East Asia

China 2017 1
Asti, Sara, Cody, Ashley, Rachael, Elisabeth and Jacob

Task: The East Asia team hopes to share the Gospel through making friends and building relationships. This team will be working in one of the most unreached countries in the world and will be trained on how to share the Gospel before being sent on to university campuses to share their faith.

Dates: May 14 – 29

Departure: Join this team on Saturday, May 13 at 9:00 PM at William Jessup University to pray over them as we send them to the field!

Team Arrival: After a LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG 24+ hours of travel the team has finally made it to the university and is settled into their dorm for the night! All their luggage made it, everyone is doing well (no one got sick from the long flight) and they are very excited to get started with their ministry tomorrow. Please pray for a quick adjustment to the time difference (get out of here, jetlag!) and for patience as they spend the next few days in cultural orientation and language classes. Check back in a few days for the first full update!!

East Asia 001
We promise Rachael is more excited than she looks…

***

Update #1: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Greetings from East Asia! First, please accept our apologies for our short (and often sporadic) updates. Due to security concerns we cannot share a lot of detail through email but we will send in updates through a secure texting service when we can. Please know that, despite not being able to share a lot just yet, everyone is doing well, loving it here and is excited to continue building relationships in the city!

Yesterday, the team and I experienced our first full day in city. In spite of significant time difference, I think we all adjusted quite well (give or take a few brief moments of confusion at 2 and 3 am). The city is exciting and welcoming and I (Jacob) got to experience one of their main modes of transportation: Riding on the back of an electric scooter! It was so fun driving along with a national who knew how to navigate traffic well. 🙂 There are over 9 million people who live in this city, so ask that He would reveal Himself to the people here and that believers would have boldness to share with their family and friends.

The campus, or “uni,” here is so nice (see the photo of the on-campus coffee shop below). Each weekday we have a 2 hour language class. Our class is comprised of other foreign students and one professor. Yesterday, we learned various vocabulary and a few short sentences that would help us strike up conversation. It’s been a challenge learning the language but we embrace looking a little ridiculous for the sake of making friends. Please ask that He would give us quick tongues for picking up the language and that our limited vocabulary would be a bridge to help us connect with people. Nothing draws attention quite like a foreigner trying to speak another language!

After class, we spend the afternoons meeting and hanging out with students. Please pray for discernment and boldness for our teams as we try to connect with people. It can be a little awkward to just strike up a conversation with a total stranger, but we are trying to step out of our comfort zones for the sake of the Gospel. Pray that we would have boldness to share and that He would lead us toward specific people of peace. We know He is at work here, we just want to be a part of it!

Thank you for your prayers! We love and miss you all and cannot wait to tell you more stories (and show TONS of photos) when we get back! More updates to come when we are able to share details!

-Jacob and the Team

The Uni coffee shop and us enjoying being out-and-about!

***

Update #2: Sunday, May 21

Hello again, family and friends!

Things on the other side of the world are going amazingly and the team and I are grateful for the opportunity to be here! In the past few days our ministry has really picked up, our language skills are improving (see the photo of our writing talents below) and we’ve been able to connect with some of the students on campus. There are over 30,000 students who attend the university here so it is easy for us to get lost in the crowds (see if you can find Jacob and Ashley in the photo from the cafeteria!) but He has been faithful to help us connect with people who are interested in hearing about His Truth! Jacob was able to connect with one guy who wants to hear more about the Gospel and the girls are having luck finding other women on campus who are open to talking about Jesus. Please continue to ask that the Lord would guide the team toward people of peace and would make connections with new friends easily!

The team was able to enjoy several adventurous outings this week, including partaking in an age-old cultural tradition of karaoke. Ashley and Cody gave an incredible performance of “Don’t Stop Believing” (check out the video) and Rachael and Cody tried to further win over Courtney’s heart by singing Adele’s “Hello.” Recently they were able to visit a local city center where people flood the food stalls during meal times to feast on a variety of local favorites. The team has LOVED the food and is thankful that the exchange rate allows for both Jacob and Cody to eat until they are beyond full for less than $2. To say they are eating like kings is an understatement. Jacob even mentioned how every morning the team enjoys steamed buns for breakfast from a local vendor and he can easily eat about four for the whopping price of $1.60. The team is becoming true locals: Eating from amazing food stalls, hanging out in the center of town and riding the subway like pros. It’s amazing to see how quickly they have adapted to life in East Asia and are enjoying every minute of it!

They ask for continued prayer for team unity and for spirits to stay up. Everyone is doing well and is grateful for your support and prayers! They each say, “hi” and that they miss home but are grateful for the time they have in East Asia!

More to come later! Enjoy the vlogs!

-Team East Asia

***

Update #3: Thursday, May 25

Hello, everyone!

Thank you all for your prayers and reading along with our updates during our time here in East Asia! Hard to believe it is almost time to pack up and head home! We have learned so much in just the short two-ish weeks we have been here and cannot wait to share more stories and photos with you all in person.

The team and I are doing really well. We have adjusted to the time change and we are absolutely LOVING THE FOOD (maybe a little too much). To say we can eat like royalty for the price of peasants is an understatement! One of the hardest parts of going back to the States will be adjusting to how expensive the food is…and how the quality pales in comparison to some of the meals we have had here! We are sad that our time here is almost over; it has been so incredible to learn about the culture and the people of this country. The people here have beautiful hearts. Everyone is so polite and generous. The cultural differences are certainly vast compared to life in America, but it’s amazing how similar you realize people truly are once you can see past a nationality. We have come to really love this place and the people here! Praise God for allowing Him to see them through His eyes and with His love.

We are still taking language classes in the morning and focusing our ministry in the afternoon and evening. We spend time connecting with the students through group conversations and one-on-one meetings. Our current priority is to increase interest in faith with those students we meet with in the evenings and eventually present the Gospel when the opportunity presents itself. It has been a challenge for some of us to share our faith, but a good challenge nonetheless! In countless conversations we have found that common issues we have to combating are the idols of wealth, success, image, vanity, and self. Sounds a little like America, don’t you think? 🙂

A few prayer requests:

  • Please pray for our conversations over the next two days as we strive to bring Truth into the loves of these students.
  • Ask that the Lord would allow us to have a healthy and productive team debrief. We’ll be spending time over the next few days discussing and recapping our experience here and we would appreciate prayer that it would be a good way to close out our time here.
  • We are going on a vacation! (Well, a mini-vacation). Our last day here will be spent in the country’s capitol! Ask for favor as we do some sight-seeing and put our language skills to the ultimate test: Being tourists in a big city.

We love you all! See you soon!

Jacob and the team

***

Team Return: Team East Asia made it home safely! Thank you to everyone who prayed along with their ministry efforts and supported them through reading their blog updates! Check out stories from our other teams!