Tuesday, February 9, 2016
"I am feeling so blessed to see people from 4 and 5 years ago with whom we've maintained contact and continued mentoring through the years. I love catching of glimpse of what God is doing through GPIH in individual lives in China!” Peggy
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Our team served in China December 2-11, 2014. Please enjoy a few of our stories in the following pages. Over 375 people received training and we celebrate at least 20 new believers this trip! Below, I will explain a little about our delay in sharing with you.
It was truly amazing for us to go to China with Ron & Angela Dalton as well as Dean & Julie Folkerts. Wonderful to see the connections only God could make and to serve in 2 orphanages (not our usual venues) with Ron & Julie who were adopted from Korea years ago. Only God!
Additionally we are excited about new connections for the future—wow! We hope you can take time to read about these & much more on pages 2,3. Enjoy and praise God with us!
Blessings & many thanks for your love, prayers and support,
SO...WHAT HAPPENED ON OUR LAST MORNING IN CHINA?
Ron & Angela and Julie & Dean awoke to the news that their beloved mom, Pearl Dalton had just a few days to be in this world. Before our trip, she had told them to “go to China and serve the Lord!”.
Pearl Dalton, 92, went to be with Jesus December 14, 2014. Pearl wanted to hear about their trip and her children were able to say “goodbye”.
Jon & I awoke to the news that our newest grandbaby had come into the world 9 weeks early and was in the NICU at OHSU, Portland.
Here is our daughter, Amara with baby boy, “Iraja Ian” born December 10, 2014.
I went from China to Portland to help with baby boy and his 2 year old sister
until he came home 5 weeks later.
God put an amazing team together from Colorado, Hawaii and even from Korea against impossible odds, took us to China and connected us to people, groups, businesses, orphanages and even government offices to do His work. We are all amazed to look back now and to see all that was done in His Name.
Each member of this team was so gracious, willing to split into 2 or 3 groups and be sent via taxi armed only with directions in Chinese. They battled colds and cold weather and yet each morning came together to pray and eat with smiles and concern for the others. Love these people!
Dean & Julie said, “Our China trip of 2014 was amazing from the beginning to the end, especially since we weren’t sure whether we were even going to make the trip since our mom was doing so poorly. The Lord worked out all the details with our mom and gave us peace to go ahead. Mom wanted us to do God’s work and we were than able to focus on the trip and what God wanted us to accomplish in China.
We enjoyed the people, culture and the food, but the most enjoyable times were the orphanages, where we interacted with the children and the workers. We can’t leave out our absolutely wonderful translators and getting to know them! The group of “Mary Kay” girls blew us away with their thirst for the word and the boldness of the churches that refuse to hide their Christianity. Last but not least was the unity of our team, even though four out of six was family members. Still-- we had a wonderful time and were extremely blessed. Thanks Jon & Peggy “ Dean & Julie are posing with a Christian singer who looks like their son!
Angela’s story, “On my recent mission trip to Beijing, I met a young girl who works in an orphanage; one of the truest examples of being an obedient servant for our Lord Jesus Christ I’ve ever seen! Liz worked with the children who had been abused, both physically and mentally and shared heartbreaking stories with me. It is amazing to see how God connects people so we can share the hope coming from surviving tragedy because of our faith in Jesus Christ! I was able to encourage her with the strength God had given me as a result of my personal experiences with abuse.
Liz herself had gone through a horrific accident that had left her handicapped less than 2 years earlier: an explosion in her family’s basement left her with such severe burns to her right arm that they had to amputate. She is now learning to live life with a prosthetic arm and hand and despite this unimaginable set back, her desire to serve the Lord only seemed to grow! She has dedicated her life to these special children in the face of unthinkable circumstances. I think of her delightful smile when I’m struggling and need some encouragement and only hope I can be the kind of obedient servant Liz has shown herself to be. Thank you Liz for reminding us that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” (Philippians 4:13)
Ron said, “This was my second trip to China with Peggy and Jon and there are so many special moments during both trips. We had several translators, all unique, serving the Lord well as we shared the Good News. I had wanted to get a Chinese/English Bible and we were able to go a Christian bookstore although unable to find it. Talking to our friend and translator Wei Whitbeck, I mentioned the Bible and Wei who’d just been given a Chinese/English Bible, turned around and gave it to me! She not only demonstrated her love for the Lord by giving of her time and finances to return to China to translate for us but reflected the character of Christ in being a giver and it meant the world to me.”
