It’s fun celebrating Chinese New Year with Chinese friends, and this year was especially good sharing meals with visiting scholar friends and hearing stories of their family celebrations in China. Without a doubt, the best part of celebrating is eating some of their specialty hometown food that’s unique to their area in China. The food was good and the fellowship was filled with laughter and great conversation in English! (Pretty sure that’s not a part of their family new year celebrating in China!) Aside from the eating and sharing, there was another extra special surprise in celebrating with a dear couple, in welcoming their new little girl! We were hoping for her actual due date since it was on my (Erin) birthday, haha. Anyway, it should make their future New Year celebrations even more memorable. Involved in these times and others of fellowship, English Conversation Club and International Bible Study, it’s been fun when they ask what are jobs are, but even better hear their responses to our answer. Sometimes, God uses this content to foster different questions and even opens a door for some deeper conversations.
Another commonality some share is how it’s changed them coming to America. They’ve become braver and more courageous here, since it’s unavoidable for survival in living in a very different country. As we share the things that were helpful for us living in China, including how we depended upon God, often these conversations have turned to our Christianity. At times we’ve had opportunities to share truth and we challenge some, asking them to honestly think about what they believe. Then we can offer the opportunity of going further in studying the Bible.
This scenario took place about six weeks ago when a dear Chinese friend, Wen Qing, and I began a six week study with two female visiting scholars. These two friends had shared with me (Erin) that they wanted to know more about God. They both responded that they could commit to a six week study and we began “Return to Harmony”, a study both in English and Chinese, in January. It was so good to have my good friend and Chinese “sister” share in facilitating, she bridged the language gap. The study went well and I’m thrilled to share with you that one of the young women received Jesus as her Savior last Wednesday night! After we ended the last lesson (about 3 hours last night), “Z” asked, “How can I become a Christian?”!! My friend and I looked at each other with big smiles and Wen Qing explained to her and she confirmed she believed! What a thrill welcoming her into God’s family, after she prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior! Praise God!
Happy New Year, y’all! (haha, had to say that!)! A year ahead anchored to our true Hope.
Glenn and I are hopeful of a year full of what the Apostle Paul was inspired by God to write in Colossians 1: …”asking that (we) may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (We want to be) strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy”. Our desire, as Paul writes in chapter 3 of the same book, is to: “Set (our) minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For (we) have died, and (our) life is hidden with Christ in God.” We are asking Him to move mightily and miraculously this year. We’re asking Him to draw many to Himself. We are asking, that as we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit! We want our greatest desire to be that God will be magnified this year.
Our task, as followers of Jesus, is to deliver the message of hope to those still trapped in the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13) and point them to Jesus, the door to the Kingdom (John 10:9). As we all share the gospel and witness to the truth through our testimony, God opens hearts to comprehend and believe, and gain entry into the Kingdom of Light! Is there anything more worthwhile in which to invest our lives than the Kingdom of God? It costs us time, energy, and money, but imagine our joy when we’re all together in heaven, and someone shares with us that we helped them find the way into the glorious Kingdom of God!
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, first of all for your devotion to the Lord, but also for your faithful prayers and support in 2016. God has placed us together as a partnership team to reach out to Chinese students and visiting scholars studying/researching at NC State. How amazing, that as we “walk” in God’s command to us, we have the joy of taking you with us in spirit, since “whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit”. (1 Cor. 6:17) We are “living stones..being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). Together we form His Kingdom, and He has given us a tremendous responsibility. We are so thankful we’re doing this together!
We are excited to share what’s happening this coming Saturday, and we’d like to ask you to please pray! Our volunteer group (friend’s that work regular day jobs, and partner part-time with us in ministry) is hosting a “Farm Day”. This time they’re doing most of the preparation and our main contribution has been to invite as many Chinese students/scholars that we come in contact with through multiple venues. It’s been really encouraging these last few weeks, as more Chinese students have been showing up at English Conversation Club. Anyway, we are anticipating lots of fun and some great conversations!
Also, we will be wrapping up another seeker’s study with our Chinese friend, Ting, next Wednesday. We don’t really sense any change in her heart so far with what we have covered…but please keep praying for her.
Finally, the three visiting scholars that Erin is teaching ESL using The Jesus Storybook, are asking many questions regarding the stories they are reading. It’s been fun to see their curiosity through practicing their English. Please also pray for their hearts, as we continue going through this book before they go back to China this winter.
We love you very much and thank you for praying for Chinese students at NC State and for Glenn and I!
Hello Friends! Below are our October ministry updates:
- This month Glenn began to teach elementary aged Chinese boys, English. He’s been creative using games, videos, songs and just simple conversation. While he is doing this, Jing Jing and I are using the “Jesus Storybook” with the boy’s mothers to help them improve their English. It’s been a great tool for learning ESL, since it provokes many good spiritual questions.
