Kevin Hardin and his wife Karen Hardin lead Destiny Builders. For many years they have worked in China and other parts of Asia. Now God has given them a mandate to transform politics, government, and culture here in the United States through prayer. On today’s episode we talk about some of the cultural differences between the east and the west. If you ever want to minister in China, you need to listen to our conversation.
Learn more about Destiny Builders: https://destinybuilders.world/
Connect with the City-by-City Prayer Network: https://city-by-city.org/
Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DestinyBuilders.World/
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:04):
Welcome to the Evangelism Podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus. Today I have a very special guest with me, Kevin Hardin. Thank you for joining me on the Evangelism Podcast.
Kevin Hardin (00:16):
Glad To be here with you, Daniel.
So you have been working in Asia for many years now. Yes. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you originally go to Asia to start ministering?
Kevin Hardin (00:31):
Oh, long story short, huh? Okay. Well, as an O R U student, I’d graduated, I’d gone to O R U, felt called there, Oral Roberts University and just had a love for God after graduating, was very involved in my church in Tulsa, which was Victory Christian Center. And just very loved God, just serving God through the church. Reaching out to other singles at the time and, and then all of a sudden I feel like God spoken to my heart one of the few times. It wasn’t an audible voice, but it was a voice that I actually feel like God was said to get ready to go. I said that was all he said, but I knew because of the, at least the path that God had been leading up me, he meant international missions. I just knew that. And I, he never gave me a very far in advanced notice, like when I was 15, called to missions or anything like that.
It’s just I grew up loving God and, and going to a Christian university, involved a church and, and all he had to say was, get ready to go. And I started preparing. Now, what that meant was I had to figure out, because I’d gone to, at Wallace, student at Oral Roberts University, I had gone on a couple of summer mission trips to Asia Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka. Two of those locations was primarily Chinese people. So when, when he said, get ready to go, I remembered back then when I was on the trips, like I could come back. I’ve, to the Chinese people, I felt like, I felt like that’s what, you know, connected with my heart. So naturally, I, that was the first place I assumed, somehow reaching out to the Chinese people. And as I researched and prayed, found out the way to go to China was to teach English. So that’s kind of where that journey began. In 1989, I moved to China as an English teacher.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:23):
And then at what point did you and your wife get married?
Kevin Hardin (02:27):
One year later? We were already dating when I lefthalfway through she visited me in China and, and we got engaged. Then I was told by her friends later that if I had, didn’t, didn’t Enga hadn’tpropose to her at that time, they were gonna come find me. So I’m glad I did. But we were, came home three weeks in that next summer we were married. Three weeks later I had her in China. So.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:53):
And so your wife Karen Harden is a powerful woman of God. Yes. And ministers right alongside you. You really minister together. And the name of your ministry is Destiny Builders. Yes. Tell me what, what’s the meaning behind that and, and why do you call it Destiny Builders?
Kevin Hardin (03:12):
Well, we, we had actually been another ministry name for much of the time. Over 30 years that we’ve been in ministry was actually specifically China focused. We called it China call cuz that’s what we felt we had was the call. But as God began opening up and broadening us, the name didn’t quite still fit to be in other places. So as we prayed, we, we just felt like God was calling us to, to be destiny builders, cuz we are, we’re here to build, rebuild, build up people and help them to find their destiny in God. And because that’s so much is what this lost world is, struggles with. They don’t know their destiny. They don’t know their identity. So that’s a big part of, I feel, feel like what we are, our ministry is called to do.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (03:58):
So when you went to China as an English teacher, you were there teaching English, you learned a lot about their culture. Your ultimate purpose was to be a shining light in the midst of great darkness. Talk to me a little bit about the spiritual conditions in China and, and what it’s like talking to people about God there.
Kevin Hardin (04:21):
China traditionally had been a Buddhist country primarily, but after the communists took over, they, they for the most part had done away with religion under the very strict mouth Chairman Maza Dong when he was in charge and, and other communist leaders. But the, as the nation began to open up with some more, some, some leaders that wanted to open China up to the West or to some more open ideas, and not just be this closed off country like North Korea still is things begin to blossom more society wise as far as the economic of China’s cities and areas. They, they begin to just prosper and develop, you know, and that, that’s, that’s like God, you know, he’ll when God’s allowed to come in, he, he likes to open up, open us up and prosperous and, and just provide just a much more amazing opportunity.
