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Hello Jet Lag My Old Friend

I’m back at home in Taichung after a short delay because of Typhoon Megi. Our family is safe, thanks for checking in on us and praying for our safety. Do you recognize the picture from above? It’s from one of the cities I visited.

This trip to the states was incredibly productive and I was able to meet with friends, family and churches from New York to Washington State. I’ll be in contact with these new relationships regularly as we work together to bring even more people here in Taiwan to know and love Jesus Christ.

However, I’ll be leaving again next Friday to visit our friends in Texas and Oklahoma. Be sure to check the schedule below and make sure that you find a way to meet up with me if at all possible. I would love to see you since our opportunities to do so are so few and far between.

Today is Andrew’s 12th birthday – we celebrated by taking him out to lunch for his favorite Chinese food and tea. He’s growing into quite the young man.

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October Trip / Texas & Oklahoma

Friday, Oct 7 – Arrive Amarillo
Saturday, Oct 8 – Amarillo, TX
Sunday, Oct 9 – TBC Amarillo, AM Sunday School Hour
Monday, Oct 10 – Amarillo TX / Fly to Austin, PM
Tuesday, Oct 11 – Belton, TX
Wednesday, Oct 12 – Waco, TX
Thursday, Oct 13 – Dallas, Rockwall, TX
Friday, Oct 14 – Shawnee, OK
Saturday, Oct 15 (Travel Day)
Sunday, Oct 16 – Clovis, NM Central Baptist AM Services
Monday, Oct 17 – Amarillo, TX
Tuesday, Oct 18 – Amarillo, TX
Wednesday, Oct 19 – Weatherford, Oklahoma City, OK
Thursday, Oct 20 – Shawnee, Muskogee, OK
Friday, Oct 21 – Rockwall, TX
Saturday, Oct 22 – Travel Day
Sunday, Oct 23 – Round Rock, TX Central Baptist AM
Monday, Oct 24 – Belton, TX UMHB
Tuesday, Oct 25 – Belton, TX UMHB
Wednesday Oct 26 – Temple, TX FBC Temple

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One of my stopovers was in Montgomery, AL, where I was able to stay with Wayne and Jann Lennon. This is where Crista’s dad moved shortly after we arrived in Taiwan. It was so great to get to meet Jann’s family for the first time and enjoy some great southern hospitality. I also met some friends from Taiwan at FBC Montgomery whose parents pastor a church in our southern city of Kaohsiung.

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I was able to meet up with Grant & Tasha Price (old friends and supporters from Amarillo) at their new home in Woodstock, GA for some relaxing time to catch up and even an outdoor adventure kayaking on their local lake.

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Tim House and I were best buddies when I lived in Coeur d’Alene, ID.(7th – 10th grade) I was able to spend the day with Tim and his wife Amy while visiting Spokane, WA. We figured out that Amy (Harless) House and her family were on the mission field with a family that now serves alongside of us here in Taichung at Taichung International Fellowship and at our children’s school. Oh how sweet is the Providence of God!

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In Portland, OR, I was able to catch up with these old friends.
Esther (Waters) Sou and Elijah, bookends of the group are living in Portland serving at a Conservative Baptist Church. Nathan Fike (center), just moved to Portland from Amarillo, TX to join them and Cobe, from Taiwan just moved there to enroll in a graduate program. Cobe came to one of our English camps several years ago and has been hearing the Gospel. Pray that He will come to know Christ in Portland and that God will use these three as part of that process.

 

Richard & Christine

This is a summary of my e-mail newsletter posts about our interaction with Richard & Christine (the couple in the center of the picture) since we first met them in August of 2014.

August 2014 РFor the last few weeks, a young family (pictured above in the center РRichard & Christine) have been attending the Saturday evening Bible study where Crista and I teach. They started coming so their two little girls could begin hearing and learning English. Richard speaks English quite well and Christine speaks a little and listens well.

When they started coming, they also started reading the Bible. Each week, they come ready with a list of questions from their Bible reading. Tonight, Christine¬†was asking questions from the book of Numbers. (it is very typical for Eastern people to start at the beginning and work systematically through the Scriptures). After a little while, along with the help of my friends at the church, in both English and Mandarin, we reached the point where I told her how great our God was, overruling the universe, more powerful, more wonderful, greater than we could understand, but at the same time He loved her and her family. She and Richard both looked at me and together asked – “How can we know this?”. I held my arms open wide and said, “You can know this because of Jesus. This is how God told us He loved us and that He loves you.”

My Mandarin speaking friends jumped in at that point and together we spent the next 15 minutes sharing the Gospel with both of them. They listened so intently, you could tell the Holy Spirit was working in their hearts. She told us that she could not sleep at night, she has so many questions.

 

August 2014 – I want to ask you to please join me in praying specifically for these requests and a few others that I don’t have the space to tell you about:

1. Four students will join our church’s summer camp this Friday and Saturday. Pray they will know Jesus Christ.
2. Richard, Vivien and their two girls to know Jesus Christ.

