October 11, 2017

Double Door Opening in Beijing

Autumn Greetings from Beijing!                                                                October 2017
We are encouraged by the Lord’s double blessings in recent days – our work visa was extended and permission for our church to operate was granted - both for one more year. (They only give one year at a time!)  We praise the Lord and thank you for your generous prayers and support which have kept us going strong here. We have entered our ninth year in Beijing…


In Beijing International Christian Fellowship our sign of Autumn is lots of new people! Students from many nations, coming to attend the 82 Universities in our neighborhood, are finding out there is a church in China! Some who hid their Bibles in their luggage weep tears of joy when they can openly gather to sing His praises. Not-yet-Christians who never dared investigate Jesus  and the Bible at home are coming to find friendship.

We just finished our first International Student Camp. October 1 is China’s “National Day” and the whole week is off for most of the nation. Isn’t God wonderful to slot an empty week for these students cooped-up from their first month of studies, ready to bust out and have some fun!
We had 63 people from 31 countries, about 10 seekers. One student said, “Jesus is the gateway to ultimate success. He is the ultimate success.” Another who is not yet a follower of Jesus said, “if this is the Christian life, to be so peaceful, one has to be Christian.” Praise the Lord for this time of gospel growth.

Having the motto “Gathering, Growing, Going” has helped focus our church. Though good-byes don’t feel good sometimes, we can rejoice that we’ve had a small part in equipping many for
Kingdom-service in distant lands for many years, we pray. It was bittersweet to bid farewell to Chukwunweike Okeke. He returned home to Nigeria a Ph.D. in Pharmacology, a Church Elder, a faithful expository preacher, and a dear brother in the Lord. We will miss him! On a happy note, faithful Daniel from Ghana who served in every possible ministry during the four years of his Bachelor’s program, is back for his M.A for three more years of studying, serving, and growing in the Lord.!

 Dayna has led “Sister2Sister” for more than three years now. Each month women from different nations and generations share life together. The group has been a catalyst to start a Book Club, Guitar Class, and a Read-through-the-Bible group. Later this month they will hold a retreat.


Pray for them as they plan for Bible teaching and fellowship. Mark recently photo-bombed them…
This Fall Mark is preaching through Romans on Sunday nights and Genesis 37-50, in the mornings. We started Genesis 1 in 2010, the end is in sight!

Later this month we plan to spend a long weekend in another city in China. A family from our church here moved there several years ago. As they left I shared with him that since their city had no international church, they should pray about getting one started. They had served here faithfully - teaching Sunday school, small group leaders, an excellent Preacher, Deacon… Well, the new international church there has been meeting for several months! A team of leaders has formed. And, now we’re invited to come see and share! Jesus is still building His Church!
Next month we hope to visit our son Josiah and granddaughter Maylee in Almaty, Kazakhstan. We connected church leaders there with the founder of www.passionlife.org who became a friend through his visits and teaching here. So, he’s asked us to come along and make some introductions for the Gospel-focused, Christ-centered, Pro-Life teaching he will share with leaders there in November. We are happy to do so – it is wonderful news! We look forward to sharing again with dear friends in the churches we served there for eleven years.


Mark is also scheduled to teach two classes in November, “Leadership” for our Tuesday Training program and “Life and Work of the Pastor” for our BICF Seminary. (We’re scratching our heads trying to “re-brand” that course since everyone knows Pastors don’t work…or have a life! Suggestions appreciated!!)  


In August we saw our sons and grandsons and daughter in law Heather. Here Kekoa (3 in January!) is with his dad Nathan while his brother Makana (6 months now!) enjoy time with “Funcle” Aaron. (“Fun Uncle”!)
In these days of storms, earthquakes, and rumors of war it is so good to know Jesus and the eternal promises of His saving grace. We are privileged here to have a front row seat to see “the blessing of Abraham” transform peoples of all nations. Be encouraged friends, Jesus wins!