Julie and Ron were both adopted from orphanages in Korea and endured so much! Julie had been found living on the streets, nearly starved when taken to the orphanage run by the Holts.
“Our first stop on our trip was a orphanage and I shared my life story about adoption and forgiveness. There was a young man named Joseph who was also adopted and was abused. He said my story touched his heart. I asked him if he forgave his abuser as Jesus forgave us and he said that he knew and accepted Jesus, but was working on the forgiveness part. He was glad to hear my story and that somebody else had gone through it, and was able to forgive.” Julie
“It was a long journey by cab and a walk along a busy street, bundled up against a biting wind. Through winding alleys, the sights and smells let you know you were far from your nice hotel. We went through a dark, gray alleyway and came to a door, like all the others. We knocked and were welcomed by maybe 13 or 14 well-dressed Mary Kay ladies, seated on small chairs, wedged onto a few couches, and smiling with welcoming smiles.” Ron
“The charming thing with the "Mary Kay" group was how, when I gave a passage of scripture, they all read it in unison, We were going overtime because I took longer teaching and asking questions, but when I told them I was going to skip over some things, they didn't want me to, they were ok with staying longer.” Julie
Jon loves this story...me too! I was asked by Rita to share a secular version of my “Balancing Life & Work” training with her Real Estate office staff. I wish you all could experience the openness in China! I simply shared about how spending time with family and having family traditions are important in our homes and how on Christmas eve (only a week away), Jon tells the Christmas story. Before I could get out another word, a young man raised his hand and asked if Jon would tell it after I finished! Hmmm...let’s see—”Yes!”.
Another open door for the Gospel and new believers for His Kingdom!
“We traveled at close to 200 mph on high-speed train in order to get to Tianjin to an orphanage called Shepherd's Field. I was reminded of those who God has equipped with love to shower upon the unwanted children. Our host was a young man who showed us around and told the story of the place. It was bitter cold and we stood outside wearing many layers. Our young guide forged ahead with head uncovered and hands exposed as he pushed his old wheelchair around the property sharing his stories. I tried to give him my gloves and hat but his protests were loud that he didn't want those things while others did without; he broke my heart. God sees his children all over the world working in hard in places well-known to a God who loves the world and gave His Son that we could have eternal life.” Ron
Wei, amazing friend of GPIH in Omaha, traveled with us this trip. It is Wei who connected us with the large unregistered church in Tianjin, her hometown. This trip, Wei was able to introduce us to Jenny Guo, Director of the Women’s Federation, Tianjin. Jenny is in charge of programs and education for women and families and is very interested in the training we have for marriage and parenting. We are excited about this amazing door God is opening. Pray for wisdom as we begin to walk through it in April!
“Jon and Wei and I traveled to the very outskirts of Beijing. As with many buildings we entered, they had a beautiful façade but gloomy and rough inside. The apartment was full of young people, some of whom spoke English. I taught on how to study the Bible to a group well educated and well versed, knowing many facts having memorized many scriptures. What would I have to share? As I began to speak, the questions came quickly and the thirst for the Word of God was evident, They were hungry not just to know the words but to understand the message written to us by our loving God. We could have spent several more hours talking about the Lord and the way He communicates with us.” Ron
We can’t minimize the hearts opened to God’s love by the knitted gifts from the
Texas KnitWits & Sharon Tom!
Those of you who give, pray, knit, love and go, make possible the ministry in China. Thank you!
Friday, November 14, 2014
“Our first night in Tianjin was unbelievable!” said Terry Walters. “I sensed a moving of the Holy Spirit as never before.” After teaching on how to win battles through praise, how to journal in their Bibles, it was wonderful to hear them pray! As the people came to us for prayer, one women told me she believed in God but didn’t know how to talk to God. I sensed that she was not a believer and shared the Story Bracelet with her and she wanted to pray to receive Jesus! What a special joy and special groups of people we saw. On the last night in Beijing with Shaomeng group after sharing about prayer and praise along with Judy, our translator Lena said that the Chinese don’t do anything like this, sharing things they are thankful for or confessing or giving gifts as you have done here. They were so very moved and thankful!”
