Just another Teamexpansion.org Blogs weblog

March 13, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“You must put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk.  Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.”  Eph. 4:31-32 NET

The difference that is seen in a life that characterizes verse 32 rather than verse 31 is vast and amazing.  In the world we live in today there always seems to be people fighting amongst themselves.  Words filled with hate are exchanged and kindness is in short order.  Imagine the difference of a life that always chooses kindness, compassion, and forgiveness first instead of last.  Oh, how that life would shine as a beacon among the community.  I suppose that is what God has had in mind all along for His people.  He desires for us to be a lighthouse, beckoning people to come to Him for forgiveness and hope.  Today, let us all make a conscience choice to be a beacon of hope to our communities by showing kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

We ask that you pray for leadership development among the Taiwanese Christians in our churches.  The church in Taipei has recently asked about installing elders.  We are rejoicing that they are seeing a need for these leaders.  Chad Edwards is teaching, training, and encouraging those who are already doing the work of an elder to be willing to accept this position.  We see the need for more such leaders in all of our churches on island.

The planning for Sports & English Camp is well on its way.  The lessons are being written, the booklets are being prepared, the staff is being recruited, and the facilities are being arranged.  We praise the Lord that this is all going well.  We ask that you pray for each of these areas we continue to work on each one of them.  We also ask that you begin praying now for the youth that will attend.  We desire for God to send those youth that He is already preparing to hear the message and receive it.

Our family will be in the US this summer for the months of June and July.  It is a very short time.  We hope to see as many of you as we can, but with only 8 Sundays it will be difficult to report at many congregations.  We are in need of a vehicle to drive this summer, hopefully a minivan.  If you know of a vehicle we could possible borrow for the summer please contact us.  Please be in prayer for our summer plans.

Please pray for a few family items.  Moriah did have a stress test on Friday, but will not receive the results until this coming Friday.  Cheryl has a school board strategic planning retreat beginning Sunday evening and running until Wednesday.  Cheryl has been responsible to plan the logistics of the retreat.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we will be a beacon of hope on our communities through showing kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

2.  Please pray for the development of leaders among our churches.

3.  Please pray for the planning of Sports and English camp and for the youth that will attend.

4.  Please pray for our summer home service plans and that we can find a vehicle to drive.

5.  Please pray for Moriah as we wait for results of her stress test.  Please pray for Cheryl and the school board as they plan for the future.

March 6, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“However, through all this you did not have confidence in the Lord your God,  the one who was constantly going before you to find places for you to set up camp. He appeared by fire at night and cloud by day, to show you the way you ought to go.”  Deuteronomy 1:32-33

Moses was speaking to the Israelites concerning their unwillingness to follow God into the land of Canaan after the 12 spies had returned with their report.  Our own situation is often not so different.  God is willing to lead us if we will follow, but we often will complain about some potential hardship or problem, and not go.  When we refuse to follow whether it be to a new place, or into a different area of ministry, we are denying the faithfulness of God.  We are saying, “I don’t trust You!”  Each of us hates to hear those words said to us, but our lack of faith and obedience says it to God.  Join us in choosing to be trustworthy of our God, the one who has a proven record, as He leads us into new territory.

John has been in contact with Peter Chen, a businessman from Kaohsiung, that had asked John to lead a bible study at his firm in Kaohsiung.  Mr. Chen also has an office here in Taichung.  Before leaving Kaohsiung Mr. Chen had asked John about starting a study in Taichung, but he had never followed up.  Hopefully, this week they will be able to make plans about starting a group here in Taichung.  Please pray for this opportunity.  We would like this group to be able to eventually transition into a discipleship group or have discipleship groups to develop out of this initial group.

After this week our team will have taught at each of the schools we will serve at this semester.  Already there is potential for one discipleship group to develop among students from the Dong Shan High School.  We hope that more opportunities will develop for other discipleship groups to begin.  One of our schools is an elementary school where several of our ladies and Augi teach Bible stories.  We are praying that not only will the children be affected by the stories, but their families and teachers will be as well.

This Friday Moriah will be having a stress test to figure out if there is a physical reason why here heart rate sometimes stays high for long periods of time.  She has been doing fine this past week.  Yesterday she played goalie in the 8th grade soccer tournament.  She did not have any problems and her team came in first after a tie game with a shootout at the end.

Cheryl’s mom, Bobbie, is having severe issues with her eyes.  Please pray that the treatment she is receiving will be beneficial.  Pray as well for Bobbie as she deals with everyday life with vision issues.

