Just another Teamexpansion.org Blogs weblog

October 14, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.  At the same time pray for us too, that God may open a door for the message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may make it known as I should.”  Co. 4:2-4

Paul is seen by many as the premier evangelist in the scriptures.  One of the major reasons might be found in these verses.  He asks for prayer for two specifics items.  First, that God would provide opportunities to proclaim Christ.  Second, he asks for prayer that he would present the Gospel message as he should.  These two prayer requests show both his recognition of the need for God’s help in evangelism and his personal need to speak it forth properly.  This could mean that his method and tone are both received well by his audience.  It could also mean something else, but it certainly gives us reason to consider whether we are as concerned about how we present the Gospel as Paul.  Pray with us that God would open doors of opportunity for the Gospel and that we would present the Gospel as we ought.

John hopes to be able to visit Mr. Jiang in at his home this coming week.  John and he talked the past week and the previous week.  God continues to work on Mr. Jiang’s heart.  Please pray that God will provide an opportunity for both John & Cheryl to build trust with the whole Jiang family.

We are slowly building stronger relationships with the children and staff at the Home of God’s Love.  Some of the youth have very soft hearts, while others have built up larger walls to protect themselves from hurt.  Please pray that God will give wisdom to everyone involved a the HoGL as to how to help all the children to realize the love of God.

Thank you for praying for our family.  Cheryl had a good and safe trip with the school board to Cambodia.  God provided and opportunity for her to conect a staff person at the hotel with a young Chinese believer there.  Please pray that his interest in Christianity will grow.

We just had a few days of R&R at the beach with Andrew & Moriah.  We had two days of great beach weather and a day of game playing while it rained.  PTL!

Thank you for praying for the ministry in Taiwan.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for an open door for the Gospel and that we will speak the truth well.

2.  Please pray for an opportunity to visit the Jiang family in their home.

3.  Please pray for wisdom for everyone working at the HoGL.

4.  Thank you for praying for Cheryl’s travel to Cambodia.  Pray as well for the gentleman she met at hotel.

5.  Praise the Lord for the opportunity to spend time with Andrew & Moriah.

 

September 30, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because I must stay at your house today.” So he came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully. And when the people saw it, they all complained, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I now give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household, because he too is a son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:5-10

Most of us like the story of Zaccheus.  Most of us have our own idea of how it all unfolded.  Did Jesus walk right up under the tree stop and then look up at Zaccheus for the first time?  Did Jesus make eye contact while he was still a little distance away from the tree allowing Zaccheus the opportunity to run if he wanted?  It does not really matter, what does matter is that Jesus accepted Zacchues as he was.  That unconditional acceptance changed Zaccheus from the inside out.  His heart was changed, therefore he made a plan to act righteously and generously to those around him.  What difference might we make in someone if we just accept them as they are unconditionally?  Pray with us to be accepting of others as Jesus was.

We are asking God to direct us concerning how we should use our time in ministry here in Luodong.  We plan to give The Home of God’s Love, THOGL, a portion of our time each week, but still use the larger portion for church planting.  Actually, we do see some areas where these two overlap, but we still need God’s help making the best choices with our time.  People have lots of good suggestions for us to consider, but we want to choose what is best and not be satisfied with just what is good.  Please pray with us as we consider our ministry plans for this season.

Cheryl is with the Morrison Academy School Board this week in Cambodia for an international school conference.  She left on Friday and will return next Friday.  They have a busy schedule this coming week.  Please pray that much will be accomplished and for their safety.

Tomorrow morning John will be leading the youth Sunday school class at THOGL.  Please pray that John will be attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as he directs this time.

Our former co-worker here in Taiwan, Jon Raals is finishing his fourth round of chemotherapy.  The plan is for a total of 6 rounds of treatment.  Jon has done well so far.  Please pray that the next test will show that the cancer is already completely gone.

1.  Please pray that God would work on our heats to be accepting of others as Jesus was.

2.  Please pray that we will listen to God’s guidance as we make ministry choices.

3.  Please pray for Cheryl as she is in Cambodia this week.

4.  Please pray for John as he leads the jr. & sr. high Sunday school class at THOGL tomorrow.

5.  Please continue to pray for Jon Ralls as he continues taking chemotherapy and that his cancer will be completely gone.

