Originally in my March 12th, 2007 Journal [my 2nd year teaching at a univ. in eastern China]
This afternoon, a few students came over. We prayed together & gave them Bibles & then they headed out to the Education College [another university across the city]. They returned two hours later & again we met & prayed. They shared stories about the people they had talked to & given Bibles to. Good stuff.
Originally in my February 2nd, 2004 Journal [my junior year of college]
Thursday night I went to Bible study, & I was able to stray Mike off the beaten path & ask him some questions about free will. He had very good answers. He said that God naturally made us to follow our emotions & mind, leading us to our decisions, making it our will. On the other hand, God has still predestined the saved souls. He plants the seed in their heart that makes them come to Jesus (Holy Spirit, if you will). He doesn’t choose everyone to receive this movement towards Jesus. So, our day to day decisions are our own. We can follow a path that is not God’s will. We are not the deciding factor for others’ salvation. Out of our love & excitement for Jesus we should spread the gospel. That is still our calling.
From all this I have had a major re-evaluation of what I want to do with my life. A life of service to Jesus is a life I could never regret. It begins now. Each decision I make should be targeted towards glorifying God. I’ve been researching some summer missions options. Spending my summer doing missions would be worse professionally than interning in Philly, but do I really want to spend my life doing engineering? The decision begins now. I pray for God to open & close doors in a way that his will for me may be fulfilled.
Originally in my January 14th, 2010 Journal [on scout trip to Xinjiang Province]
In Urumqi, there are missionaries learning Chinese & focusing on the Han. And there’s others who learn Uyghur & focus on the Uyghur. I question this approach, to totally separate the ministry into two groups. Those focusing on the Han can’t speak Uyghur & those focusing on Uyghur can’t speak Chinese. It seems that, if what some missionaries say is right in saying the Han will be used to best reach the Uyghur & the Chinese pastor’s testimony in Kashgar can attest to that fact, missions organizations would be better to combine the ministries in Urumqi, training workers to speak both Chinese & Uyghur & to be able to actively work with the Han in order to reach the Uyghur. It would be critical that these people speak both languages fluently. Separating the ministry into two distinct parts has way too many limitations.
Originally in my January 6th, 2008 Journal [ministering in university in E. China]
There has been a confession of faith! Apparently, two days ago Edward (also from class 3) told Jairy that he became a believer. Yesterday he told Eric. This all followed his 6 hour conversation about the Lord with their lexicology teacher Andrew (a Chinese professor). What a huge blessing Andrew has been! So a guy student has given a confession of faith at the school. We’ll see what happens next. Needs lots of prayer. Also I met with Jordan. He said he feels God pulling him towards Him. He said he just needs more time. I said there are many examples in the Bible where people immediately believe & are transformed (like Paul). I said I know many people who say they’ll wait until they have a family to do the “Christian thing”. Obviously this attitude is wrong. I said “What if they die tomorrow?” They’d go to Hell because they’d have no faith. That got him thinking a lot. He needs immediate prayer. May he be hugely convicted of his lostness. I feel like he’s close, but we can’t relax until he’s turned to the Lord! I also met with Newmoon & she took Pilgrim’s Progress from me to read for the break. May the Lord convict her in a huge way through Bunyan or the Word or some other source. Great things happening with that class of students!
Originally in my December 13th, 2004 Journal [age 22, senior year studying engineering at Oklahoma St. Univ.]
The main lesson I learned this semester is in regards to labor. Many Christians equate their religion with not worrying, & and thus, not working hard. This was my state last semester & early this semester. I learned that no one will respect anything I say if I don’t do my best at everything I do. Then I am a poor witness. Jesus must be reflected in every aspect of my life. Were Jesus or Paul slackers because they had a ‘carefree attitude’, not concerned with the worries of this world? Heck no! If anything, they worked harder than others in everything they did. It has been a huge lesson for me this semester & I am incredibly thankful.
