The BFL demonstrated this priority by investing in a Chinese translation of the Commentary and Pastoral Application of the MB Confession of Faith.
Mennonite Brethren began outreach to Chinese speakers in Vancouver through Pacific Grace Mission Chapel in the late 1960s. Chinese churches now number more than 20 in Canada (mostly on the West Coast) plus two in Venezuela.
“The need to translate the Confession of Faith into Chinese became all the more urgent” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, says Paul Lam, as the churches grew “by leaps and bounds.” Many of the Christian immigrants mostly from Hong Kong who found their way into MB churches had no prior experience with an Anabaptist perspective.
The shorter Confession was translated after its revision 1999, but without the longer instructional section, some pastors “found it challenging to conduct baptismal/membership and discipleship classes from an MB perspective,” says Lam, a retired Burnaby Pacific Grace pastor and current member of the BFL.
The BFL commissioned a complete translation of the commentary in 2014, with a budget of $9,400 for translation, editing, layout and design. Jackson and Annie Lau of Richmond, B.C., translated 68,000 English words into Chinese characters – intelligible to both Mandarin and Cantonese speakers. Joseph Kwan, former editor of the MB Chinese Herald, edited the project and pastors Xavier Law, Wing Wong, Paul Lam, Leo Chia, Yiu Tong Chan, Stephen Cheung and Enoch Yim were volunteer proofreaders.
“I hope that Chinese pastors and leaders will make good use of the Chinese Confession in worship, Sunday school, small groups and baptismal/membership and discipleship classes,” says Lam.
Today, Chinese leaders serve on boards with the B.C. MB conference, MB Seminary and other projects within the MB family. “The Chinese church can play a major role in building today’s Canadian MB church for tomorrow,” says Lam.
“The BFL has committed to making more of its resources available to congregations that worship in languages other than English,” says Dyck, indicating present priority is on Chinese and French. “BFL hopes translations like this one will help us work and worship together as MB Christians.”
With this tool to better understand biblical truth and explore theological issues from an MB perspective, “I have no doubt that Chinese MB leadership, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will be better equipped to serve the Lord and his church.”