Thank you for praying for Cheryl as she travelled back from Canada.  She arrived safely on Friday night.  Helping to take care of four little girls 4 and under is tiring, but also full of blessings.  Pray for Cheryl over the next week as she works through jet lag and has a busy schedule, and pray for Bethany and Philip as they raise their beautiful daughters.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Pray that we all are willing to follow God faithfully to where He would have us serve.

2.  Pray that a new bible study group can begin at Mr. Chen’s business in Taichung.

3.  Pray that our teaching at the schools will lead to finding people of peace and the forming of discipleship groups.

4.  Praise the Lord that Moriah has been feeling well.  Pray that if there is a physical problem that it will be found.

5.  Pray for the treatment Bobbie receives to be helpful.

6.  Praise the Lord! Cheryl is home.  Pray for her adjustment this week.

February 21, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a desert road.)  So he got up and went. There he met an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury.  Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot.’  So Philip ran up to it and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. He asked him,  ‘Do you understand what you’re reading?’”   Acts 8:26-27e, 29-30

Philip had just witnessed God provide and amazing revival in the land of Samaria, that was initiated by his own obedience to proclaim the Gospel.  Now we see Philip being obedient to the direction of the Holy Spirit again, by leaving Samaria to travel on a certain road and then again by initiating conversation with this official from Ethiopia.  Because of Philip’s obedience not only was this one man saved, but the Gospel was taken to another area of the world.  How easy is it for you to hear and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit?  What are the possibilities if we would obey the commands of scriptures to spread the Gospel wherever we are?  Just being obedient to what we know from scripture begins to open our heart and mind to understanding the Spirit’s direction.  Join us in praying to be obedient to God’s Word and to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Our team’s work in the Taiwanese schools is just getting started again after the Chinese New Year.  Our schedule for this semester is just getting worked out.  Pray that we will make the most out of each opportunity to be with these students.

This past week on Tuesday, Alaina and Nikki went to live with their dad.  We hope that everything will work out well with this arrangement.  We are concerned that he will find caring for them and working full-time will be very difficult.  We are also concerned that he is not walking with God.  Their daily routine and living situation will be very different too.  Pray for the girls as they adjust to their new situation.

One of the boys from camp this past summer, Kevin, has been meeting with Derik, our co-worker, since the end of last summer for discipleship.  His parents would not let him attend worship at Derik’s house on Sunday mornings, but allowed a Saturday meeting at their apartment building.  This past week the allowed him to go to worship for the first time!  Pray that he will continue to be a witness at home so that one day the whole family will be worshipping our God.

Thank you for praying for Cheryl and Andrew as they travelled this past week.  Cheryl arrived safely in Canada and is enjoying visiting with Philip and Bethany’s family.  Andrew’s team came in second in the tournament with a one point loss in the final game.  He will be flying home this afternoon.  We ask you continue to pray while Cheryl is gone.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we are always seeking to be obedient to God’s Word and the direction of the Holy Spirit.

2.  Please pray for this semester’s opportunities in the Taiwanese Schools.

3.  Please pray for Alaina & Nikki as they adjust to living with their dad again.

4.  Please pray that Kevin will continue to be a witness to his family as he grows in faith.

5.  Thank you for praying for Cheryl & Andrew as they travel.

February 16, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“As for foreigners who become followers of the Lord and serve him, who love the name of the Lord and want to be his servants – all who observe the Sabbath and do not defile it, and who are faithful to my covenant – I will bring them to my holy mountain; I will make them happy in the temple where people pray to me.  Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my temple will be known as a temple where all nations may pray.”  Isa. 56:6-7

The promise of the Lord recorded here by Isaiah is true today as well in that God still welcomes all that will come to worship and serve Him.  We no longer offer burnt offerings for our sins, because Jesus is our sin offering.  We each do offer sacrifices of praise to God as we worship Him with our life.  It matters not who we are, where we are from, or what we have done if we come to God believing in the sacrifice of Jesus as our savior and king.  His grace is marvelous!  As we think about God’s grace may we consider this question, “Who from the nations is God calling me to bring to His holy temple?”

We praise the Lord for a great evening with the Lin family.  We and the Pagel family were able to meet Samantha’s older brother for the first time.  The whole Lin family were great hosts.  We were able to have a blessing for the meal and later to share some of the blessings God had given us in the past year.  Mr. & Mrs. Lin both asked all to come back and visit with them.  Mr. Lin kept asking that we come to where they sell bread to visit.  Pray with us that this will become an opportunity for sharing God’s word.