Jessie is part of the Trinity Church formed out of the Pricewaterhouse study group. Shelley Sessions was blessed to pray with Jessie, whose mom is a successful, self-sufficient woman who can’t understand Jessie’s faith and looks down on the church and believers. Now, doctors have found a shadow on her mom’s lung, and although there is no certain diagnosis, she is concerned. Jessie and Shelley prayed together that God would soften her mom’s heart and show her the need for Jesus. How sweet to pray together and know that they will continue to do pray, share and mentor. The groups certainly loved Shelley’s warm heart and appreciated her skill in speaking Chinese!
Judy DeVries shared about a young man from one of the churches made up of Nankai University students: “I do not remember his name, as he didn't have an English name. He sat intently with a smile on his face throughout the teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit, Terry’s teaching on marriage and the teaching of the bracelet. He shared that he has a strong desire to share Jesus with his friends and about what he had gotten out of the night. He bought two bracelets that we took off our own arms to use in sharing. It is an inspiring and encouraging thing to see their passion for the Gospel!
Our team loved the time with Shaomeng Church in Beijing. The teaching there with the women was a very touching time. When Judy taught on forgiveness in the afternoon, Lynette opened up about her own pain because she could see so much pain in the women’s eyes. It opened up opportunities for Peggy and Yinyan to share their stories as well and several women shared and asked for prayer. One in particular was Amy who prayed for forgiveness because of her abortions. Yinyan had prayed for a long time that God would use her to help in the healing of women who need to “surrender the secret” and we see her used time and again. This truly was a special, God-chosen team. Thankful!!
It was so much fun to see parents connecting with the personality differences during the Personalities and Parenting class. Peggy was blessed to share this and to help the parents determine their God-given personalities too. Special thanks to Nancy Patterson for putting the training together and creating the PowerPoint! Judy felt the parents were beginning to believe their children really could be taught and treated differently. It was amazing to watch the couples tapping each other as they laughed about a daughter who is a “C” or their son who is a “D” or the dad with his son in the photo, clearly an “I” (standing on daddy’s hand)! They were so eager to learn and so attentive to the teaching.
On every trip (15 now) since March of 2010, the KnitWits (Knitting a witness for Christ) group from south Texas and now Sharon Tom from Arizona, send beautiful knitted shawls, scarves and hats as a way to express God’s love and remind our sisters and brothers in China that women in the US are praying for them! We are blessed to deliver these gifts and then watch as God IS in the details and hearts are touched to receive the Good News and to receive teaching that warms hearts toward His love! We are the messengers but want the ladies who knit to know what a difference they make in the work God has called us to do! Thank you!
A prayer from Yinyan: “Thank you for a fun and caring team: Peggy, Terry, Judy, Shelley, Lynnette and Kathy are so encouraging and inspiring. I have learned that a team can do more than the sum of all individuals’ work for God’s Kingdom, just like what Peggy taught in her cultural training class. Beside learning about parenting my children according to their God-given personalities and respect my husband unconditionally, I learned more about forgiving others from Judy and seeing God’s work in my life, praising with Terry through tough times. Through interpreting for each team member and hearing life stories from Lynnette, Kathy and Shelley, God has shown me how to depend on His lead when I interpret, so that I can better express the speaker’s feelings, emotions, joy and hope in Christ. I thank you Lord for showing us how to work as a team for your glory. I have experienced the joy of sharing Your message in sync with my teammate.” And we thank you, Yinyan for letting God use you—we love you!
We are thankful that Hope Zhang connected us with Shaomeng’s group. This group of Christians are on fire and so eager to learn. They not only come listen, but immediately apply it as they did on Monday evening, Terry taught on marriage and we did the story ropes and shared with each other. Sister JC shared that she struggled in her marriage, now learning how to trust God in difficult times. Tuesday morning, several young moms traveled a long way with their babies to our parenting class, planning a discussion group afterward. After the first evening session, they asked for a Wednesday evening training. After Tuesday morning training, they asked to add an afternoon session, so Judy taught on forgiveness. Forgiveness seemed possible when we surrender ourselves to Him and Honghua shared with Yinyan that she had an abortion long time ago. She used to think it was all others’ fault but now she knows she needs God’s grace. Lily shared that she aborted her second child when her first was ten months old and understands she is forgiven. We are thankful that Yinyan and this team had the courage to share their stories!
