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Happy 4th of July! This year, we celebrated with a bang with many friends, tasty American food, and a ridiculously large amount of fireworks. We all enjoyed our time with the workers and celebrating the independence of our country. Also this week, we have really seen our language skills take off as we are able to have more and more conversation with the restaurant owners, street vendors, and friends. It is very exciting for us to be able to show Father’s love by communicating with the locals. On Friday, our teacher will begin teaching us character, so we are all very excited to begin learning! Kate, our teacher, is a student who wants to teach foreigners when she graduates, and we have been able to take a few “field trips” to restaurants to get to know her better and see if she is interested in studying the Good Book with us. After she finishes her final exams, we will hopefully begin to study with her, so please pr for that. Many of our friends are taking exams all week, so it has been a slow week with meeting friends, but it will pick up again after Thursday once exams are over. Unfortunately though, many friends will also leave after exams, so please pr that we can be continuing to pursue friends and rely on Father’s plan as we meet with friends and share Father’s love with them.

From each of us!

Meghan

This week has had it’s fast times and slow times for sure. Saturday was really hectic with 5 appointments plus English Corner, but Father good and gave me plenty of energy to have quality conversation and fun with each and every friend I met with. Thanks, Father! Many of my friends are taking exams this week, and then several will leave as soon as they are done testing on Thursday afternoon. One friend, Cynthia, I’ve been studying with and she is really understanding well and learning a lot about J and Father. It has been really exciting to see her ask good questions and the “lightbulb moments” have been beautiful. Thursday is our last meeting though because she is going home for the summer, so please pr that our time together will be productive and that language will not be a barrier. When I ask her questions about her thoughts, she just generalizes to what the population thinks and never personalizes it for herself, so please pr also that she will personalize the information and take it to heart.

Laura

Happy belated 4th of July! We celebrated with other Americans here and ate American food. This past weekend I went to a friend’s house in the countryside. The scenery was beautiful. There were many fields of rice and corn. I got to see a farmer training his water buffalo how to walk on the paths between the rice fields. Jessica, Nila, Helen and I washed bamboo mats to sleep on. Helen was surprised that we use sleeping bags in America instead of the mats. Our last night there, I got to hear Helen share the story of J with her family. That was Awesome! I also ate the spiciest chicken feet I have ever had. This week heart matters have been really difficult. Will you pr for my heart attitude and vulnerability with my team, Father, and friends?

Becca

There are a lots of goodbyes being said here. This is a hard time for us, not just saying goodbye to friends, but our heart attitudes as we move forward. Our hearts are counting the days of return, this is challenging in many ways. My heart wants to say time is running out and only think of here and now. When the truth is we have no more time than we did before. Father doesn’t work base on my time, His time is eternal. Father reminded me of this when I sent a friend off. This friend and I never met before this and I was regretful of that. Father worked in that hour I had with her. I was able to tell her who J was, and is. She had never heard of Him and she thought that Father was good. I was also able to give her a Good Book to read over the Summer Holiday. I even had a chance to introduce her to Jessica, so she could answer her questions when she returned to school. This was only possible through Father and my friend’s willing heart to meet me so early. I was encouraged during that hour, I was reminded that I had more that enough time to plant a seed, and that Father will work with however little or much I share with friends. Pr for me as I listen to Father’s promptings, that I will quickly obey. Pr for me that I will see the bigger picture of what I am here for and to remember Father is outside of time.

Updates from East Asia!

Here are updates from both teams, first the girls then Daniel’s team:

Hello, Friends and Family!
We can’t believe another week has already flown by! This week, we have been busy meeting with friends, attending the classes of a wonderful foreign teacher (Nila), battling the wildlife, and as always, KTV!
*Last Thursday, our dear friend Snow became a sister! She came ready to receive and it was very obvious that Father has really been working in her life in the past year. Please pr for us as we continue studying with her, that we would rely on Father to guide us as we help her to have a solid foundation, and that we would also have good conversation about counting the cost.
*All week long we have attended Nila’s classes to help students practice English and make some new friends. Since this was their last week of class, Nila had a picnic planned for each class consisting of PB&J sandwiches, cucumber, and raw carrots (a strange and new experience for most of the students). We had a blast watching the students the students make their own sandwiches and tasting those traditional American foods. On the one non-rainy day of the week, we also had a water balloon toss, played four-square, and had a balloon race. This gave us the opportunity to meet a lot of new friends, pr that we would be asking Father who to spend our time wiht.
*Skyler! We needed you this week! A centipede found its way into our 3rd floor apartment the other night, and let’s just say an almost unnecessary amount of screaming ensued. We finally got it taken care of, though. Know any good recipes for centipede soup?
*Please continue to lift us in our conversations with friends, to immediately obey Father’s prompting and to speak boldly in the name of JC.
Thanks for all your prs! We can really feel them here and it means the world to us!
Meghan
 