In the joy of our King, Mark and Dayna Blair

Our Mission  Pioneers - 10123 William Carey Dr - Orlando, FL 32832 USA   

Checks to ‘Pioneers’ – with attached note: ‘Mark and Dayna Blair, Beijing.’                     
(Our Account # is 110565, Mark and Dayna Blair)


Blog  www.blairstan.blogspot.com  Skype  blairstan  New Site  www.pastormarkblair.org

Our Ministry Beijing International Christian Fellowship www.bicf.org/zgc
                                                                                                                     
BICF Sermon App for Apple or Android: www.bicf.org/#app   (ZGC Sermon Tab)




July 12, 2017

Mao's Home Town

Dear Brothers and Sisters!
 We are so grateful for your prayers and support that keep us going here in Beijing. We praise the Lord that He is doing wonderful things in our midst.
 
 As is normal for our church, about a third of our members are leaving in these summer weeks. The only way we can keep ourselves from inconsolable grief is to remember that’s why we’re here! Our motto is “Gathering, Growing, and Going”! With 82 Universities and more than a million students (100,000 Internationals from over 100 countries) in our neighborhood, we have a big pond to fish from! We see our mission as equipping young leaders from around the world who are getting higher degrees here to be Kingdom workers in their homelands. But it is hard to say good-bye to loved ones we have served the Lord with, some for 7 or 8 years….Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD’s straight through…
 Here are some specific praises…
 
 Dayna was part of a small team to the home town of our church Administrator to share the love of Christ with hundreds of young students. Terry, our Administrator grew up in this city which is the hometown of Chairman Mao. There is no church there! So no gospel witness! Our invitation was to come and share English language. Our little team of four was from Hawaii, England, Ghana, and China. But how can you share “English” without citing the Book that has most-shaped the English language/civilization? 😊 So, they had lots of friendly and well-received times of sharing about our Lord.
 The leaders of the four schools they visited are eager for us to send more teams! Pray for our future relationships.





Other things going on here that we ask you to pray for…

Praise for the new connections we have made with one of the migrant schools in Beijing. Pray for wisdom as to how we might best meet their needs with our church’s skill set and time allowances.

Praise God for the 40 people who attended the “Ready to Return Home” seminar in late June. Pray they and all those leaving Beijing will transition well back into their home cultures and get connected to healthy churches.

The small Portuguese Bible study group has been meeting. Pray for Lidia leading, that they'll keep going and support one another.

The French “Alpha” group has also been meeting. Pray for Ruth leading this, that students will turn to Christ and grow in him.

Pray our Int’l Students “Summer Fun” will build community and reach students outside our fellowship.

Pray for our 2 International Student Ministry interns, Yueying and Heather, who are doing a 6 week summer internship - that they will grow in Christ and their love for international students.


Here are with our “daughter” from Uruguay. She met Jesus in our church two years ago. I baptized her. She is a vibrant, enthusiastic, always-talking-about-Jesus, growing believer! She often brings not-yet-Christians to church and small group meetings. She just received a scholarship from her University for her program next year (majoring in Mandarin!). She is translating a Christian book into Mandarin for her graduation project. This is creating lots of good discussions with her professors.


Gratefully in Him, Mark and Dayna Blair



May 16, 2017

Singing in the Streets

Summertime Greetings from Beijing!                                                      June 2017

We hope this letter finds you rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord. We too give thanks for His sustaining mercy and the many doors of Gospel-opportunity He continues to open for us here in the Capital of the world’s most populous nation. Here is some of what we have been doing the last couple of months…

Leader’s Retreat / “Serve the City”

In April we enjoyed an overnight in the hills outside the city with a number of our Beijing International Christian Fellowship Zhong Guan Cun ministry leaders. We were blessed to have Jerry McCarty (in the plaid shirt next to Dayna) from “Serve the City.” He did a great 



job letting us know ways their organization is helping to advance the Kingdom of God in word and deed in 100 cities around the world. Pray with us in ZGC for the His wisdom as we want to faithfully share the compassion of Jesus with our city.

Women’s Retreat

One weekend in May Dayna joined with 80 ladies from around the world on a BICF Retreat. She was a Small Group leader and really enjoyed the time of sharing and growing together. The theme was “Covenant Relationships” and lots of good friendships were formed.