Lynnette Whipple loves Jesus and in obedience to Him, shared that love so willingly in China. We watched that love make a difference as she reached out to “Lydia”, identifying with their mutual love of purple boots and clothes. Later, Lynnette learned that Lydia came as a seeker, to “learn about God” and Lynnette prays that her obedience in coming to China and showing love to Lydia will help her realize the most important relationship of all is a relationship with Christ! Thank you Lynnette!
This was our second trip to Tianjin and to this large church where we've taught many times now. We truly love these passionate lovers of Jesus!. It was great to see our tall friend, Brother Han who is so grateful for the teaching for his family and especially his wife. She asks us to pray for her to hear God's voice and be encouraged in a difficult job situation. They reach out to so many and there are so many needs. The bi-vocational pastor asked prayer for his congregation and for more freedom in China. Ah, and again we saw several come to faith in Christ in this place. On this trip, over 410 received training and at least 15-20 received Christ!
It was so wonderful to be with Timothy’s church and worship with them. Their worship leader was great and their singing was so enthusiastic. It was a large group and they were multi-generational. Judy taught on Joseph (From Child to Adult). It was the first time she had witnessed a church service where there were so many different ages. The story ropes were well received and the people shared a lot. Several people walked with us to get taxis afterward and kept asking questions as we walked. We look forward to more time with this group!
Kathy Ramaekers shared her testimony for the first time one evening and the group was so attentive, seemed to really understand some things she’d been through. After Kathy shared, Terry taught and one young lady said she was ready to accept Jesus. When Terry asked what helped her decide, she told her that it was because of Kathy’s story! Another young man approached and said that Kathy’s story was "really important to him" and that he was "in trouble" and wanted to hear clearly from God. Kathy looked up scripture with him and rejoices that her testimony would touch a young man! It was an amazing night that Kathy won't forget, “We felt the presence of the Lord!” (In the photo, Kathy is sharing Christ with a sweet lady on the train back to Beijing!) The caring and sharing that happened in October with the women from Christ Community Church was truly a blessing!
Thursday, April 3, 2014
GOD OPENED A NEW DOOR IN TIANJIN AND PROVIDED UNIMAGINABLE BLESSINGS AS WE RETURNED TO BEIJING TOO!
The following are stories of what happened in Beijing and Tianjin in March—oh my! We worked without breaks, Yinyan and me...saw 200 people and 25 or more received Christ! At one point Yan had translated so much that she just looked at me with a blank stare and we laughed! Then, a professional translator, “Adam” stepped up and said, "I'm a professional translator and I would be honored to help". God provides and we hope you enjoy a glimpse of our time as many of you have gone with us with your prayers and support~
We flew into Beijing, spent the first few days there sharing some of the ladies we know and then...off on our first adventure on the high speed train. It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from Beijing to Tianjin - we got there in 30 minutes! Need one of those in Denver!
Coki's group in Beijing - love these ladies along with our Australian friend, Rebecca. Each girl learned how to appreciate the unique personality God gave to her. Each made a life story rope that told the story how God worked in her life and brought her to knowing Christ.
What fun we had surprising Yinyan for her birthday!
About 40 core leaders from a 1,000 member house church (amazing in China!) came to the marriage training our first night in Tianjin. The training was very well received and many leaders said they learned a lot. The beautiful shawls and hats (from the “KnitWits”) were loved and everyone felt the prayers and blessings of those American sisters who knitted them. We felt like coming home even though we just met these precious brothers and sisters. Pressures from unbelieving parents are major. Some of the couples have to live with parents or in-laws in an apartment! On the way back to hotel, the pastor's wife called more people to attend our training next day.
Teaching at an Autism Education Center where we shared the gospel and "The Gifts of Parenting" with about 15 parents. One parent accepted Christ and several parents shared with us that it was very helpful. One mom said, "It is great to be reminded that our children are gifts and blessings from God and also know what we can do to bless them.” A dad said that the story rope activity is very healing and he is going to do it with his 4-year-old son. He asked us to bring back more activities like that. He also shared that he learned how to control anger better and he would go to the corner and count to ten when he is about to lose temper at home!”