Greetings! Another week gone, I can’t believe it! Lilac left on Saturday, so that is kind of sad- She is such a sweet and good friend. We had talked a lot about studying the good book together but things kept getting in the way. BUT, on Friday we went out for ice cream at U Lick, and as soon as we sat down with our tasty treats Lilac asked me to teach her about the good book. Luckily Father had prompted me to put a good book in my backpack before going to meet her. We talked for about an hour, mostly about the life of J and what it means to be a follower. It was a total answer to pr to be able to talk with her and she still has many questions, so I am hoping we will stay in contact, and that she will find other believers to help answer her questions. In other news, I am meeting a lot of new friends this week, so please pr that I would have boldness in initiating conversation and talking about Father. Thanks!
 Laura
Hi y’all! Time seems to be flying by. I love co-leading the good book study with Helen! I am encouraging her to take oer more of the study. We are meeting with four girls now who are totally diving into the study and asking many questions. I would ask you to lift my dear friend, Annia. She knows a lot about J and the good book, but she chooses to merely tolerate it. She believes she can do anything if she believes in herself enough. Thank you for lifting my vulnerability with my team and friends. Please keep lifting this because it is exhausting for me to be so open with people. Thank you for lifting my ankle. There have been only a few days it has really hurt.
You all are awesome! I’m stocking up on stories to share upon our return. Lifting you!

Becca
Family and Friends, my heart is full of thanksgiving for all you reading this. I was asked what two attributes of Father I really loved. First, His strong desire for relationship with me. The love that was demonstrated before, on, and after He died on the stick for us. This love is so powerful. I ask to be able to demonstrate this love to others each day. Second, His beautiful power to change hearts and to draw people to himself. The way he pursues each of us differently, and invites us to join him in what He is doing. I pr to hear his invite each day. Take the time today and ask yourself this question. Tell Father, let today be a day of thanksgiving. You prs here are so powerful, hearts are changing and people are asking great questions. I am just in awe in how Father as allowed me to be apart of his work. Continue to lift our hearts, and that we are able to continue to sharpen each others edges.   Hope you all are enjoying you summer! It is going by so quickly! 


Daniel’s team members:

Hello!!! Wow so much has happened since we last wrote! Two weeks down, can you believe it?! We have met sooo many friends at the university and have had many meaningful conversations. Some of my good friends here so far are named Sophie, Cherry, Wendy and Athena. The students are very busy with final exams because school is not out yet, so we are really trying to find some time to meet with them and get to know them better. Please be thinking of them and us!!! So far I am so thankful for all the opportunities we’ve had to just share life with these wonderful people and how willing they are to exchange culture and life stories.
Still one of my favorite things is to walk down the streets and to walk through the parks in this city. Going to the local parks is one of our favorite things to do with friends and tonight we may go to a park that’s close and Daniel plays guitar and we can sing and play. As foreigners we draw a huge crowd anyways (people here are very curious and are always interested in meeting us! I have some cool pictures!!) …so if we get the chance to sing and play for some people that’s even better!!
We have had a great time living life here, continuing to learn how to get around in a new world and it’s starting to feel very routine. We have people we see daily around our apartment complex and it’s encouraging to see how they have come to expect our presence and smile and say hello. I love it!
Highlights of this week:

  1. We cooked as a little family! It was wonderful! We made stir-fry with vegetables bought from the market down the street and let me tell you it feels pretty successful to know that you have just made some delicious after buying food where you don’t speak the language!!
  2. Still taking pictures of  babies and animals, don’t worry. But now I have extended my goal to all interesting looking people, especially the elderly people who live in our apartment complex. I can’t wait to ask to take their pictures. Highlight of this highlight is that we spotted a dog that was dyed to look like a Panda. Best. Dog. Ever.
  3. Playing hackey sack with a bunch of sporty middle aged people at a park one night! They saw us walking around and invited us over to play. It was awesome. The park also included group dancing/aerobics and there were hundreds of women dancing! Wes even joined in! Fun video to show you later! 😉
  4. Yesterday we had Taiji (Tai Chi) Class and it was pretty funny! I am no good at it, surprise! haha

