Teresa’s April blog
Greetings in Christ.
It has been a while since I last wrote. God has been good and faithful to me; He has been revealing and cleansing lots of garbage in me. He used changes including new positioning/dis-positioning, new associations and conditions, even new diet (the diet of my new hostess is extremely salty and spicy by my standard) to make me see what I didn’t see before. Now I see anew: how I respond to people and situations that trigger memories of my negative past, what hidden emotions are therein when my self-ascribed ‘prominent role’ is at stake, what terrain am I really ready or not ready to tread with the Lord…. With these new understandings, I come to appreciate more of the Lord’s loving-kindness and patient endurance for me. I also realize how my words and attitude might have hurt or failed you, my family, friends and team that served with me before in Canada. To those of you whom I hurt or failed in the past, I am sorry, I was ignorant, arrogant and blind, please forgive me. And I thank you for having put up with me for all those years.
Between April 1 and 8, two of us went teaching on the topic of “Holistic life; Holistic Mission Care; Healing and Caring after the Jesus Model” in three cities in NE China. Most of the content was adopted from excerpts of the book “Chaplaincy and Holistic Healing” published by the Hong Kong Chaplaincy Association (the name of the book and the association are in Chinese and I translate them as is). I am sharing with you the joy and fruits of that blessed trip:-
Approx. 130 people, including two groups of leaders and volunteer chaplains from several “House Churches”, and two groups of leaders and volunteers from two “Three Self Churches”.
7 of us worked together for this training trip:
– A university student who helped typing and preparing the power point presentation in Chinese.
– A sister from Shenzhen who led worship during the trip. I moved to her home early March and will likely stay until other accommodation is available.
– Two couples from Hong Kong came to support us in one of the three cities for two days. One of them did a workshop on “burn-out prevention”. Another one shared briefly her personal visitation experience.
The overall response:
– The messages of the presentation along with other features including worship, devotional, group discussion, workshops, life testimony, brain storming, and the one-on-one counseling and prayer were well received and fruitful.
– They triggered inspiration and brought about renewal and revival. There were many emotional moments with lots of tears of joy and regret. Some experienced healing, some wept and repented openly, some declared that their vision and passion for mission was renewed and some found new direction and focus for future ministries.
– To my joy, two attendees volunteered themselves to be my first disciples in China.
– All three places urged us to go back. Leaders of two cities even invited me to stay behind to help them grow and develop.
– Besides, the two of us also shared the Gospel with four people on the road. Two were taxi drivers, one we met on the plane, the other one on the train. The lady on the train held my hand tightly as I prayed for her. She then promised to go to church and read the Bible on her own. One of the taxi drivers accepted our invitation to join our home Bible Study. The other taxi driver became a “brother” while he was driving us to the airport. It was snowing. The road was chaotic. The taxi we first called through the hotel could not come. No other taxi was available; we didn’t want to drag our luggage through the snow, so I prayed. One minute after the prayer, the front desk called, a taxi was coming. We thanked our Abba Father, could not retain that joy and gratitude, so once we got into the taxi, I excitedly told the driver about what had happened. “What a miracle,” he said, “only one minute after you pray!!” The conversation went on. Ten minutes later, he invited the Lord into his life. Hallelujah!!
Observation on Change in Spiritual Atmosphere Before and During the Trip:
A new era of mission and discipleship is dawning; the Lord is about to launch a new phase of “People Movement” in China:
- The political and economic conditions are relatively stable, the government’s attitude towards Christian ministry is relatively friendly, and there is increasing awareness for the need of spiritual care among different levels of government and community leaders.
- The Holy Spirit has started moving among church leaders in Hong Kong and in China; many have caught the wind and the fire. In the last few months, I encountered many Christian visionary leaders and educators, health care professionals, and missional businessmen. They are motivated; many have either been working on or are exploring “Work Place as Mission”, “Health Care as Mission”, “Business as Mission”, “Holistic Care as Mission” – sounds like “Chaplaincy as Mission”, doesn’t it?
- The three groups of leaders and volunteers whom we just served are taking it a step forward. They begin to see “Faith as Life; Life as Mission; their social circles as their mission fields”. They are committed to “engage and serve holistically wherever they live, wherever they go, and with whomever they connect.”
Changes within the three groups we served:
- Before, they were branded as the gathering place only for the sick and the poor. Now they want to become the pioneering transformer of their community and country; they want to demonstrate in action to their communities and their country the value of human life by promoting and extending ‘holistic care’ to people around them.
- Before they cared only for those who come to church, now they want to reach out to care for their ‘neighbours’.
- Before they saw what’s lacking, now they see what’s available; they see the potentials of their own people as well as the wealth of natural resources lying around.
- Before they saw a great divide between sacred and secular; many didn’t even read the news, now they see ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, it is Holy’; they are committed to stand firm on their faith – not belonging to the world but staying in the world, to be the light and salt.
The way they awaken to the new era of movement, how they vowed to rise to the occasion amaze me. It’s entirely God’s work because many of them only have primary education and said that it’s the first time they heard about “holistic life” and “holistic mission.” Here are the things they came up with during their brain-storming sections:
- Create a nurturing environment for the second generation to realize their dreams and visions for the Kingdom of God – sponsor and send young people with potential and vision to seminaries and other professional schools to equip them. Then commission them to churches or work places so that they might lead the church, and their communities, forward.
- Pioneer the wellness of their neighbourhood – improve the health and the wealth conditions of their community – first learn and practice and then teach others in their community. If it’s appropriate and possible, engage people of other churches and/or other faith communities to work together towards the same goal.
- Tap into their natural resources and to become self-sustaining as far as capital and program developments are concerned – sell their own produce through their own superstore. They are prepared to start from ground zero.
- Teach the elderly and the farmers to do crafts so that they can make crafts during the winter. Proceeds of the craft sale to be used towards community wellness and a church building fund.
- Own a church building in the city centre for training and fellowship, and for reaching out to neigbours in the inner city.
Begin visiting the sick and the elderly in the hospitals and care homes that are within their reach, and to share burdens of the family members who are care givers.
The Prayer Items:
- Contract negotiation: wisdom, discernment and favour with the Government
- 2. Health and salvation for the mother of one of the Directors
For my family:
- 1. Daniel, my son, is with the ‘Pioneers Pacific’ in Ontario. Please pray for his transition, fundraising and health.
- 2. Danila, my daughter, needs urgent prayer for health, work and new accommodation and a room-mate to share.