The Chinese man who owns the hotel/resort where the ladies stayed was especially interested in their Bible studies. As they were leaving he asked if they could send a Bible teacher for his 80 employees to learn the wisdom of this Ancient Book! We connected with a brother who lives nearby, pray for God to open hearts as the Word is opened!

Great Friday

As one-third of the members BICF ZGC leave every year, there are few traditions! One that has stuck for several years has been reflecting on the saving work of our Lord by hearing His “seven words from the cross” on Good Friday. Here are this year’s seven preachers. They did a great job taking us back to that awesome “ground zero” with fresh eyes of faith. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

I had the joy of baptizing Kwame, standing next to me in the front row, on Easter 2016. This year he declared “It is Finished!” By the grace of our Lord, he just became the first citizen of Ghana to earn a Ph.D. in China’s prestigious Tsinghua University! Pray for him and all those who return home.

Biggest Baptism!

Easter Sunday we joined with the Church around the world rejoicing in our Risen Lord. It was a special joy to baptize the largest number of new believers since we began serving here in 2009. Young brothers and sisters from Uganda, Ghana, Viet Nam, China, Indonesia, Mauritius, Mozambique, and USA professed their faith in Him who died and rose again. The young lady from China seen here reading her testimony joked about how all her classmates in Canada mispronounced her name….not sure if I got it right when I baptized her! 

Clara, on the far right, is a first-year student from Mozambique who speaks very little English. Lydia, standing behind Clara, is a fifth-year student from Mozambique who has learned English AND Mandarin and came to faith in Jesus here in China! So Lydia now brings a bunch of Portuguese speakers every Sunday and translates for them. Clara heard AND HEARD and decided, even if she could not understand the pastor (few can!), it was time for her to take her stand of faith in baptism. Prior to interviewing Clara for baptism I had no idea we had this Portuguese flock! Now we have supplied them with discipleship and evangelistic materials in Portuguese. And now a small group of 8 meets weekly in Portuguese. Pray for them as they just found an entire dorm floor of a nearby Uni is filled with all Portuguese speakers!


Like any church we enjoy the random surprises of just who God will bring on any given Sunday. In a city of 24 million, we get a lot! Easter Sunday 300 of our 650 worshippers walked to a nearby University dining hall for a 10-course lunch (for just $ 5 usd!) after service. Dayna’s table had a family of Samoans who “just happened” to be in Beijing on Easter. (Momma, hands on her 12 year-old daughter’s shoulders.) Her other daughter, far left, seems to have found a friend in one of our Samoa young men who just became member of our church (he is a University student).

Julia, in the beige coat is a dentist from here, newly returned from living several years in the States (where she came to faith in Jesus). Easter Sunday she told Dayna the Lord put a burden on her heart to offer dental care to any of our students in need. Then that afternoon Anne, a student from Kenya, confided in Dayna that she has been struggling for several months about how she might get her teeth fixed!! Introductions were promptly made, and Anne is smiling pretty again!

Forgiveness and Friendship

Our newly launched Japanese service has become a model of God’s restoring grace. They have been meeting for almost two months now, and the growing congregation (40 last Sunday). Our Japanese Pastor Kosei models reconciliation even in his marriage - to Ruth (from Korea!), they have three fine Japanese/Korean children who love the Lord. They have served here in China for 20 years, showing that love and forgiveness from Jesus transcend political bitterness and barriers. A growing number of Chinese Christians are learning Japanese and sensing a call to share the Gospel in Japan. Half of our newly forming congregation in ZGC are non-Japanese who want to reach Japanese! Pray for them.

There are a number of Japanese communities in this big country that are asking Kosei for his help. As far as we know he is the only Japanese Christian pastor in this nation of China! If you know any Japanese pastors…this is a Macedonian call!

Singing in the Streets for Easter!

After great worship and way too much good food, why not go sing the praises of the Risen Lord on the busy streets of Beijing? We did. No troubles. Lots of curiosity. And several sincere inquiries.

Faith@Work


With our congregation so full of University students, many doing graduate degrees, we feel the weight of equipping Kingdom workers for decades of service. And, like all believers, they will spend many more hours “on the job” than in a church. As they should! We want to encourage them to see their “calling” is to the make Christ known in the marketplace and public square. One Saturday in April we learned from four men who have been doing this for decades. Over 80 young adults “invested a day for a lifetime of Kingdom service.” And we then launched a monthly group that now meets to think and pray about Faith @ Work. 