So as China did begin to open up, now, they weren’t open to Christianity or religion, but they were very interested in to develop their nation. They recognized the international language was English. So they, they allowed and invited foreign teachers to come to teach English and some other, some other areas. But English was the big area because they knew that that was the international language. So for many, many years, couple of decades at least foreign teachers was the, the preferred way to bring in a lot of this development and then in investment and business opportunities. Well, but to come in and just share the gospel with ’em, this was the easy way. And you still had to be careful how you shared. You couldn’t just openly be preaching to the students. We, we were able to, as long as it applied to us, we could share our life.
We could share about who we were, which was very much revolved around God or around a holiday since it was English class, which is the language, especially from the West. We could talk about Western holidays and if it applied to a Western holiday, which Christmas had a great story, we could tell, told all about the birth of Christ, the purpose of Christmas what what was all about. Even students acted out the Christmas story as part of their English class. Or we could show the Jesus film as part of our Easter holiday. There were ways that we could share, but the, but the Chinese people, they were hungry and they wanted, they, it was a very atheistic country as far as being taught from the government and their education system. But they were hungry. And especially after a major event, the very end of the eighties where the government cracked down on some student protests and activities, this, a lot of the people of China became very disillusioned with their government.
At first, they thought their government was ev, you know, wonderful and ev but after that, they were very disillusioned and they went searching. Now, eventually, that searching led many of them to the Lord, often through the influence of their foreign teacher. So the, the foreign teachers played a major role in many of the current churches that are, at least in the cities, the rural churches maybe not have been directly as affected by the, the English teachers, but, but many of the city churches were, and many of the pastors at, and churches that started in the nineties, they’ll often say, I’m a believer because of my foreign teacher. Now later, less and less dependence on foreign teachers for English as China and the students and their program English programs became better. There was less of a that need for English teachers. But
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (08:20):
How long did you live in China?
Kevin Hardin (08:23):
I physically lived full-time in China, seven years. But the remaining part of the, my 30 plus years, I was going back and forth every year, several times into China leading different types of ministry teams.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (08:36):
And you actually learned quite a bit of Chinese,
Kevin Hardin (08:39):
My wife and I, when we lived there, we were, we had studied to an advanced level. I can’t say that I’m at advanced level anymore, but while we were still living there and actively using it all the time we both were, I was better at speaking and listening. My wife was better at reading and writing. She’s, she’s a writer by trade. And she, so we had both of our strengths, but it, it, it helped a whole lot, you know, even just to learn a little if you’re,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:05):
Kevin Hardin (09:05):
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:06):
A lot of people who listen to the Evangelism podcast, they, they want to go to different parts of the world and they have a vision for, for telling people about Jesus. But I think here in the West, we don’t really understand how different some cultures are. We, we, we understand that there’s differences between culture, but really there, there’s a lot of, of differences between the culture that we have here in the West and the culture in the East. What are some of the, the cultural differences that you noticed and that people should be aware of?
Kevin Hardin (09:39):
A whole lot of them as far as compared to east and west, very, very different from the traditional Westerner, you know we have a lot of families, of course, in America that are from the east or from from the Hispanic world, the, the Asians and Hispanics, and probably most of besides Europe, and well, at least besides America, they’re very family minded. That’s a very, very important, and the family is not just your mom, dad, and kids. That’s the nuclear family. As we describe it as a, as a new invention of just recent history. And it’s, it’s not really the right and appropriate definition of family. The family includes our extended family, includes our grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins. And, and that, I believe that’s way God intended. You know, we’re, we’re tho those eventually, you know, as you read history and the Bible, those eventually became nations when they came as one family and, and that, yeah.
