The year 2019 has been one of uncertainty, even chaos, for many. This has been a year when many friends, family members, and like-minded and like-hearted people, have experienced sudden, unforeseen challenges and trouble; crises, shaking and stunning; and life-altering events.
Whether as a result of broken relationships, sickness or disease, death of loved ones or spontaneous life changes, many people we know have been experiencing incredible trials.
Some have been given as little as 24, 48, or 72 hours to leave their homes—the place to which they understood God had called them.
As a result, faith has been shaken, hope and peace compromised and cries have gone up—Where are you Lord? Why are you doing this? When will it stop?
Along the way, I have had the privilege of watching strong and courageous heroes of our faith, trust and abide in our Lord, resulting in genuine and powerful joy, peace, and even rest in Christ.
- Dear friends in Hong Kong who, in the midst of deepening trouble, continue to serve the poor and pray for the sick and oppressed, while seeking to bring friends and families into the light and Lordship of Christ.
- Friends who have had to relocate their families, sometimes even two or three times, walking by faith into the next day of unknowns.
- A new friend in the mainland experiencing the intense squeeze and scrutiny of the ministry she serves saying, “I wish the western media would report that our lives are not simply defined by the troubles we are facing. He is in us and among us and we are moving in his joy and peace.
It has always been this way. The gospel never goes out without sacrifice. For powerful and encouraging insight into this reality, as well as our wonderful Great Commission heritage, please see the Chinese Church Voices blog entitled “Those Who Have Served Faithfully.”
I always marvel at Nehemiah 8, where the Israelites were weeping as they listened to the reading of God’s law, reflecting on their disobedience. Confession and repentance would come, but as they were lamenting Nehemiah said, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) Whether he brings us restorative joy or sustaining joy: “Our joy rests on God’s joy” as Tony Reinke has said.
Mother Theresa said, “Never let anything so fill your heart with sorrow that you forget the joy of the risen Christ!”
As we rapidly approach the Advent season, with all the hardships so many of us are facing, let’s be mindful of this:
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Ways to Praise and Pray
- Praise the Lord with us that the ChinaSource Team is growing! Pray for us as we welcome new team members in the next few weeks.
- Praise the Lord for several new open doors to strategic partnerships! We are grateful to the Lord for orchestrating these collaborative friendships.
- As it has been for many, 2019 has been a year of transition for ChinaSource. As mentioned below, the ChinaSource team met in person recently. Pray with us that the direction and decisions that were decided upon will be in accordance with the Lord’s will going forward. We want to be in alignment with him and follow him. Thank you for your prayers.
- Pray for the church in China to be steadfast, strong, and courageous. Pray for church shepherds to be wise and humble as they steward the good news of Christ’s kingdom in word and deed.
- Pray for China ministries whose strategic trajectory has been radically redirected as a result of changing policies.
News and Notes
- Kerry Schottelkorb presented at the La Habra Hills Presbyterian Church Missions Celebration on October 27.
- On October 30, Joann met with the Advisory Council of the Global Diaspora Institute at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton.
- The ChinaSource team met for face-to-face meetings November 13-15 in Los Angeles. Our virtual team which is based in six cities in Asia and the US cherishes the times we can meet together to worship, pray, and plan together. Special thanks to Christian Assembly Church in Eagle Rock for hosting us!
Rev. Yoman Man, Rev. Andrew Lee, and Joel Wright of the Advisory Council of the Global Diaspora Institue, Joann Pittman of ChinaSource, and Dr. Ed Stetzer
of the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, IL.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- A Christian’s Experience in Detention, ChinaSource Blog, November 20.
- Those Who Have Served Faithfully: In the Nujiang Valley, Yunnan, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), November 19.
- Language vs. Attitude, ChinaSource Blog, November 18.
- Developments in Registered Church Ministry, ChinaSource Blog, November 13.
- A Key Way that Christians around the World Can Contribute to Gospel Growth in China: Returnees, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), November 12.
- The Chinese Mayor: A Film Review, ChinaSource Blog, November 11.
- Visualizing the Complexity: An Infographic, ChinaSource Blog, November 8.
- Talking about Sensitive Issues, ChinaSource Blog, November 6.
- The Pastor's Identity, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), November 5.
- A Few Unanswered Questions, ChinaSource Blog, November 4.
- Can Christians Celebrate Halloween? An Explanation and a Rejoinder, ChinaSource Blog, November 1.
- Learning to Be a Learner, ChinaSource Blog, October 30.
- The Challenge of Relationships in the Church, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), October 29.
- My Visit to the Ai Weiwei: Bare Life Exhibition, ChinaSource Blog, October 28.
- A Few Good Podcasts, ChinaSource Blog, October 25.
- Gospel Impact in East Africa: A Reader Responds, ChinaSource Blog, October 23.
- True Luxury, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), October 22.
- Did You Do Your Homework? ChinaSource Blog, October 21.
- Being Legitimate, ChinaSource Blog, October 18.
Image credit: Photo by Lauza Loistl on Unsplash.
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