Dear brothers and sisters,
“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
Christmas decorations have not yet been put away in our neighborhood and many garbage has not yet cleaned up off the street after people fired fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Yet, the new year has already arrived quietly. Unlike past years when I invited some brothers and sisters to come to my place for dinner and wait for the count down, I just had one guest to my home this year! I never knew her. Last Sunday after service, a sister asked me if I had any plan on New Year’s Eve. I replied no. She said no too. Then I invited her to come to my place. Since the seeker was standing by her side, I invited her too. I never met her. The sister told me the next day that she could not come for she forgot she already had an invitation by her friend. So I told her to make sure with the seeker if she really wanted to come by herself. The seeker did not know that it was a pastor who invited her. She felt a little bit afraid after she was told that I was a pastor. But she said that she had already accepted my invitation, so she would still come even by herself. Since there was no one else to disturb us, plus the fact that she came from Canton Province, we could use Cantonese to talk and shared the gospel with her!
Last mid-December, I went to Clausthal to attend a German brother’s memorial service. I really missed this family for I used to stay overnight in their house during my ministry years in that place. It was in this Jung’s house when we started the Chinese student bible study group in Clausthal in the Spring of my second year to Germany. After bible study, Mrs. Jung would always bring a home baked cake for us to enjoy. Since transportation to go down the mountain was limited, I always stayed overnight at her house. Mrs. Jung would prepare a table of food for breakfast the nest morning. She would also invite some students to come so that we could have more time to share. But sometimes the students preferred to sleep longer. Talking about Mrs. Jung, before I went there, she was already doing a caring ministry among the early Chinese students, babysitting for their children, opened bible class in German etc. Many students like her just like a German mother. Although Mrs. Jung was eager to serve, her health was not good. Since her young age, she had heart disease and need to rest at home. She could do very light house chore. She bore 4 sons but 3 of them died of heart disease, the youngest being 14 years old and the eldest being 29. Despite the unfortune and her constant headache, she would still serve the Chinese students. It was really touching and she was being admired by most people. As to Mr. Jung, he served Mrs Jung and support the family silently. Sometimes he would brought back berries picked in the wood and Mrs. Jung then made jam with them. After Mrs. Jung had several strokes and suffered for a few years, she went to be with the Lord. Two years ago, Mr Jung had cancer and after one year’s treatment, he went to be with the Lord also, just 7 years apart from Mrs. Jung’s death. I heard that just a few days before Mr. Jung’s departure, he baked a cake for the Bible study group’s Christmas meeting. Mr. Jung has been silent most of the time. He even left a will to have a simple burial service. We arrived just in time but the little chapel was already packed with people. We had to stand at the door throughout the whole service. The Jung family has one eldest son living. He lived in another city since he has grown up. On the day of the memorial service, a Chinese family who had lived in the Jung’s house during the earlier days came for the occasion and told others about the good old days with the Jungs. Although I left the ministry in Clausthal nearly 10 years ago, every time I went back, I still remember some of the brothers and sisters of those days. I also missed the hospitality of the Jung family. I was especially grateful for their loving support and help for the Chinese bible study group in its early stage.
Thanksgiving and prayer items:
- Thank God for the Christmas meeting sponsored by the Giessen Fellowship! Our older children performed a silent scene of the nativity of Jesus Christ. The students were eager to participate in singing two songs. We were grateful for the effort of just a few families in our fellowship to cook for over 80 people.
- We were grateful to see a couple whom we first met in our welcoming new student event, join our bible study group actively. The wife is doing her post-doctorate and the husband came with her. Unfortunately, other new students seldom show up. Pray that God will touch them so that they will come again!
- One PhD student has already submitted her paper. She will be graduating soon and will return to China. She came to our bible study group for over 2 years. She herself felt the change in attitude toward our belief but she has not yet decided to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior. Pray that she will have the opportunity to understand the truth and make the decision before she returns home!
- Giessen Fellowship will hold a Chinese New Year event on Jan. 18th. Since this event is so close to our Christmas meeting when our brothers and sisters had just put a lot of effort to it, they decided to just invite their non-believing friends to come this time. Pray that those who will come will response to the gospel!
- Thank God for bringing some young families to our Frankfurt Chinese Church! Since some of the adults, the youths and the children together performed one skit, they attracted a lot of parents to come to our Christmas meeting. Pray that the non-believing parents will continue to bring their children to our Children Sunday School and they will attend our Sunday service!
May God bless this new year, bless you and give you strength to serve our Lord!
Happy Chinese New Year!