September 17, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Therefore do not let what you consider good be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people.”  Romans 14:17 NET

The Kingdom of God is more concerned with the salvation of men than it is me preferences.  We need to learn to discern whether what we choose to eat, or how we choose to dress is offensive to those around us.  This has application to both evangelism and discipleship.  I need to learn not to offend people to whom I am trying to witness with my cultural habits.  If how I choose to dress or the way I address people offends them, then they will not hear the words of truth I say to them.  In the same way, my habits of dress or things I say may seem disrespectful to a brother or sister in Christ.  This might cause a disruption in a congregation.  I should be willing to sacrifice my preference or freedom for the sake of the peace in a congregation.  Pray with us as we consider again how our being different from those around us can both draw people toward Christ or turn them away.

We ask that you continue to pray as we make ministry plans with the Sanfords and the Skiles.  We are getting a few things in place in our schedule, but people are starting to ask us about Bible studies and serving at schools.  We need to take time to pray and make a plan that helps us choose the best opportunities to serve.

Please pray for Grace Lin, a college age girl, at the Gospel Christian Church in Luodong.  She has something in the her upper jaw bone that is causing the bone to disintegrate.  She is to have a biopsy on Monday morning around 8:00.  She and her mom are both Christians, but her father is not.  Please lift Grace and her family up before the Lord.

We, like you, are praying hard for the people in the US & Canada who have lost so much due to the fires and the storms.  We also have been praying for people in India & Bangladesh where terrible flooding has happened as well.  Join us in praying that God’s people will not only share their possessions and time, but also the hope they have in Jesus.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we seek God’s wisdom as we enter into this community as His ambassadors.

2.  Please continue to pray as we seek to make ministry plans that will provide the most growth for the Kingdom of God.

3.  Please pray for Grace Lin and her family as she has a biopsy Monday morning.

4.  We join you in praying for all those around the world who have lost so much from natural disasters in recent weeks.

August 27, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“But above all pursue his kingdom  and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”  Matt. 6:33-34

Sometimes it is necessary to remind ourselves of certain truths that we have known for a long time.  When our lives are in the midst of transition and change it is easy to concentrate more on what is changing instead of what is certain and unchanging.  God’s Word and promises never change and they never fail.  We have the idea that because our circumstances are changing we need to concentrate the most on these circumstances.  Actually, when we choose to focus on God and His truth first then our circumstances that are changing come into perspective.  Afterwards they do not seem as big or difficult.  Pray with us to learn to always focus on God’s unchanging truth and Word first and foremost.

We are just getting settled into our house in Lotung, but God is already providing opportunities for potential ministry.  Mr. Jiang came over to help us install cabinets that we brought with us.  We have known his family for several years. He shared about his son having a type of depression and afraid of being in public.  The Jiang family started attending worship at a local church seeking help.  He feels like it has helped their family some, but his son still has a long way to go.  He invited us to come to his home and is considering hosting a small group there.

We need to work out what our responsibilities will be at the Home of God’s Love.  We also need to make plans with the Sanford family concerning our ministry plans to continue making disciples that make disciples.  We ask that you join us in seeking God’s direction with these plans.

We are getting close to having our house set-up.  Andrew and Moriah are beginning to get into a routine at school and in the dorm.  Andrew is very busy already with school and soccer, and Moriah is pretty busy with volleyball practice and her classes as well.  Please continue to pray with us as we finish setting up our new home and our children settle into school.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we learn to focus on God’s unchanging truth, His Word.

2.  Please pray for the Jiang family as they seek to know God and desire healing for their family.

3.  Please pray for us, the Skiles, & the Sanfords as we make ministry plans.

4.  Please pray for our family as Andrew & Moriah settle into new school and dorm routines and as we continue setting up our home.