So Asia is very family oriented now. A lot of the Western influence and a lot of modern life and television and internet has changed a lot of that tradition. The every generation, they lose more and more of that as the young, as young people, children see, especially western shows, Western ads, they, they, they start adopting some of those things, but, but very family oriented, oriented. And elders are the ones who really should be respected. And they are really the, the leaders of the home and leaders of the family. When we were living in China we had our, we had our youngest fir, we had our first child there in China. But we had very, very close Chinese friends that they had brought us into their family. They made us part of their family. And, and the grandmother or our friend’s mother called me her American son.
And it was just such an honor to be embraced by them and by their by their family. And, but when that mother, when our friend’s mother passed away, and I was able to be, be part of the, the funeral ceremonies and the family events related, but since my wife had just had our baby, she had to stay home in, it was middle of a very cold winter, so she couldn’t be. But after the meal, after the funeral, what, what struck me was now that we called her dma, which is means old mom or big mom, <laugh> the word same big can mean old. So, but it was just a respectful term. When she passed away, the old next oldest person in the family on was now one of my friend’s, older sisters. She was now the senior member of the family. And they, when I told my friends, you know, I need to go now.
I gotta be help my wife with our new baby. They said, okay, you need to come and tell this elder sister out of respect. You went to the older person and you explained to them I must leave now. You know, and things like that. That’s how you gave honor to the person that was seen as the, the elder of the family. And I thought that was just very interesting to me and just really shed some, some light. And part of the culture, again, respecting honor related to honor is authority people in a position of authority, not just family position. We, and we worked at a university and we were teachers or language students. If we came into a room that had, some of the teachers, especially if they were our teacher, even if we were older than them, they were in the position of teacher that meant they had an honored position related to us or the principal, or the, the president of university, the dean of the department.
If I saw my friend over here to one side, and I went to them and talked to them first, when all these other more positions of honor were in their room, I would be very dishonoring to them. I should first acknowledge the people of honor and the highest first talk to the school president, greet him, at least say hello, you know, and then the others. And then finally maybe to my friend, that was the way they honored. So just our idea of giving honor and receiving honor is, was very important in that culture. And that’s where when we as Westerners, we go into their culture and we don’t know these things, they’re gracious, but it still leaves a very bad taste. And they really notice if you, if you do know those things, and if you really honor their culture and honor their, their people, by even just understanding those important things,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:36):
I think our culture could learn a lot about honor. Yes. And about respecting people that are older. Our culture tends to celebrate youth. We celebrate individuality. And being in a culture where you, you honor the wisdom of people who have been around for a while, yes. That’s something very valuable.
Kevin Hardin (14:58):
Yes, we’ve lost a lot of the understanding of honor in our culture.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:03):
My wife is actually full Chinese blood. She was not raised culturally Chinese. Both her parents were, were from China and grew up with more of a Chinese culture. But she grew up with more of a, a Canadian culture. But since I got married to her, I’ve been introduced to some pieces of, of Chinese culture. I learned how to use chopsticks and <laugh>. Yes. She took me to real, authentic good food restaurants. Yes. To get some good food. And you know, I, I really think that, that God loves the nation of China. Yes. And God has a, a destiny and a plan for China over a billion people, many who need Jesus. And I think that when people talk about the, the in time harvest of souls and people coming into the kingdom of God, I think a time will come where God will open up China to, to be completely open to the gospel.
I mean, we, we’ve seen that in other nations in the past where they were closed, but then in a moment, they were opened up. And so I, I really think that the, the church needs to prepare for that day. And so I’ve even started to prepare. I’ve been translating one of my books into Chinese just, just getting ready. I, I haven’t given away to anyone yet, but I’m just getting ready because I know the day will come where God will open up doors. And you know, I was watching the, the Olympics a few years that ago that they had there in, in Beijing, and they did such a beautiful job putting on the Olympics. And, and they, they built the Bird’s Nest stadium right there. Such a beautiful stadium. And I was thinking, you know, that would be such a wonderful place to go and to preach the gospel someday. Yes. And I, I’m asking God, that in my lifetime Yes, yes. He would make that happen.
Kevin Hardin (16:57):
Amen. We’ll agree with you. You know, that China was actually getting more and more open. It was the believers could openly worship and, and share their faith. Often they were getting bolder and bolder doing some street evangelism even. And even though officially it was still a communist country, as China was allowed to develop economically the people did experience greater and greater freedom under the current leadership. He started shutting things back down almost to the degree of, of Chairman Mazak back in fifties, sixties, seventies. And I hope that’s not the end, you know? But the one good thing potentially about that, when China was so shut down and all, all, and most of the pastors were in prison, that’s when the church grew more than anything, grew exponentially just under that persecution. And even though the churches of many of them are now being shut down buildings, torn down, pastors imprisoned right now, pretty aggressively the last few years, even under the cover of Covid Crisis, they, the, the authorities are using that to, to imprison many I believe that God’s still, the Holy Spirit’s still gonna do the work, even if it’s during this period of what appears to be being shut down by, by the government.
But, but we know, and many of the believers, like they, they’ve expected it. They know that it could happen anytime. Anyway. So many of them, and the pastors have prepared their hearts for the time. They’ve, they’ve experienced more tribulation just as much as I think the Bible and Revelation talks about the Great tribulation. Many of their people have already ex have already and are currently experiencing that. And so we, we need to remember them be praying for them. As Paul mentioned in one of the verses of, of his letters remember, remember those in chains, and that’s the, the Persecuted church, whether China or the Middle East or other countries let’s remember to be praying for them. And also just that the church, God, the Holy Spirit’s gonna still work through the, the people.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (19:20):
Let’s take a moment to, to pray for them right now, would you?
Kevin Hardin (19:23):
Sure. Well, heavenly Father, we just worship you. You are our God. You’re the Creator. And Lord Jesus, you’re the king of kings. You’re the Lord of all lords, including the nation’s Lord God that persecute your people. And Lord, we declare that your kingdom come, your will be done in each of the nation’s, Lord, each of the ethnic groups, Lord, the nationalities in the name of Jesus Christ, we bind the lion spirits of the darkness that would try to steal, kill, and destroy. We bind the, the deception that would try to scare people from you. Lord God, we thank you Lord, that you’re just causing those Lord God that are facing persecution just to be resolved, to stand all the more Lord God for your glory, all the more for your gospel, all the more Lord God, to, to reach out to the lost around them in the name of Jesus Christ. And Lord, we do pray that you, you will have mercy on those that are suffering. Lord, use them even in the prisons. Use them, Lord God, open the hearts of prison guards and tormentors and interrogators, Lord God, in the name of Jesus and the leadership of the nation. Lord God, we pray that the eyes of their understanding are open, that they know what the hope of their calling is in you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (20:42):
Amen. Well, I believe in the power of prayer, and I know that you do too. Destiny Builders is also really involved in stirring people up to pray Yes. For the United States of America. Yes. And so you’ve launched an initiative city by city, and you are challenging people to pray for our government, pray for the politics here in the United States because, you know, China needs Jesus, but the United States needs Jesus. Yes. Just as much. Yes. And so tell me a little bit about how you and your wife Karen, are raising people up here in the United States to, to pray for this nation.
Kevin Hardin (21:23):
I believe it was just before the 2020 election, my wife and another ministry friend, they were talking and they just felt empowered and led to, they, they know the story of when Adam interceded for Sodom and Goor for because of lot his nephew. And he was interceding with, with God for the very wicked city. And he, he came down to God, if there’s 10 people, will you spare the city? Well, my wife and her friend, awesome, powerful ministers that they are, they said, if we could find 10 people in every city to pray for their city, then God surely will save that city. And that has been the start of this initiative that if we can raise up at least 10 people in every city praying for their own city, that God will bring revival and save their city, and then ultimately our whole nation.
So they begin immediately to send out weekly email. It, it shares an issue that we’re gonna focus on, and then it leads in a written prayer that people can pray as they receive their email that they can pray it. And so that we’re united in the prayer because it’s, it’s not just prayer points, but usually it’s a prayer declaration. And that is, people read it, they’re reading the same thing that everyone else said in the network. We’re praying the same, same word scriptures, the same, same principles. And it’s, it is, they’re usually super powerful prayers. My my wife writes all of them now, and it, it, I’m, I’m impressed most weeks when I’ve read it and I thought, babe, you’ve done it again. But many of the issues are, are, are specific city focus or school spec. We say we’re praying over the school boards of our city, we’re praying over our city council, or we praying over the nation.
We’re praying over different things that relate to our cities or the nation as a whole, and always focusing on bringing about revival to those cities. So every week it’s been going on for at least a couple of years. Now, every week on Monday mornings, we send this out. If you’d like to sign up, you can go to city by city prayer.org, city by city prayer. One word is.org. And there’s a place you can sign up and you’ll receive the same email that we’ve already got over 4,000 people on this every week praying with us. So
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (23:57):
Yeah, I’d encourage you to go and sign up for the prayer emails. I get emails from the hardens all the time, and it always reminds me to, to be praying. And so I appreciate them so much. Now, we actually had revival happen here in Tulsa. God opened the door for Mario Marillo, who’s a, a great evangelistic heart Yes. To come from California here to, to Tulsa. And also Flashpoint was involved from Kenneth Copeland Ministries. And you guys helped to invite them here and facilitate and we’re part of the team that we’re, we’re putting it all together. And it really was amazing what God did, because for two nights it packed out the maybe center on the, or Roberts University Yes. Campus. Yes. Which was just amazing. The people were hungry for God. When Mario Morillo gave the altar call, people streamed down, it instantly filled up the altars. There was no room for counselors to even pray for people because just so many people were hungry for God. Yes. And, and I was in the audience. I was talking to some people that they weren’t Christian, they were more interested in the political side of things, but they came and they heard the gospel. Yes. And it was powerful. What God
Kevin Hardin (25:16):
Did. It was we had every, each of those two nights, we had 10 to 12,000 people come to the stadium there. And I believe we had a total of three to 4,000 actually respond to the altar call when, when Mar pastor brother Mario a gave that invitation. It was very powerful. I believe it was. We saw, we really believed it was going to be a catalyst to begin some new things across the nation, not just our city. Tulsa has a, a very rich heritage for the gospel, for, for just spirit empowered ministry. And it, it, we did feel like that was a key in the start of this, this move for revival. And Brother Mario Morere, he is such a powerful evangelist, dynamic. His
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (26:03):
Heart beats for evangelism. Yes. Everything he does is
Kevin Hardin (26:06):
God begin to use him in words of knowledge and healing in a greater and greater way. More recent, and we’re believing for, for more of these type events, they, they have continued into other cities. But I believe it’s just the very beginning.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (26:24):
Amen. Well, I believe that God wants to send revival here to America. So you took a moment to pray for China. Now let’s pray for America and just pray for revival. Dear heavenly Father, we thank you for the great outpouring of your spirit that we saw here in Tulsa, Oklahoma when Mario Marillo came and, and gave the altar call, and thousands of people came forward to receive Jesus. And Lord, we pray that we would see that in cities all over this nation. Lord, we ask you to pour out your spirit upon the United States of America. We need you. Lord, I pray that you would turn the hearts of people back towards you. Turn the hearts of politicians back towards you, government officials. We lift them up. And Lord, we pray that your standards of righteousness would be established in this nation and that people’s hearts would turn towards you. In, in that we would see revival. Lord, I pray for all those lukewarm Christians that have drifted away from you and even stopped going to church during times of covid. Lord, I pray that you would bring them back. Yes. In that people would be on fire for you. Yes. In that we would see a mighty outpouring of your Holy Spirit upon this nation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Kevin Hardin (27:43):
Yes, Lord. Amen.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (27:45):
Well, brother Kevin, thank you for being on the Evangelism Podcast. It’s great to have
Kevin Hardin (27:48):
You. It’s honored, Daniel.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (27:49):
Thank you. Now, if you, you mentioned the, the city by city.org website. People can find out more about you guys there. If someone wants to support the ministry that you’re doing in Asia or wants to help to support the Prayer Network, how can they find out more information about you guys?
Kevin Hardin (28:07):
Our main website is Destiny builders.world Destiny Builders Do World.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (28:14):
Wonderful. Well, I encourage you to go support this ministry and thank you brother Kevin. God bless you.
Kevin Hardin (28:20):