Monday, May 7, 2012

Deeper Into Middle Country

It seems as though God keeps reminding me to only focus on the next step and not think I can make logical plans for the future. I have to accept a pattern that is developing in my life – God’s plans for me are not ones I can predict.

When I got back from China, there were three things I was pretty sure about. One, I am wanted and needed there. Two, I feel the most alive there while operating in the fullness of my gifts, education and experience. Three, I want to go back regularly.

How regular was the question. In light of finances, responsibilities and involvements at home, I figured once a year was doable.

But God seems to have other plans. He doesn’t seem to go for doable plans; he makes faith-stretching plans.

This week Peggy asked me to be a part of a team (right now it’s just the two of us) that would train the leaders she gathered during our March trip to Beijing. Peggy is partnering with Entrust to use the materials they developed and implemented in Europe and Russia for church leaders. The curriculum covers five areas in which a participant will gain typical competences: administering, discipling, evangelizing, lay counseling, and teaching through facilitation, equipping them to mentor others from a biblical basis.

This is very exciting for Peggy and Global Partner in Hope as they move forward in equipping Chinese leaders to train their own people and strengthen the believers who are eager to grow and impact their cities and their country and who deeply believe they are called to be a witness to the world.

It’s amazing to me that China is so open to outsiders who bring much needed training. The Chinese Christians are bold evangelists and house churches are multiplying like crazy. But there is a great need for leadership training. I don’t know how long this door will remain open, but I feel a deep sense of responsibility to do what I can to come alongside these beautiful brothers and sisters. The opportunity to be trained with these materials and then use them in China is incredibly exciting for me.

Believing that God wants me to step forward, this is what it looks like for the months ahead. Peggy wants me to fly to Colorado for the training in July. A friend has generously offered me a way to fly there free and the cost of the training will be covered by scholarships.

However instead of waiting a year for my next trip to China, it is important that I go in September with Peggy and a team from Entrust to get the training off the ground and use the materials with the group of leaders we started training last March.

To tell you the truth, this is a huge faith step for me and I am humbled to be asked to be a part of Peggy’s team. I love teaching, I love training, I love developing leadership and I love the Chinese people.

So this is what I need to ask and trust God for:
  1. Prayers. And I don’t ask this lightly or because every one who does ministry is supposed to. I want to participate in what God is doing and that means an awareness and sensitivity to his guidance and movement. Prayer is critical!
  2.  Financial support. I know not all of you are able to help me this way – please don’t feel obligated. But if you want to help financially, scroll down below where I’ll share the link or address where you can give (tax deductible). I’m grateful for whatever you are able to give whether $10 or $100.
  3. Church connections. If your church is interested in partnering with Global Partners and being a part of what’s happening in China, let me know. If I go regularly, I will need to raise support. Also GPiH partners with churches to send teams who want to help teach and encourage the believers there.

For those of you who have followed me throughout my China adventures, thank you for supporting me in so many ways and for encouraging me. For those of you new to my blog and China trips, I’d love for you to join me on my journeys and get a glimpse of what God is doing in another part of the world.

Most of the news coming out of China isn’t very positive but believe me when I say, there are some amazing things happening there. The believers are experiencing the reality of a “middle kingdom” (“China” means “center country”). They are navigating a Kingdom within a kingdom and it is not easy, to put it mildly. I have never heard them ask for handouts (as I have in other parts of the world), but they are definitely asking for help.

And I want to help in ways that will not hurt but will equip and build up the church in China.

For financial support:
  1. You can send a check directly to GPiH (14441 Dupont Ct. Suite 101, Omaha, NE 68144) with my name indicated on it, or
  2.  Go online to GPiH (next to your first name in parentheses, write “for Harriet Congdon”).