Submitted by Glenn and Erin Niedergall, North Carolina State
How Chinese and American missionaries can build each other up in ministry
Master students and Ph.D. students in China are accustomed to dealing with pressure. They feel emotional stress and pressure from their parents if they don’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend. (Did you know there are companies in China that will rent a boyfriend or girlfriend to them over the Chinese New Year to avoid the pressure from their parents?)
They feel pressure if they don’t have a job. They feel pressure if they don’t have a good job, or if they don’t have the right job. They feel pressure from not being published yet, or for not being published in the right journals, or for not being the first author when they are published. However, nothing can prepare them for the unexpected emotions of loneliness, homesickness and culture shock that await them upon their arrival in America.
They arrive here with great hopes and expectations. They utilize Chinese social media apps such as WeChat and QQ. They surround themselves with Chinese “friends” once they arrive at their U.S. university. They go shopping together, they go traveling together and they live in community together. Then the unthinkable happens: They begin to feel the gripping effects of cross-cultural loneliness. And unless you’ve experienced it for yourself, you have no idea how debilitating it can be.
As a result, many Chinese students and scholars that Glenn and Erin meet admit how acclimating to the U.S. has changed them. They have had to become braver and more courageous; it’s unavoidable living in a very different country. As Glenn and Erin share the things that helped them living in China, including how they depended upon God, often these conversations have turned to Christianity.
This scenario took place in January when their good Chinese friend, Wen, and Erin began a six-week study with two female visiting scholars. These two scholars had shared that they wanted to know more about God. They each responded that they could commit to six weeks and the group began “Return to Harmony,” a curriculum in both English and Chinese. Erin shares, “It was so good to have my good friend and Chinese ‘sister’ share in facilitating; she bridged the language gap. At the last lesson (which lasted about three hours), one of the visiting scholars asked, ‘How can I become a Christian?’ Wen explained to her and she confirmed she believed! What a thrill welcoming her into God’s family after she prayed to receive Jesus as her savior!”
Please pray that this young woman would grow in her faith. Also, pray that more Chinese men and women would be equipped to minister to visiting students and scholars.
An unexpected twist on a Christmas tradition
Of the 120 people who attended last year’s Christmas party, Thomas and Casey say that no one suspected the surprise: The annual Christmas play would be cast with actors randomly picked from the audience.
Thomas and Casey explain, “When the guests checked in at the front door, each adult got a number. Before the meal, we drew 14 numbers and took those 14 people to a room to put on the costumes and rehearse.” Of course to help these surprised shepherds, the actors’ lines and Scripture verses were projected on the big screen during the show.
During the party, Andy Huffman (from Bridges International) led the Christmas carols in his pitch-perfect Chinese. The Christmas story was also read in Chinese.
Casey recalls the party atmosphere. “I just saw the love of Christ poured on us across nations and languages at that moment. I know that was God showing me a glimpse of heaven when we worshiped together on that day.”
Casey also appreciates the volunteers that made the event possible. “We really want give a huge thanks to all of our volunteers who had done an amazing job on setting up, helping in the kitchen, decorating the place, cleaning up and donating Christmas cookies.”
The following week, Thomas and Casey spent much of their time going through the comment cards. While doing so, they prayed that God would continuously bless and reveal Himself to those 80 party guests still in search of a savior. Please pray that these guests would receive the invitation that the Christmas season offers to all.
Submitted by Casey Liu & Thomas Kuang, University of Central Florida
The following is the testimony from a new believer, Cara, from an interview with Pastor Heilman of Memorial Lutheran Church in Ames, Iowa. Cara professed faith in Christ a few days before she returned to China. She wanted to share her story before she left.
“My husband came to Ames, Iowa about 16 months ago to do research in magnetism at Ames Lab. A few months later, my four-year-old daughter and I joined him. My daughter went to preschool, but I had a hard time adjusting to life in a foreign country. My husband found out about the English classes at Memorial Church. I wanted to learn English, and then I also became interested in learning about the Bible. My husband was also interested in Christianity. I began to attend Bible studies led by my English teacher, Greg Gainer.
In the spring, I joined the walking club with some international women, and I also enjoyed the trip to Pella, Iowa to see the Tulip Festival in late April.
This past summer, I attended the vacation Bible school classes for internationals while my daughter attended VBS at Memorial Church. The week of daily Bible studies were very helpful to me and the other women in the class. So a few of the other women and I asked Greg if he could continue teaching the Bible to us during the summer months.
We continued to meet to study the Bible during the fall semester, and I finally understood what it means to follow Jesus. Now I am hoping to meet with other Christians in China.”
Please pray for Cara as she returns to China. Pray that she will make strong Christian friends, grow in faith and faithfully witness to others in her apartment building.
Greg recently received an email from Cara. From China, she writes:
Hello, Greg. Thank you. You led me to meet Jesus. I joined a mother group. Every Thursday we meet together and study the Bible. (After class, I should do homework, haha.) God is almighty. He helps me to find the way to solve problems in my life. Although I don't communicate with you, you are my best teacher and friend at heart.
Submitted by Greg Gainer, Iowa State University
If you are 70 ½ years of age or older, you are likely aware of the Internal
Revenue Service’s required minimum distribution (RMD). If you have a traditional IRA, the IRS requires you to withdraw a calculated amount annually from your IRA — regardless of whether you want to take a withdrawal or not. At the time of
the withdrawal, you pay income tax on the amount you are required to take, plus any additional amounts you may decide to take. For many, the taxes
can be significant and a heavy tax burden each year.
Some people are realizing they can make a wonderful difference in helping to advance China Outreach Ministries and its mission to reach more Chinese with the gospel by making an IRA rollover gift. The IRA charitable rollover gives a generous benefit to the donor. If you are 70½ or older, you can transfer up to $100,000 per year from an IRA directly to a qualified charity without including the distribution as taxable income. Giving to COM in this way can lower your adjusted gross income and taxes while, at the same time, providing a life-changing financial gift to the outreach of COM.
Check with your financial advisor to be sure this way of giving is right for you. If you have questions, please email Jeff Krimmel, V.P. for Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-591-3500. Thank you!
Panda Bearer News 2016