Daniel
I can’t believe I’ve been here only a couple of weeks.  We were talking here about how we feel its almost time to go home, only 20 something days left.  I’ve just been taking language class an hanging out with friends.  We played go fish the other day in class with our teacher, but we had to say the card numbers in Chinese.  We also played a game where we and our teacher got in a circle and we had to count to 100 in Chinese taking turns, but on the number 7, multiples of 7, or numbers with the word seven in them we had to clap.  If we did or didn’t clap when we were supposed to or we couldn’t think of how to say it in Chinese, we got punished.  We either had to sing or dance or tell a secret. I had to dance, but I tired my best to not mess up.
Benny and Jody-I dreamed the other night that your house burned down, and that Blaze died, and that you put her remains in the freezer-weird.  Benny- the other day we were walking up to the teacher’s lounge to hang out with our teacher CiCi and there were 2 armed guards changing money at the bank terminal inside the school.  They had black 870s with extended magazine barrels, folding buttstocks, pistol grips.  They looked really cool!  We had Tai Ji class the other day.  It’s not as hard as Yoga X, but it’s confusing.  Every once in a while, when I tell a friend that I grew up in the country, they ask me if I have a gun, and I say “Do I!”  I can tell they think its cool. They have mountains here, and I want to climb one, but it wouldn’t be the same without you and Jody.  We found the new X-Men movie on DVD, we bought it for about a dollar, but we haven’t watched it.
Laura-I miss you a lot.  We went to the park the other night and I saw a little girl dancing to some music, and I thought of you.  We also ate at a restaurant and a cute little kitten was there, and I held it on my lap for maybe 20 minutes and just petted it.  It wouldn’t purr, I feel like it was sad and it needed you.  I brought some pictures of you, and I look at them everyday.  I really miss you and want a big hug!
They shoot fireworks here everyday.  I don’t know how many mornings at 5 am some genius decides to light a belt of 10,000 blackcats right outside my window.  I never thought I’d miss geese (  😉 mom )
I think I’m going to borrow a guitar here.  Our group walks by this old man everyday.  He is just sitting in a wheel chair.  We can only say “hi” to him, and he says it back.  He always smiles.  So I think our group might go out by him someday and play him a song. 

Here are the highlights from the first update from the girls in East Asia this summer:

 First of all, we want to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Father for all of our connecting flights going smoothly and all of our luggage arriving with us (and mostly intact)! Another shout out to Father for an apartment with a hot shower AND a western toilet- always a plus.  Since we have been here, we have been able to connect with old friends as well as a few new ones. on our second full day in the city, we were each partnered with one or two local sisters to play “The Amazing Race,” where we traveled all over the city to get to know the area and, more importantly, to pr for the people and for Father to awaken their hearts. We also had the opportunity to go to KTV with some friends from previous year, and we were there for…wait for it… SIX hours! For those of you who may not know KTV, it is a place where you can rent a room for hours upon hours of Karaoke with whatever songs you choose (which for us meant endless Justin Bieber, thanks to our friends). This week, please pr for us as we ask Father who to meet with and share with. We have tried to share with a few old friends, but they have been generally unreceptive and we feel the enemy really trying to derail conversations as we talk with friends. Please pr against discouragement on our end and to trust Father and His timing as we continue growing relationships with Friends.
 
 From each of us!
 Meghan
 Whew! I can’t believe it’s been a week already! PTL I’ve gotten to reconnect with Lilac, a good friend from my last trip. We’ve already met four times, but although we have talked about studying together and made appointments to do so, it hasn’t worked out so far. I have been trying to share as I eat meals and play with Lilac and a few of her friends. Please pr that I can share more with Lilac in this next week, because she will leave to go home Saturday. There is a plus side, several of Lilac’s friends area local, so they will be here all summer. I met several friends during KTV, so I can begin meeting with them as well. And yes, I have done about 8 hours of KTV in a span of 24 hours. Gotta love it! More Bieber than I’ve ever heard in my life- if I am not careful, I’ll end up with Bieber Fever!

Laura

Dear Family and Friends, Jet lag is not as bad this time as it was last time! 🙂 We celebrated our first week here with friends from last summer. Lily, Vicki, Jen, and Olive took us to KTV (Karaoke in a rented room) for SIX hours! We sang so much Justin Bieber. I met with a sister that I met last year. It was so amazing how she has grown closer to Father! We are studying the Good Book with two of her classmates. Right now, I am focusing on meeting with many friends to develop relationships and see who is interested in studying the Good Book. I have been able to do this by meeting students through Nila’s classes. Also, the food here is amazing! I must say I love eating vegetables here. My favorite is grilled vegetables from a street food vendor. With most foods I have learned to eat first, then ask for the English name. Last week, I went to lunch with a May and Helen, they ordered several dishes and a soup. After I tried the soup, May asked if I liked it. I said yes and she promptly told me the English name of the soup is Pork Liver and Cabbage soup. It’s actually not that bad. For this week, I would you to lift me to be vulnerable with my team and friends and to have boldness when talking about Father. Thank you all for your support!

