Category Archives: Ministry & Family Updates

Ministry Events Schedule (Late 2017)

Our weekly scheduled ministry events:

  • Tuesday-Friday morning from 8:30-12:30 we host seminary classes (Chinese) at the church.
  • Wednesday evening from 18:30-20:00 we have midweek worship. This includes a meal, 2 songs, a 20 min. sermon and then 30 min. small group Bible studies (Chinese/English) at the church.
  • Friday night outreach. Every Friday night from 19:00-20:00 we have an English corner outreach (English), except for the last Friday of the month we are trying to host a young people’s event (Chinese).
  • Saturday is our a work day at the church preparing for Sunday (Chinese).
  • Sunday is broken down as the following:
    • From 9:30-10:15 we have Kids’ Club (Chinese/English).
    • From 10:30-11:30 we have morning worship (Chinese).
    • From 11:30-12:00 we have a quick lunch at the church.
    • From 12:00-1:00 we have afternoon worship/teacher and worker’s meeting/prayer Groups (Chinese).
  • (Monday is our day off now.)

Weekly Mind Dump: North Korea

✪ We had another great week. Our Kids’ Club has started back, but it has been very slow. Each week there are more kids, but it looks like we might have lost some along the way. Time to go out and find some more!

✪ We visited a Chinese city on the border of North Korea and took a big boat into North Korean waters. We used binoculars to get a better look at everything. It was really sad. People washing their clothes in the river. The soldiers (I am guessing guarding the border) were fishing with nets up and down the river. The hard part of these tours (I have taken many) is that we can do nothing. Here I am on a nice boat with a bunch of Chinese tourists gawking at the North Koreans (like a zoo) and can do nothing to reach or help them. At least when we have taken the small boats in before, we were able to give out some Chinese tracts (even though they didn’t read Chinese) to the North Koreans who met us in the middle of the river on their boats. Pray for North Korea.

✪ In a previous update I mentioned about starting a new church plant in October, but we are holding off on that for now. One of the Chinese men who was going to go out and start it wants/needs more time and training before he steps out. I think this is a wise decision.

✪ Although we aren’t starting a new church this October, one of the American men who has been serving in our church for the past couple years is stepping out to start a church in October and one fo the Chinese men in our church who is a faithful member will be going to help him as they get things started. We will be having a send-off time for them this Sunday.

✪ One of the church members recently commented on our three girls personalities and I thought it was interesting and almost spot on. She said our oldest daughter was 透明 transparent (she really likes to talk about everything), our middle daughter was 温柔 gentle and soft (she loves to smile and cuddle), and the youngest was 淘气 mischievous (yep, she likes to laugh and cause trouble in a playful way).

A busy airport in the mornings! Seeing our friends off…glad they came!

About a 20-minute drive outside the city and you see this…

Going to the local mall for dinner, a busy time of the day.

One of the men practicing music as he looks out over the city from the church window.

Looking into North Korea with binoculars… a mom and child washing clothes in the river with a guard nearby.

Weekly Mind Dump: Visa Run

✪ Visas! We were granted the work permit last Wednesday (Praise the Lord!) and left for Hong Kong on Thursday. We applied for our work visa on Friday and we should, Lord willing, pick up the passports with accompanying work visas on Monday afternoon (keep praying). Then the plan is to fly back to China on Tuesday. (The two guys that are training for ministry filled in for me today at the church. Very proud of them.)

✪ This also means we have been living in Hong Kong since Thursday. This is our second time visiting HK. This place really is incredible. The great number of people in any given place amazes you. There have been several times where I have just stopped and watch the flow of unending people go by. Another thing that has stood out is the high prices of everything. Comparing to where we live in mainland China, taxis are super expensive and eating out has almost broken the bank! Everything from the hole in the wall restaurants to the Cheesecake Factory (yeah, you read that right) have been crazy expensive. But don’t get me wrong, the food has been great. Even though this trip has come at an inconvenient time, it has been nice to be with just the family for a few days.

