A Full Holiday Season

As some of you may know, we are embarking on our sixth year of our Christmas Cookie Outreach. Just last year, we baked 20,000 home-made Christmas cookies, and packaged them with a message of hope and love during, for many, a very difficult time of year. We will spend the next month or so baking in our brand new double oven (thank you donors!) so that in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we can pass these cookies out in train stations, bus stations, neighborhoods, shopping plazas, etc, to those who need a word of encouragement during this season. We are still hoping for one more double oven and money for cookie supplies, packaging and printing costs, so please continue to donate.

Secondly, through a series of seemingly ordinary events, some extraordinary partnerships have formed specifically involving children, teens and young adults. In partnership with Teen Haven, we are beginning a weekly children’s program beginning December 3. We often see many of the young children playing on the street without any parental supervision, so this will be a great way protect and raise up our young ones with the belief that any one life can change the world. We are also working with the children of a local public school in a weekly program called Released Time where we will mentor students and teach them important life lessons. In addition, we will be offering free tutoring and teen bible studies in the winter for children in the inner city.

Lastly, we received a phone call a few weeks ago from the founder of a women’s homeless shelter in Baltimore who asked if we would put on Thanksgiving for their ladies (we did this last year for the first time). Of course, we said yes. Last Thursday a group of us had the privilege of spending Thanksgiving with 35 grateful ladies who didn’t have a family to go home to or relatives to spend the holiday with. One lady profusely thanked us as we were leaving, and said she couldn’t remember the last time she was able to eat as much as she wanted.

The same organization has asked us to organize and cater their annual Christmas party on December 8 which will include food, entertainment, and gifts for the ladies. Keep us in prayer as we look to make an impact during this very open season that only comes once a year.

The Surprises of God: A Trip To China

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsels–that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21. God is the ultimate Lover, full of surprises. It is mystical, and dare I say, magical, when we allow Him to take our hand and lead us.

Such was the case in our recent trip to China. With efforts so concentrated on North American, African, and even European missions, a trip to Asia was the furthest thing from our minds. However, when La Tascha saw Delta’s deal for a round trip ticket to Hong Kong for $422, which perfectly coincided with P. Scibelli’s scheduled time in China, perchance, God was moving. We bought the tickets by faith and continued about our business.

Just coming off of a trip to Zimbabwe, South Africa, and France, it seemed so crazy that we were going to pack it up and do it all over again in just two short weeks. Especially with things taking off in York the way that they were. But, by faith, we continued.

(From this point on, specific names and places will be kept general for the protection of the work in China.)

We first landed in Hong Kong and took a few days to get our heads straight (battle some jet lag and a few physical ailments). Then, we took a train into Southern China to a city called Guangzhou, the 9th most populated city in the world with 13.1 million people. Our church there hosted a conference and members of our churches from all over China joined us, even one from Thailand. The church is about a year old and full of opportunities for discipleship. Most believers in the church have been Christians for less than two years. Amidst a superstitious culture and churches full of false teaching or the wrong emphasis, building the proper Biblical foundation is critical. Bible College and discipleship are paramount. The Chinese are hungry and eager to be taught. So, if you are praying about where to serve next, consider this mission field. There is a window of opportunity right now that is not promised to us forever.

We then traveled to Beijing and took a tour of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China. We had a tour guide with us for the day and ended up sharing the gospel with her. The time was very precious. At the end, we gave her a Chinese-English Bible and she said to us, “I would like to read this very much. I think it could change my life.” God so prepares us for his words! After all, we were designed to be his dwelling place, and he would like to make his home in us. We are still in contact with her and look forward to the day we hear she has invited Him in as her Savior!

Next, we went to one of our underground churches about 45 minutes outside of Beijing. This was an alternate service from the one on Sunday lest Sunday’s crowd be too large and the government crack down on them. It was an incredible experience and a privilege to witness. At the close of service, the pastor had the congregation reading out loud together in Chinese, the passage from Roman 8:28-39. Who can separate us from his love? It’s impossible! The gospel goes on!

Lastly, we ended the trip spending time with an old friend who now lives in Beijing. It was so great to see her, and we look forward to her coming to the states soon to be refreshed and renewed in the Lord. All in all, everywhere we went, sharing our faith was surprisingly easy and very much welcomed. Many people even speak English. It was an unexpected gift from God to go and participate in His work there. We had no idea how much China needs the gospel and discipleship right now. I’m so glad somehow God got our attention to go. In some ways, the world and our mission field just got so much bigger (1.4 billion people bigger, to be exact), and in some ways, it has become that much smaller and more accessible. These countries are just an airplane away. Even if it’s just a short trip, I recommend going. It’s very doable and the impact can be great.

Buyi's Photo Gallery

Do We Matter?

We were recently in New Hampshire as honorary guests to another church’s retreat. On the last night of the retreat, an impromptu discussion arose amongst a group of ladies gathered around La Tascha... "wait, so you don't believe in women pastors?"

This has been a common question asked by women all around the world. If not aloud, then for many, in their hearts. But, we know that the underlying questions really being asked here are: As a woman, what place do I have in a church? Do I have opportunities of ministry where I can be effective?

Less than 48 hours later, almost 10,000 miles across the globe, we sat in a shipping container in South Africa, where over 20 women were gathered asking the same questions. Fast forward one more week, we held a two-and-a-half-hour Bible College session with the women students discussing the exact same topic. Too many women, though hungry to live for God, “move on" in life because this question is never answered for them. The analogy I give regarding women pastorates is much like God’s instructions to Adam and Even regarding the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden of Eden. Too many women will never understand that the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil is not the only tree in the Garden of Eden. God's instructions did not only state, "do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil", but rather began with, "of every tree of the garden you may freely eat… ". But, how many women have been oblivious to the other trees in the garden and have only known about the one prohibition of the one tree. There are, in fact, so many needful avenues of ministry and impact for women, but unfortunately for most, they are lost in the clamoring over that which is prohibited: women pastorates.

The scriptures are clear that the position of Pastor is to be filled by men. There is an order in church government that God has set. But, that does not mean that women cannot have an effective ministry in the kingdom of God, because impact has nothing to do with position. It is possible to empower women in the church without usurping authority. Christ said of the woman with the alabaster box of oil, "leave her alone, she has done what she could". He said of the woman from Canaan, "O woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt". In both of those examples, the women were the ones in their respective situation that made the greatest impact. Dorcas was another example of a woman that had impact in the kingdom. We learn in her death of all the people that were touched by her life her because of the ways she helped and served them. So, too, can we ladies have impact in God's kingdom. God has given each one of us a very unique spiritual calling and as we get to know Him, our place and portion in the kingdom clear to us.

We finished off the journey in Montpellier, France, where we held a weekend women’s seminar on the necessity of a devotional life. The turnout was incredible. There were women of all ages, (hungry teenagers included), from all over France and even neighboring countries, that traveled to the south of France just for this conference. The women came ready to listen, again, seeking answers to deep questions that plague the soul. Again, questions of purpose, questions of place, and questions of value. It is clear that women are craving to understand their personal design and spiritual potential in the Kingdom. It is also becoming apparent that if we do not show them the answers to these questions, then we will lose many of them. May we endeavor to keep these truths before us as we continue in the call of God.

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