by Jenny Stewart
On Sunday we wrapped up our visit to Suzhou and had the incredible privilege to worship with the Dushu Lake Church. After spending a few days experiencing this place and forming connections with the people here, the perfect ending was to join them for worship. Pastor Aaron was invited to preach on 1 Peter 2:4-10. We were moved to find the sanctuary was packed 30 minutes before the service began, and the congregation singing together to fill the time. 1,400+ people, worshiping together...it was beautiful!
by Suzanne Freeborn
Today was a day of information gathering and exploring how our church might walk alongside our Chinese friends. After our morning team devotions we headed out to the Amity Printing Company of Nanjing. Their mission and priority is to serve the Christian Church in China, and they are the main Bible production company in China. In 1989 they printed 1,000,000 Bibles. Currently they produce over 20,000,000 a year in 90 different languages, including Braille.
by Jim Lineweaver
I'm reminded of the praise song, "Come, Come and see what God has done." Today was another beautiful day in Suzhou, China with our brothers and sisters in Christ. To see the church growing with Christians embracing their faith, pursuing the word is breathtaking. This morning we enjoyed the fellowship of Pastor He and Pastor Wang Bin learning about the Dushu Lake Church near the university district. Suzhou is a relatively prosperous city with 13,000,000 people.
by Christy Lineweaver
We start with a drizzling morning in Suzhou. After breakfast we gather as a group and are led with a devotional by Rev. Choon Lim, PC(USA)'s East Asian liaison. Rev. Lim has joined us for a few days after visiting North Korea. The theme of his devotion was reconciliation, where he shared some of his faith story with us. We focused on 2 Corinthians 5:18-20... I found the verse "therefore we are ambassadors for Christ" to be a wonderful reminder of our purpose! No matter where we go we are to be ambassadors for Christ.
by Zoe Pearson
Shanghai, a city of 30 million people and it seems like half of them are out on the street at any given moment! This is a city of young people, and they all seem to be on a mission. Speaking of being on a mission, it is an amazing gift to be with our team taking in all that God has for us. We are grateful that our entire team arrived safely and ready to learn about how God is building His church in China.
by Lisa Woicik
As I was reading Luke 10:17-24 this morning, I was reminded of what it means to be a part of God's mission. Participating in God's work requires humility, openness to see God's work, and courage to follow wherever God may lead. This is the approach that we must take while we are in China. We do not come professing superior knowledge or authority. We come to listen, to follow and to see what God is doing through the church in China, and particularly in Suzhou. We must be "infants," rejoicing in the fact that we belong to the Father and, so long as we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we are able to be a part of God's redeeming work in this world.
by Laurie Jaworski
We have had a very full and rich time since we arrived in Egypt visiting churches, meeting pastors, hearing about their struggles and dreams for the future. I am thoroughly impressed by their dedication, in some ways putting their own lives in harm's way due to their commitment to Christ. This evening I decided to stay back from the evening church service because I wasn't feeling 100% – I didn't want to ruin the rest of the trip with symptoms worsening. Several of us have been struggling with sickness (colds and/or stomach upset). We would appreciate your prayers.
by Alan Reed
We worshiped today with Egyptian brothers and sisters from the Attareen Church in Alexandra, which was established in 1902. Our first song "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him," a Christmas song for us, is one of their worship songs. We were excited to have Kimmy Stokesbary preach the morning message from Romans 8: 28-39. Her message was encouraging – that even though we experience struggles and suffering, God's love remains and through Him, we are more than conquerors. Nothing will ever separate us from God's love.
by Mary Lynne Nielsen
Yesterday we were in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, where six million people are served by ten Presbyterian churches. In the morning we visited Attareen church, founded in 1882 by a pastor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The building has beautiful features including a wood ceiling and beams – the same design as a church in Pittsburgh. At the front of the sanctuary is a large blue arch on which Isaiah 45:22 is written in Arabic script. Pastor Radi stood in front of that arch and shared with us his heart to serve both his educated congregants and the 60% of Alexandria’s congregants who live in the slums.
by Tricia Sale
I am writing this on the bus. It is evening, dark, just starting to cool off a bit, and we are bumping along a narrow potholed street with lots of curious onlookers waching our procession. It has been an amazing and exhausting day of visiting churches outside of Cairo, so full of contrasts of light and dark in the world that I can hardly sort out what I have experienced.
by Ben Behrendt
Our third day in Egypt and spirits are high! After a hearty breakfast of fava beans and pita bread, we spent the day in the friendly confines of ETSC (Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo). Led by our trusty Scottish guide, we were given a tour of the seminary. Colin was quick to tell us that the seminary 'always has a vision for the future.' And this vision of ETSC has been clear from the beginning.