✪ Our middle daughter was diagnosed with tonsillitis right before we left China. She has been on antibiotics and we have been trying to keep everyone else from getting it, but we are all living in one room for five days. Last night our oldest daughters throat started hurting really bad and she had a really hard time sleeping. So instead of passing this lovely gift to one of the local churches (which I found two Baptist churches within a 10-min. drive of our hotel), we decided to just have a devotional time in our room this morning and then visit the local Baptist hospital so we could pick up some antibiotics. Pray for both kids to get better and for protection for the rest of us, especially momma. (Update: as I am writing this, the youngest seems to have caught it as well…leaving to get antibiotics for her now too! Bye.)

✪ Of course, I brought my iPhone with me and my SIM card from the mainland has worked great here. But when I use the 3G all of the same websites that are blocked in the mainland are still blocked on my phone (facebook, google, etc.). But If I connect to the local wifi hotspot, I can access all the websites without any problems. So it seems that the mainland has a deal to still regulate its users when they travel outside the mainland. Interesting.

✪ We have confirmed one intern family coming in November for six-months from our home church. We are excited about being involved in this part of their training. If you are interested in helping a new family as they start out in the ministry through this internship, contact me for more details.

✪ Our home church is putting on TWO great events this coming winter. They are hosting TWO DIFFERENT “OUR GENERATONS SUMMITS” IN TWO DIFFERENT LOCATIONS. The first Summit (Southeast) if located in ATLANTA from December 28-30, 2017 (Thursday thru Saturday). The second Summit (Northeast) is located in BOSTON from January 4-6, 2018 (Thursday thru Saturday).

✪ A lady who we help employ came to us a few days before we left and with tears of sorrow in her eyes, humbly asked more hours so she could make more money. Before she became a Christian, she went through a divorce. Her husband gambled their savings away and he hasn’t helped any with the cost of raising their child. She has to bear the responsibility of raising her daughter on her own. The cost of the city life is high and she simply wants the best for her daughter. It was a very raw and open moment. After discussing it with my wife, we decided to help her, and with tears of joy, she expressed thanks to God not only for the momentary help but for missionaries who brought her the gospel and introducing her to Jesus. Praise God. Please remember this mother and daughter in your prayers and pray for her ex-husband who, Lord willing, we are going to try and reach out to him with the gospel as well.

Looking over the water at the city on a foggy evening (Hong Kong).

The rat race: never ending streams of people whom God loves! Lord, make your Name great among these people!

Took my wife to her favorite restaurant–that never gets to eat at, just a 1-hour-and-45-minute wait!

Overwhelmed

Today, I just want to write some honest thoughts about living in China for seven years. I try to always write honestly and openly, but today I will be a little more transparent.

I am riding a speed train currently traveling 303 km/h (about 188 mph) through Northeast China on my way to the US Embassy. I need to get some paperwork notarized for our upcoming visas. I am typing my thoughts down on my MacBook Air that I bought several years ago. I don’t use a pencil or journal like missionaries of the past. Everything is typed. It helps me think. My phone is plugged in and charging on the train. I have 4G cell service even though all I can see out the window is rolling hills and greenery. China has modernized at an incredibly fast rate and is still growing. It is incredible how China is growing. Today, missionaries can get almost anything they want (especially through the internet importing services) if they have the money to afford it. Most missionary biographies you read about China are completely irrelevant and don’t represent the lives the we missionaries today live in China. This, of course, can be seen as a blessing and a curse.

Today, seven years ago, I took my beautiful wife and our two-year-old daughter and left on an amazing journey for China. When we were on deputation, we set a date by faith to leave for the field and, praise the Lord, we were able to leave for the field on that date. But it didn’t come without hardships. Less than two months before we left for the field, we lost our second child, our son was stillborn. This meant we landed on the field still grieving. We knew our son had a condition that was “incompatible with life” as the doctor put it and we had a long period to prepare ourselves for the inevitable, the Lord even gave us a special peace when it all happened. (There is an incredible story here.) But I didn’t realize how much my wife was still grieving. I didn’t realize how much culture shock, spiritual warfare (that hits you once you land on the field) and the process of grieving would attack my precious wife. The city we moved to had extremely cold and long winters with short days and little sunlight. An environment that doesn’t help a grieving heart and has its own physical and emotional challenges. (A combination of these factors, mixed with the task of learning Chinese made our first couple years on the field hard and probably not the most pleasant to host.) Looking back at it now, I think I failed at leading and protecting her like I should have and being the spiritual comfort and leader that she needed. It was a dark period for her but I didn’t give it much attention. To this, I apologize, my wife.

