Far From Home: From China to America

Sansan Shan’s Pursuing God’s Calling

When Sansan Shan and her husband, Jerry, graduated from college in Chengdu, China, they entered into ministry with Campus Crusade for Christ.

“It was an exciting period when God brought many new believers through our hands, and we even began a new fellowship,” Sansan says. “I got many opportunities to practice my worship of Christ, project management, and devotion to God.”

A few years later, the couple moved to Singapore so Jerry could pursue his Master of Divinity from Singapore Bible College. After he graduated, their church in Singapore sent them back to China on a mission trip focused on minority tribes. The Shan and her husband worked in that capacity for five years — until the Chinese government arrested them for doing ministry and leading others to the Christian faith.

The couple was eventually released, but Sansan’s husband was unable to leave the country. Seeking a better future for their family, Sansan moved to the United States alone so she could pursue her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Sansan Shan Studying by a window in the Rolfing Memorial Library

“During my time in ministry, I have seen so many pastors and ministers needing support — emotional support, relational support, and theological support,” Sansan says.

Sansan wants to be equipped to provide pastoral care to this group and make a difference in their lives. She is not sure when she will be able to move back to China, as persecution against people of Christ-followers remains high, but her passion is still for her home country, where there is a big need for Christian counseling. So, when the door opens back up, Sansan will return home.

Sansan learned of TEDS because one of her husband’s professors at Singapore Bible College graduated from the university. She also has a friend from TEDS who studied the Old Testament.

“TEDS has a great reputation in China,” Sansan says. “I believe this is the right choice for me.”

When she began her studies at TEDS in August 2022, Sansan was experiencing feelings of sadness and anxiety because she had come to the country alone, without her husband and two children, and was still reeling from the arrest back home.

“The people from the location of our mission trip love us, and we love them, too,” Sansan says. “Suddenly, things happened, and we had to leave.”

On the other hand, Sansan felt God’s guidance every step of the way. Things like booking her air travel, securing her visa, and finding residence in Chicago were made easier because of Him, she believes.

“I feel amazing that everything is prepared by God, not by myself,” Sansan notes.

Sansan Shan with her family in their apartment on Trinity's campus.

Thankfully, today, Sansan’s husband and children are with her in Chicago. She has also found peace where God has her now at TEDS.

“I feel like this is another loving family community where I can be nurtured,” she says.

At TEDS, Sansan appreciates the opportunities to connect with other international students from around the globe and be counseled by wonderful professors and peers.

“I get a lot of compassion and comfort from them,” Sansan says. “I found healing and nurturing through this great community.”

She adds, “When I see the people here love us and help us, I feel this is a way God has shown his love for me and my family. Even if I feel sad about what’s happening in my life, I know God still loves us because he’s sent so many great people around us.”

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