August 6, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“I look up toward the hills. From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth! … The Lord will protect you in all you do, now and forevermore.”  Ps. 121:1-2, 8

We, like the psalmist, know from where our help comes.  Our great and awesome God is the source of all our help.  He is the One who gives us all good things!  He is our Redeemer.  When we have problems He is the one who gives us wisdom or sends someone to help.  He is faithful.  Here in Taiwan we see people looking everywhere for help, but they don’t even know from where the good things of this life come.  They look to Buddha, a myriad of Taoist gods, their ancestors, the government, their family & friends, or just themselves.  Everyone of these fail them at some point.  They have no real and true hope.  Join us in praying for the people of Taiwan to come to know the true source of hope and help for now and for eternity.

We are excited to know that several campers from the Taichung area are choosing to meet each week for worship.  Others are taking up the daily Bible reading challenge from the S&E Camp FB page as well.  Please keep praying for all of these precious people.

Our co-worker, Chuck Johnston, was married this summer after being widowed three years ago.  He and his new bride Darla arrived on Taiwan this week.  It is her first time here.  He will be preaching at the Community Church of Taichung, where he serves, today.  They still have a lot to work through visa wise, and just adjustments in life.  Please pray for them as they seek the Lord’s direction.

Summer brings a lot of good time as our mission youth return from being at college, but even this good thing must end.  Plus often another one heads off to college.  Bethanie & Zackary Pagel both left this past week for college.  Zack will be a freshman and Bethanie a senior.  Caitlyn Edwards will leave this week as well.  She will be a junior.  Jack Widener moved to the US in June to begin college as well.  Please pray for each of these families as they experience the changes that go along with their children going off to college.

We continue to ask for your prayers concerning our move.  We still have things to pack up before the moving truck comes this Wednesday.  We will be taking two van loads of things over on Monday.  We hope that it will not rain as there is a long walk between the house and the parking area for the truck.  We also pray that no one will get hurt while moving anything.

Thank you for always lifting us up in prayer.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for the people of Taiwan to learn of the source of true hope and help in this life and for eternity.

2.  Please pray for the campers to remain faithful to their commitments.

3.  Please pray for our co-worker Chuck Johnston and his new wife Darla.

4.  Please pray for our mission’s college age children as they start college soon.

5.  Please pray for a good and safe moving day on Wednesday.

July 23, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“If you love me, you will obey my commandments.  Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever –  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. … “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does.  Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.”  John 14:15-17, 27

Jesus asks His followers to be committed to him by keeping His commandments.  He also promised them to send the Holy Spirit who would help His followers.  One specific benefit of having the Holy Spirit is the peace that He brings.  It is a peace that only God can give.  It is a peace that remains even when times are difficult and scary.  It is a peace that is tied to our being secure in the arms of our God.  He will not let us go.  He will protect us in the fiercest storms and from the strongest of enemies.  Why then do we live without courage to face sickness, death, stressful situations, lack of friends or support, ….  The peace that Jesus gives cannot be destroyed by anyone or anything.  Join us in praying for courage as we love Jesus and obey His commands.

Thank you for praying for this past week of camp.  There were 20 campers that  stayed at the decision time to ask questions and learn more about becoming disciples of Jesus.  No one was baptized yet.  We know that some desire to be baptized, but their parents are not willing to allow them at this time.  Our team is seeking to connect as many of our campers as possible with our missionaries and Taiwanese co-workers through out the island. Please continue to pray for these youth as they continue to seek God.

Some of our US staff from camp is leaving today, but most will fly back to the US on Monday and Tuesday.  Please pray for their safety as they travel on island and as they return to the US.  They all came with an attitude to serve the youth at camp.  We are so grateful for them!

Our family has the annual Taiwan Missionary Fellowship conference this coming week.  After the conference we will be packing up our house and moving things to our new house in Lo-tung.  We hope to have all of our stuff moved by August 9th or 10th.  Please pray for us during this busy time.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Pray that we have courage to be obedient to all of Jesus commands.