Out of past seven years, I have spent about 2,368 days in China and 189 days in the USA. That is a lot of days. I use to think about what my life would look like at this point. Here is a quick summary of what it does look like: Language—I have learned to speak Chinese well and have preached more in Chinese than I have in English. I am currently preaching and teaching in Chinese multiple times a week. I am slowly learning characters and am probably about 60% of where I need to be with reading them. I cannot write characters from memory besides the common things I use, such as my name. Family—Thankfully, I am still married to the wonderful lady that I married ten years ago this month. She has been such a trooper. We have been through so much together. Each year brings us closer and makes me more thankful for her. We have been in the war together when everything seemed like the sky was falling—we came through the other side together. This doesn’t mean our relationship has been easy—it has been hard work, but hard work that is worth it and aims to bring God glory in it. I have three beautiful daughters all with unique personalities. All of them constantly brings a smile to our faces as we watch them grow up and get to know them better. We are also expecting twins…so our family is still growing. Also, adoption still isn’t out of the picture. Ministry—after language school we pioneered our ministry in a new city. Getting things going and improving in the language took longer than I expected. But we have now planted one church and have started training two men who have surrendered to full-time ministry. We plan to pour our lives into these two men (and other men the Lord gives us) and see more work done here in China.

The title of this post is “overwhelmed” because I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God in my life and what He has allowed me to do and allowed me to become even though I am not worthy at all. Anyone who knows us knows that everything that has been accomplished has been because of God’s grace. I have grown so much in the past years and I am in love more with Jesus today than I was seven years ago. My identity is solely found in Him and not in being a missionary or in the opinions of others. To this, I am forever thankful.

Another purpose this post is called “overwhelmed” is because of two reasons (1) I live in a mega city doing intercity missions; (2) the thousands of houses and villages I am passing on the train right now. I am overwhelmed by the work here. People often misunderstand China as having no churches or they understand it as having an incredible revival. I haven’t seen either. China does have a TON of churches. Most cities I know about have some churches, some gospel witness, most universities I have heard of have Christian foreign teachers, etc. (not to say the type of these, but at least Christian in name). We have lots of unbelievers visit our church and we also have a lot of Christians visit our church. China is a weird place when it comes to religion. We have had teammates kicked out for church planting but just a couple of weeks ago I walked in a restaurant and every waiter had a shirt on that says, “Jesus loves you” in Chinese.

Let me explain (1) I live in a mega city doing intercity missions—our city has six million people in it. How many churches is enough? Can we plant that many? Could I spend my whole life within just this small radius? You never really feel a sense of accomplishment because you can’t really “canvas” areas with gospel literature. Although we have tried that in certain areas. Everything is always changing and the people are always rotating. You never have the small town feel of every time you go out it is the same people and you are building a relationship with them. People come and go–the turnover rate is high. We are intercity, we are illegal, we don’t have traditional church buildings, we cannot compete (with the government churches like you could compete against in a free society, thus they become the standard)…we are the black-sheep—living in a margin of society that isn’t fully accepted and if too abrasive and open could get you into serious trouble or expulsion from the country.

Let me explain (2) the thousands of houses and villages I am passing on the train right now—when will they get the gospel? Do they have the gospel? Do I go? Do I pass up a few hundred thousand people to go reach a village with just a few families living there? What about that one single house I saw on the side of the mountain and looked like someone was actively living there? How do I advance the gospel forward to all people? It is one thing when you see a picture or read a blog post, but what about when you are living among them? And just like the city seems like an endless sea of people, the villages continue to appear out the windows.

I have arrived at my station….overwhelmed.

Ministry Events Schedule (Early 2017)

Our schedule has changed many times since we have started doing ministry in China. I often write down our schedule to think about what we need to change and do better. I also like hearing from others about their ministry schedules because it gives me new ideas. (Comment and share yours below.)

