Monday was spent in an all day coaches training session led by Liz. Peggy has begun focusing her ministry in Beijing by identifying and training a small group of women who will coach their own teams in leadership skills and ministry development. Liz was the first to provide training.
Liz began by presenting the three "A's" of leadership: Appreciate who we are, accentuate our uniqueness, and activate God's vision for our lives. She allowed a significant amount of time for them to identify their personality type, gifts and talents and then skills and experiences in the past that might help clarify their particular passion and ministry. Each woman had an opportunity to share their story about one of these categories.
The first to share was a young woman named Helena. Her story was one of fighting depression. As she sought counseling, nothing helped until she accepted Christ and found a Christian counselor. Because she experienced healing, she now wanted to be a counselor for others who also battled depression.
As her story unfolded, I listened in amazement because I had been asking God to reveal to me a woman who had a passion for counseling during this trip. Before leaving Portland I had purchased an extra copy of Kitchen Table Counseling by Muriel Cook and her daughter Shelly Volkhardt to leave with someone. I also found out before leaving that the book was in the process of being translated into Mandarin! I felt strongly that it would be useful for ministry in China among the predominantly lay-led faith communities.
I felt certain that God had answered my prayer as I listened to Helena's story.
Then my amazement grew when another woman shared her story and passion, a woman already leading and deeply involved in ministry. Mawei who had a degree in psychology shared about her ministry and desire for biblical counseling. I had met Mawei during my September trip. Here I believe God had identified a woman who was gifted in leadership and could train other women in counseling skills.
Before lunch was served, Mawei, Helena and I had a long talk about such a
ministry. I told them I would bring the book to the second coaches meeting on Thursday and encouraged them to meet and read the book together. Later in the afternoon, I found a third woman named Jili who was also interested in counseling. Jili and Mawei were already close friends who met regularly together.
I am so excited to see this answer to prayer, to know that God has already been working in these women and preparing them for what I believe to be a significant ministry. There is very little Christian counseling available to the Chinese believers. This is a very new thing!
Liz, Peggy and I got back to our hotel late in the afternoon exhausted but thrilled with what God was doing in this first group of coaches. Liz had given them an assignment to complete before meeting Thursday - to write out their vision statement. We found out the next day that the women stayed long after we left and continued talking and processing. God is connecting these women in a significant way so that they can encourage each other as they seek God and His calling in their lives. Yea!