Because super typhoon Mangkhut swept over Hong Kong on 9/17/2018, our flight from San Francisco was postponed, and we arrived in Hong Kong three days later than planned. As we reflected on the previous year of deputation (US/PR assignments), the contrast of our schedules was so evident, and we gratefully thanked our Lord for his love, protection and provision for both experiences. When we returned to the US in July 2017, we had scheduled more than 100 engagements to share God’s mission work with churches, small groups and individuals. We traveled through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, California and Nebraska with stops in Dover, Naples, Phoenix, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Traveling tens of thousands of miles around the States for a year was not easy. Our most difficult time was speaking 14 days in 14 different locations. We realized it was not possible for us to have such intensive travels this year if we had not had the Holy Spirit with us. Although we tired easily, we enjoyed visiting churches and had wonderful fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. We treasure their love and passion for God’s mission work.
Though the “paper schedule” said “one year of deputation in US,” it was not possible to ignore the ministries we have in the mission field. Therefore, we returned to East and Southeast Asia three times in this period. Of the three, the most profound trip was the Yunnan teacher conference in July 2018. We had planned to have this conference since June 2016, but because of many new government regulations imposed on the church in the last two years, the teacher conference had been postponed. We kept praying for God’s leading and preparation.
In late June of this year, we were thrilled to receive a request from our partner in Yunnan, asking us to help in the teacher conference. Our first reaction was as most people do too to ask ourselves, “Is this real? How can it be possible to have a conference in the current situation with the tightened regulations?” Then, we suddenly realized that God answered the prayers and He had opened the door. “As Jesus Looked at the disciples, He said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” (Matthew 19:26) Hallelujah! Glory to the Highest! Although our schedule for the deputation was very tight, we squeezed another 7 days for the Yunnan trip into the deputation schedule and knew that we would be exhausted when we return to US. Praise to be the Lord! The outcome of the conference is very positive and fruitful with lots of learning for every participant. For the presenting teachers, it was an eye-opening experience. This was the first time for the Yunnan Theological Seminary openly conducted this kind of event for the entire province. So all the participants, students and teachers, want more in the future. Principal Lo of Yunnan Theological Seminary also positively echoed their desire. For us, we learned how we can offer more and effective help in theological training in Yunnan Province in the future. Please see the pictures; one is the session in conference and the other one is a teacher who was so happy to receive the books from our donation.
We have committed to renew another term. Starting from September 1, 2018, our new role and responsibilities have changed. We will serve as the Co-Coordinators of the Global Chinese Mission for International Ministries. We will work with the IM area director to establish a network of global Chinese churches and Christian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) through which the network members will develop and implement common strategic missions, including those from IM’s strategic planning process, Responding to the Call. We will also represent IM in relating to church and NGO partners in Hong Kong.
We would like to share with you the upcoming ministries.
1. Taiwan Ministry – On 10/1/2018, we will sponsor a week-long intensive class at Christian Hakka Seminary and then visit other institutes and a seminary in Taiwan. We also plan to have another theological training class at Christian Hakka Seminary on January 2019. Please see our picture at Christian Hakka Seminary. Its purpose is to equip more Christian workers in reaching the world, to serve and build up the churches and to empower them for church planting. There are 4.2 million Hakka people in Taiwan and 80 million in the world. The Christian Hakka Seminary is the only seminary to train Hakka Christian workers to reach out to Hakka people in the world. The students who graduate from this seminary will certainly play a major role in reaching out to their fellow people around the world. This is our first ministry in Taiwan. It shows that The American Baptist Church/International Ministries is reaching out to this island/land. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (ACT 1:8) Our other partners in Taiwan have requested IM to send teaching missionaries to enhance their theological education and grow their campus ministries. Please see this link for the opening positions https://portal.internationalministries.org/global-service-opportunites
2. Swatow Heritage Tour – The delegates of the IM team are 13 people including 6 from IM, two from Hong Kong, one from Bangkok, Thailand, two from Singapore, one from New York and another one from San Francisco. On 10/27/2018, the delegates of this IM team will start with visiting Hong Kong Swatow Baptist churches and will have a Global Chinese Mission Summit on 10/30/2018. The next day, they will join with a Hong Kong team (total of 55 people) for 6 days of a Swatow Heritage Tour in Swatow China. This tour also will teach the Swatow Churches history.
3. Yunnan Ministry – Since the teacher conference was so successful and effective, we will plan to offer more conferences in different areas of Yunnan province.
Please pray for the following items:
1. That God would call His servants to join this Global Chinese Mission team
2. That God would call His children to support His mission work
3. That He would give us a heart for His ways and discernment to see His direction
4. That He would provide good connections with friends and partners in East and Southeast Asia, and they would continue to be fruitful and multiply disciples, and that our time spent together would be mutually encouraging.