Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When Sherri and I committed our lives to serve God in 1993 I wrote a prayer request in my diary asking the Lord to show us His clear calling for our lives (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV), to use us wherever He needed the spiritual gifts He gave us (Romans 12:6-8 NIV), and to send us in accordance to scriptures: “Go and make disciples of all Nations” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). Nine years after that diary entry and persistent prayers of many Armor Bearer’s and ministry partners, God has opened the door for a ground floor ministry opportunity in China.
With 5,000 years of history, its varied geography and exotic culture, China today offers an incredible opportunity to bring “JESUS” to the largest unreached population in the world.
This area once had several thousand Christian missionaries serving there, until a change in government in 1949 forced them to leave. Through a period of isolation from the outside world, and what was probably the most widespread and harshest “persecution” the church has ever experienced, God not only protected His children but also enabled them to flourish. During the last 50 years, the number of believers grew from less than 2 million to an estimated 100 million.
Today, the country remains “restrictive” to gospel preaching but is currently experiencing a period of tolerance for “registered” church activities. Believers are working diligently to share the gospel, but there are still hundreds of millions of people in China who need to hear the Good News.
Unique Faith Venture!
In April of 2002 we are going on a 2 week short-term exploratory mission trip to China, visiting above city of 4 million people full of prospects for the future. There we will investigate a ground floor opportunity to establish an ongoing “outreach” ministry (similar to the one here in Chicago) for the people who work and live in that city (Matthew 4:19-20 NIV).
Sherri and I have a great opportunity to accelerate the spread of the gospel amongst Nationals who are eager to make friends with Americans to practice their English, build friendships with influential community leaders and become a trusted social associate and friend. Touching the lives of these community leaders will help open the doors for more widespread sowing of the gospel as well as laying a foundation for long-term ministry (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NIV).
Longer term ministry activities will be to use my multicultural, multi-lingual business background, organizational skills and administrative expertise to assist in the team development of a local outreach ministry, to establish contacts and relationships with local community leaders, touch hearts as we share personal testimonies and the gospel one-on-one and break through spiritual darkness and cultural barriers through daily evangelism activities, including teaching of conversational English on an individual basis.
What will you do to affect change?
We will work with the local leadership and their wives and families who have personal and spiritual needs. At the time of this writing we know of no one who works with the leadership community in this city. As these community leaders come to know Christ they in turn positively affect the local nationals which in turn become significant players in influencing others. Pretty exciting prospects for the expansion of the Kingdom of God!
God has already provided access to 90 names of individuals which need to be contacted and trained to multiply peers for Christ before we even have set a foot into this city. Our strategy will include hosting outreach events, one-on-one follow-up, men and women small group development, discipleship and networking activities, and to nurture and encourage them to reach others for Christ. Our main focus will be specifically on the spiritual growth needs of the leadership community and to prepare them to be effective witnesses for Christ in their workplaces and home communities.
Why go overseas now instead of taking it easier?
In obedience to His calling we are under divine guidance to help reach every culture in every country with the life changing message of our wonderful Savior and Lord (Mark 8:34-38 NIV). We have seen firsthand over the last eight years what God has done in the lives of thousands of men and women who were introduced to Christ here in Chicago and then challenged to be the salt and light in their own communities. Many are now serving in full time capacities around the globe and many more give of their time, talents and treasures as lay people to the mobilization of the Body of Christ.
For us, retirement is not a word in our vocabulary, nor is it a biblical principle! Our passion is to unleash the Caleb spirit (Joshua 14:10-12 NIV) and to continue to reach the international community we have prayed for over the years, to use the pioneer gifting that the Lord has bestowed upon us and to reach out to the foreigners who work and link with the leadership of the land God prepared us for at such time as this.
The Heavenly Challenge Continues!
We could never think of such a challenge if we didn’t know that you were praying for us. We desperately need your continued prayers. There are human-rights issues for both of us, visa and travel safety concerns, locking up the home place and going overseas and the funds that we will need to see God supply before April. We thank God daily for you who have ministered to us over the years so that we could partner together in great ventures of faith. You share in what God has done because we count you as essential players in this grand plan God has for His Kingdom.
And we need your help financially (2 Corinthians 8:7 NIV). We have talked little about finances in the past, but this is like no other project we have done and we look to you to come alongside us as we launch into this faith venture together. If 100 of you would commit $100/month our needs would be met. Some of you could take on more, others of you can’t do that, but you could take a portion of that amount. Or perhaps you could increase your current giving or you could give us names of others who might be able to help. Whatever you can do we will be most grateful for your help. Thank you for your faithful support and prayers over the years.
Until everyone has heard in the land…
Rolf & Sherri
CO-laborers with you in the neglected Fields of Harvest