Starting Our Trip Home- Update #7

Today’s blog post will be short as we are beginning our trip home. Today we met with our missionary friends for a time of fellowship in order to remind them of the fact that, even though we are going home, they are not laboring alone. Tomorrow we will get up nice and early to catch a flight to the capitol city where we will spend time debriefing after our trip.

Please pray for:

  • Our brothers and sisters in Christ as they continue to labor in the fields
  • Safety as we begin traveling home
  • A great time of debrief as we marvel at all the things our great God did this week

God is SO Faithful- Update #6

This was our last full day in Joe City. We spent the early part of the day prayer walking the city and the college campus. Most of the day was spent preparing for a Thanksgiving feast at an apartment in town. This was very interesting as the ingredients, utensils, and appliances were very different from what anyone was used to. Having said that, it was PERFECT! The food was amazing and the company was great. We had eight local friends come to the feast and it was so great getting to meet them. During the dinner our new friends wanted to hear the story of Thanksgiving. We gave them the “pre-school” version. More importantly we were able to share what we were thankful for. Two of our team members shared their testimony with the group and they boldly proclaimed the gospel. A couple who had never heard the gospel before mentioned after the dinner that they would like to get together with friends in the city to study the Bible together. It has been good to spend our last full day in the city with our friends and have the opportunity to share the Good News with such a captive audience.
Tomorrow we will leave this city and go back to the capital city. We will then prepare for our trip home. We cannot believe that the week has gone by so quickly! God has been so faithful to us in the work and we cannot wait to share all of the stories with everyone when we return.

Please pray for:
-health of two team members that have a cough/cold
-safe travel to the new city
-for the Holy Spirit to take the seeds planted this week and grow them in fertile soil

The Greatest Story Ever Told- Update #5

Our team was able to send 4 people along with our translator to a village today. Our translator, as others before him, has become more than just a translator. He is family. Usually our time in the villages consist of prayer walking and some interaction with sharing the gospel. Today was very unique. The team arrived to find over a dozen people standing around a campfire. Today a cold front blew in and the temperatures were falling throughout the day. After time around the fire, the team was invited into a home and was seated at the place of honor. The people of the village made a strange declaration. They said that they wanted to show our team a traditional dance. The team accepted the offer on the condition that they could share a story with them in return for the performance. Of course we were able to share with them the greatest story every told, the gospel message. They were receptive to the message and and now we pray that the seeds planted will be watered and that they would come to know God through Jesus.
Another part of the team spent a large portion of the day doing what many of you at home are doing right now…. last minute shopping for Thanksgiving dinner! This was a very unique experience learning to navigate the supermarket and find things that we need. One of the big opportunities that we have this week is to prepare and serve a Thanksgiving meal to many locals that were invited to the dinner. The purpose is to evangelize by sharing testimony of what we are thankful for. The preparations had some of our team washing, scrubbing, peeling, cutting things like potatoes and other produce so that tomorrow we can make a Thanksgiving meal for 15 people on a half-stove and a small oven.

Please pray for:
-Our workers in East Asia who struggle with loneliness and lack of community
-Our dinner tomorrow night and for the hearts of those who attend
-For us to finish strong in our last full day in Joe City

God Provides- Update #4

The team split up again today as two groups sought to reconnect with friends made in the past. One group went to L-City to connect with Bible Women who have recently seen some persecution. Our group had to enter carefully and were not able to stay the night in L-City due to the high level of security at the moment. The reconnection was good and much was discussed about how to be serve them and the 20+ leaders scattered throughout the villages with teaching. We have a new translator and he has been a big blessing. It is exciting to see how God provides relationships that have greater purposes than we originally planned. This translator is a new friend who is also a leader in training in his local house church in another city. We are excited about this new relationship and helping him grow in his ministry.
During our trips there are moments where individuals need extra rest due to fatigue, stomach issues, or other reasons. This can lead to a feeling of uselessness and disappointment. We train to always expect God to reveal His plan in the proper time for every circumstance. Today we saw that in a very powerful way as one of our teammates was having issues with their feet being sore so we decided to have them rest for the day with a local friend who is a new mom. Though this could have been a “let-down”, God had other plans. For many reasons, this was one of the more powerful appointments that you have been praying for. The new mom was desperate for someone to talk to and it turns out that she had the perfect person to talk with.
The other part of the team sought to further build relationships with local believers. The day was spent  with much conversation and activity around town. Throughout the day we were able to build a level of trust and encouragement. Near the end, the same team member that had met with a new mom connected with this team and served in one of the greatest moments of empathy, encouragement, and discipleship of the day. God truly had mighty plans for the sore feet of this team member. She was able to walk through parenting issues as well as faith issues. There was laughter, tears, and more of both.
The end of the day was spent with two different configurations of the team. One led a church meeting for a local house church while the other group helped teach and English class to children around the age of 9. Both groups had a great night and are exhausted from their day. More updates to come on the outcome of the night meetings.
Tomorrow we will be evangelizing with people in a few villages as well as leading a “foreigner” church meeting in the city.