We have tried many things, and through trial and error, here is what our current ministry schedule looks like (this isn’t an entire daily schedule but just the weekly scheduled ministry events):

  • Monday-Friday morning from 9:00-13:00 we host seminary classes (Chinese) at the church.
  • Wednesday evening from 18:30-20:00 we have a meal and small group Bible studies (Chinese/English) at the church. Currently, we have four groups. Two of the groups are Chinese only and two of the groups are a mix of English and Chinese. I teach a Chinese group and it is specifically for married couples.
  • Friday night outreach 17:30-finished (Chinese). We often try to get together with others in the church to share a meal together and get to know them on a more personal level. We have started hosting these in our house so the whole family can be involved.
  • (Saturday is our day off now.)
  • Sunday is broken down as the following:
    • From 9:00-10:15 we have Kids’ Bible Club (Chinese/English). The kids club is bilingual for outreach purposes. The English is the draw but the Chinese is used to make sure everyone understands the lessons.
    • From 9:30-10:15 we have Adult Sunday School (Chinese). Currently, we have two classes.
    • From 10:30-11:30 we have morning worship (Chinese).
    • From 11:30-12:00 we have a quick lunch at the church.
    • From 12:00-1:00 we have afternoon worship (Chinese).
    • From 19:00-20:00 we have an English corner outreach (English).

Money (8 of 11) What Is The Biblical Understanding Of Tithing?

What Is The Biblical Understanding Of Tithing?

The Biblical understanding of tithing is that God commanded the children of Israel to give multiple “one-tenths” of their agricultural produce and/or livestock as a way to support the Levites, celebrate festivals, to help others in need and worship God. Ultimately, the multiple tithes were fulfilled in Jesus and believers have a new paradigm for giving.

The Misconception Of “The Tithe Offering”

  • The “tithe” in the Bible is often misrepresented and therefore leads to a misunderstanding about the responsibility of a believer and how God has planned for him to be a giver. The definition about tithing that has led many to misunderstand it is: “Tithing is a required universal offering by which you give a total of only one-tenth of all your income to God”. This is an oversimplification and wrong definition of the “tithe” that is found in the Bible because: (1) the Bible presents more than one type of tithe; (2) the requirements for these are specific and not just based on a person’s income; (3) the total amount given of these comprised more than one-tenth when added together (even though the word “tithe” means one-tenth); (4) it is never commanded as a universal obligation for all people for all times but for a specific people for a specific time.
  • The Bible describes four different tithes that were commanded in the law of Moses. We need to examine each of these “tithes” to consider: (1) who was the giver; (2) what were they to give; (3) where was the gift to be given; (4) why were they to give; (5) when were they required to give.
  • The Levitical Tithe—The Israelites were commanded by God to give one-tenth of their seed or fruit and every tenth animal from their herd or flock to the children of Levi in return for their service that they did in the tabernacle of the congregation. They were to give this tithe when their crops were harvested and as their livestock increased accordingly.
    Numbers 18:21-24; Leviticus 27:30-33
  • The Priestly Tithe—The Levites, who were the priest, were commanded by God to give one-tenth from the Levitical tithe that they received from the Israelites as a heave offering for the Lord.
    Numbers 18:25-32
  • The Festival Tithe—The Israelites were commanded by God to give one-tenth of their “increase from the field” including the firstlings of their livestock to celebrate their festivals (i.e., passover, tabernacles, weeks). They were to do this once a year and bring this tithe to “the place which He shall choose to place His name” or Jerusalem to learn to fear the Lord their God always. If you couldn’t take the stuff to Jerusalem, then you could sell the tithe of the crops and livestock so that you have money and then take the money to Jerusalem and buy what you needed to celebrate the festivals with your family.
    Deuteronomy 14:22-27; 16:16 (Exodus 23:14-17; Leviticus 23:1-44; Deuteronomy 16:1-17)
  • The Charity Tithe—The Israelites were commanded by God to give one-tenth of their agricultural produce for that year and store it up in their cities to feed the Levites, the strangers (foreigners), the fatherless children or orphans and the widows that lived in their cities. This was only to be done once every three years. In response to this tithe the Lord said He would bless them in all the work of their hands that they do.
    Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12-15
  • The Sabbatical Year—The Israelites were commanded by God to let the land rest for one year, meaning they weren’t allowed to sow or gather in their crop, thus possibly excusing the need for the tithe in this year. This was only to be done once every seven years. The natural crop that grew could be taken for food by anyone and God would bless the sixth year’s harvest to produce a crop sufficient for three years for them.
    Exodus 23:10-11; Leviticus 25:1-7; 17-23
  • What was the total amount that an Israelite was required to give through the different tithes? This is actually impossible to calculate because: (1) it is “possible” their agricultural produce and livestock were only subject to the tithes and not their entire income i.e. money earned like a fisherman or carpenter; (2) they were only required to give every tenth animal from their livestocks, so this would be a different percentage based on how many animals you had at the time i.e. you only have to give one cow if you have fifteen (6.6%). Therefore, the best estimate that we can see from the Bible’s tithing requirements was that they gave around 20% of their agricultural produce and livestock every year but gave around 30% every third year because of the added charity tithe. Thus, it doesn’t seem that 10% was ever a total amount they gave—it was always more. Finally, we must remember that there were still other offerings that were obligatory and voluntary that the Israelites were to give (i.e., burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, trespass offerings, meal or meat offerings, heave offerings—although some might be included within the tithes).

