You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal rock. Isaiah 26:3-4
Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, praying Christ followers all over the world have had the privilege of learning from the church there.
Now, as there are more cases of the virus outside of China than inside the mainland, so many of us have the opportunity to live out what we have learned from our Chinese brothers and sisters, as the virus expands globally.
I strongly encourage you to prayerfully read, or reread “Wuhan Pastor: Pray with Us” first posted in ChinaSource on January 28, as well as reflect upon an “Interview with a Wuhan Pastor” Part 1 and Part 2. Both the letter and the interview are great resources for our family, friends, and church leaders.
Recently, Debra and I joined together with ChinaSource founder and catalyst, Dr. Brent Fulton and his wife Jasmine, for a China prayer meeting at the home of a ChinaSource board member.
We watched a variety of clips from the interview with the pastor during the height of the outbreak in Wuhan. In that context he shared how his congregation responded to the COVID-19 spread by moving church activities online and by reaching out to their community in creative ways.
These messages from a pastor whose church is located at ground zero for the initial outbreak, provide timely encouragement and kingdom imperatives for us all.
Dr. Fulton puts it this way: This testimony “is more than simply a source of inspiration to a watching world; it is an example of how Christian leaders globally can turn what is an undeniable tragedy into an opportunity for advancing God’s kingdom.”
May you, your family and church family know our Lord’s sustaining grace and peace in the days ahead!
Introducing Joann Pittman
As a way to better help our readers better get to know the ministry of ChinaSource, we’ll be introducing the various members of our team in select issues of The Lantern throughout this year. The ChinaSource team is made up of fascinating and gifted individuals who are united by their love for Christ and passion to see his church grow in China. This month, we begin by introducing you to our senior vice president, Joann Pittman, who has been with ChinaSource for seven years but the editor of ZGBriefs for many more!
I went to China in 1984 to teach English for a year–or so I thought. I returned to the United States in 2012; obviously my sojourn had a duration and scope that I never imagined when I first arrived.
During my sojourn in China, I lived in three different cities: Zhengzhou, Changchun, and Beijing. I wore many hats: English teacher; student of Chinese language; Chinese language program director; and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China.
My roots span the globe. I was born and raised in Pakistan, where my father worked as a seminary professor. My US driver’s license is issued in Minnesota, the state where I went to high school and college, where my extended family still lives, and where I now reside.
Although I had edited ZGBriefs since 2002, it wasn’t until 2013 that I joined ChinaSource full time. My responsibilities include research, writing, editing ZGBriefs, coordinating and delivering training projects, and managing partnerships. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve with ChinaSource as it allows me to remain involved with China while living in the US. As many of you know, it is hard to really “leave” China! I love being a part of educating and informing our readers about what God is doing in China, and helping to equip the next generation of those serving in China.
Join us in praying for Joann and the work she has been called to, that through her writing, training, and building up of partnerships, that the church in China will be blessed.
The ChinaSource Team
Ways to Pray
The “United Prayer Group of Church Pastors in Wuhan” opened their urgent prayer appeal during the COVID-19 outbreak in their city with these words: “We appeal to all Christians to fast and pray for three days. Let’s stand between the dead and the living and repair the breaches with our prayers.” Their prayer list included a call for prayers of confession and repentance that would start with the churches in Wuhan.
Please join us in this Lenten season as we seek the Lord through confession and repentance, following the call of our Lord Jesus and the example of his followers in Wuhan to humble ourselves before him, while asking for mercy and deliverance from this deadly sickness; that the gospel of hope in Christ will resound!
With the heightened focus on China, requests for ChinaSource resources and collaborative services continue to increase. Pray for wisdom and strength for the ChinaSource team and for God’s provision of finances to support this growth.
News and Notes
ChinaSource Connect and Staff Meeting
We want to thank all of you who were able to join us last month at the Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington, MN. As always it was an encouragement to see so many old and new friends coming out to hear of what God is doing in China. We especially appreciated praying together for the people of Wuhan, China as they were being impacted by the coronavirus.
During that week, we, ChinaSource staff, met together in person praying and sharing in each other's lives, as we talked through details of our work and plans for the coming months. We are not often together in the same place so when we are, it is always a special time.
Finally, we want to thank Cedar Valley Church for the gracious and generous way they opened their facilities and hosted us by providing a venue to hold our team meetings and the ChinaSource Connect event. We extend to you our most sincere appreciation. Thank you.
Other Team News
- On March 8, 2020, Joann Pittman presented a workshop on language and culture learning to prospective global partners at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
- Glenn and Narci Herr participated earlier this week in the “Global Outreach Conference” held at Calvary Monument Bible Church in Paradise, PA.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- The Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak on a Christian Official, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), March 17.
- Mission Ministry in Hong Kong, Part 1: Sunset or Sunrise? ChinaSource Blog, March 16.
- Some Unanswered Questions, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), March 13.
- Bringing the Gospel to Guangxi, ChinaSource Blog, March 11.
- How Many Christians in China? Preferred Estimates, Part 3, ChinaSource Blog, March 9.
- Insights from a 19th Century Welshman: A Lecture on the Life and Ministry of Timothy Richard, ChinaSource Blog, March 6.
- Living in Isolation, ChinaSource Blog, March 4.
- Pastoral Advice for Life’s Dilemmas, Chinese Church Voices, March 3.
- How Many Christians in China? Preferred Estimates, Part 2, ChinaSource Blog, March 2.
- 2 Resources for Those Affected by Coronavirus Restrictions, ChinaSource Blog, February 28.
- You Can’t Do That in China! ChinaSource Blog, February 26.
- 5 Important Issues for 2020, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), February 25.
- How Many Christians in China? Preferred Estimates, Part 1, ChinaSource Blog, February 24.
- Novel Gospel Opportunities: How One International Church in China Is Maximizing New Gospel Opportunities, ChinaSource Blog, February 21.
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