1): The young Chinese couple that God drew to Himself, while here in Raleigh for a year, got baptized together last month! They have had many brothers and sisters pour into them while they’ve lived here, so they’ll be returning to China excited to share the Good News with others! It has been beautiful to witness God move mightily in their lives.
2): We prayed for God’s focus for us on specific Chinese friends, and He’s put before us two specific couples that we will be building relationships with this summer. They are two young families, each with an elementary school daughter. Please pray for us as we get to know them and eventually share Truth.
3): We are getting quotes for a moving truck for our move back up north, and our plan is to leave here the week of Labor day. We will put our things in storage and stay with friends in Beaver County, as we want to spend sufficient time on both the Kent State campus and the Carnegie Mellon/Pitt campuses. We are confident He will be clear for His plan for us. Psalm 32:8, God makes this promise to His children: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
4): COM recently offered me (Erin) a small position as Facebook communicator for China Outreach. After asking and waiting on God, I took the position. It’s minimal work and I enjoy posting interesting things about China, so it should be good.
Most days I don’t think little everyday choices make any difference, and lots of times they don’t. But, sometimes that insignificant decision is important. A simple choice I made last Saturday impacted a stranger, that is now a friend, at a church lunch. Saturday evening I was prepping a dessert to take to a “potluck” lunch after church on Sunday, since two of our Chinese friends were to be baptized at a local home church and afterwards we would all have lunch together. So, that night I planned to keep it simple and grab a box of cocoa to make a chocolate cake of some kind, but then another thought reminded me of frozen raspberries I had. I thought, okay, it’s something different and I found an easy raspberry cake recipe on Pinterest.
That morning, as we were walking back from the lake after the baptisms to the pavillion, I spotted someone I didn’t know and we started to chat. Through an amazing conversation, I discovered that this dear woman’s mother recently died, back home in Africa, while she’s been living here. You see, she’s waiting for her green card and could not leave the country to go to her mother’s funeral. I felt sad for her and tried to share some comforting words. Then, she asked me if I brought the raspberry cake, because back home they have lots of raspberry bushes and they use them for many different recipes. She said that today the raspberries were healing for her heart, because they reminded her of all the sweet memories at home with her mother. Most of the time, we just don’t know what God is doing, so it’s a lesson to me to listen to the Holy Spirit, even in the little choices I make.
It’s been a good month so far as we are caring for current relationships and walking into new ones! It’s a picture of Spring, as we continue to be active in the pre-existing friendships we’ve made and cultivate the new ones as we spend time together. We’ve had lots of opportunities to be a part of a couple’s life since they arrived in Raleigh from China. They recently purchased a townhome, here in Cary, since the husband has been accepted into NC State’s PhD program in the fall. They will live here more long term. We will be moving the in their new home this week and several days later, we will drive them to the airport. They will take their new son back home to China for the summer to meet his grandparents!
God has also opened a recent door for us to befriend another couple that will be here at NC State until this fall. We were invited to their home last week for dinner and fun with their daughter. They are a kind family an we are looking forward to spending more time together. The wife loves to go walking, so we are beginning to do this together. I (Erin) am looking forward to longer conversations we’ll have.
On a lighter note, here in downtown Cary, they finally finished a long renovation project of a concentrated part of the town. Glenn and I went one evening and lo and behold…we found outdoor ping pong! You just never know….
Please continue to pray for us as we actively continue to build on existing friendships and build new ones this summer, in English practice, a discover Jesus group in our home, game nights, Bible Study and sharing meals together.
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.