March 2019 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,

God blessed us with a great month in February. We were in twelve churches in GA, FL, NC, and TN. The Lord was faithful to provide us with new support and new partnering churches, which of course means we are getting closer to getting back to China. Thank you for your continued prayers as we press on on the deputation trail!

We are very excited as we look ahead to the month of March. We have twelve meetings scheduled this month in NC, VA, MS, TX, and GA – with the majority of the month spent in MS and TX. Our last time through these states was very fruitful for us with new support and new partners, and we are praying for another fruitful trip in these states. Would you join us in praying for new partnering churches in March?

Looking beyond March and into April, the Chinese calendar brings a festival called “Tomb Sweeping Festival” on Friday, April 5th. The yearly holiday is a day for China’s billions to live out their Confucian beliefs concerning familial piety (devotion to family, particularly elders) by paying their respects at the tombs of their deceased parents and grandparents. All of this is done year after year in the Spring and is a source of fear and hopelessness for many Chinese. Most of them have never heard of the other tomb. That tomb is the cause of much celebration and is also widely celebrated each Spring. Their tombs are hopeless and occupied, but that tomb is empty and points us to eternal life! Many of them have never heard of the empty tomb of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into this world to die for sinners. To die so that everyone – even Chinese people – can have life and hope and joy.  Will you pray for China during this season? Will you pray that many preachers would be sent to them so that they can hear the name of Jesus, believe upon His name, call upon His name, and be saved?

Chinese 101: My Story Part 3

The below article is a part of a series of articles that were written and posted in the fall of 2017 as we were starting deputation. Since there are so many new followers and subscribers of this blog since that time, I thought I would re-post the series and fill them in on how I learned Chinese.

Waking up at around 6:00am, I headed down the seven flights of stairs that led to my eighth-floor apartment, exited West Mountain Community, and began the long trek toward the pagoda atop TianMa (Pegasus) Mountain in the distance. I took my cell phone and a pair of earbuds, ready to soak up my Mandarin lesson for the day. With no school or university geared toward teaching foreigners Mandarin, I was left with self discipline and my own creativity.

At the advice of my only American co-worker, Rod, I had subscribed to a Chinese podcast service offered online that teaches English-speakers Mandarin. Rod was fluent in Mandarin and recommended the service highly. Equipped with a few of the podcast’s lessons which I had downloaded the night before, my phone would become my English teacher as I soaked up the view of Longyan city from the boardwalk that snaked its way around TianMa Mountain.

Two miles there, half a mile up, one plus mile around, and back again became my daily circuit each morning for nearly a year. Within the two or three hours it usually took me to complete my walk, I was able to accomplish prayer, exercise, my Chinese lessons, and even Chinese practice as I stopped for a bottle of bing hongcha (iced tea) on the way back.

It was even during these precious times that my heart began to break for the city of Longyan and even all of China as the Lord provided me with a spectacular view of the city which around 2 million people called home.

Longyan, Fujian, China

“Lord, help me to be a light for You in this city. Help me to learn Mandarin quickly so I can be an effective witness for You!”

As I devoted myself to this routine each day, the Lord blessed and began to give me success in the language. I was becoming more confident, but at the same time was needing to get more creative in my language learning and intentionally make more time for practice.