornings before the worship service, one is for beginners in the faith (Heyley attends this one) and Oscar attends a different level class.
Keep an eye out for Oscar's monthly article in Christian Today Australia. His articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/oscar-duan.html
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html