This past week Chad & Alicia Edwards of our team hosted a college retreat for some of our past Sports & English Camp youth.  They spent time sharing what God was doing in their lives and being trained how to lead discipleship groups.  Pray that these young Christians will have the faith to change their generation.

The death toll from the earthquake that caused damage in southern Taiwan has grown to 116.  There were several hundred injured as well.  We have received reports that churches in the area are trying to provide for the needs of those affected especially through counseling and basic needs.  Pray for God’s people to reach out to those hurting in their communities.

We ask that you pray for our co-worker Chris Sanford and his family.  Chris’ grandfather passed away this past week.  Due to the stress from this and other health factors Chris’s father, Steve, had a small stroke as well.  We ask that you pray for the family as they grieve and support each other.

Our family seems to be traveling a lot this past year.  This week Cheryl will travel to Canada on the 17th.  She is going to meet Amelia, our newest Granddaughter.  She of course will have the opportunity to spoil Juliet, Savannah, and Cheyenne while she is there too.  Andrew will be leaving on the 16th for a basketball tournament in Hong Kong.  Pray for Cheryl and Andrew as they travel.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  We praise God for His grace.  Please pray that we will be obedient to share the knowledge of His grace with others.

2.  Please pray that God will provide opportunities for us to share God’s word with the Lin family.

3.  Please pray for these college youth to grow in their faith as they reach out to classmates.

4.  Please pray for churches in the Tainan area to be a blessing to those that have be affected by the earthquake.

5.  Please pray for the Sanford family after the death of Chris’ grandfather and his father having a stroke.

6.  Please pray for Cheryl and Andrew as they travel this week.

February 7, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.  Pray  for me also, that I may be given the message when I begin to speak – that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak.” Eph. 6:18-20

Prayer is so important for everyone.  Paul charged the Ephesians to pray for all Christians and for him too.  Paul knew it was difficult to persevere through all  the attacks of satan and the stuff of life.  He knew as well the need of the supernatural support of prayer in order to be a bold witness.  We all need that prayer support if we are going to be bold witnesses whenever God gives us the opportunity.  Pray for us to be bold witnesses of the Gospel as we pray for you.

Tonight we, the Pagels, and the Sanfords will have supper with the Lin family.  Remember, this is Samantha Sanford’s family.  We all want to be bold with our witness as we are respectful in their home. We all feel there was a breakthrough at Christmas when they participated in worship.  Pray that God will give us the words to both encourage and challenge them.

We were awakened at about 4:00 am Saturday morning by an earthquake.  It was centered in the south of the island not far from where we used to live.  As far as we know all of our friends and church family are safe.  Most of the damage was in the Tainan City area.  Reports say that there are at least 100 people still missing, 13 dead, and over 400 injured so far.  Please pray for those affected by the earthquake and for Christians in the area to have a bold witness.

We are rejoicing with Jon Ralls and his family as they celebrate that he does not have cancer.  Please continue to pray for Jon as he serves Team Expansion missionaries through his many roles at the home office.

Thank you for praying with us for all of these requests.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we will be bold witnesses for Christ in all opportunities.

2.  Please pray that God will provide us with the boldness to speak the Words of Life to the Lin family and that their hearts are ready to accept God’s Words.

3.  Please pray for all those in Taiwan who were affected by the earthquake.

4.  Please continue to pray for August as he learns to be a witness in Taiwan.

5.  Praise the Lord that Jon Ralls does not have cancer.

January 31, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Pay attention to do everything I have told you, and do not even mention the names of other gods – do not let them be heard on your lips. Three times in the year you must make a pilgrim feast to me. You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time you came out of Egypt. No one may appear before me empty-handed.”  Ex. 23:13-15 NET

God gave specific instructions to the Israelites on how to worship at different times of the year to celebrate what He had done for them in the past and what He would continue to do for them in the future.  All of these feasts had a very important element that was common, “God!”  He was the focus.  He told them not to even to mention the names of other gods.  He and He alone provided for them.  It is the same for us today.  We need to make sure that God is given the credit that is rightly, and fully, His.  Many Taiwanese are making a pilgrimage home to celebrate Chinese New Year.  Who & what will they celebrate?  Those that do not know Jesus will certainly thank other gods and their ancestors.  God will be robbed of the glory and worship that is His.

Next week is Chinese New Year.  Our family and the Pagel family have been invited to Samantha Sanford’s parents’ home for dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, which next Sunday evening.  The Lins came to our Christmas worship and meal.  We are hoping that they will allow us to include some worship of our God in the evening.  Pray with us that their interest in the Gospel in continuing to grow.