The Different Tithes Before And After The Law

  • Before the law of Moses there is no command concerning tithing—nor any examples of the levitical, priestly, festival, or charity tithes. But there are two examples of people giving one-tenth (both are descriptive and not prescriptive). First, Abraham gave away 100% of the goods seized in his military victory, giving 10% to Melchizedek who was king of Salem and the priest of the most high God, and then giving a portion to the men who went with him and finally giving the rest to the king of Sodom. Second, Jacob promised to give one-tenth to God of all that God gave him when the conditions of the vow were fulfilled.
    Genesis 14:17-24; 28:18-22
  • After the law of Moses was fulfilled in Jesus, there is no command concerning tithing—nor any examples of the levitical, priestly, festival, or charity tithes because each have been fulfilled in the New Testament and are no longer necessary. Instead, we are given a new paradigm for giving. Also, the only time the “tithe” is mentioned in the New Testament is when Jesus is rebuking the scribes and Pharisees, He is telling a parable or when it is referenced in an Old Testament story (all are descriptive and not prescriptive).
    Matthew 23:23-24; Luke 18:9-14; Hebrews 7:1-10 (Matthew 5:17-20; Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:16-23; Ephesians 2:11-22)

Principals Learned From The Different Tithes

  • Even though the four tithes are no longer binding on believers living under grace like they were for the Israelites living under the law, we can learn the following principals from them: (1) God wants His people to support those who serve Him full-time; (2) those who receive this support should also be givers and not just takers; (3) we should use our money to worship God and lead our families to worship God; (4) God wants His people to care and proved for those in need especially the poor and marginalized.
  • As believers, we live by faith and grow in our knowledge of the Bible. We allow the Bible to change our conscience and preconceived ideas. Not every believer understands these truths concerning the tithes or some may even disagree with these conclusions. Either way, we should not judge or despise each other. Thus, in an effort to not offend others it is “recommended” that giving should be at least one-tenth of your income if you can do so by faith and with an attitude of “giving God thanks”—because no one disagrees with giving 10% or more to God, the contention is always on the minimum.
    Romans 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 8:7-13

Review Questions

  • How many tithes are commanded in the Old Testament?
  • What are the different tithes?
  • What was the total amount of all the tithes?
  • Was their required tithing before and after the law?
  • What are principles we learn from the different tithes?

Firm Foundations Seven (1 of 11) Christian Parenting

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 |Book 6 | Book 7 | Book 8 |

Rearing In The Faith

Parenting is a joyful experience for many, but also a very frustrating time because parents receive so much contradictory advice from the world about the best methods of parenting. These methods change each year, but the Bible’s methods don’t. They don’t change over time or because of culture. God has given authority to parents over their children to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. By faith, parents faithfully apply the biblical method of the rod (discipline) and reproof (instruction) as God works in the hearts of their children. In these lessons, we want to help you understand what these truths are and how to use Scripture and Christian principles so that you can shepherd your children’s hearts to be oriented towards God and the gospel.