2.  Pray that the campers will continue to seek God.

3.  Pray for the staff from the States as they travel home over the next few days.

4.  Pray for our family as we pack-up our belongings and move over the next few weeks.

July 16, 2017 Prayer Note

July 16, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“O Lord, my sheltering rock and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14c

The Lord is the only One that can truly protect and redeem us.  During the storms of life He is the one that can keep us from being destroyed for eternity.  He is the only One that can save my soul from the effects of my sinful actions.  He is the only One that can keep me safe for eternity.

Rejoice with us and the angels over three baptisms at camp, Jevons, Eric, & Charlie.  Charlie & Eric are brothers.  Kevin continues to desire to be baptized, but his parents are unwilling to allow him. These young men desire to make God their rock and redeemer.  About 20 others at decision time stayed to ask lots of questions and are still seeking to understand who God is.  Please continue to pray for these precious young people.

We praise God for a very good first week of camp.  Many of these youth were 8th, 9th, & 10th graders.  They had very little knowledge about God, Jesus, or the Bible.  It was slow going at first, but by the end of the week many of them were asking good questions.  Please pray that they continue to seek God.

We are also grateful that all of our staff of the second week are here safe and sound.  With just a little rest we start another week Sunday afternoon.  Please pray for all of us to have the strength and stamina necessary to invest in the lives of these students.

Thanks for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Rejoice with us over the decisions made at camp this past week.

2.  Praise God for the first week of camp going very well.  Pray that the students will continue to seek God.

3.  Praise God that all of our staff arrived safely.  Pray that we all will have the strength needed for the week.

July 9, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“But other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.  The one who has ears had better listen!”  Matt. 13:8&9

Jesus ends the telling of the parable with an imperative.  He wants to make sure people are paying attention, but to what?  Since the seed refers to the Word of God,  He wants us to realize the importance of the Word of God and the potential affect it can have in our lives.  It is a potential affect since that it is dependent upon how we choose to receive it.  If we choose not to believe it there will be no change in our lives, but if we do believe it and let it take root and grow the change will be astounding.  Join us in praying for us to continue to receive the Word of God as truth everyday that we made be changed to be more like Jesus.

We continue to ask that you pray for S&E Camp.  Most of our staff from the  US for the first week have already arrived.  We praise God for their safety.  We ask that you continue to pray daily for everyone involved in camp both campers and staff.  Like any week of camp it is tiring.  We need strength and endurance.  We also need hearts & minds that are focused on being Jesus to these campers.  The campers need to be able to set aside their concerns and troubles so that they can hear the truth and be changed.

John will be preaching this morning at the Community Church of Taichung, so please be keeping him in prayer as he delivers the message from God’s Word to the people there.  Our good friend, team mate, and current minister at CCT is in the US for his annual trip back there to see family and friends.  This year is a little special though.  After losing his dear wife, Molly, three and a half years ago to cancer, Chuck is now engaged to a Godly, beautiful lady named Darla and they are trying to get everything in order to get married and return to Taiwan together.  Therefore, his trip to the states has been extended indefinitely and John is getting the opportunity to preach in his place this morning.  Praise the Lord for his answer to prayers here!

Remember Samantha Sanford’s mom who was baptized into the Lord Jesus last April?  Now, this beautiful lady is also going to be helping us out at camp these next two weeks.  Besides the work that she does in a bakery from 2:30 pm to 11:30 pm daily, four mornings this week she will be helping to take care of the little ones who belong to our faculty.  She has already gone with Cheryl to help buy some of the items needed for cooking class these two weeks, and continues to praise Jesus all along the way.  Praise the Lord that she is being strengthened in her faith and is such an example of God’s love to everyone she meets!

Please pray for our friend and past co-worker Jon Ralls.  He was diagnosed with cancer a couple weeks ago.  Jon began his chemotherapy this week.  He continues to have a great attitude toward life and a great focus on the work of the Kingdom of God.  Jon and his wife Amy have two sons and a daughter.  Please keep them all covered in your prayers.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Pray that we be willing to hear the Word of God and be changed by it.