August (Augi) Cox made it to Taiwan safely on Tuesday night.  He has done very well getting over jet lag.  He has also been very willing to try foods and experience the culture.  He will be moving in with his host family today.  The mother and teenage son, Lucy & Jack, are both Christians, but the father is not yet.  Augi will have a great opportunity to encourage Lucy & Jack in their faith as well as to witness to Mr. Jeng.

We have been blessed this week by a visit from Eric and Chris B. of our home office.  They are traveling to a few fields to encourage and teach over the next few weeks.  They certainly were a blessing to our team.  They left for Thailand this morning on an early flight.  They will also visit some sensitive fields after Thailand.  Pray for God to bless them with safety and health as they travel.

We are so blessed to have our new granddaughter Amelia in our family.  She is eating well and mom is feeing pretty good too.  We are thankful that our son-in-law is such a big help with all four of the girls.  Please continue to pray for all six members of their family as they get used to having the newest member around.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for the opportunity to witness to the Lin family at Chinese New Year.

2.  Please pray for August as he adjusts to Taiwan and begins to get to know his host family.

3.  Please pray for Eric & Chris B. as they travel to other places to encourage and teach.

4.  Please continue to pray for Philip, Bethany, and their girls as they all adjust to being a family of six.

January 24, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Then an expert in the law came to him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”  Matt. 8:19-20

Jesus could always see a person’s true intention.  He was able to get to the heart of the matter.  When the expert of the law made his declaration, Jesus knew the uncertainty of following from place to place would be difficult for this man.  Jesus wanted him to know what the cost would be for him to actually do what he claimed.  There are things in life that are difficult for each person that desires to be a disciple of Jesus.  What is it that you have trouble placing at the feet of Jesus in order to whole heartedly follow Him as an obedient disciple?  Pray for us as each day we desire to once again commit ourselves fully to following Jesus.

We are praising God that the Home of God’s Love was able to hire a head social worker.  We are still waiting from to hear for certain from the government that her credentials and experience do satisfy the requirements.  Hopefully, this will mean that the Home of God’s Love will be able to keep their adoption license.

Jon Ralls was not able to have a PET scan this past week.  He was able to have a CT scan on Jan. 22nd.  He is still waiting to hear the results.  Hopefully, there are no other places that show signs of cancer or some other problem and that the lymph nodes in his neck are decreasing in size.

This Sunday we will have guests at our house church.  May Wu and two others from her discipleship group will be visiting from Kaohsiung.  May’s sister and husband that live nearby us will be joining us for lunch.  May’s sister & brother-in-law are not Christians yet.  Pray that today will be just the beginning of our relationship with them.  We hope to point them to Jesus.

We also are rejoicing with Philip and Bethany as they now have their fourth daughter.  She was born on the 17th of January.  Her name is Amelia Jasmine White.  Thank you for praying for them as they adjust to life with four little ones.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl


1.  Please pray that we will be faithful disciples.

2.  Praise God that a head social

3.  Please continue to pray for Jon Ralls’ health.

4.  Please pray for the opportunity to begin a relationship with May Wu’s sister and family.

5.  Praise God for Amelia Jasmine White our fourth granddaughter.

January 17, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.  Ps. 127:3 NLT

Our children whether sons or daughters are certainly God’s gifts and blessings to us.  They are also a trust.  God is giving to us the most precious gift, a life that is meant to bring honor and glory to God.  When our little children frustrate us or step on our toes, or newly polished shoes, it might help to remember how precious they are to God.  The same thing goes for the head strong teenager or pre-teen that is trying to figure out life and how to be respectful while making their own decisions.  Each and everyone is precious in the eyes of God.  Pray that we keep this in mind with our own children and the one God brings to us for periods of time to invest in as well.  Join us in praying that Alaina & Nikki’s parents will see that their children are gifts from God for them to care for and enjoy as they grow up.

Pray for Jon Ralls, our field coordinator.  He has swelling in his neck that appears to be in the lymph nodes.  He was supposed to have a PET scan this past week, but the insurance company was unwilling to pay for the scan.  The doctor is trying to persuade the insurance company to pay for the test.  Pray that the insurance company will allow payment for the test.  Pray as well that Jon be healed by the Lord and he not have cancer or something else.

Pray for August Cox, a young man coming to Taiwan to intern with our team.  He is ready to come except for his visa.  He has applied, but now is waiting to receive it.  Pray that his visa application will be processed quickly so that he can arrive soon.

