March 2016 Update

What happened to March!  Here it is April already and Easter has come and gone. Hope your Easter was a joyous one celebrating the Risen Christ.

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”  Matthew 28:6.

The week before Easter, Holy Week the Chinese Christians call “Suffering Week” and Good Friday is called “Day of Suffering”.  China Source says, “Easter Sunday (“Resurrection Day” in Chinese) is a high point for Christians in China, as it is for followers of Christ the world over. Not only do Chinese believers celebrate the resurrection of Christ; they also celebrate the new life experienced in Christ by those who have come to faith within the past year. Easter Sunday baptisms are an important part of church life. In some larger churches hundreds of new Christians may celebrate their spiritual rebirth through baptism on a single day.”

Rolf’s church had a wonderful (and long!) Easter celebration service. He celebrated with 33 of his past and current students! Just as a note, so as to not draw attention when they are attending in large groups they do not go to church together. They also do not sit together. Many times after church those that can will meet up in a restaurant to share a meal and fellowship together.

Coloring Easter eggs is also a tradition in China. On Palm Sunday Rolf was invited by one of his former students to color eggs with some of her neighbors and their children. They enjoyed some fun coloring their eggs and interacting with each other. The time was then topped off with a delicious meal.

The Faith or Fiction class Rolf has been teaching has been a very fruitful tool appealing to the Chinese intellect and curiosity and most important it leads them to faith in Christ. He has just finished a class with 6 students who have all become believers and are attending church. A new class will be starting on April 9th with 8 students. PRAY for this new class that they, too, will be lead to faith and a relationship with Jesus.

Rolf took a week off before starting his new class as April 2nd weekend is the Qingming Festival, a time for the Chinese to remember and honor their ancestors. This time includes Tomb Sweeping Day when respect is paid by “sweeping the tomb” clean of debris and giving offerings of food and drink to the dead. But it is not only a day for commemorating the dead but a time for people to get out and enjoy nature and the new beginnings of spring.  It has been described as, “an occasion of unique characteristics, integrating sorrowful tears to the dead with the continuous laughter from the spring outing.” Rolf will be enjoying the “spring outing” with an invitation by a student couple to go with them to a beautiful coastal city for the 3 day weekend.

Praising God and grateful for this privilege He has given us and thanking Him for you to make it possible.

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