Blue Moose of East Grand Forks

Who would have thought that one would find a native Chinese language Bible study in Grand Forks, North Dakota? Let alone at a LCMS campus ministry? Yet at Wittenberg Lutheran Chapel on the University of North Dakota, a campus ministry of the North Dakota District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, a Mandarin Chinese Bible study meets every Friday evening. Rev. Dr. Mark Bucchop, pastor of Wittenberg Lutheran Chapel, tells how the Chinese Bible Study began some 8 years ago in the short video clip below.

Pastor Bucchop told me that he did not have an intentional plan to do out reach to Chinese speakers, but rather it happened accidental. Yet the “accidental” way in which the Chinese Bible study began at Wittenberg Lutheran Chapel might indicate what an intentional effort might yield.

The Lamb Over Me Is Righteousness

Pastor Bucchop’s first Chinese confirmand gave him a plaque that reads “The Lamb Over Me is Righteousness.” From that first encounter, almost a decade ago, the Chinese language Bible study has met at the campus ministry. Pastor Bucchop, himself, does not ordinarily lead the Bible study (although he has lead them in the past). Usually, a native Chinese speaker leads the study. However, it has been Pastor Bucchop’s practice to meet regularly with the Bible study leader and to have a Bible study with him in advance of the Friday evening study.

On the snowy evening I attended the Chinese language Bible study, there were about 25 people in attendance. We had a chance to become acquainted and to ask questions of each other. One person told me that where she was from in China was very cold and that North Dakota felt like home to hear because the climate was nearly the same. Another young woman said that she was born in Medan, Indonesia, and eventually made it here to study. When asked how did you find out about this Bible study, a young man said, “I Googled, “Chinese church,” and came up with a Chinese Christian church in Fargo. When I phoned them, the people told him about the Chinese language Bible study on the campus of the University of North Dakota.” The ages of the Bible study ranged from children to college age to nearly 80. Nearly everyone had a personal connection, be it family, or in this case professional/academic. Others heard about the Bible study from her roommate or at the Chinese New Year Festival. The people who attended were originally from nearly every provence of China and most of them intended to return to China one day.

Pastor Buchhop at his desk

One young woman said, “It will take some time to get to know us, but once you do you will find that we are friendly.”

Campus Ministry Board

Who would have thought a person could find a Chinese language Bible study at a Lutheran campus ministry in cold and snowy Grand Forks, North Dakota? Certainly, not I. How pleasantly surprised I was.

— Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations