Good folks, I need advice.
First, a little background: I’m 23, and a recent graduate. My parents are strong Christians, and I was raised in an Evangelical tradition. My grandfather and several uncles are Lutheran ministers, so I was exposed to that as well. Recently though, I’ve felt inexplicably drawn to the Catholic Church. Over the past ten months or so, I’ve done a LOT of research and reading about Catholic history and doctrine. I’ve also spent a ridiculous amount of time on this forum, mostly lurking but occasionally posting more recently. I feel like I’ve seen every argument from both sides a dozen times over in the threads here, and for me the majority of the evidence seems support the Catholic position. Still I have qualms and doubts, and for a number of reasons (chief among them: fear*) I haven’t taken any formal steps toward conversion.
However, in the last couple of months I’ve gotten into a pretty serious (and unexpected) relationship. She is a Non-denominational Christian, and currently attending a small Bible college. She’s known since early on that I’m investigating Catholicism, and she’s agreed to do some research into it for herself. Although I’m still wrestling with a number of things, I suspect deep down that I’ll one day enter the Catholic Church. Thus I find myself in the rather odd position of trying to convince her of things I’m not entirely sure I accept myself. My biggest fear is that I’ll fail: and we both know that a “mixed” relationship would be untenable in the long run.
To further complicate matters, we’re both living in China right now (I did say this was an unusual situation!). I’m afraid our Chinese wouldn’t be good enough to talk to the local priest about this (his English is even worse), and then there is the issue of the Chinese church being in questionable communion with Rome anyway (at least at the episcopal level-- although our local diocese [Xiamen/Amoy] hasn’t had a bishop since 1983).
Well, that’s a lot of venting, but I’d really appreciate any advice, especially from people who have been in similar circumstances, or those who know more about the situation of the Church in China.
*I mean personal fear of change or the unknown or making a huge mistake. My family has been amazingly understanding, although they are a bit worried about me.