Category Archives: ministry updates

May 2017 Update

We hear and read about persecution, arrests and churches and crosses being taken down by the Chinese government. When it comes to Christianity in China one can get very lost trying to figure it out. A lot depends on where you are with what is “allowed.” And what is now can change at any time.

China is officially an atheist government but it says it guarantees religious freedom; in practice religious activities are tightly controlled. All churches have to be approved by the state and authorities keep a close eye on their activities to contain their influence. The Communist Party once tried to destroy religion all together. It failed. There are estimates that today there are more Christians in China then Communist Party members – maybe close to 100 million (but there are over 1 billion people in China, so that means many lost souls that still haven’t heard!)  Because of the control of the government is why many choose to join “underground churches.” These unregistered churches of course pose a real threat to the control of the Communist party and therefore are not legal.

Rolf is now going to a fairly new, very large government sanctioned church that seats around 6,000 worshipers. It is a mixed congregation with a lot of younger people – although per the government they do have to be over 18 to attend. With his students translating for him it appears to be a pretty solid Bible teaching church. They have a contemporary type service with a choir and a band. After the service the people are invited to stay for another hour of singing and praising.

He was amazed and delighted when he saw and learned that every week the pastor asks first time attendees to come to the front. He prays over them and then asks if they want to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life. He then has them all immediately paired up with someone from the church to give them a Bible and to follow up. No messing around, he cuts right for the chase!!

Praise God all of Rolf’s “Faith or Fiction” class are now attending church! After church whoever is available will meet for lunch at a local restaurant where they can get to know each other better, ask questions and just enjoy each other’s company. Some weeks there are few and some weeks as many as 18 that will be able to join for lunch.

All is going well but what Rolf is doing is not “government sanctioned”!  He still must be a missionary disguised as a teacher so please continue to PRAY for safety and protection for him, the school and students. There are still far too many lost souls that have never even heard of the name of Jesus let alone who He is and what He has done for them.

“But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume”  II Corinthians 2:14.

 It is the ultimate high to see these Chinese come to faith and become brothers and sisters in Christ. We are so grateful you are on this journey and can share this joy with us!

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March 2017 Update

After a 14 hour flight and long evening wait in Beijing for his next flight Rolf finally arrived at midnight in Dalian, tired but safe. His wait in Beijing was made a little more enjoyable with Michael, a former student there to greet him with his wife and daughter and also to help him and his luggage get over to the faraway terminal for his plane to Dalian. It took the first week back to get acclimated to time and schedule but he is back and going strong.

He has a full teaching schedule this semester. On Monday through Thursday he has 4 afternoon classes teaching primarily young adults going for their English certification to obtain their MBA’s and PhD’s. Then on Tuesday and Thursday evenings he also has 2 adult business classes. When he is not teaching and preparing for his classes he spends a lot of time socializing and establishing relationships with the students usually over a meal.

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples”  I Chronicles16:23,24.

The “Faith or Fiction” class has already started with 18 students. Eight of the students are from his regular classes and 10 were recruited by his 2 leaders. His one leader that last semester was under house arrest for a few weeks is now back. She and Rolf had a long talk about the need for caution and the possible consequences not only for her, but for Rolf and the school if she is not more careful. PRAY for continued protection for him and his students and that God’s Word will continue to go forth and change lives.

On the home front: God is definitely working in our moving situation! Before Rolf left a couple put letters in mailboxes in our townhouse complex looking for those that might be interested in selling. Rolf contacted them and they are more than interested in buying ours! We love the couple, they would fit in perfectly with our friends, our neighbors here. Please keep PRAYING for where we will go. We are really counting on getting into the affordable senior apartments that are being built nearby. We are trusting God has that worked out for us also but PRAY we are doing our part to make it happen.

We get asked a lot when is Rolf going to stop going to China?  How can we stop when we see so many lives changed and coming to Christ!!  As long as God keeps that door open we will be there! It is such a privilege to get to do this and we hope you feel as privileged to be a part of this because without you on this team we couldn’t do it.

Thank you for partnering with us!

My home church in China.

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February 2017 Update

Time goes by quickly enough but it really seemed to fly by even faster with Rolf only home for 2 months!

We just returned from an enjoyable and restful 2 weeks in Florida – in spite of the fact when we left Sherri was being treated for bronchitis and then while there she had to visit Urgent Care with some breathing issues! We enjoyed some warm weather and the warm hospitality of Sherri’s sister-in-law in Gainesville and friends in Bradenton and The Villages. Sherri also met a friend in Ocala for their “annual lunch” date. The drive down and back was just like we like it – uneventful – no issues and no bad weather!! Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, January 27th Rolf will be returning to China. He will be starting a new 12 week “Faith or Fiction” class when he gets back. His leaders are now carefully recruiting new members. PRAY for God’s hand on those they recruit and for their hearts to be prepared for receiving God’s Good News!

It became apparent a while ago that in the future we would need to find more affordable housing. After thinking and praying and praying and thinking we realize the future has arrived. This has been a very difficult decision especially for Sherri. God had placed us in a very special neighborhood where neighbors have become friends that socialize and really care for each other. It has been a very safe and secure place for Sherri and of course that makes it hard to leave.

