International Ministries

The First Fruit of Faith

July 1, 2015 Journal
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Last winter in Macau was not cold at all, and spring did not have too much rain. Those seasons were not bad, but we are in hot and humid weather now.  Though Emerson likes to walk 30 minutes to the office, it is not fun to walk in the rain or in high humidity with wet clothes.   Friends have often asked how many times a day we shower, and it depends on how many trips we make out of our apartment because each going out and coming back requires a shower and dry clothes.

Currently, our major efforts and our “full-time” work are with our ministry partner, Macau Bible Institute (MBI). As a teacher and the chaplain, Ivy is responsible for teaching classes and orchestrating noon worship, prayer meetings, student and co-worker retreats and other spiritual activities. Emerson, as an administrator, is responsible for the daily administrative activities and campus renovations. MBI has completed the renovation of 3 of 8 units in the old campus (convert old classrooms to dormitories) and new campus space (new classrooms and new offices.)  We are waiting for the government’s approval before we can move into the new campus, which we expect later this summer.

Most Sundays we serve at Grace Chapel of Evangelize China Fellowship (ECF), weekly teaching the Youth Sunday school class and Ivy preaches once a month. In the summer we will have more fellowship activities with these children.  Grace, a former coworker at ECF, was admitted to the hospital and had to remain there for two and half months. During that time, we visited her often. And after she came home, we continued meeting with her to coach and disciple her.

On first day of the new spring quarter, after our noon prayer meeting, Ivy was admitted to the local ER for treatment of high blood pressure, and she stayed for a week. Praise the Lord, the prayers worked. She is fine now.  While Ivy was in the hospital, her roommate was extremely bored and impatient, waiting for her discharge from the hospital.   Every day she saw Ivy peacefully reading her Bible and asked what Ivy read.  From our conversations we knew she worked at a casino as a card dealer.   She had said her teenage son played games on his cell phone all day long instead of studying or doing homework.   Because her work required three shift rotations, she did not have much time with her children.  She was worried that her son would become addicted to cell phone’s games, leading to gambling.   Once, Ivy asked her, “Do you love your son?  If you love your son more than your job, you should consider leaving the casino and changing your job.”  The Bible says, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction…. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:2-5)  Hallelujah!  Praise to be the Lord!  Through the Holy Spirit’s leading, Ivy shared the gospel with her roommate numerous times and invited her to accept Jesus Christ as the Savior on the day before she was discharged. We gave “treasures” (three Bibles) to her and her son and daughter. In the hospital the Lord blessed us with several occasions to study the Bible together.  Her visitors were greatly surprised to see her reading the Bible and they remarked, “Wow! You have a Bible.”   That was the first evidence of the fruit of faith since coming on the field.

Time flies, and we have been in Macau for more than a year and a half.  During this time we have learned a lot from our mistakes; we have learned not to exceed our physical limitations and to depend on God.  The Holy Spirit has led us to see need and opportunity for ourselves and to know what ministries are needed for Macau. 

Please pray for the Lord’s wisdom to lead us and His strength to sustain us as we “look upon the fields, white for harvest” and restrict ourselves to a slower pace while Ivy recovers.  Please also remember Grace as you pray for her recovery and our discipleship with her.

We would like to thank you for the warm thoughtful cards, e-mails of encouragement, prayers, and the financial support.  They lift us up and keep us upbeat and joyful in the ministry.