My passion and the core values of FollowOne involve connecting underutilized resources with underserved needs for the glory of God. This is happening now in a way that is shocking but wonderful.
It all began when God started moving in the life of a young girl in Georgia. When I met Emma in 2010 her mother mentioned, "Emma has a special place in her heart for China."
As I drove down the interstate that day, these children came to mind. I heard myself whisper, "I wish there was some way to connect the loving, gifted, praying, and believing children in America with children in China." My mind raced for implementation options, but soon the idea began to fade. A wonderful idea, but impossible.
At that moment I felt the unmistakable words of the Holy Spirit, "There might be a way."
A little girl in Georgia, a little boy in Beijing and the touch of the Spirit combined to confirm a calling from God. I began to research ways to connect the underutilized resource of Christian children in America with the beautiful children of China where only 5% live in Christian families.
After two and a half years of research, planning and the miraculous provision of God, FollowOne launched Friends4One, a friendship, education and missions engagement program thatconnects children in China with children in America. The program is a 21st century version of the pen pal custom, but with computers and the Internet instead of pens, paper and the postal service. Without leaving their own communities, young Christian ambassadors learn about other cultures, develop authentic relationships and share Christ's love with children thousands of miles away. The program is designed for children age 12 and younger (www.Friends4One.org).
The technology used in the program demonstrates our commitment to safety and security for families on both sides of the ocean as well as Christian workers in Asia. Friends4One is a great experience for parents and children to share together, but grandparents are signing up also. The ministry works even better when the child's church or Christian school is in a Friends4One partnership. Church or school leaders join the parents in guiding the child's participation and encouraging progress.
Over the next two to three years, FollowOne is trying to match 200,000 Christian children with some of the 212 million young children in China. Pray that God will raise up thousands of "Emmas" to share His love.
Since 2004 FollowOne has been helping church leaders develop strategic and effective outreach strategies that focus on important population groups in areas like East Asia. FollowOne
staff also help churches develop congregation-based, transforming hospitality ministries with the Chinese students, scholars and families God continues to bring to universities in America(www.FollowOne.org).
Image credit: Chalk Art School, by David Woo, via Flickr