Thank you for all the prayers that have been made on behalf of our team in China. We’ve been slugging it out in a spiritual battle for several months now. Though discouragement has come, fear has reared its ugly head, and sickness has drained our strength, quitting is not an option! I’m not sure how many of you received my September letter, as we had some time where Internet was being heavily restricted. Just as a quick recap, in September we had started several new Sunday school classes in our churches. We also adjusted our schedule and location to accommodate our church size and make it more efficient in getting out the truths of God.
The English service is growing by leaps and bounds spiritually, as well as in numbers. We’ve averaged 40 since the summertime. The faith and teachable spirit of the people are inspiring. In the past, our church has sent support out to help other works in Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, and even the United States. We presented a cause, and the people were moved to give in those areas. These opportunities of one-time gifts and giving have opened the people’s hearts to look outside themselves. In November, Mr. W___s presented a new challenge to them. We wanted to reach the other side of the city with a stable work. This would mean some of them would need to invest time and money. Many would need to come out of their comfort zone and step up to a challenge of actually doing something themselves. With a couple weeks to pray about it, the people stepped boldly up to the challenge, and a new meeting was started. This is not a meeting from the support of the Americans but a meeting started from the support and giving of the church that God has established here.
The new meeting was started in the home of a faithful couple, P___ and E___. Another couple, D___ and J___, whom our team has been working with for several years now, joined them. The W___s began leading the meeting and will continue guiding those couples as the work grows. They have already had the opportunity to get the Gospel to many who would otherwise not have had a chance to hear. At least one soul has been saved in this new meeting so far, with great potential and many more opportunities available.
The first Chinese service at the M___y home has been growing well. It has averaged 25-30 for the last few months. In November, the W___s went to help start the new Chinese meeting, and the M___ys assumed the leadership at this service. Another faithful Chinese man, W___, stepped up to the challenge of teaching the adult Sunday school, as well as a Chinese lady, C___, teaching the children’s Sunday school class. From November to December, we had a five-week stretch of decisions being made for Christ each week: 6 people were saved, and 3 were baptized. Many of the attendees of this meeting are young Christians who have had no experience in giving the Gospel themselves. For this reason, we often emphasize soul winning in this meeting. The people have responded by bringing friends and family they have wanted to witness to but were unsure how to do it. The results have obviously been great! The Lord is getting praised, souls are coming to Christ, and lives are being changed.
The most exciting event recently was our Christmas Eve Service. We were able to find a location where we could bring all these services together under one roof. We told the people to come and bring friends and family to join us for an evening to present the Gospel to the lost and to praise the Lord for the amazing ministry He is building here. A majority of our people participated with singing, as well as some of the men taking a leadership role in the service. The Gospel was proclaimed to the crowd of 135! Some of these people had never heard it before. We had a small Christmas cantata. We had a candle- lighting ceremony. We took the Lord’s Supper, and to top it off, we had 2 baptisms! What a great way to celebrate Christmas! In a country where most people think Christmas only means money, presents, and a fat guy in a red suit, we were able to uplift Christ and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas!
Families are also a priority here. Many families lack the necessary tools from God’s Word to help them rear their children for God. It is the most common subject our family is asked about because of our four children. The ruling philosophy of destroying family connections has been very effective. The people have lost a lot of “how to” knowledge in only a couple short generations. For this reason, we get many questions about child rearing. Mrs. M___y began leading an unofficial mothers’ meeting many months ago to combat this problem. This year she began teaching basic kindergarten to our youngest. Several mothers whom she had been working with were very interested to see how she was going to do this. Mrs. M___y organized them into a small homeschool group. Those who were willing and eager to do things as she instructed formed a core group. Not only has it been a good time of teaching children, but she has also seen great growth in the spiritual lives of the mothers. They have learned not only to teach their children but also to share their faith with others. M___ and L___, one couple that has been eagerly learning from us, took the things they have been seeing and hearing in our church and started two Sunday schools in two different local churches. These two churches previously had nothing for the children to do during service times. The children were free to wonder around during the preaching time. Though we have talked to these church’s leaders before, they could not comprehend and did not put into action what we told them. However, when it came from a fellow countryman, they eagerly received this information and put it into use. Hallelujah!
Mrs. M___y also started a second homeschool group as an outreach. This group was for those who were interested in educating their children but not so interested in spiritual things. This outreach has seen great success in getting the story of salvation to those mothers. It is helping to draw these mothers closer to Christ.
Mrs. W___s leads the official church ladies’ meeting each month. This has been another tremendous outreach and discipleship program. Many ladies flounder in this gender-neutral society. The ruling philosophies once again have effectively destroyed some “how to” knowledge in this area, leaving ladies in an awkward position of not knowing how they fit into God’s plan. Through these meetings, ladies of all sorts learn about their God-given role and are encouraged to fulfill it to the glory of God. Mrs. W___s has led them to reach out and go beyond their comfort zone to serve Christ in their community and in their lives.
Our team and church appreciate your prayers. My family and I appreciate your love and support for the work God has given us. We pray your Christmas was God honoring and that your New Year will be filled with the blessings of God. We ask that you continue in prayer for souls to be saved, lives to be changed, and for the new Christians to grow. We beg you to pray for us as we try to lead His flock. We need wisdom to know what opportunities to pursue and those we should not pursue. We are always asking for wisdom on balancing our time here. Being in the situation we are in, we must devote some time to enable us to stay here, but with the growing ministry, more and more we find that our time is short. As Paul every so often had to work with his own hands, so we must also. We ask you to pray for wisdom in devoting enough time to His work. Please also be in prayer for the Christian schools here. Recent decisions made by higher powers have made it increasingly risky. Even this Christmas there has been a noticeable difference in the openness of the Christmas holiday compared to previous years. Finally, we ask you to be in prayer for the Chinese people to make decisions to serve Christ. We want to see men take spiritual leadership of the home and church. We want ladies to take on spiritual awareness of their roles in serving Christ. We want parents to take responsibility for their children and realize God intended for parents to raise children, not institutions. We also want families to put Christ first in the home. Thank you again for your prayers and support.