Dear Praying Friends:
My last letter looked back in a review of God’s mercies to us in 2013. Now let us glance forward to at least the first half of 2014, mindful of James 4:13-17.
Speaking and Teaching
On January 31st, I am to give an evangelistic address at the Chinese New Year celebration of the Chapel Hill Chinese Christian Fellowship. On Sunday the 2nd and following days, I shall be sharing about our ministry with people in the Chapel Hill Bible Church.
The Chinese Christian Fellowship retreat will be held February 14-16. I am the speaker for that also.
Cornerstone Church in Hamilton, Bermuda, has invited me to present ideas for ministry among the Chinese at their weekly prayer meeting at the end of February or early March.
I am scheduled to teach a one-week intensive course on Christianity and American politics at a university in China June 16-20, and deliver a few lectures there the next week. That will require a lot of preparation.
Most of the work for an issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly’s March issue has been completed; final drafts must be submitted by the end of February.
Builders of the Chinese Church, a collection of biographies of missionaries and Chinese church leaders, is due to be mailed to the publisher by March 1st. One contributor has yet to send me his chapter, and I have to revise the five chapters I have written.
After that, I plan to begin a book about Confucianism and Christianity, building on previous work I have done.
Meanwhile, I am responsible to write or find articles regularly for our three web sites: chinainst.org; globalchinacenter.org, and bdcconline.net. I am most grateful for the steady supply of new contributions that my assistant Martha continues to provide.
With the help of translators, we are adding Chinese language articles to the China Institute web site. I work with them weekly.
Mentoring, coaching, encouraging
Dori meets weekly for a Bible study for Chinese women led by the wife of one of our Directors. She also spends time with women in the Chinese Christian Fellowship and the Mandarin Sunday school class of our church. She continues to serve on our church’s China ministry team.
As the leader of our team of fifteen people in England, Taiwan, and the U.S., I try to stay in touch with them by email, Skype, telephone, and personal visits as often as possible.
In Charlottesville, I meet weekly with our co-worker Kevin and monthly with men in the Leadership Training Course. I am always encouraged by these encounters.
Dori and I both have a number of opportunities to talk with former members of the Chinese Christian Fellowship and others who call or write us.
Focus on the Center: Christ
Friends, this is reading a bit like a laundry list of things “to do,” but we are talking here about people and projects which we believe have been put into our life by God. Conscious of our own limitations, we ask your prayers for wisdom, grace, and strength to fulfill the mission which he has entrusted to us.
In all our encounters and writings, we seek the glory of God, as people see his beauty, truth, and goodness reflected in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior and hope. Without the constant supply of the Holy Spirit, our words and works will accomplish nothing.
Satan sends so many distractions! We are all tempted to take our eyes and minds off God and turn our attention to creatures instead.
Secular writers warn us that 2014 could bring more wars, and perhaps a major conflict; financial and economic shocks; and increasing social and political tension.
But the Bible tells us that our God reigns! Jesus has been raised to the right hand of the Father, whence he governs all things for the sake of his church. The Spirit’s mighty wind can be neither controlled nor contained.
We are witnessing a massive turning to God among Chinese of all classes, but especially intellectuals. In God’s providence, we and our co-workers have been put into positions of matchless opportunity both here and in Asia.
Through your prayers, God can accomplish wonders through us, his feeble, frail, and fault-ridden servants. To him be the glory!
Yours in his grace,