- We’ve started going to an International Bible Study hosted by fellow missionaries to NC State. It’s held each week and the evening includes dinner with international students, a game, Bible study and ending with dessert. It’s a great way to meet more Chinese students and to see who is interested as we have Bible discussions.
- This week we have begun to meet with a young Chinese woman that we met at English Club. She has a desire to study the Bible, so we will be going through the “Return to Harmony” study with her the next 4-5 weeks.
- We have had the pleasure of visiting with some Chinese married couples that we’ve built a good relationship with. They end up wanting to either play a game or learn to make an American dessert. Whatever we end up doing, there’s usually lots of English practice that can typically provide an opportunity for us to share about our faith.
- The COM team here will be traveling at the end of the month to Kent, Ohio, for a retreat with other COM workers that are also doing their 2-year Staff Ministry Training. Glenn, Jing Jing and I will make the trip up north for just 2 1/2 days and then come back to NC.
- Our friend, Liam, that was a student at BIT, recently came to America. He is doing research at M D Anderson Cancer Research Center in Houston. When he got the offer to come to an American University, we were all excited because the offer came from UNC. But, soon after the offer, his supervisor informed him that he would be going to Houston to do research and Liam was to meet him there. So he is not as close as we had hoped, but he and his new wife will be visiting us for Christmas!
- We want to update you on Li Jia Rui, we shared with you about her in August. Today we received news from her that she is doing well. She joined a Bible Study and the study leader used to be her neighbor two years ago in Beijing, and now they work together. This woman shared with Jia Rui that she prayed for her when they were neighbors! Jia Rui had shared with me that she was lonely when returning to China and the adjustment back to her culture was hard, but now she is very happy! Now she has someone to pray and study the Bible with. Please continue to pray for this young woman, for her growth and for her challenges in China as a newer Christian.
We also want to share that a dear young family that we are friends with here, had their home flooded from hurricane Matthew. Soon they will find out if their home is salvageable or to be condemned. The first time we arrived at their home to help, our hearts broke. We had never known anyone that had their house flooded and it was shocking to see! Undoubtably, it’s been hard for them, but we have loved seeing their faith! It’s clear that God is their Rock and in the midst of this tragedy, they truly reflect the One they love. They know He is faithful and they fully trust His plan for them.
As followers of Jesus, we were created for this world that God may be evidenced. THE EVIDENCE OF GOD! The honor and the privilege of this… so this is so humbling, right? Wherever you live, wherever we live on this earth, we are His evidence! So, when you think about it, practically, what does this look like? Simple…it’s living out the Great Commission as we love God and then love others where they are. So practically, we weren’t absolutely sure what that would like like here in the US with Chinese students. Would it be easier or harder here? Hmmm, not a clue. We really didn’t need to know though, since we were confident God had His plan and we were going to join Him in that!
As part of His plan, He’s placed before our eyes: John 15:5, as we abide in Him, you will bear much fruit. Of course, that’s what we want! So, this along with Ephesians 3:20 have been great encouragement, and we live it out. We are so thankful, that as we step by step have walked through the summer, His plans have been accomplished. Praise God! He has given us opportunities to connect in friendship and to bear fruit!
He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works within us, Ephesians 3:20. He is able!
Recently, we took some Chinese friends to a shooting range. They had never handled a gun before, so it was quite an experience for them. But that’s getting off track. Aiming at targets got us thinking about our focus, our mission, the target of people that God’s given us a great passion for, Chinese students.
Rick Warren wrote an interesting article on this subject that’s worth sharing. To some, the idea of “targeting” people might seem wrong. But the truth is, targeting specific kinds of people for evangelism is a biblical principle, that’s as old as the New Testament. Remember the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to minister to her demon-possessed daughter? He publicly stated that the Father had told him to focus on “the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:22-28). But after some short conversation, Jesus went ahead and healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter because of her faith. He publicly identified his ministry target: the Jews. This was not his idea. It came from the Father.
Earlier, in Matthew 10, Jesus had instructed His disciples to target their ministry also. Was He being partial? Of course not! Jesus targeted his ministry in order to be effective, not to be exclusive.
Also, both Paul and Peter are models of a targeted ministry. Paul targeted his ministry to Gentiles and Peter targeted his ministry to Jews. (Gal. 2:7)
The Great Commission tells us to make disciples of “all nations.” The Greek word “ta ethne” from which we derive the word “ethnic” refers literally to “all people groups.” Each people group need an evangelistic strategy that communicates the Gospel in terms they can understand. Now, that’s targeting!