Coming to America  |  Forever Changed

Notes from China
Submitted by Duane and Jodi Decker

Portland State University

Since housing in China is so expensive, both parents will continue to work full time after their child is born. One of the couples we visited recently purchased a small, 2-bed 1-bath apartment for what would be more than $700,000 in the U.S. Usually a grandparent will either come to live in the home, or the child will be sent to live with the grandparents (which is much harder for the parents). Kindergarten starts at age two, so then the grandparent, or child, may return home.


How a child does in those early years will determine which school he will go to next, so homework (and stress) are significant from very early on. At the end of junior high, each student takes a placement test to determine which senior high school she will attend – if any at all. In some areas, there’s not enough space in the high schools for all students. The schooling is rigorous and the days much longer than ours. Many of the Chinese students we interact with say that they learned how to retain information but not how to think and puzzle things out for themselves. There is very little time for social life, and sometimes the bond with the parent, who has sacrificed so much in terms of time and effort, is weakened.


The two couples (both seekers) we visited in Shenzhen are now in that “race.” In the midst of placing themselves in the “right area” for their child (or hoped for child), they have been “swallowed up”in busyness. Please pray that they will seek and see beyond their educational goals to the bigger gift that God has to offer them and how important that would be for their children!

Learn more about Duane and Jodi’s trip to China in the October 2015 Panda Bearer!


Sign up to receive the quarterly publication, The Panda Bearer, by contacting Kim Baer. Read more stories online from the Panda.

China Outreach Ministries shares Christ’s love with Chinese students and scholars from North American campuses, serving them, reaching them with the Good News, discipling them, and helping them become godly leaders for Christ who share their faith with others.

Like a

Patchwork Quilt

Submitted by Gregg and Nancy Smyrl University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

A recent drive through Lancaster County gave us the opportunity to observe the purposeful, steady, hard-working life of the Amish people. Their actions are deliberate, unassuming and long-term. We were reminded that we need to have long-term goals and enduring relationships with scholars, both here and after they return to China.


With any hand sewing, there are times when you put it down for a while, and then pick it up to continue where you left off. It was like that with “Y.” Five years ago, this high school student needed a tutor. Her goal was to get into the University of Pennsylvania and that’s when we met. After graduating two years ago, her e-mail changed. Through social media, we recently were reconnected. Although “Y” attended only a short portion of our Bible study, she admitted, “They seemed happy – like a big family.”


Due to a crisis in her life which left her needing a ride home from the train station, we had the opportunity to talk in person over some frozen yogurt. Will you pray that this young lady, another piece in the big patchwork quilt, will find purpose in life?

Meet our New Staff
Submitted by Dr. Glen Osborn


One of the things I am most thankful for this year is that China Outreach Ministries was blessed to see the addition of many new staff members. Please pray with me for them and for their service to visiting Chinese students and scholars.


JoJo (Hui) Qiao is a seminary student at Dallas Theological Seminary as well as a leader in outreach among University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Chinese students and scholars through the UTD Chinese Christian Fellowship. [more]


Rose Chiu and husband Ben have been volunteering in Philadelphia with Gregg Smyrl’s ministry for the past year. Rose was born and raised in Taiwan. [more]


Dale Voelker was recently accepted as COM staff at the University of Maryland. Dale served many years as a tenured Professor of Choral Music at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. [more]


Glenn and Erin Niedergall will be returning this summer from service with ELIC as English teachers in Beijing to join COM. They will be in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. [more]


Yaofang (Sunny) Zhang is joining the COM ministry in Philadelphia. [more]


Dexuan (David) Zhang has just been accepted as full-time campus staff in Minnesota. [more]


Learn more about Yaofang (Sunny) Zhang and Dexuan (David) Zhang in the October 2015 Panda Bearer!



China Outreach Ministries

555 Gettysburg Pike, Suite A-200 Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Phone: 717-591-3500  |  Fax: 717-591-0412  |