How to Connect with a Chinese Mom

By Jennifer Gerth – HCC Board Member

I’ve been a mom for six years, and I consider myself a relatively friendly and non-intimidating person, so one would think I could easily connect with a mom from China.  Even more to my advantage, my own mom was born in Taiwan. However, connection is not always easy.

Our Chinese-American Mom’s Group meets twice each month.  The purpose of this group is for us to love and support each other, to have a safe place to talk about our struggles and joys, and for Chinese moms who don’t know Jesus to know Him as their Savior and Lord. Our theme this year is connection: connection with each other, connection with our husbands and children, connection with American culture, and most importantly connection with God.

Yet after six years of mom’s ministry at HCC, I still haven’t figured out the magic formula to easily connect on a deeper level with a mom from China. It is hard. I often don’t know what to say. There are awkward silences and gaps in conversations.  Too often, only surface-level topics are discussed, questions like “what is your name?”, “where is your hometown?”, “how long have you been in Minnesota?”,  and “what does your husband study?” I find myself asking again, “how do I truly connect with this mom?”

This familiar question was running through my mind as I scanned the playroom of our HCC Mom’s Group. It was the first Mom’s Group of the fall semester.  There was a flurry of activity in the playroom. There were kids and moms everywhere. Several Chinese moms were in the playroom because their sweet kiddos wouldn’t allow them to leave. I was there to help watch the kids.  I noticed one Chinese mom sitting with her baby on the floor and decided to join her, hoping we could connect and talk while watching our kids.  I started by asking my normal questions. After a while, my standard questions usually run dry, and then it’s hard to know what more to ask or say.

Today was different though. I asked this particular mom, who I’ll refer to as “Bing,” what her son’s name was.

Bing said, “His name is David.”

I responded with a smile and said, “I like that name. How did you choose it?”

Bing said, “My mom gave it to him; she’s a Christian.”

“Wow, that’s great,” I said. After a little hesitation, I asked her, “Are you a Christian too?”

Bing said that she wasn’t a Christian, only her mom was.  Bing went on to tell me more about her family.  I found out that her dad died from cancer when she was 11 years old. She also has a brother. Bing’s mom raised both of them on her own. Bing told me how her mom sacrificed to put her and her brother through school. I could tell that she admired her mom very much.

Our conversation ended there as we needed to clean up the toys, but I was thankful that God helped me to connect with Bing and that she felt comfortable sharing so openly about her family.  I’m excited to continue our conversation through seeing each other at Mom’s Group.

It’s not easy to connect with someone from a different culture and language on a deeper, more personal level. However, God reminded me through meeting Bing that He can make the connection, no problem! I’ve found that Jesus is happy to help me connect with Chinese moms if if I put myself in a position to interact with them, ask Jesus to make the connection, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and speak through me.  I’m writing this to remind myself that Jesus does the connecting.  He graciously connects us to Himself and to others for His glory.  I walked away from Mom’s Group this particular morning light as a feather and joyful in hope.

Connecting with a Chinese mom is easy when God does the connecting for me. He will do the same for you.

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