Dear Praying Friends:“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits.” (Psalm 103:2) As we look back over the past six months, we cannot help but thank God for His faithfulness to us, and for your prayers, which He has used to accomplish what we could not.
Ever since the fall of 2004, when God granted me near-miraculous recovery of health, I have been traveling more than ever before. To learn: Conferences are being held around the world to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Protestant Christianity in China. Dori and I attended one in Washington this past March, and I went with one of our Associates to another in Hong Kong at the end of April. I learned a great deal from a world-class China briefing near here in February also. To teach: In January and early February, I taught a two-week course for China Reformed Theological Seminary in Taipei. On my way home from the trip to Asia in late April, I taught a three-day, 20-hour course in Dallas for the North American Campus of China Evangelical Seminary. They also asked me to preach in the church where the class was held. To listen: While in Taiwan in January, and after the meeting in Hong Kong, I visited our Associates the Truells in Taiwan. As usual, I also called on other friends there. What a privilege to hear how God is working in their lives, and to pray with them! To share: In Asia as well as within the U.S., I have had several dozen opportunities to share the Gospel with taxi drivers, fellow passengers, and other conference attendees. About ten of them have shown interest in the Gospel. To celebrate: Dori and I each attended weddings of former members of Chinese Christian Fellowship, and Dori went to the wedding of a young American woman whom she used to mentor. It’s great to see how these young people are establishing new Christian families. To mobilize: While I was in Taiwan last winter, Dori went with another from our church to a gathering of those involved in China ministry. We drove to Charlotte together in April to help prepare two very good friends for a trip to China. Everywhere I go, I introduce people to the Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity (http://www.bdcconline.net/). To re-connect: We were really happy to visit our friends in Farmville, Virginia, in March, and to share with them what God has been doing through their prayers. As usual, I dropped in on the annual Lynchburg Chinese Christian Retreat at the end of May.
Ministry in Charlottesville
We continue to advise the undergraduates of the Chinese Christian Fellowship. Dori met with two of the women, and I spoke twice to the whole group. We see a couple from China weekly also. The wife helps me read Confucius. I’ve preached once in the Chinese church this year, and have been invited to do so again in July. At church, Dori sings in one of the praise teams and serves on the Worship Committee. I attend meetings of the World Missions Team when in town. We are both involved in planning next year’s missions conference on China. We love to have guests in our home. We began the year with a five-day visit from a young woman from China who’s studying in the U.S. We’re privileged to have people drop by for afternoon tea or a meal several times a month. We’ve enjoyed many pleasant hours with visitors from China (who bring us up to date on the latest news) as well as with friends, old and new.
When not on the road, I try to do a bit of writing each day. So far this year, I’ve contributed eight book reviews to various China-related publications; finished three chapters for a book on Carl Henry; composed about a dozen devotional meditations; and continued the monthly series, “Reaching Chinese Worldwide.” (Visit http://www.chinainst.org/ to see these.) With the help of volunteer proofreaders and my assistant Rachel, I’m also trying to prepare several manuscripts for publication, including the comparison of Christ and Confucius, a book introducing China, and a devotional commentary on Matthew’s Gospel (which is still unfinished).
We now have a team of about a dozen colleagues in the U.S., Canada, England, and Taiwan. I am constantly thanking God for the stellar quality of these people, and thoroughly enjoy keeping up with them through phone calls, emails, and visits. The administrative aspect is not as much fun, but I don’t mind doing it. We are really glad that God has provided a new assistant, Laura, to replace Rachel in July.
We leave today for a few days of vacation in Vermont and then a conference for me at Yale. Sarah and her husband Brandon will visit in July from Charlotte, where he is finishing up at Reformed Theological Seminary and she works in the Admissions Office. I’ll preach in Chinese churches twice in July, and teach a course on John’s Gospel in Taipei during August. You can see that God has given us a full life, packed with meaning and great people. We are grateful for your essential role, and pray for God to fill you with His love (Ephesians 3:14-20).