Teach English in China

Have you ever thought of being a missionary in China or do you know someone who has? The SDA Northern Asia-Pacific Division with its global Pioneer Mission Movement  project has decided to help sponsor an SDA school in China.   Christianity is rising dramatically in China at a rate of ~10% a year (see stats below) because they have tried state atheism and communism for decades and it did not bring the success and progress they expected. So many Chinese as well as some prominent Chinese intellectuals are quite open to the truths of God in the Bible. There still are some restrictions on witnessing to be sure, but it’s much more open now than before. There are opportunities now to make an impact for God in ways that haven’t existed for much of China’s history in the 20th century and may not exist in the future.

If you are interested and have the right qualifications to teach or if you wish to contribute financially, this page will give an overview about the wonderful opportunity and specific duties and legal requirements.  For more information or questions, see the contact information at the end. And in all cases, please pray for our mission efforts in China!

The pastor of the school/church is someone I was privileged to lead to Jesus when I taught as a missionary in S. Korea over 15 years ago. God has used him to baptize 100s of people into our church in Korea and in Mongolia already. Here are a few of them.

Now he’s working to evangelize in China as well.

These are a couple pictures of the staff in the school in China that is now open and dozens of students are already coming to study.

They are also looking for financial contributions and especially sincere prayers as they open this new front in the mission field since it takes some time to get stable and able to attract enough students to pay all expenses.


How can you qualify? Basically, if you are
A) a dedicated SDA Christian who is adaptable to adventures in new countries and cultures and willing to go where God leads and
B) meet the Chinese government requirements of having a bachelor’s degree in any area (TEFL or education is preferred when possible, but others are acceptable) and a passport from an English speaking country,

then you meet the requirements for a teaching visa and we hope you contact us soon! See more details at the bottom of the page.

Loren Cunningham, the man who pioneered the YWAM movement (which inspired the SDA Student Missionary program), speaks about how the Bible is the primary factor in helping many nations to rapidly developing. Why?
1) Because when people heard that the Bible is God’s word and that it has wisdom for every part of life, it was a powerful motivation to learn to read and gain knowledge. Reading opened up many other areas of knowledge which aided development.
2) When they learned God’s truths it changed their lives. They gained power to overcome bad habits and replace them with new ones. This reduced crime, made the government’s work easier, helped them know their God given rights and more.

Loren talks about how China is changing (~37:00) and how really high up intellectuals in China say that they have studied many worldviews and realized that Christianity is the best one to help nations develop and thrive (~41:00)
“The Book That Transformed Nations” by Loren Cunningham

He also wrote a book on this subject:
“The Book That Transforms Nations: The Power of the Bible to Change Any Nation:

He gives a talk about a few things he has experienced and researched on this topic here:

It’s hard to get precise numbers in China for several reasons, but these are the best estimates:
“In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Dr. Fenggang Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010…[Dr. Yang] is professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule [and says],
“‘By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said …It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.'”

On the other hand, the Chinese government wants to restrict Christian activity with 26 new regulations.

Kevin Harris: The Economist online says that miraculous numbers – Christians in China – is staggering. The growth of the Christian church in China. Some estimates are 10% per year since 1980. The numbers are so big it is often hard to even get a handle on.

Dr. Craig: Yes, and this is in an atheistic, communist country that Christianity is surging in its growth. I noticed according to this Economist article that one researcher at Purdue University estimates that by 2030 there will be around 250 million Christians in China. That will make China the largest Christian nation in the world. They will have more Christians in China than in the United States, or any other country of the world.

Kevin Harris: It said that in 2013 a group of Chinese intellectuals convened in Oxford and for the first time at this conference they included Christian intellectuals at the conference in response to the rapid growth of Chinese Christians.

Dr. Craig: We have seen this personally when we’ve been in China. We were at a conference of Chinese and American philosophers at Fudan University on their 100th anniversary celebration. During the course of this conference, the Chinese philosophers themselves said that China needs a new basis for a moral fabric for society. Confucianism is dead and cannot supply it; Marxism is bankrupt. They said “We should turn to Christianity to provide the moral foundation for the new China.” They insisted that Christianity is not a foreign religion. They said Christianity is an indigenous Chinese religion. It has been there, Kevin, for centuries. Therefore, it ought to be embraced openly and freely by the Chinese. So Chinese intellectuals themselves are saying this in China. It is just amazing.

China actually has a long history of involvement with Christianity and the Chinese characters themselves are a powerful testimony to God’s truths in the Bible as this short introductions shows.

The Heavenly King of The Chinese: 上帝 Shang Di. Who is He?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV5_qS0SwiE

The Bible’s God did not originate from Europe.  He gave messages and evidence to the Chinese (and many other cultures) to show He is real 1000s of years before Europeans were Christians. How? Through their language and in other ways. Here’s a sermon on that topic:
God in Ancient China 古代中國人的神 – Part 1 (English & Chinese) 第1部分 (中文 / 英文)

Genesis Code Hidden Within The Ancient Chinese Language

Who was the God of Ancient Chinese? 