Continue to pray for the Home of God’s Love to be able to keep their adoption license.  A head social worker still needs to be hired to fulfill the requirements of the government.  It is difficult to find someone that meets the criteria.  Pray the Lord will provide the right person.

Pray for Bethany and the little one she is carrying.  Her due date has past.  They will be inducing this weekend.  Pray that everything will go well whether she comes naturally or through being induced.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for us all to see the blessing for our children.  Pray especially for Alaina & Nikki’s parents to desire to raise their children themselves.

2.  Please pray for Jon Ralls to be able to have the needed to scan of his lymph nodes.

3.  Please pray for August Cox to receive his visa soon.

4.  Please pray for the Home of God’s Love to be able to hire a head social worker very soon.

5.  Please pray for Bethany & her baby as she prepares to be induced this weekend.

January 10, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“He said to them, ‘Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.’”  Nehemiah 8:10

Ezra, Nehemiah, and other Levites had been explaining the Law of Moses as it was being read to the people.  The response of the people had been one of sadness and remorse as they realized how they and their ancestors had broken God’s law.  These same leaders encouraged the people not to be sad, but instead take strength from the joy of knowing God’s law.  God actually loved them enough to give them a law that would protect them and provide for them both spiritually and physically.  We need to remember the joy that comes with knowing Christ as our Savior and Lord everyday, so that we attract people to God with that unending joy.  Pray with us to find strength in the Lord to face everyday with joy as our expression.

We have just finished up teaching in the public schools for the first semester.  The students are now studying for their finals before Chinese New Year.  We are praying for God to use the lessons we teach to draw these students and teachers to Himself.  Chad and Derik were able to connect with several students from the Dong Shan High School outside of school time during Christmas & New Years.  Please pray that we will be able to have more opportunities to meet with these students outside of school and that these meetings will lead to discipleship groups.

Our team will be hosting an intern, August Cox, for about six months, and he hopes to arrive in Taiwan around the end of January.  He is presently acquiring his visa and finishing all his preparations to come.  August believes that God is calling him to mission work somewhere.  He also enjoys working with video production.  He should be a lot of help with the English video series we are producing to teach biblical character traits in the schools.  Pray for August as he prepares to come to Taiwan.

We asked you to pray for a little one that was burned a few weeks back.  Her name is Nora.  She is doing well.  We thank you for praying for her, but ask that you continue to pray as she heals.

Thank you for praying for our family as we foster Alaina & Nikki.  They both are doing better with their colds.  We keep talking about how to foster them and meet all of our other commitments.  Sometimes it is a real challenge to find the energy needed and the time to do everything well.  We ask that you pray with us that the parents will desire to care for the girls themselves and will be able to do so before we need to go to the US for the summer.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for us to live our lives in the strength & joy of the Lord.

2.  Please pray that our work in the schools will lead to establishing discipleship groups.

3.  Please pray for August Cox as he prepares to come to Taiwan for an internship.

4.  Please continue to pray for Nora as she heals from her burns.

5.  Thank you for praying for Alaina, Nikki, and our family.

January 3, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!  And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

As we all think about the new year and new beginnings, we should be reminded that all who are in Christ have been remade in Him.  We have a life to live that has been freed from sin and its power.  We have a life to live that is not weighed down in shame from sin.  We instead, can live life with joy and peace as we share the blessings of this new life with others.  Challenge yourself everyday to live as this new creation that is not held back by your old life of sin.  Don’t believe the lies satan tells you about how your past still controls you.  Believe in the one who has reconciled you to Himself through Christ!

Saturday morning our team had a planning meeting.  We were writing our Field Ministry Plan (FMP).  It went very well.  We have all felt like our team was kind of treading water in the ocean with lots of waves since the school year began.  We were just trying to keep doing what was being done before all the changes had taken place on the team.  Now we all feel a greater sense of purpose as a group.  We have more work to do on our Field Ministry Plan, but we are all excited to get it finished and to work toward meeting our goals.  Pray with us as we try to make plans that will stretch us and honor God.

We ask that you continue to pray for our relationship with the Lin family, Samantha Sanford’s parents.  We really want to be able to start a discipleship group with them.  Pray that God will direct us as to how to move forward.

Please continue to pray for us as we foster Alaina & Nikki.  They are precious little girls, but they do take lots of energy.  Lately, colds and flus have been going around the community and our family has not escaped them.  Please pray that we can all get well soon.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Praise God that we all are made new in Christ.

2.  Please pray with us as our team continues to work on our Field Ministry Plan.

3.  Please pray for our relationship with the Lin family to grow.

4.  Please pray for our family as we foster Alaina & Nikki.