Ben and Lan’s Life in China

Ben and Lan’s Family

For twelve years, Ben S. has called China his home.  Born and raised in the Bay Area, while attending PCC, Ben grew up wanting to be involved internationally, even as a little boy. Little did he know that he would meet a Chinese woman named Lan and end up living in China full-time.  Now he and Lan work together at a university in China to form relationships with the professors and families and plant seeds of hope in their lives.

Learning to plant trees!

They have two adorable little children named Ryan (age 5) and Nia (age 2).  Ben and Lan are thankful for the opportunity to raise their children in China, which allows them to be bilingual and bicultural.  Because of their children, they have been able to minister to other parents with young children, and show others by example what it means to discipline and parent with love.  Their children have also been a shining example to the Chinese children that they play with at their school.  The other kids have seen how they respond to conflict and pain with love and patience, and this has been a wonderful example of forgiveness to their peers.  Ben and Lan are able to bring their family back to the U.S. for two months every summer, where they spend time with extended family and enjoy the clean, fresh air that is rare in China.

Teaching about Easter

So why does this family keep returning to China?  According to Ben, “We work at a high level university, helping students, teachers and their families to raise awareness about various subjects, including research ethics, emotional health, and bridging the divide between work-life balance (helping students develop healthy relationships and instilling loving family practice into teachers caring for their children). I serve my department as an English teacher, which means helping students increase their communication abilities, while my wife works primarily with faculty members and their families as an organizer of various community groups.”

Working at a university in China definitely has its challenges.  As in the United States, working with those in academia is often difficult because of their reliance on evidence and facts and their lack of knowledge about faith and hope in a living God.  Ben says, “The most difficult challenge we face is the absolute vacuum (or void) or any knowledge or awareness regarding a higher power. The divine is viewed not as scientific or even as self-actualization but rather as a fairy tale, a children’s story, a system for lesser minds. Even the remnants of ancient Chinese religion exist primarily as charms for prosperity or as reminders of traditional culture than any kind of living faith.”  They try to influence the professors and families at the university by making real and meaningful relationships with them and by being examples of Christ’s love and forgiveness, while still respecting the legal laws that are enforced in China.

With some like-minded friends, Lan has set up a program called Bright Future, allowing them to work with young families providing parenting resources, extra-curricular activities for the children, and teaching them English, science, and art.  Over 300 parents subscribe to the online parenting guides offered.  Below are pictures of this amazing program!

Bright Future Sports Program

Bright Future Music Class

Bright Future Art Class

Bright Future Reading Time!

Cooking Class

Ben and a young student

So what can we do at PCC to help Ben and Lan?  One of the first things we can do is to pray for them. Here are the prayer requests from Ben:   “Please pray for the government, government leaders, and people in positions of authority.  Please pray for deepening relationships and conversations (especially with prominent and influential members of the school), as well as more parents to become involved in some of the programs we are trying to establish within various communities on campus. Please also pray that the seeds we’ve planted in students and faculty begin to take root and that they are watered, wherever their lives might take them.”

What else can you do?  Ben mentioned to “be attentive to visiting scholars from China, become their friends, and invest in their lives”.  He also would love to extend an invitation to anyone at PCC to come to China and visit them!

Ben and Lan will be holding a garage sale on August 18th and 19th to support their ministry. They are looking for donated goods to sell. Bring your stuff to their home, 112 Circle Road, Redwood City (near the hospital) by August 15th. Come back with your friends on the 18th and 19th!

If you would like to follow Ben and Lan’s incarnational living in China, or see them while in the U.S.,  please e-mail Ben .

Thank you for praying for them and investing in the lives of those that serve overseas!


By Rachel Parker