Are you worried about how to teach English or did you think English classes in the US were “anguish” as I (Bryan Bissell) did? Don’t worry too much for several reasons.
A) When Moses worried about whether he could do the job God asked, God answered, “Who made man’s mouth.” and then he gave him Aaron as a spokesman as well. He will help you as well. Where we are weak, God is strong!

B) Teaching English overseas is much more focused on giving students practice in conversations and speaking activities in the classes. Students learn the rules of grammar in school for years, but want to practice it with a native speaker. Knowledge of English grammar/linguistics does help, but native English speakers already learned most of what’s necessary in school already.

C) You will also receive some training in the methodologies of how to teach English effectively before you arrive.

D) It could change your life. Math teachers have to stick only to math. Science teachers can only talk about science. But English teachers can discuss 1000s of topics with their students including health for life, dating advice, how to improve the environment, methods of overcoming poverty, the best places to travel, how to have a good marriage and raise children effectively,  overcoming bad habits and more. It’s much broader. If people talk about a topic, it can be discussed in the kind of English classes that people in Asia want to study in.

What will you do?   Duties and responsibilities do change at times depending on situations. So flexibility and patience is highly desired. But these are the basics:

A) Teaching responsibilities are usually ~6-7 hours a day of teaching English conversation classes.

Before you start teaching, there will be an orientation on using the books you will be teaching with, adapting to the culture and being an effective missionary. You can learn more from online materials located at http://esl.truth-is-life.org/resources.php

See esp. the ESL Missionaries Manual at:

B) On the weekends, you may at times help out in singing, teaching reading and comprehension of Bible stories along with some conversation, assisting in evangelistic campaigns, or preaching, depending on the skills God has given you.

You may also find some of the over 500+ videos at www.youtube.com/user/TruthIsLife7 useful in witnessing and sharing powerful evidence for Christianity to higher level students and secular westerners fluent in English.

Students range in age from elementary to adult ages with the majority being middle school to university.  We don’t promise that it will be easy.  Being useful and making a real difference is not usually easy in any area.  But, it will be challenging and useful and you will see your students improving in English and in their knowledge of God’s love and with God’s leading, you will see your students deciding to join God’s kingdom!

The government has specific requirements that teachers must meet in order to get a visa so they can teach legally. The SDA school of course also wants to have the highest quality education to honor God in our work. But we know that God has throughout history used all sorts of people to do his work. These are the requirements that the government requires people to meet in order to get a teaching visa so they can teach legally and also a couple which the school requires to do its mission well:
1) SDA CHRISTIAN: Be a dedicated SDA Christian who follows the Bible as a rule of life and have a desire to share Jesus’ truth and love. Be supportive of Seventh Day Adventist principles and support the local SDA church outreach programs.

2) EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENT:  The Chinese government requires teachers to have a bachelor’s degree to be a teacher. Degrees in teaching English or education are preferred, but the government will accept a bachelor degree in any area. Some Chinese cities also require 2 years of experience teaching. Others do not.

3) NATIONALITY: At present, the Chinese government only gives English teaching visas to people with passports from native English speaking countries like America, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or South Africa, etc. We’ll need a scan of your passport to help us get a work visa from the Chinese government.

If you are accepted to be a mission teacher, you will need to send these documents so that we can get a visa from the government for you to teach with the Chinese mission school. You can send scans of these things to us at first so we can process them with the government. But, you’ll need to bring the originals with you to China to get final confirmation of your visa once you arrive:

Here are some more precise details:

To get a visa to teach legally in China as a foreigner (the Z-Visa), there are several steps involved and both the school and the government will require several documents and other information from you.  Most you should have already, but a few you will need to gather as soon as possible to make the process go efficiently. The steps are listed below.

In China, the process of getting a visa has been quite different depending on which city is involved. But in April, 2017, the Chinese government  rolled out a new nationwide policy to try to streamline this. There may be some kinks and things to work out and it may not all be as smooth as we all wish yet. So please be patient. At the end will be some links for further checking if you have questions that are not answered in the below information or for any other reason. You can always check the main Chinese website for any updates about requirements for the work visa to double check here (We are checking it regularly as well as with Chinese officials in China too):

If you prefer, you could fill out all documents and mail them to a visa processing service which will help get through all the red tape easier and faster for a fee.  But in many cases, you will still need to go to the embassy in person for the final check, get fingerprints taken, or other reasons.  Here are some of the better China visa processing companies.
http://uschinavisa.com/  www.mychinavisa.com/visas/work, https://www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa/work.htm

1. SUBMIT SDA SCHOOL  APPLICATION: Submit the application to work at the SDA school in China. Email bryan@truth-is-life.org if you need one. After they receive it and accept you (or even before), gather these other documents below as quickly as you can.

2. DEGREE (bachelor’s or higher). You will need to send a scan or photocopy of your university degree with the major listed and of course your name at first. This will enable the school to get an invitation letter.  But you will also need an original notarized degree from official government sources. Many universities offer notarization services and if this involves government certification, it should be OK, but make sure it is an official government notarization). Embassies may ask to see and verify this notarized diploma when you go to their embassy. It is good to have transcripts on hand as well in case they ask to see them.