Book 7, Lessons 61-70

This is the seventh book in our Firm Foundations series. It covers the seventh set of ten lessons to help you rear your children in the faith. These lessons are considered the basic understanding of Christian marriage. These lessons will hopefully help you to know the relationship between a parent and child and how to bring up a family who is oriented towards God. These lessons include:

  1. What Is The Biblical Purpose Of Parenting?
  2. What Is The Biblical Authority Of Parenting?
  3. What Is The Biblical Method Of Parenting?
  4. What Are Responsible Attitudes Of Parenting?
  5. How Do I Train My Children In The Lord?
  6. How Do I Organize Family Worship?
  7. How Do I Create A Household Of Grace?
  8. What Is The Biblical Role Of A Father?
  9. What Is The Biblical Role Of A Mother?
  10. What About When Parenting Doesn’t Work?

About The Lessons

Each lesson has a main truth, a simple outline that supports it, Bible references under many of the points, and review questions at the end. These lessons are best used when a mature believer is able to guide you through them, studying one lesson per session.

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 |Book 6 | Book 7 | Book 8 |

Missionary Covenant

A few years ago, I used a covenant some on our team used for short-term groups visiting the mission field and adapted it to make it our own for the groups that we had coming over. Now, I took that version and made it into a “missionary” version, that serves as a reminded of our tasks as missionaries.


Missionary Covenant

I recognize and accept the following conditions which will further the usefulness and safety of my mission. I understand that my mission field does not have the same conveniences that I am used to at home. I realize how important it is to be flexible and I am willing to adjust. I agree to the following:

  • I will go as a servant-disciple of Jesus Christ and will adopt this attitude when dealing with those I was sent tor each. I will maintain and exhibit a good attitude that will honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I realize that it is my responsibility to die to myself and seek to serve others. I will not seek my own, but that of others. This means not putting myself first and leaving others out. I will be a blessing to all.
  • I realize and agree that this is a mission and not a vacation. I want to go to the mission field to serve God, and to bring the gospel message to the lost. I will not complain about the food, lodging accommodations, etc. I will conscientiously set aside time to have my personal devotions and take care of my daily responsibilities both spiritually and physically. I will first lead my family in worship and then lead those I have come to reach in worship. I will carry my share of the load in the work we are trying to accomplish.
  • I will accept and submit to the position of a learner as I learn the culture and language.  I will be a servant-leader and promise to lead by example. I will become all things concerning attire, eating, drinking and other such traditions which will help me to assimilate into the local community. I agree that in the event that my conduct is considered so unsatisfactory that it jeopardizes the success of the mission, and that mediation on the mission field has failed to correct my or my family’s behavior, that my services in connection with this mission shall end and I shall return home to seek further help.
  • I will trust God to provide my funds to be able to pay for this trip. I won’t take advantage of my support or live lavishly at the expense of my supporters. I will be financial responsibility and accountable for my support and will use it to further the mission. I serve God, not support.
  • I will be a gracious guest to those I desire to reach. I realize I am a foreigner and will not act carelessly. I will serve, give and ask what I can do to have good works in the community. I will be respectful of their way of life. I will treat their country positively and not speak negatively about it. I will try to be a blessing to the locals so they will be glad and thankful that I came to their country.
  • I will remember I am a Christian from another part of the world and will be watched very closely. I realize that they will look at me for an example of how a Christian acts, and will not treat that responsibility lightly. I promise not to be overly demanding of the people, to do my best not to offend or cause embarrassment for the one whose name I bear, and to do my best to help them attain eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus.
  • I understand that the missionary life can be difficult and I promise to adopt a flexible attitude and be supportive as plans may need to be changed.
  • I desire to plant a church and make disciples. I yearn to grow spiritually and to maintain a joyful attitude. I am willing and physically able to work long and changing hours. I will be bold enough to obey the bible even if it risk expulsion from the country.

Blessed! I get to work with great people!

I am truly blessed. I get to work with so many great people who serve in so many ways. The Lord has built us a small team of missionaries who are at different stages, but all work together to further the ministry in China.

