The couple pictured above can occasionally be found in our neighborhood begging, which is kind of rare, it’s not allowed in China. Every time I see them, and others like them, not only do I give them something, but I am reminded, not only of the immense physical needs in this part of the world, but the great spiritual blindness in this part of the word!
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL SEND MORE LABORERS TO THIS PART OF THE WORLD!
In the past few weeks, it has been cold–really cold–in our part of the country. My wife and I lived and served in Southern California for over 25 years prior to coming to Asia. Then we spent another four years in Southeast Asia (Laos and Cambodia) where any time it gets under 75 degrees they get the winter coats out. So, weather in the low 30s, and an occasionally dip into the mid-20s, is just a bit different to say the least!
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE US AND OTHERS TO BRING THE WARMTH OF HIS LOVE TO THIS PART OF THE WORLD!
One of the different ministries that I enjoy assisting with is teaching our teens on Sunday. This too, is a bit different than our ministries in Long Beach, Laos, and Cambodia where we were overrunning with teenagers. Here in China, it’s a bit different. For many different reasons, we have few teens, but it’s always a blessing to be able to teach them. We are going through the Gospel of John and they seem to be enjoying it!
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL NOT ONLY GIVE US MORE TEENS, BUT THAT WE WILL BE FAITHFUL TO INVEST IN THE TEENS THAT HE HAS GIVEN US!
We now have five small groups spread throughout our city of seven million people. We have another one starting soon. All but one of these groups are made up primarily of believers from our church and the intention is that someday in the future they will become indigenous churches. One of the groups is a Bible study at, of all places, a Karaoke business. During the lunch period, anywhere between 15-20 of the over 200 employees gather in an office for a time of Bible study led by one of our men named Li. Nearly all of those attending are lost without Christ. The few who know Jesus, have been saved through this ministry. I had the opportunity to teach for them recently. It was a real blessing! I taught from Luke chapter 2 on the reason we celebrate Christmas!
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL CONTINUE TO BLESS LI AND THIS MINISTRY THAT HE LEADS!
While our ministry is in a time of transition, and we are trying to let our national men do the majority of the preaching on Sunday morning, I still have the opportunity and privilege to preach once every four-to-five weeks, and it’s always a joy and a blessing. Two weeks ago, I had the chance to preach on the “Humility of Christ” as it related to the Christmas story. The Lord really moved during the service!
PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR GOD TO MOVE IN OUR OUR SUNDAY SERVICES AND FOR ALL OF US TO WALK IN THE HUMILITY OF CHRIST!
One of my favorite times of the week is Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesdays, a group of our men meet for a time of prayer, teaching, and a time to deal with church business. I have been, for some time now, teaching on “Being a Disciple and Reproducing Disciples.” Too be honest, it’s sort of a new concept for many of the guys, but they have a real desire to be men who disciple others and to see the church become a discipling church. The last two weeks, my wife made a special meal for the guys. Needless to say, they were happy campers!
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE THESE TUESDAY MEETINGS TO GROW ALL OF US IN THE AREA OF BEING A DISCIPLE AND REPRODUCING DISCIPLES!
As we mentioned in previous updates, one of the ministries we are committed to is simply having folks over our apartment on a weekly basis. We have believers, as well as unbelievers over for a meal and fellowship. In recent days, along with having Liu Hong over every Tuesday evening, we have had a group of our folks from our church family over for food, fun, and fellowship and two unbelievers named Maggie and Hu Ying and their daughters.
It was a blessing to share the Christmas story and the Gospel with Maggie and Hu Ying. Neither of them had ever heard either the Christmas story or the Gospel before. They seemed very interested!
PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE THESE DIFFERENT OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE FOLKS OVER OUR HOME TO LOVE, REACH, AND TEACH FOLKS!
While we surely miss being with family back home for Christmas, it was a blessing to be a blessing for some of the locals here during the Christmas season. Denise did a great job wrapping gifts for a few believers and unbelievers alike.
It was also a blessing for us to take a few of the single girls out for an early Christmas meal after a Sunday service just prior to leaving for our tip to Laos. These are sweet girls who love Jesus and are faithful to the work of the ministry here. So, if you are a single guy and looking for a good wife just give me a call! 🙂
PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR SINGLE ADULTS TO STAY FAITHFUL TO CHRIST AND THE CAUSE OF CHRIST AND TO NOT BE CAUGHT UP IN THE MANY DISTRACTIONS THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER!
While I was not able to be there (in Laos at the time), our church family put on a wonderful Christmas play and one of our good men preached a great message on the story of Christmas. I was told there were over 240 in attendance with at least twenty first time visitors.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SEEDS OF THE GOSPEL AND CHRIST’S LOVE THAT WERE SOWN DURING THE SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SERVICE TO BRING FORTH FRUIT!
A FEW ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS:
- Pray for God’s presence, power, provision, and protection in our lives.
- Pray for God to bless our five present house groups (potential future churches) and the new group Liu Hong will be leading soon.
- Pray for our time of transition here as a church family.
- Pray for those in leadership here at the church as we are beginning to train our folks including our leaders to disciple others.
- Pray for Zhang Lun, Li, Richard, and Peter (and their wives), as God continues to mold them into the men and “leaders” that He wants them to be.
- Pray for Maggie and Hu Ying’s salvation!
- Please pray for our teams in Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.
- Pray for my upcoming trip to Thailand (end of January) to be with our team for a time of ministry and fellowship.
- Pray for Dick and Trish Baucum to have a fruitful furlough.
- Pray for our ministry in Laos, as we consider relocating for a season to assist them in starting a Bible Institute.
Again, my wife and I want to thank you for your continual and consistent prayer and financial support. We also want to thank many of you for being a tremendous blessing during our time of need. We love and thank God for you all!
Johnny and Denise Esposito
“We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” — Oswald J. Smith