3. PASSPORT PHOTOCOPY: An original signed passport with blank visa pages, and a copy of the passport’s data page including your full name, date of birth and the photo page if it is separate (If you are a Chinese citizen with a Chinese passport or a foreigner with Chinese visas in the past in your current or past passport, they need a photocopy of the Chinese passport or your last Chinese visa as well).  You will need a photocopy of the passport main’s page (with passport #, picture, issue date, etc.)

4. VISA INVITATION LETTER: When you are accepted as a language teacher at the SDA  mission school in China, it’s better to get a work permit in your home country before coming to China. You will need to send a scan of your degree and passport to the school in China. They can submit these to the government and then send an invitation letter from China back to you. You will need to take this with other materials below to the Chinese embassy or visa processing agency to get the work permit.

5. APPLICATION & PHOTOS: Fill out the Visa Application Form (Form V.2013) with a photo on glossy photo paper glued onto the form. It must be typed (NOT handwritten), completely filled, signed and dated. Don’t leave any area blank. Write “N/A” if you can’t answer or if it doesn’t apply to you.

You also need to submit two photos which meet the requirements below and are taken by a professional passport photo service, such as Walgreen, CVS or Kinko’s etc.)

6. MEDICAL HEALTH CHECK: You will need to get a medical health check to teach in China. It can be done in China within 30 days of your arrival in China (which would be cheaper), or it can be done in your country of origin. If you do it in your home country, you will need to have the doctor fill out the BG-14 form and make sure to include an AIDS Testing Report, Syphilis Testing Report and Chest X-ray and ECG.  The doctor needs to write, “No sign of tuberculosis evident” or something very similar if that is what the latter tests show. Everything should be in ink and stamped as well. The medical form the doctor needs to fill out is here:

For more info, read here: onestop.globaltimes.cn/medical-examination-for-work-visas/

7. CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK: More and more Chinese cities are requiring a criminal background check, but some don’t yet. We will let you know if you need it depending on where you will be teaching. If it’s required for you, you can get one from the local police department or the FBI. You may also need to bring it to a Chinese embassy in your country for verification. These sites give information about how to get this document.

8. PROOF OF RESIDENCY. If you are not living in the country of your birth, you’ll need to provide proof of residence status in that country (an alien card, residence card, work visa, student visa, etc.).

(for LA Consulate only) If you reside in Arizona, Southern California, Hawaii, or New Mexico, you must provide a copy of your driver’s license or state issued ID card. Certain other states may have special requirements as well such as Texas which requires an extra form regarding recent work experience.

9. AIRTICKET: After you get your work permit from the embassy in your home country, come to China to the school you agreed to work for within 90 days. Buy a regular economy fair round trip air ticket. Get everything you need packed for the trip…and pray for God to guide as you start on your journey to serve Him!

10. CONTRACT:  When you arrive in China (or maybe before), the school will give you a contract for work to sign.

11. RESIDENCY: The school will help you take the work permit, the contract and other materials to change your work permit into a Z visa, a work visa which will give you residency, legal status to work in China. This must be done within 30 days of arriving in China.  When you arrive, the school will also need to register you at the local police station within 24 hours (depending on city). Then you will be legal to stay in China for the length of your contract and visa.

NOTE: Again, remember that China has had a lot of changes regarding visas in recent years and various cities have different requirements. They have been working hard to streamline it and new standards have just come out. There may possibly be some other documents needed or slight changes. So please be understanding of this.

www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/hrsq/#Z, http://www.mychinavisa.com/visas/work#panel2-3 (there are some samples at this last site if you have difficulties).

Information about locating Chinese consulates in the USA is here (check the Chinese embassy website in your country if you are not from the USA to find this information):
USA: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zmzlljs/t84229.htm
CANADA: https://teachabroadnetwork.com/forums/topic/27/chinese-consulate-information-for-us-and-canada

1. First, check through the requirements to make sure you qualify.

2) If you qualify, please send your resume to Bryan Bissell  at bryan@truth-is-life.org or call him at 423-313-3384
(If you don’t get a reply in a week or so, contact me again. I get a large volume of mail and spam and once in a while miss messages.). He will send you an email with an application to fill out as well.

3) Fill out the application and send it to Bryan Bissell. If accepted, he will ask you to send other materials that are needed to get a teaching visa from the government.

4) Wait for the SDA China school to process the visa with the government.  Once the school receives the visa, we will notify you and send you the visa permission.

5) You may need to go to a Chinese Embassy and get the visa verified by an embassy before you get on the plane (we are still checking on this requirement).

6) Buy a ticket (with advice/assistance from the SDA China school).  This will be reimbursed to you after a year of teaching in China. Some can be reimbursed to you upon your arrival to help with the first month of living expenses.

7) Pray for God to guide you and help you to make wise decisions and adapt to as Jesus did when He was on earth and as many missionaries throughout history have so you can have the best experience and be the best witness for our Creator who loves all races!

In His Service forever!
Bryan Bissell