 MICN in KL

The first four days of May we attended the Missional International Church Network meetings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (www.micn.org) We had the privilege of presenting a workshop to our colleagues entitled, “Integrating International Students & Returnees with International Churches: A Highly Strategic Interface.” We had a great discussion with fellow pastors from Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. God is moving people around the world, we’re hoping that more and more Christians see this as a Divine Opportunity to reach out with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

June Courses
This month of June Mark will teach two courses here. For our “Tuesday Training” program he will teach the “The Doctrine of Man: Who are we? What have we become? What can we be?” And for two weekends he will teach a course for the BICF Seminary, “Apologetics: Reasons for Our Hope - Defending and Commending the Christian Faith in Today’s Complex World.” Please pray for extra strength to teach and carry on with other preaching and pastoral duties this busy month.

It is also the time that many of our beloved students will graduate and return home. We rejoice that they’re following Him to carry the Gospel from “everywhere to everywhere.” We try to say “a hui hou! (see you again!)” but as they head off to distant times zone it can feel like good-bye! One day we will rejoice together in His presence with all the stories of His mighty works!

We pray you will have a fruitful summer in His service! We are so thankful for all your prayers and support that enable us to serve Him here in Beijing!

In the Wondrous Name of Jesus, Mark and Dayna Blair  

Our Mission  Pioneers - 10123 William Carey Dr - Orlando, FL 32832 USA  

Checks should be made out to ‘Pioneers’ – with a separate note attached saying: ‘Mark and Dayna Blair, Beijing.’                 
Electronic transfers can be sent to: https://give.pioneers.org/p-75-give-to-a-missionary-or-project.aspx  (Our Account # is 110565, Mark and Dayna Blair)

Our Email blairstan2@gmail.com  Or blairstan@psmail.net  (secure)

Our Blog  www.blairstan.blogspot.com  /  Skype  blairstan

Our Ministry Beijing International Christian Fellowship www.bicf.org/zgc
BICF Sermon App for Apple or Android: www.bicf.org/#app   (ZGC Sermon Tab)



,

March 25, 2017

Our Tribe is Growing

Spring-time Greetings from Beijing,                                                                      March 2017
A Precious Gift!


KaMakanaOKeAkua Blair was born 8 lbs. 5 oz. on March 15 in a birthing pool in their home in Portland, Oregon. Nathan and Heather and Kekoapomaika’i are rejoicing in their “Gift from God” (in Hawaiian)! We are too!!
We have jumped back into life and ministry here at Beijing International Christian Fellowship ZGC and things are going well. We thank the Lord for our faithful colleagues who carried the ministry forward well. Highlights were our Christmas outreach ministries. We had our 6th International Christmas Concert at nearby Haidian Church. For each of the two nights there was a full house (almost 1500 capacity), to receive the Gospel in song, drama, and proclamation. Then first the first time we held 2 Christmas Eve services because of the demand! Now Mark has jumped into the preaching Book of Judges in the morning, Gospel of John at night.

Our first Sunday back we hosted Mark’s Bible professor from Covenant College, Dr. Henry Krabbendam. He was a great encouragement. Our members greatly appreciated his preaching (morning and evening) and focused times with preachers and ministry leaders. He have a special connection as he has visited us in Uganda, Kazakhstan, and now Beijing!
Home Assignment Report
What can we say about the privilege of being in Hawaii…escaping Beijing winter…with such wonderful family, friends, and churches? It was delightful. The Lord allowed us to keep all our Sunday church appointments. It is very humbling to receive such faithful “aloha,” prayers, and support from such dear brothers and sisters. Words are not enough to express our deep appreciation. Thanks – Mahalo nui loa!! - for the hours of friendship, “ono” food, and warm hospitality.