Please pray for:
-continued strengthening of relationships
-continued good health
-appointments for sharing the Good News

Our God is Always at Work- Update #3

The team split up today with a group of four traveling to a nearby city by bus with our translator while four stayed in our home base city. This nearby city is a place where the past few teams have gone and every time God has provided fruit. This trip was no different, in a couple of ways. As with previous trips, the people that we were planning on meeting with were not available. This made the team question why they had made the trip south until they stumbled upon God’s plan that He had put in place a long while ago. It just so happens that our translator had a friend from his school days that he thought he remembered living near this town. It just so happens that she was in town and available to meet. It just so happens that she invited the team to her home and to meet her parents. It just so happens that they were gracious and open to hearing about the Good News of the gospel. It just so happens that our God is always at work and none of these circumstances were coincidence. The seeds of the Good News were planted and we now have new friends in the city for future teams to visit and water the seeds.

The other part of the team stayed in our home base city and met up with our old friends. We were able to spend time learning about the current state of local churches in the area and the needs that they have. The team had a great time of encouraging brothers and sisters and discussing our common desire to see the church grow in unity and purpose. Another task that this team undertook was learning the new country regulations on phones and getting enough phones for future teams to have for communication. The hours spent with this task will provide future teams with the ability to communicate better with friends and each other.

Tomorrow our team will split again for follow up and planning with leaders in L-City while others continue to spend time with family in our home base city.

Please pray for:

-Our feet. Some team members are very tired and have sore feet from all of the walking. Rest is needed along with recovery/healing.

-Energy for us to keep on task.


God is Working- Update #2

Today we went to a state church to fellowship and praise. It was a very unique experience as we could not follow any of the words sung or spoken. Some of the songs sounded familiar so a few of us sang along in English. The message was outlined in the bulletin…. in Mandarin. One of the team members had found out the capabilities of a translation app and was able to see the bulletin in English on their phone. This was amazing as we could follow along with the outline and keep up with the passages being read. The people could not have been more welcoming and loving to us. They recognized us and everyone said in unison “Welcome, we love you” in Mandarin. They have an English gathering, but it was at a time that we could not make.
We loaded a bus and headed to our final destination on this trip. The bus ride was very scenic. It is interesting for those who have made the bus ride before. As the mountain shapes change you feel very strangely “closer to home.” To those who are new to this area, they were in awe at the beauty of the unique mountain ranges.
We arrived in the city and reunited with friends. We were thrilled to get to have dinner with a friend who moved from our own hometown to here not too long ago. We shared food from a place we call BBQ St. and shared stories of what God was doing in our lives. As always, we tried new foods, well some of us did. We were able to spend time talking with friends and connecting the dots between the previous trips that have taken place. These connections guide us in the work that we seek to do. It is amazing to be a part of such a great group of collaborative churches where every short term group is playing a very real, and very important part in a much bigger story.
We met our translator who was a tour guide for the last group that came. He is a brother in Christ and was highly recommended by the previous team. God revealed something amazing to us as we got to know him. He became a Christian in 2010 when we had two teams in G-city, where he was in school. While we had teams on a campus, he was led to the Jesus by his teacher. They were not associated with us, but it showed the providence of God and reinforced our team to know that He is at work, blessing the obedience of His people. Also, this brother, who works in a different city, responded to our request to translate by letting us know that he had a strangely rare week with no work. Of course, we know that this is not coincidence. We are excited to see what the God does as our translator goes with our teams out to other villages and cities to tell the Good News.

Please pray for:
-Health of our youngest member. He is just fine, but has a nagging cough. Thankfully he is in great health other than the cough.
-energy as we already have fatigue.
-boldness to share
-Thanksgiving dinner opportunity to invite others to share why we are thankful