International Ministries

New Transition in Ministry

December 7, 2015 Journal
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Dear Friends in Christ, 

Holiday times, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, are difficult for missionaries who are in the field far away from family. We certainly miss our children and others in the family very much. In 2013, we experienced our first Thanksgiving dinner on the field at a community center in Hong Kong, served by the people who had received many blessings and help from that center. For our second Thanksgiving, we enjoyed sharing a turkey-cheese platter in an evening class with Ivy’s students. This year, the third one, we celebrated alone with simple carryout dinner boxes, surrounded by the mess and confusion of larger moving boxes. The reason for that casual celebration is that we are going to move back to Hong Kong within a couple of weeks.

After consulting with us, International Ministries has reassigned us as Regional Development Workers for the development of Chinese disciples and Christian workers in East Asia. We will be based in Hong Kong, giving special attention to assessing the needs of the Christian workers training programs and developing human resources to support them in consultation with the partners of the area. Our new assignment is effective January 1, 2016.

Are you surprised by this announcement?  We certainly were, but Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…What gain have the workers from their toil?  I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with.  He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (NRSV) Truly, everything has its time! 

We have stayed in Macau for about two years. During this time we learned about the local culture, environment, society and language. Each day had challenges and something new to learn. We even felt we were almost adapting to the local living style, the hot weather, and were building deeper relationships with colleagues and friends here. As Director of Administration at Macau Bible Institute, Emerson completed the momentous job of finding a new campus, renovating both the old and new campuses and maintaining a harmonious atmosphere in the work place. Ivy, as lecturer and chaplain, taught classes and formed a Spiritual Formation group with another two teachers to enhance deeper spiritual care for the students. Both of us also ministered to Evangelize China Fellowship’s Grace Chapel and Children Center by teaching Sunday School, preaching and occasionally fellowshipping with the children. In addition, we  discipled other young people, teaching them to establish positive spiritual habits and desiring Christ-like behavior. To conclude, our ministry here did have positive and sound results.

Yet, the Lord has His own plan. When MBI moved to its new campus this July, after spending one year on the renovation and promoting a new MDIV degree program beginning this October, we believed MBI would have a new chapter of life. Evidently, we will not see that to completion, for we are going to start a new chapter in our ministry. The Lord is expanding our ministry to include Macau, Hong Kong and even Mainland China through International Ministries. This year we made a couple of visits to the churches in Swatow, China. In November, we had another opportunity to attend the Amity Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Celebration event in Nanjing.

During that ten day trip, we also saw their project sites at Yunnan province, visited their AIDS Prevention Center and Gospel Drug Rehabilitation Center, and interacted with the church people. On all those visits, we identified with Paul’s Macedonian Call – “Please come to help us!”  While we were preparing to renew our rental apartment lease for 2016 and the Macau work visas for 2016 before January 10, 2016, International Ministries heard the same voices as we did and redirected our ministry to include a bigger area in East Asia to share the gospel, to teach discipleship training, learned through our experiences in relationship building in Macau and Hong Kong in the past two years.

We are excited to share this good news with you. We will return to the States on December 12 and spend the Christmas season with our children and other sibling families. Therefore, we must complete our move before we leave. Please keep us in your prayers as you always have done. Pray that we have enough time and energy to complete the move while we are wrapping up our final assignments with MBI and ECF. We also want to say meaningful “good-byes” to many friends here in Macau. Pray also that our move from Macau to Hong Kong will be smooth and  without surprises.

May the joy of this special season remain in your heart throughout the coming year.

Merry Christmas!


In Christian Love and Service,

Ivy and Emerson