He is Risen…in Beijing!...and Everywhere!! April 2018
Easter morning over 600 in Beijing International Christian Fellowship Zhongguancun joined the global Church giving praise to our Risen Lord Jesus. Six new family members – from USA, UK, China, and Thailand - professed their faith through baptism. One very sweet and powerful moment was when a 10-year-old boy who was baptized shared his testimony, “I know I have broken all 10 commandments except maybe for the adultery one”! His sincere gratitude for God’s gracious redemption brought tears to all our eyes. After the service many of us enjoyed a celebration lunch…
Easter Night many students gathered for a worship celebration followed by Ceilidh dancing!
Good Friday night we again heard the Words of the Savior from the cross as people from Uganda, USA, Ghana, The Netherlands, Uruguay, Canada, and China shared their reflections on His saving love.
Pregnant! Not married!!
An ancient global challenge. In our church full of University students, it probably happens more than we know. It is not unusual for our African students to put on heavy winter coats in the Fall and not take them off until Spring. They have never felt cold like our Beijing winds! But eventually someone noticed a bit more to skinny Sally (not her real name). She and Roger (not his name either) are country-mates from a faraway land. They gained the courage to share with some of our African church leaders who eventually guided them to me. After sharing, crying, and praying I asked if they wanted to confess to the church. They did. So, as I stood behind the communion table on the first Sunday of 2018, I invited them to come stand with me. I shared they had given me permission to let the church know they are with child, and not yet married. That’s one way to get people in the pews to stop looking at their cell phones! Then I handed the mic to Roger and Sally. They both humbly, tearfully, and clearly shared their love for God and their sorrow about letting Him and the church down. Then I asked the assembly if someone among us had never sinned to raise their hand. Not one hand went up! I asked again, but none. So, I told Roger and Sally we are all on the same ground before the cross – guilty and grateful! And I prayed for them and the baby. After the service there was a long line of friends to give them hugs. They then contacted their families back home in Africa. They expected problems because they’re from different tribes. But both families showed their Christian character by quickly replying with love, understanding, and acceptance of the other. They
joined our marriage course with several other couples. They also attended a Tuesday Training class on “The Gift of Life.” Sally shared candidly, “When I realized that my sin lead to creating a child I feared I would not love the child. But as I have received forgiveness from God and the church I am so grateful for this child and eager to be a wife and mom.” One Sunday in March they were married. One week later they were parents! Roger is finishing his PhD and Sally her Masters this semester, God willing. Now they plan to go back home to Africa this summer, married, parents, and graduates!
This month Mark will teach a BICF Seminary class on the book of “Hebrews.” After preaching through this book last year, he has really gained a deeper appreciation of this important New Testament book. The course demands most of two consecutive weekends. Pray for God’s strength and leading and for students to be able to make this time sacrifice amidst everyone’s busy schedules.
It was a great joy to host our good buddy that introduced us many years ago, John Svendsen. Chinese New Year, when schools close and students are free, is a great opportunity for ministry training. Here was the last day of a Bible week that he taught. We had a wonderful time considering the “Christ-Centered Bible”and the “Christ-Centered Believer.”
Being someone’s Instagram friend gives a sometimes interesting glimpse into their lives. Stuck in the middle of this class is vibrant sister from Uruguay that we baptized 3 years ago who often shares prayer requests for her classmates. Just one of our faithful members shining God’s light and love with friends from everywhere.
We hosted a 5-week “Alpha” Marriage Course with a great group of newly married and to-be-married couples in our church from Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Romania, Costa Rica, China, and USA. Now we are in the midst of 2 courses with another dozen couples. We’re hosting one and our dear colleagues in the far left of the picture are hosting another.
We rediscovered the power of pizza recently. We bought a bunch of “New City Catechisms” to share with our church families. Yet, we wondered how could we get parents to focus for the hour we needed to introduce the idea of catechism and the tool itself…with all their little kids keeping them busy! So, we enlisted our high schoolers for small-kid-crowd-control for the price of a pizza lunch afterwards. It worked!
During the Chinese New Year break we had the joy of seeing our own kids in Oregon. What a blessing to watch Nathan and Heather dedicate KaMakanaOKeAkua “the gift of God” to the Lord in their church in Portland. Makana is 1, and brother Kekoa is already 3! We also enjoyed a few days with Aaron who came up from Eugene. Even after all these years, it never gets easier to be family stretched across Kazakhstan, Beijing, Hawaii, and the 48. So, we praise the Lord for the times we can be together. We also went to Chicago for a few days to celebrate Dayna’s 40th anniversary of graduation from Moody Bible Institute.
We are very grateful for your faithful support and prayers as we have a wonderful opportunity to declare and demonstrate the Good News amidst 70,000 International students from 120 nations in the capital city of the world’s most populous nation.
In the joy of Him who Died and Rose Again for us, Mark and Dayna Blair
Our Mission Pioneers - 10123 William Carey Dr - Orlando, FL 32832 USA
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