Originally in my November 25th, 2005 Journal [age 23, ministering in eastern China]
It’s the day after Thanksgiving. I have many things to be thankful for. One, at our party last night, Sanya mentioned the praises & thanks in Psalms. Then she pulled out a big Bible that John had given her in May. She said it’s a great book. I’m really excited because the gate has definitely been opened to approach her further about the Bible. Other things to be thankful for: a family who loves me; being in China & knowing all these great students; being in a place where the Lord can use me every day & I can see the fruits; great friends back home that love & support me; I thank the Lord for giving me my faith & continually strengthening it; for pulling me out of nothingness to live a life with Him. I have many many things for which to be thankful. What an amazing dinner last night. How blessed I am to be here to experience these things & this love that I feel from all the students. How blessed. How could I ever leave this place?
I think at this point it would be impossible to not come back next year. I can’t think of one reason not to. God is doing too much here. I couldn’t just leave that, at least not until I feel a pull to go elsewhere.
Originally in my October 22nd, 2007 Journal [while ministering in eastern China]
In the afternoon I talked with one of the [visiting on short-term mission trip] Americans, Billy. He’s only about 35. He said that before he went into the ministry he had a 3-month period where he & his friend had no job & would just read the Scriptures together each day. He said that 3 months of preparation was huge for the next 10+ years of his ministry. This was further confirmation that I should be seizing all spare time this semester/year to be in the Word in some way. I shouldn’t be looking to be busy. This is a season of learning & preparation for future ministry.
[my prayer updates for that day]
Students to pray for this week: Emily, Sanya, Abigail, Jordan
*** I haven’t seen clear answers to last week’s prayers & I don’t know why I should expect anything, because my prayer life has been struggling. My mind gets so distracted after such a short time. I fall asleep. Lord, show me how to pray. I could split these things up & pray for them throughout the day rather than all at once.
Originally in my October 2nd, 2010 Journal [written at very beginning of long friendship with C.L. Harbor]:
From 11:15-3 pm we had Guys’ time and [C.L. Harbor] was there. I told C.L. that he challenged me greatly. My strengths [discipline & knowledge of the Word] are his weaknesses. His strengths [reaching the poor & afflicted] are my weaknesses. I’ve always been in churches that put much focus on knowledge of the Word, but not much on reaching the poor & afflicted. C.L. has always found churches that focus on reaching the poor, but not on knowing the Word. Since we are opposites, neither of us can be complacent, but we must constantly be encouraged by the other.
Originally in my September 22, 2014 Journal [written while living in NW China]:
Yesterday morning I realized that my watch in the living room had disappeared during the night. When I saw that all my cash was taken out of my wallet, we concluded that a thief had broken in. I reported to the gate guy, who called the police, who came by around 9:15 am. We saw footprints on the window ledge & up the water pipe, [which the thief had used to climb up to our second floor apartment]. Thankful he didn’t take more.
I sought to ‘joyfully accept the confiscation of our property’, like Hebrews 10:34.
[Full verse: “You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions”]
Originally in my September 11, 2009 Journal:
I came back to the old campus and saw Jonathan [local house church leader] at his shop [a small supermarket]. From 9:40-11:40 am, I sat & talked with him. We opened the Scriptures and went back and forth, talking about the Scriptures and using verses to support our conversation. He has memorized much from both the Old Testament and New Testament. He seemed very familiar with the Scriptures overall. He knew exactly where each Bible verse we discussed was and also the verses surrounding it.
I’ve heard people say that the churches here in China put too much emphasis on knowledge of the Bible but they don’t live it out. I would disagree. I would say there’s not simply a lack of living out the faith, but more importantly a total lack of understanding or knowledge of the Bible.
They may go to church and Sunday school, but I’ve met very few “believers” here (or in the U.S.) who read their Bible daily, who have read through the Old and New Testaments a few times, or who can quote any Scripture at all. The problem is these people don’t know their Bibles. There is no emphasis on biblical knowledge, and it’s reflected in a dormant and lackadaisical faith. Too much knowledge is NOT the problem. I’m impressed with how well read local house church pastor Jonathan is.