In addition to Sunday services, we enjoyed many home visits. We made many new friends and met up with dear ones who have faithfully prayed for us for many years!
In February we were able to lead a workshop entitled “Is Jesus Enough?” in the “Demolishing Strongholds” conference sponsored by Evidences and Answers in Honolulu.  http://evidenceandanswers.org/
It was a special joy to have Nathan, Heather, and Kekoa spend their Christmas vacation with us in Hilo. And Josiah and Maylee were with us for two weeks in February, Maylee’s first visit to Hawaii.


We had lots of fun sharing in Maylee’s first time for wave riding, ocean canoeing, whale watching, and snorkeling – along with all the great food that she…and we…enjoyed!! There were lots of aunties, uncles, and cousins for Maylee to meet for the first time – see us at City Church in Honolulu (below).
And back on the other side of the world, Maylee just placed 3rd in all of Kazakhstan in Super G Women’s skiing! She is 13.   
Next month Maylee travels to St. Petersburg, Russia for schooling. Thanks for keeping her, and her Dad Josiah (who continues to work in Almaty, Kazakhstan).
Thanks for praying for our youngest son, Aaron, who still lives and works in Eugene, Oregon.

Spring Outreach
There are thousands of new International students who have come to Beijing for the new semester. A couple hundred have found their way to the English, Mandarin, Korean, and Indonesian services of our church. Next month we will add a 5th service, Japanese. A small group has been meeting for over a year, and our BICF Japanese pastor thinks its time for them to launch a church! Please pray with us that they will reach many from that mighty nation with so few followers of Jesus.
We now have Small Groups meeting on more than 20 University campuses around us, and new ones are forming on 3 more campuses! We have a great team that is guiding our small groups ministry.
As we finish the Book of Judges soon, I will begin preaching through Hebrews in the mornings. We plan to have Baptism in all of our services on Easter Sunday and a number are considering this step of faith.
Later in April we will have a Ministry Leaders short retreat. We plan to host and hear from a leader from “Serve the City” (https://www.servethecity.net/) and considering new ministry opportunities.
 In May we will travel to Kuala Lampur for the Missional International Church Network conference. (www.micn.org) We have been asked to co-present a workshop there on International Student Ministry with Leiton Chinn. From KL it is a short flight to Indonesia. We may have an opportunity to share in ministry in churches there, pray that the Lord will work out the details if He wills.
So we are “good busy” back here in Beijing. We continue to be staggered by how many people are here. And troubled to think that millions of our neighbors are utterly lost with no knowledge of the saving love of Jesus. Keep praying that God will pour out His Spirit of grace and mercy on this great nation.
Yours in the Lamb, Mark and Dayna Blair

Our Mission  Pioneers - 10123 William Carey Dr - Orlando, FL 32832 USA  

Checks should be made out to ‘Pioneers’ – with a separate note attached saying: ‘Mark and Dayna Blair, Beijing.’                 
Electronic transfers can be sent to: https://give.pioneers.org/p-75-give-to-a-missionary-or-project.aspx  (Our Account # is 110565, Mark and Dayna Blair)

Our Email blairstan2@gmail.com  Or blairstan@psmail.net  (secure)

Our Blog  www.blairstan.blogspot.com  /  Skype  blairstan

Our Ministry Beijing International Christian Fellowship www.bicf.org/zgc
BICF Sermon App for Apple or Android: www.bicf.org/#app   (ZGC Sermon Tab)




 

November 26, 2016

Thankful in Beijing

Happy Thanksgiving,                                                                    November 2016

We have much to thank the Lord for as we serve Him in Beijing! We’ve just enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner with 160 people from 45 nations. For more than half of them it was their first Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks to Dayna’s hard work we DID have pumpkin pies – 200 tart-sized tasty ones!


A number of our guests are not yet believers in Jesus, Buddhists from Southeast Asia, Muslims from Pakistan and India, and Atheists from China. I had the privilege of sharing a brief Thanksgiving Gospel message, some were hearing His Great News for the first time!


This month we followed September’s well-attended “Go for the Gold” day to challenge incoming students with “Giving Away the Gold,” an evangelism seminar. It is so encouraging to see believers who are eager to share the love they have received from Jesus Christ! That’s what we’re all supposed to do!!