November 2014 – You remember Richard and Christine, from our Saturday evening Bible study. This past Saturday, we continued working through our overview of the Bible – along with answering their questions about Baptism, the Holy Spirit, and some passages they had questions about from their Bible reading. At the end of the class, Richard said, “So, for next week’s class, can we just talk about how to believe in Jesus?”. They are really trying to understand what faith is and what it means to trust in Jesus.

Will you please pray specifically right now and throughout this week for Richard and Christine to hear the Holy Spirit’s call and respond in faith. Would you pray that they would know Jesus’ love and presence in their lives. Would you pray for John (my Taiwanese partner) and I as we prepare to lead them this next week.

Mid-November 2014 – As we continue to work through the questions our Saturday night group has about following Jesus. Richard and Christine (above) and others continue to question how they can follow Jesus and continue to honor their parents. Here in Taiwan, honoring your parents translates into worshipping your parents and all of your ancestors who have passed into the other world. Therefore, to follow Christ means to abandon your parents and ancestors to roam the afterlife as ghosts without anyone to care for them. It is the greatest shame and dishonor a son or daughter could bring on their parents.

December 2014 – My friend Stephen is one of the first people I met at Taichung Baptist Church besides Pastor Lu. Stephen has studied in the states, has a couple of teenage boys, loves sharing the Gospel and works at one of Nike’s biggest shoe suppliers. He has a passion for reaching lost people and together we have become a great team.

This past week, he sent me a message inviting me to an event on Sunday afternoon at the church. Turns out it was a new member orientation. We invited all of the people I’ve brought over the past few months and most of them came. Fannie, Vincent, Richard & Christine, Stone & Vivian and many others. I share this with you so you know that the people you pray for are being followed up with, loved and cared for by a church family. They are being loved into the Kingdom of God, drawn by grace.

Please keep praying.

After the meeting, Stephen took Richard, Vincent and I to a company sponsored basketball game over at the Sport’s University. After it was over, he and I walked back to where he parked his car and he told me that Richard’s father was getting pretty upset because Richard was going to church too often. Richard’s father is very involved in several of the large temples here in Taichung. The enemy is digging his claws in for a fight, so please pray that God will set Richard and Christine and these others free!

Maybe this will be their first Christmas…with Christ.

February 2015 – After you began praying for Richard and Christine, it seemed like things became worse. Richard’s parents own three houses of which they live in one. In their belief, they owe worship and honor to their grandparents and ancestors for providing these houses. It is their duty to worship them and give them honor in the afterlife in return for their provision in this life. This is part of their ancestor worship.

That night, Richard’s father gave them an ultimatum. If you become a Christian – get out. You can no longer live in the family house and we will no longer provide you any financial support. It’s a little hard to understand in our western culture, but it is very common in this culture for families to share resources intergenerationally.

Along with asking you to pray, I called our pastor and his wife, who already knew Richard and Christine and they met for lunch the next day to pray with them and give them wise counsel.

That night, Richard’s uncle, his father’s brother showed up at their house unannounced and uninvited. Richard told me this was very uncommon and out of the ordinary. His uncle spent a great amount of time talking with his father telling him it was no big deal for Richard and Christine to go to church. The uncle had many Christian friends and customers and thought they were great. In the end, the father told Richard and Christine they could stay in the family home and he would no longer oppose them going to church.

Oh, and the best part! Richard and Christine are trusting in Christ!

September 2015 – Richard and Christine (Click Here for their story) had their baby!!! Crista and I were able to go and visit them at their new home – away from their family. They are now free to attend church, have joined a small group and are growing in their faith. Richard told us they were praying together on Friday night when Christine gripped his arm and said – “We need to go to the hospital NOW!”. Please continue to pray for their growth in Christ and as new parents who really want to raise their children to know Christ and separate from the traditions of their past while still loving and caring for their family.

Today – Richard and Christine and their girls are all active in their church and continue to follow Christ. Join our newsletter for continued updates.

What’s Missing From This Picture?

This past Saturday morning, I woke up to find this picture in my Facebook news feed. Pictured are several members from Taichung Baptist Church along with Sophie smack dab in the middle of the back row! I was so excited to see this picture and to be able to share it with you because of this reason – there aren’t any missionaries in the photo!

We have been working over the past year with our church to make a path for our friends to connect with and develop relationships with Taiwanese Christian brothers and sisters who can help disciple and plant them firmly in their faith.

This group was birthed out of the Pastor’s small group that I participated in over the past year – the focus being on reaching lost people with the Gospel and bringing them into our lives so they get discipled and connected with the family of believers.

Sophie is still a part of our lives and we will continue to love and walk with her, but she now has a group of Taiwanese believers to walk with her on her faith journey. We are working now to connect more and more of our young people with these groups so they have the same opportunity as Sophie.