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
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