Rolf finally did make it to his new school in Xining back in November and it has been an interesting adventure ever since! This school has not ever had foreign teachers before so this has caused much tension especially in negotiating a workable contract. Once there is a signed contract the school would then register him and the other American teacher with the local police to get their work permits. . . days turned into weeks and soon more than a month passed by without a signed contract. Foreigners need to be registered with the local police within 30 days of their arrival – it didn’t happen – so Rolf and the other American teacher found themselves illegal in China. What does that mean for them? Most likely some kind of house arrest before being expelled from China, not able ever to return. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Sherri mobilized some prayer warriors and we began to pray for God’s will and intervention. Rolf sought counsel from the president (an American) of The Xining International School there. And it turned out his Chinese assistant had worked with and knew everyone there was to know in the local government and she went to bat for Rolf and Elizabeth, the other teacher. Still much uncertainty as Rolf and Elizabeth in the course of 5 days were questioned, fingerprinted and had to fill out reports and were told that 2 other teachers from other schools there had been recently expelled for the same reason!
The decision by the police was finally made – Rolf and Elizabeth were granted their residency and work permits!! Praise God and we are so full of thanksgiving to Him and for all those that prayed! “As you help us by your prayers then many will give thanks in our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” II Corinthians 1:11
Rolf could now leave China legally to come home for the semester/Chinese New Year break. He arrived home the 8th of January, spent some time with family and friends then we left the next week driving for our annual get-a-way to Florida. Besides staying at Sherri’s brother and sister-in-law’s lake house outside of Gainesville we were able also to visit many friends, rest and enjoy the warm sunshine. Now he is getting ready to return to China February 10th.
There are still are many challenges to face when he returns including many issues that still need to be worked out with the school. Also in the city he was before there was much more openness to the Gospel, but not so here. The church he attends is much smaller and with not many young people. A Chinese friend that found out Rolf was now living in Xining sent an email that read, “Be careful there are a lot of Muslims there and they don’t like Christians!” As always we count on and are extremely grateful for your prayers.
Please continue to PRAY for:
Good health and safe travels
A good working relationship to be established with the school
Boldness for Rolf but with caution and discernment
God would open many hearts to come to know Him
And always — that both he and Sherri keep their eyes fixed firmly on Jesus trusting in His Sovereignty