  • My wife has done a great job at leading the women’s ministry. She taught them in Chinese at their last meeting and I very proud of her for doing so. She has hosted several activities to reach out to them and organize areas for the women to serve in the church. Also, she has helped lead and teach the kids’ club that we host on Sunday mornings. She plans the lessons and sends the instructions out to everyone for that week. She wears many hats around the church and is often the one who has the stress of having to do something if someone else doesn’t show up.
  • Dan and Kasey have also been a blessing to the minsitry. We didn’t know them before we came to China, but the Lord has allowed our paths to cross and we have become great friends and partners in the ministry. Dan leads our music ministry and uses it to reach out to new people. Kasey helps with the kids ministry and is gifted with coming up with great craft ideas to help the kids remember that day’s lesson.
  • Ben and Crystal are the newest to join us here. They also have been a blessing and help in the short amount of time that they have been here. Both are dedicated to learning the language and they show it by the hours they put into studying the language everyday. They are making great progress. They don’t just study the language but also serve. They both help with the games at kids’ club so that kids have fun and want to come back. Ben practises his Chinese by greeting people as they come in and reaches out to others at our English corner. Crystal helps in the small areas that most people won’t notice, like restocking things when they are out, helping with the dishes after our Sunday lunch or watching the kids. We have already seen a few visitors on Sunday morning from their influence.

I am blessed to be able to call all of them my friends.

Space Available, One Week, God Worked!

Since we moved to our current church location over a year ago, we have had the vision of expanding. We have been seeing who our “neighbors” were and thought about the possibility of eventually renting one of their spaces if they ever moved. Back in the summer, one of the guys told the neighboring business that if they ever decided to move, to let us know because we might be interested in renting it. Then at the end of January, he came and let us know that they were planning on moving! This was good news because it came at a time when we needed more space and not just dreaming about needing more space. There was a small problem: we didn’t have the funds on hand to pay the year rent up front that was necessary. We talked with the home homeowner and got a great deal on the space, but we needed the funds.

I tried to think of ways to get it, but my hands were tied unless we decided to make an unwise decision. Maybe God didn’t want us to have the space. But if we didn’t rent it now, we didn’t know when it would be available again. We knew what we needed to do: pray and trust God with it. We decided that we would ask the Lord for the funds, make our needs known and see what God does. If he gives us the resources then we will take it that he wants us to rent it, and if he doesn’t then we will take it that he doesn’t want us to have it now.

We also had a short timeframe. We told the homeowner that we wanted to rent it (even though we didn’t have the funds) and that we would sign the contract on February 1st. That means we had about one week to raise the money.

On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at 4:11 PM I sent out an email entitled “Read and Pray” that read as follows:

Please read and pray: A great opportunity!

Dear Pastors, Partners and Praying Friends:

Our church rents a room on the 25th floor of a 30 story building. As you can imagine, doing church in China is different than many places. We can’t build or buy church buildings. Space in the city is limited. But we have a great opportunity because the office space directly across from us is available for rent. We have talked with the owner and he has given a great price! We can rent the space for $400 a month. But we have to pay one year’s rent upfront which is a total of $4,800. Unfortunately, at this moment we don’t have those funds available. So we are praying that God will give us the funds before February 1st, which is the day we can sign the contract!

This space won’t replace our current church space but it will expand it and also give a place for our interns and other young men to live. This is a great opportunity because it helps us with space issues and once the space is rented out to another renter, we don’t know when or if it will be available for us to rent again! Since it is directly across from us, it makes it the most convenient and obvious option to expand into!

Please pray with us over the next couple of days that we can raise $4,800! If you are interested in giving to this please contact us since the time is limited!

And what happened next was exciting. People started to respond to the email. People began responding saying that they would give, and others replied that they were praying. We also sent out a similar statement to our Chinese church ring on social media. They started to respond and pray as well! The next few days were excited as we watched God work.

I sent the final email update on Sunday, January 31, 2016, at 9:05 am “Read and Pray – Update 5” that read as follows:

Update #5: Please read and pray!

Dear Pastors, Partners and Praying Friends:

The Lord has answered our prayers! We have a total of $5,526 pledged for our $4,800 goal! This morning at 8:30 (China Time) we went and signed the contract to our new place that the church will use to expand its’ space! Thank you for praying! Thank you for giving!

God used about 7 Chinese and 10 Americans to help meet this need. Praise the Lord! He answered our prayers and showed us in a strong way that the work is to go forward here.

Now, we are working on having a wall taken out so we can expand our auditorium space and turn our new space into kids’ rooms and a place for interns to stay.

Thank you for praying and giving! May the Lord be glorified!