Throughout the 21st century, the United States has seen a steady increase in the number of Chinese students making their way over to pursue an American education. In 2005, fewer than 1,000 Chinese students were enrolled at U.S. secondary schools; but by 2013, that number had surpassed 23,000 (according to the non-profit Institute for International Education). Only a few years later, in 2015, over 300,000 Chinese students attended U.S. colleges and universities. This increase has been seen even in the walls of College Hill Reformed Church (Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania), with many new Chinese friends and students filling up the pews.
Hao and Amy Lu both followed this well paved path and made their way over to the United States from China in the early 2000s in hopes of pursuing an education. Assimilating was difficult at times, particularly as the novelty of the experience began to wear off.
The cultural barrier was so high and thick that i found it impossible to build a substantial relationship with any Americanexplained Hao.
Hao came to America pursuing an education and, in the course of his studies, was converted and redeemed through the blood of Christ. He married his wife Amy in 2015, and soon felt the call of God to pursue pastoral ministry. He transferred to the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the middle of his studies to pursue theological training in hopes of becoming a missionary in Japan.
He eventually heard about the opportunity and needs of Chinese students at Geneva College from Pastor Titus Martin of College Hill Reformed Church, and after many meetings prayers, accepted an internship at the church.
Hao and Amy worked to serve international students within the church, particularly the Chinese students from Geneva College, guiding them as they adjust to the American way of life.
They continue to host Bible studies, lead discipleship groups, tutor, help grocery shop, and organize field trips. “Their experiences of assimilation are not so different from ours,” said Amy, “and that is why we’re able to sympathize with them and help them.”
Because of Hao and Amy, the students have a safe house; a comfortable place where they can enjoy authentic Chinese food, study and discuss the Bible, and pray with friends in their mother tongue.
As Hao and Amy continued their work in international ministry, Hao graduated from RPTS, and God continued to bless College Hill. More people joined, and it became increasingly clear that the church was in need of another pastor. They called Hao to be an associate pastor and he was ordained and installed in September 2021.
Hao, Amy, and their three sons reside in the College Hill area, where they persist in their work in Chinese ministry as well as assisting in many other pastoral duties. The church rejoices in the addition of Hao as Associate Pastor and looks forward to his ministry as he serves at College Hill!
Thanks so Lauran Kozak for putting together this article for us. Lauren was born and raised in Beaver County, graduating from Geneva College in 2010 with a degree in English Education. She married Roman Kozak in the summer of 2010 and in 2016, she was hired as the assistant secretary to College Hill RP church, taking over as head secretary in 2019. She and Roman now reside in the College Hill neighborhood of Beaver Falls and have a full home of four boys.