A local pastor is praying for those facing persecution in China while rejoicing about how God is moving in Winnipeg.

Deyi Wei has been one of the pastors at the Winnipeg Chinese Alliance Church for 20 years and for the past eight years he stepped into the position of lead pastor. 

"Our church was started in 1967 by a group of students, mostly from Hong Kong," says Wei. "They started a student fellowship and they started to share the gospel with the China town Chinese community. They were one of the few Chinese groups in North America who were very dedicated to the gospel. Those people laid the foundation and some people called it a Winnipeg revival."

Wei shares that from there, some of the people went to different parts of Canada as well as back to Hong Kong, making big contributions to God's kingdom. 

"We have three ministries. Cantonese is our mother church and about 20 years later we added the English ministry. About 20 years ago we started the Mandarin ministry, plus our children's ministry."

After graduating from seminary, Wei started as the Mandarin pastor at the church. 

"At that time it was just starting. I would walk around with the Mandarin ministry, and together with my team with the support of the whole church, we saw the Mandarin ministry grow."

Asian Heritage and Faith

Part of Wei's fascination with Western culture was brought to life when his family was introduced to Folklorama in Winnipeg. 

"We were quite amazed that different cultures come to Canada and in Canada, we are given an open and fair environment where different cultures and traditions can come together and make Canada a very rich nation. Here we can still keep our own cultural heritage and tradition that in one way complement each other."

The approach Wei sees in Canada has taught him that people of different nationalities can learn from one another, and understand each other better.

"Chinese people in the past, we were quite a self-centred culture. We feel we have everything we need. Somehow our mind was opened and we come to appreciate different cultures and different people and learn from them."

Wei says in the past 200 years the Chinese people have gone through many hardships. 

"It's a long historical heritage and it's also been challenged by many things. I feel that Chinese people are eager to learn and they are hardworking and diligent. They are learning to appreciate other cultures, especially western culture and Christianity."

Wei has experienced many people immigrating to Canada who are quite open to coming to church. 

"We know that Christianity had laid the foundation for the modernity of the present world and laid the foundation for many good things to come. Most Chinese people are quite open to Christian influence but whether they will just accept it culturally or truly come to faith is their decision."

Persecuted Christians in China

Just this year churches and house churches in China have faced barriers to sharing their faith, including the new internet law that came into effect on March 1

"Chinese house churches have gone through ups and downs of political policy. Now the policies on Chinese house churches are tightening up and we know people who are being pressured and persecuted. My wife is from a house church so we still have good contact with them."

Every Wednesday the congregation prays for house churches in China. 

"I think house churches are prepared," says Wei. "They know things and change and one way or another they are ready to face it. For us in Canada, we are very grateful we are still given relative freedom to worship."

Wei does feel that as Canada becomes more secular, policies reflect that and are not necessarily church-friendly. 

"Some policies go against what the Bible says. Hard times in Canada will come, but we are preparing ourselves and in whatever circumstances we will worship God."

May is Asian Heritage Month and this story is part of a series CHVNRadio.com featuring local pastors talking about their faith and heritage.