Becca
 
Family and Friends, Father have place all of you on my heart, I am so blessed and greatful to have your help and prs for me and my friends. Please remember your importance during this journey and pr hard for this place. Thank you so much, you are in my prs as well! This week has been really special as I meet old friends. I am still amazed at the friendships Father has created for me here. I have had many opportunities to share heart things with friends already, I am excited for what Father has in store for each of them. Meeting friends is a little different this year, I am having to do more of the pursuing. Pr that I will be obedient to Father’s leading to people of peace. People here are so warm and welcoming. We were invited to our friend Joann’s home, then on the day we are suppose to go, we had some miscommunication and then her car broke down. Pr against the enemy in our friendships, and that our friendship with Joann is not by hindered from that day. As you have read, we have done much KTV so far. Or should I say, we have sang a lot of Justin Bieber! Although, we joke about Bieber, his song are actually a relief from other secular songs. I was so shocked, I was able to sing Silent Night, and share some good news about JC and  Bieber has a song called Pr, these are rare opportunities we get to share at KTV. PTL!!

Six hours of KTV--awesome!

I miss and love you all!!!

Here is the first update from Daniel from East Asia:
Dear Dad, Mom, Benny, Jody, Laura, and Grandma
Hey! How are your guys? I am doing well. I haven’t even been here a week, but it feels like much longer, in a good way. I’ve made some friends and seen the city. I might be gong to see Ghengis Khan’s tomb, so I am excited about that. The weather here is hot, but much dryer than Kansas, so it feels cool. We had a sandstorm here the other day, but we were inside a restaurant, so we didn’t get to see it. We have a language class everyday, I really enjoy it. We went to a flower market the other day and saw lots of dogs and cats for sale, even squirrels and hedgehogs. Laura would be so good here taking care of them. We were sitting in a restaurant the other night and there was a little girl and when her older brother came in she grabbed onto his shoulder and just hung on him, it made me think of you Laura and how much I miss you! I hope your recital went well.
Alright, I love all you guys and I’m thinking about you!-Daniel

From sprint to marathon

Well, I’m back from the sprint to get into the lives of the new students at ESU and transitioning into the marathon that is the fall semester.  We are off to a great start and things have slowed down just enough for me to update the prayer blog.  Lots for you to pray about so here you go.

1.  New students.  We have been in touch with literally hundreds of new students.  Not all these students will transition into our community, but every student who plugs into a small group or a retreat will hear more and more about who Jesus is and what he wants to do with our lives.  Pray that many new students will plug into what we do week after week.

2.  Freshmen.  LOTS of freshmen have been checking things out on Thursdays and at our fellowship events.  We want every freshmen to plug into our Fastrack freshman bible study/small group.  We especially want freshmen guys to plug in.  Pray that the frehsmen will make Fastrack a priority.

3.  Sound equipment.  Our old sound equipment is getting harder and harder to work with.  We need to replace some big ticket items soon.  We are beginning to spread the word about the financial need and need you to pray that God would lead many people to join us in raising the money for this equipment.  New loud speakers will be about $660 and a new mixer will be $1000 so it will take many supporters working together to meet this need.The dream mixer!

They are here!

New students are back!  Dorm move in was yesterday and the excitement, activity and craziness has begun.  Here is a quick run down of the next few big events that we would love prayer for.

Tuesday the 18th:  Table at SWARM–students will buying books, opening up bank accounts, and wandering aimilessly the day before classes start.  We will have a table with info and give aways.  Please pray that we connect with some new students.

Thursday the 20th:  First large group meeting–we expect 120 students based on last year.  I’ll be sharing about the nature of God’s grace.  Pray that students internalize the idea that we can’t please God with our own efforts or works.  We will have ice cream afterwards and will try to connect with new students.

Monday the 24th:  Freshman dessert and games–we will begin connecting with freshmen in anticipation of our freshman ministry called Fastrack.  Pray that from the very beginning they make Monday night bible study a part of their schedule.

Wednesday the 26th:  New student cookout–pray that we not only feed 200 students but connect with them and plug them into Challenge!

Thanks for praying for us and this important time in our ministry.  Jason and the Challenge staff

Staff

Two weeks to D-Day!

Unbelievable! in just over two weeks ESU will be swarmed with freshman and their families moving into the dorms, classes will begin, and Christian Challenge meetings will get started.  There is a lot to get ready for.  For the staff and leaders in Christian Challenge it feels a little like preparations for a military campaign.  August 16th is D-Day:   Dorm move in day that is.  The first few weeks are critical in our outreach to new students.  We would greatly appreciate it if you could pray about these issues:

1.  Pray that God would be at work bringing students into contact with us–every year He puts people in touch with us in unexplainable ways.

2.  Pray that we would be totally prepared for the hard work of the first weeks of class.  Lots of planning, meetings, cookouts, and conversations.

3.  Pray that in the business of the beginning we would still be listening to the leading of the Spirit of God and not consumed with our own plans.

Thanks.

D-Day

D-Day