On November 13 we baptized 20 people in our Mandarin, Indonesian, and English congregations. Two from the English congregation were Buddhists who recently put their trust in Jesus for salvation – a brother from Thailand in a Master’s program and a sister from Sri Lanka who is doing her PhD. The Lord used “horn of Africa” brothers, one from Ethiopia and another from Eritrea to bring them into the family of faith. What a privilege we have to have a front row seat to see so many glorious ways our Lord is advancing His Kingdom right here in a land that does not admit He even exists!

One young lady our members reached out to is from South America. I had the privilege of baptizing her on Easter. Here we were in August on her last day with us before leaving to study in Europe, she just wrote…“One year ago I decided to follow Jesus, and it has been a great year…  of growth and non-stop blessing.  I want to thank you for the great work you are doing in Beijing where you are reaching a lot of people and transforming their lives. I'm currently in Denmark…studying for my degree…I've found a family in Christ here too…I really like it here, I'm happy and peace and joy is in my heart, all this comes from Him…I always remember BICF with great joy!”

We had the privilege of hosting Tedd and Margy Tripp the first weekend of November. Their excellent books on parenting “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” and “Instructing a Child’s Heart” are translated into Mandarin and very popular here. They taught our parents and led a meeting with our single young adults. The meetings were packed with eager learners!
What comes into your mind when you think “Sister’s Fellowship?” Paintball? That’s what Dayna and her troops were doing on October 30. Looks like they had fun, in war and peace!
We made our second visit to “Sun Village” – a home for children whose parents are in prison on the outskirts of Beijing. There was lots of joy and fun as we shared the Good News, played games, and gave them Christmas gifts…

Last weekend we had our annual Global Leadership Summit here in Beijing. We rebroadcast the program held in Chicago at Willow Creek Church. About 30 leaders from our congregation joined with more than 500 people from our region of China. As always, it was an encouraging time to think about how to serve Him more faithfully and fruitfully.


Monday morning (November 28) we are scheduled to land in Honolulu. We’ll gladly exchange our winter coats and face masks (the pollution has been bad here!) for shorts and slippers. We would love to talk to you during our Home Assignment. Please email us your phone number and we’ll gladly call! Here is our schedule of sharing, Lord willing…
            December 4 Hawaii Kai UCC, Honolulu, Hawaii
            December 11 Kalihi Union Church, Honolulu, Hawaii
            December 18 Haili Congregational Church, Hilo, Hawaii
            December 25 Puna Covenant Church, Keaau, Hawaii
            January 1 Living Waters Assembly of God, Hilo
            January 8 Hilo Missionary Church / Opihikao Congregational Church, Puna, Hawaii
            January 15 Mokuaikaua Church, Kailua-Kona
            January 22 Kalahikiola Congregational Church, Kohala, Hawaii
            January 28 Kalihi Union Church Men’s Retreat
            January 29 First Chinese Church of Christ, Honolulu
            February 5 City Church Honolulu (PCA)
            February 16 Women’s Board of Missions, Honolulu
            February 10 & 12 Waipuna Chapel, Kula, Maui / PM - Door of Faith, Wailuku, Maui
            February 19 North Shore Christian Church, Kilauea, Kauai
            February 26 Kawaiaha’o Congregational Church, Honolulu
            March 1 – Back to Beijing
We very much realize we are here because of your faithful prayers and generous support. Hope we can see you! We are very excited our kids and grandkids plan to visit us in Hawaii.

Mele Kalikimaka!!  Mark and Dayna Blair

Our Mission  Pioneers - 10123 William Carey Dr - Orlando, FL 32832 USA  
Checks should be made out to ‘Pioneers’ – with a separate note attached saying: ‘Mark and Dayna Blair, Beijing.’                  Electronic transfers can be sent to: http://www.pioneers.org/Give/AutomatedGiving.aspx

Our Email blairstan2@gmail.com  Or blairstan@psmail.net  (secure)

Our Blog  www.blairstan.blogspot.com  /  Skype  blairstan

Our Ministry Beijing International Christian Fellowship www.bicf.org/zgc

BICF Sermon App for Apple or Android: www.bicf.org/#app   (ZGC sermon tab)