He is the Anchor. He is the Rock. He is the Fortress to run to in time of need. Praise the Lord that He gives us these promises! There are great things happening here. Our meetings are busting at the seams. Folks are getting saved. Marriages are being worked on. Children are being trained. Lives are being changed. There is opportunity to lift the name of Jesus in any direction you look. That is just what we are trying to do.
The Chinese New Year holiday was over the first week of March. While people were gone, the attendance dipped, but the first full week of March, we had a record number of people. We had around 60 in the morning meeting and around 70 in the evening! It was an exciting time for our people, as Pastor R. Tewell came to visit the work and preach to the people. One man said, “He speaks with power!” After seeing the rooms packed with people, Bro. Tewell said, “I think you are gonna need a bigger place soon.” He’s right. Not only are the Sunday meetings going well, but the prayer meetings are also exceptionally fun. It is great to see new and old believers alike, side by side in prayer for the lost and the needy. We now have two prayer meetings during the week in different locations. That means we are now basically running four church locations.
The next week we had some of our old friends from J___ visit us. T___ was reached at one of the college activities we held there. He became a regular part of my college meetings and then worked closely with the team for several years before moving to C___. After the Americans left to work in other cities, T___ struggled for a while. We kept in touch through social media, but he was still struggling with his boldness. After some time, we began to communicate more frequently about the Bible, and I tried to encourage him to continue in his walk with God. During this time, he met a young lady who was not a believer, and as often happens here, they got married without much regard to the difference in beliefs. He knew, though, that if anyone could help his wife receive the Gospel, it was those who had reached him. God arranged for his wife to be in our city for a week to study, and T___ eagerly urged her to go. Later he also came and connected her with us. Though T___ was rusty on drawing the net, he had obviously done a lot of planting and watering. I had not hardly said, “Would you like to?” when she said, “Yes, I want to believe.” We bowed our heads there at the dinner table, and she accepted the gift of God. AMEN!
Without Christ, marriage can become a selfish battlefield. In a place where Christ at the center of a marriage is not taught, learned, or practiced, it is painfully obvious. Even when both husband and wife have accepted Christ, they often have never learned the self-sacrificial love that is the essence of God. One such marriage came to our attention last summer. My wife and I have been working with the husband and wife, as they were open to listen. Throughout the year, they have accepted some of our suggestions. They have begun to realize their need to think outside themselves. Recently we had a great report form the wife. She mentioned that she on purpose one day said, “I love you” to her husband. That may seem like something that happens normally, but it is not the social norm in a culture that has rejected Christ. The husband was so shocked to hear it that he stopped in his tracks. He looked at her and asked, “Did you mean that?” They then began to talk about when they met and the times when they had dated. They had a great 30-minute conversation without any negative words! Praise the Lord! They are growing little by little.
As marriages get stronger, children are getting more security. Several families have realized the importance of training children. This is the most common counseling we do right now. Often times we hear, “I told my son to do it, but he said ‘No.’ What should I do?” Obviously, we all know the answer to that question, but many people have swallowed the lie of “giving grace” to children because they don’t know any better. It’s always a pleasure to lead a parent through the Word of God and show them God’s intended role for the parent. Then it’s a pleasure to pray for them and ask God to help them to decide to accept that role and perform it.
Many great things are indeed happening, and as you might expect, there are many battles trying to stop the work He is doing here. The Bible tells of the powers that rule this world. Obviously, from the news we can see that this is true. We must be wise and harmless to be able to continue His work. Along with struggles of power, another problem has come in the form of health. When we lived in J___, my wife began having back problems due to a leaking disc in her lower back. She has had many different types of treatments to “put off back surgery” as long as possible. My wife is an amazing servant of God, and she continues to lead people to Christ and counsel them even as she is unable to leave the house very often due to the pain. Over the years, the doctors have unanimously said, “Put it off as long as you can, but when you need it, get the back surgery done.” We are not completely convinced it is time for the surgery yet, but we will be checking while we are in America this summer. With all the opportunities available to serve God in our area, we have found we can’t keep pace with the need recently. We need her to be back to her healthy self again so we can reach more.
Please be in prayer for my wife, as we will be returning to America this summer to find a way to fix her back issue. This trip back to the States will be a bit difficult, since about 50 percent of our support comes from working in China, but we will be in the U.S. God has already provided a great deal of our needs to get back to the U.S. Because of my wife’s condition, she cannot sit on a plane for 14 hours. So the Lord provided for a business-class flat seat through the giving of the people here. With that she will be able lie flat on the trip back to the States. Also, while helping her find the treatment she needs and getting it done, I would like to visit some missions-minded places that are looking to support a growing work. We will most likely be in the U. S. through November 2018 or later. If you or someone you know would like me to visit and present the work to the people, please let me know. I would be happy to schedule a time to be there. The work here is great and demands more and more of our time, which means less and less time is available for those who provide a visa for us. As God opens more opportunities to serve Him, I need to require less from those I work for here, so I can give the time where it is truly needed. This would mean replacing some or all of the local income with support.
God is good, and He gives peace in the midst of a storm. Thank you for all the prayers and support that you all already provide. Please be praying for several things in our ministry right now. Marriages need to be strengthened, spouses need to receive the Gospel, parents need strength to follow God’s plan for them, singles need to trust that God will provide, and the people need to grow in the knowledge of Jesus. Please be in prayer for decisions we must make each day and for more laborers. Please also be in prayer for the protection and leadership of the churches and the Christian school that we are a part of here. To God be the glory!
Missionary #6004 and Family