Greetings in Jesus' name! We have not written in quite a while and desire greatly to provide an update. The past four months or so have been both rewarding and challenging. And this will be just the approach to our letter; rewards first and then challenges.
We have come to know more about Almighty God as Provider for our needs. We have felt His pleasure when we make our needs known only to Him and He has replenished us over and over again. For example, as winter quickly approached we were unprepared for the cold. We needed a way to heat our home. So, we went to the Lord and committed to Him our need and the provision of it. Within one month we had a small Chinese style coal stove for downstairs and a traditional style wood stove to heat the upstairs. A recycled wood source was found readily and cheaply nearby. Furthermore, an old but working table saw was left by our landlord in our home. With it we could cut the purchased wood into smaller pieces for burning. (See this video for our testimony https://youtu.be/h3qa4gHT-l4 ).
We have come to know that patience is best when it comes to serving the Lord. On one hand, we are pleased with the english teaching work and on the other hand, anxious to preach the gospel in the language and to have en established ministry amongst these precious, never-dying souls in China. "It is good to wait on the Lord," says the prophet (Lam. 3:25-26), and so we have waited, laying all our anxiety upon the Lord. During this Spring Break holiday we have had opportunity to host some home fellowships with widows, orphans and betrothed Chinese people. These fellowships have opened up for us doors into pre-marriage counseling, ministry in a college and caring for widows and orphans. Oh! Truly it is good to wait upon the Lord.
Of course, in the way of the Lord is difficulty, and affliction. How could it be any different - our Lord was also in the way of hardship and affliction. We have seen a glimpse of how mad the devil is and with what pains he will take to disrupt, dismay and destroy the Life of God in the soul. The devil will go after our own children, he will afflict the body by sickness, bring fears and doubts - all these and more he will do. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8b). In all these things we have been vexed, brought again and again to the end of our ability, and have found "we are more than conquerors through Christ!" Please covenant to pray for us continually that we fail not but overcome in our mission.
First, the Chinese brother that brought us in to China and provides work for us to stay here, has recently come under some tough scrutiny. This is an ongoing prayer need.
Second, the spring term begins February 20th and our english teaching resumes - a near two month rest comes to an end of which we are so grateful. This last term of 2016-17 will be spent teaching about the Origins of Man, Big Bang fallacy and the Design of DNA. Indeed tough lessons to teach in english but these topics can be used of God to break into their atheistic darkness! Prayers!
Thirdly, Jody will be giving a presentation March 3rd in a college to students who are hoping to study abroad. This is a great opportunity to answer key questions about faith. Jody and I have also been asked to minister to a betrothed couple before their marriage day (sometime in May). We will be meeting with them several times to seek the Lord with them and teach biblical precepts. They are earnest about godliness and are seeking God for the help and vision required for a lasting marriage.
Lastly, Jody and I met two dear widows and their children. These dear ladies are also in the way of seeking God's way for themselves and their children. Pray we can be a blessing to them as often as we are able to visit.
We want to give our sincere and deep thanks to all who have given generously, mailed packages, sent words of encouragement and have prayed earnestly for us. Truly, we are undeserving of these kindnesses. Above all, we covet prayers most of all; we need prayers most of all. The devil rages and roars like a lion but the prayers of God's people can make him flee. Can we not go anywhere in prayer? Please pray for us, right where you are, that we can be used of God mightily in this atheistic country.
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
The above picture is our front door to the home we live in. During Spring Festival we, like the locals, hung New Year banners on our doors. Ours has a different message than the others: Left side: The Lord is the real God in all the world; Right side: Jesus is the Saviour for all mankind; Middle: Blessing for the New Year.
Since our last newsletter, something amazing happened: The orphanage decided to let YangMei come and live with us full time, as her foster family! We went to get her on Thanksgiving day and it has been such a joyous and blessed time! The actual adoption is continuing to progress and remains a source of prayer. Technically, the CCCWA could still say "no" and try and take her away so please continue to faithfully pray for our dear YangMei and the completion of this process. We are hopeful that it will be concluded in July or August, Lord willing. She is just perfect!