2.  Pray for the staff and the campers of S&E Camp to be greatly affected by the Word of God.

3.  Pray for John as he preaches this morning at CCT.

4.  Praise the Lord that Samantha’s mom is growing in the Lord!

5.  Pray for Jon Ralls and his family as he takes chemotherapy.

July 2, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Abraham looked up and saw behind him a ram caught in the bushes by its horns. So he went over and got the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.  And Abraham called the name of that place ‘The Lord provides.’  It is said to this day, ‘In the mountain of the Lord provision will be made.’”  Gen. 22:13-14 NET

Just a little while before the events in the verses above Abraham stated that God would provide the sacrifice.  Abraham knew God had given or provided him Isaac and everything else that he had.  He knew that if Isaac was to be killed that God could bring him back to life.  God had caused Abraham and Sarah’s old bodies to be able to produce life.  Why not give life back to his son?  He trusted in God to be faithful to His promise that Isaac was his heir through whom which his descendants would come, however He chose.  Abraham had learned to trust God even when he could not know how God would provide.  That is the crux of the question for each disciple.  Will we trust God even when we don’t know how He will accomplish His promises?  Join us in praying for faith to trust God to provide His promises.

We are trusting God to provide all that is needed to finish up preparations for S&E Camp.  This week will be a flurry of activity.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday our team has set aside as work days for camp.  Staff from the States begin to arrive today in order to help.  We continue to ask that you lift up all the preparations for camp and for the hearts and minds of the faculty and campers.

Tonight will be John’s last meeting with the Jang family until the end of the month.  Mr. Jang is getting to closer to making a decision concerning Christ.  He sees so many things clearly in scripture, but he is still allowing people and traditional religious practices concerning the recent deaths to control his decision.  Pray that he will give in to the influence of the Holy Spirit to trust God more than his traditions.

We are excited to tell you that God has provided us with a house to rent in Lotung within the budget that we had set.  We will be saving about $180.00 US a month on our rent over our present situation.  This will help with the dorm bill for Andrew & Moriah.  We are so glad to have this decision made before camp. Praise the Lord!

Thank you for praying with us concerning all of these matters.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we learn to trust God in all situations to provide what He has promised.

2.  Please pray all the preparations for S&E Camp and for everyone working at and attending camp.

3.  Please pray for Mr. Jang to choose Christ as His Lord and Savior.

4.  Join us in praising God for a place to live in Lotung.

June 25, 2017 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  Psalm 23:1

O’ to be able to actually live believing this is true!  Consider the implications for your life.  You would not be nearly as concerned about the size of your pay check.  You would not worry about how to come up with the money for tuition, or insurance payments.  You would not be finding yourself coveting what is sitting in your neighbor’s garage.  You would be much more generous.  You would fear so little.  You would be joyful!  It is possible that just living like you believe this one verse could so change your life, that the you actually draw people to God by your lifestyle.  Wow!  I think that is the point of many scriptures.  When we honor God with faith in Him to provide, people will notice and be drawn to us and then to God.  Pray with us to learn to believe this verse is true for all areas of life.

This past week at the Jang’s home we discussed the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  This story is particularly challenging for people who have not yet committed their lives to Jesus and have family that have already passed away.  Mr. Jang was thinking a lot about the meaning of the story.  He is so close to becoming a Christian, yet there are still some stumbling blocks.  Pray that Mr. Jang will be willing to trust Jesus so that these stumbling blocks can be moved away.

We ask that you continue to pray for Sports & English Camp.  The first week starts in just two weeks.  Continue to pray for the hearts of both campers and faculty as we prepare to live together for a week at a time.  May the campers be willing to learn from God’s Word.  May we as faculty be willing to allow the Spirit to guide what we say and do, so as to have the greatest impact on the lives of these youth.

We are continuing to look for a house to rent in Lotung.  We are challenged to trust God to provide a house that is suitable for us at the proper time.  We would prefer it to be sooner rather than later as we will be busy much of July and would like to find a house before camp begins.  Please pray with us as we wait on God and believe that we lack nothing!

Thank you for being with us in this ministry through prayer.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Pray that we learn to fully trust that as children of God, lacking nothing.

2.  Pray that Mr. Jang will be willing to trust Jesus with his life.

3.  Pray for all the campers and faculty of S&E Camp.

4.  Pray that we will trust God to provide the right house at the right time.