We trained on “Faith at Work Place” and people found the message very encouraging. A workplace can be very stressful and even hostile for Christians and add to that a pressure to succeed no matter the cost. Wisdom and discernment are needed every minute of the day. Integrity and honesty are rare. The brothers and sisters had an opportunity to share with each other about challenges and ways to find God’s peace and strength by meditating on God’s word and character. This is Joshua and his lovely wife—a wonderful couple dedicated to serving in their church and serving us too!
Sharon Tom made beautiful hats to send with us and the KnitWits from Texas made shawls, hats and scarves - the gifts open hearts and are much loved!
Sharon Tom made beautiful hats to send with us and the KnitWits from Texas made shawls, hats and scarves - the gifts open hearts and are much loved!
We went to Baidilu house church to worship. This church has grown from 10 people to 1000 in 10 years (the large house church mentioned earlier). There are men and women, young and old—another unusual factor since most house churches are filled with mostly people in their 20’s & 30’s. The pastor gave a powerful sermon on “salvation by faith in Christ alone”. In the children’s Sunday school they were practicing singing Handel’s Halleluiah Chorus for Easter celebration. There are many questions here about family and ministry—they are excited to have us return and we are so excited to come!
On Sunday afternoon we offered 15 Sunday school teachers training on how to recognize each student’s personality and then shared with them according to how God made them. We enjoyed meeting those dedicated teachers and were able to encourage them with our stories and provide some helpful Sunday school resources. In most of the house churches with whom we’ve shared, the need for a “Sunday School” is new, since most who attend are so young and the numbers small. Not so here! Exciting!!
Helen and Yinyan. Helen received a beautiful shawl from the KnitWits and green is her favorite!
Yinyan taught 5 love languages and how to discern the Holy Spirit’s guidance from selfish desire. Yinyan also shared the Good News with the group (about 30 college students from Nankai University), many accepted Christ that evening! One gentle man said that it was easy to understand and he was glad that he was there! Some of the ladies we know in Beijing, have an outreach with students at Nankai University and these students who came to Christ are a part of these combined efforts! We are so thankful to be a small part of this!
Vivian’s Story! Wei Whitbeck (originally from Tianjin—now in Omaha) who now works alongside us at GPiH, had asked that we make contact with a sweet lady named Vivian who is having extreme marital difficulties and was desperate for help. We met her at church first, then spent time throughout the day on Sunday as we taught. On Monday morning, Yinyan prayed with Vivian in the hotel room and Vivian accepted Christ as her Savior, beginning to learn to trust Him for the future. She followed us to all the trainings afterward and expressed her hunger for God’s Word. Yinyan left her a Bible and Peggy a devotional. Please pray that God would protect Vivian and lead her through the local Christians with whom we’ve connected her. She was literally transformed before our eyes from a sad, desperate woman who had made attempts on her life, to one smiling and filled with God’s love. Vivian kept saying, “You saved me, You saved me!” Of course it was Jesus who did that! Amen!
Our last night in Tianjin we focused on relationships and personality profiles. We had some Q&A time, gifts (shawls, bracelets and hats) and story rope activities. Every person learned that God made them uniquely beautiful and HE has a great plan for each one. Pictured here are new friend Anna and Helen, a friend Peggy met in Beijing a few years ago! Helen was a great help in Tianjin and arranged for us to meet with this house church of about 100 people and led by Professor Hou of the Nankai University. Here we are having discussion time and sharing each individual story.
On our last day in China, we taught a lunchtime Bible Study Group about their God-given personalities and had great feedback and many requests for future training. These are dedicated men and women who gather openly and come from other companies in the area. Our flight departure time was 5:25pm but we had one more stop to make and God had a plan (read the next story!)...
New Sisters! After we finished at Price Waterhouse we stopped quickly at the Silk Market so Yinyan could get some of our Story Jewelry to help her raise funds for her next trip. It was “power shopping” and we had only minutes but she got her jewelry and we stopped in to our favorite scarf shop. Two of the girls there had received Story Bracelets from us, one of them was a believer. I gave the other two girls their bracelets and Yinyan shared the Gospel. The next moment these sweet girls bowed to pray and receive Christ as Savior! I stepped back to quietly snap this photo—the moment was priceless!