We were encouraged when we found that affordable senior apartments are being built practically in our backyard. They are scheduled to be completed February/March of 2018. We have already contacted the property managers and have our name down to be sent an application which we should expect sometime near the end of the year. Meanwhile we will be on the lookout for what else might be available. Please PRAY for the right move for us.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19

As long as we have been doing this it never gets easier to say goodbye. Rolf won’t be back home until June 29th. We cannot tell you enough how thankful and grateful we are for you to be on this journey with us. We could not do this without you. You are a blessing and pray God is blessing you in return.

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January 2017 Update

2016 is now in the history books and we wish you a New Year of immeasurable blessings and joy. Rolf arrived home on December 29th without incident – no flight delays, no bad weather and he has already applied for his visa to return. He needs to be back by March 1st to start his classes.

“Then He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 NKJV

It has been an exciting year! Rolf finished up the last lesson of his “Faith or Fiction” class the Saturday before he left.  All 21 one of these students are now Christ followers and going to church! What great joy to look around on Sundays in church and see so many of his students there. Usually after he and some of them will get together and meet at a restaurant for lunch. It is very rewarding to be a part of what God is doing and to see how these classes have grown and how some of the students are now teaching and/or reaching out to others.

A little while before Rolf left he did get a “wake up call” and reminder of the caution needed when he got the news one of his student leaders was arrested and placed under house arrest. What was her crime – bringing children under 18 to church! He had to ask her to stay away for a while as a safety precaution for himself and the others. As we rejoice in what God is doing there we must be mindful that caution and awareness is necessary! PRAY for protection and safety for Rolf, his students and the school where he teaches and also holds his “Faith or Fiction” classes.

Sherri is glad to put 2016 behind her – at least the end of it. November brought on a lot of respiratory illnesses for many, Sherri ended up being no exception. After being treated for sinusitis and bronchitis and not getting better she ended up in the hospital for 4 days with pneumonia. Not the way she planned on celebrating Thanksgiving especially when it was to be at our house!  The family came and stayed anyway and when it was learned she wasn’t going to be released on Thanksgiving Day like thought without skipping a beat they just went back to our house, cooked the dinner, packed it up and brought it to the hospital for us to make a memory and enjoy dinner together in her hospital room!  We are so blessed and grateful for all the care and phone calls, texts, visits, gifts and meals she received during this time from our wonderful family, neighbors and friends.

We are heading to Florida for 2 weeks the beginning of February. We look forward every year to this time to spend with Sherri’s sister-in-law, Debbie and with various friends. As much as we look forward to our visit with Debbie it will be bittersweet with Sherri’s brother Art no longer being there too. PRAY for quality time and for safe travel as we travel by car at a time of year when weather could be unpredictable.

We couldn’t do this without your prayers and support. We need you and we are grateful and thankful that you team up with us to be a part of bringing the Light of Jesus to those living in darkness in China. The end of year giving did however fall short and we would ask you to prayerfully consider if there is any way you can help us in making up the deficit so we can continue unhindered this coming year.

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Year End Update 2016

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Every November, after Thanksgiving but before the commotion of Christmas and New Year activities, we take time aside to pray and seek the Lord, to ask Him to speak to us about the direction of International Ambassadors for Christ for the next year. As we prayed and asked the Lord Jesus to reveal His direction we believe He wants us to persevere, and as the above verse says, “to let nothing move you.” Perseverance is a key to bearing fruit for the kingdom of God.

The Bible reminds us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9. Serving the Lord often is adventurous, but as we look back over the years we see how God brought much growth in our work as we kept on doing the challenging everyday tasks He called us to do.

Many of those we serve with in the neglected mission fields of China have also been called to stand and persevere in 2016. We write these words from the heart of Chinese people we have been meeting with, the various project leaders we have been teaching and praying with, and the exciting new strategies in the coming year to advance the gospel even more through the local Church. Because of your sacrificial giving, we were able to provide long-term assistance to local servants of God who were called to faithfully persevere as they continue carrying the light of the gospel into the hearts of unbelievers.

Many people there are under great pressure in various ways. Some struggling with converting from one religion to another. Others are feeling pressure from Islamic fundamentalism, as growing numbers of young Muslims are attracted to the warped ideologies of the ISIS death cult. Many Chinese Christians struggle to overcome the temptations and trappings of rampant materialism and consumerism, while retaining their passion for the Word of God.

We try to operate with as few overhead expenses as possible, so that resources get to the hands of the front line workers of God’s kingdom—the many Chinese Christians we are honored to assist and serve. We are thankful for each person who prayed for and supported our work last year. Without your vital partnership none of these things would be possible. Like many ministries, the “provisions” are low and need to be replenished and we are trusting God will meet all our needs.

It has been a great privilege to serve the Lord in China for another year, and we are blessed to be a link in a chain that has resulted in many people coming to know Him. As we end 2016, we want to thank you for your prayers, encouragement and support throughout the year. We pray the risen Jesus Christ will truly be part of the Christmas Season for you and your family. Next year we hope, by God’s grace, to continue serving the people in China and we not only invite you but need you to partner with us to see this happen. God bless you abundantly!

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October 2016 Update

Rolf is back in China and back to work. He left here on September 30th for Beijing to spend the night to visit a former student and his wife and their baby. He was Rolf’s class monitor at one of the universities he was teaching at some years ago and through Rolf he accepted Christ. After graduation he started his own business. He today is a successful businessman, a wonderful family man and he and his family are still walking with the Lord. Thank you Lord for allowing us all to be a part of this story!

Before Rolf left we made a trip to Michigan to surprise some longtime friends at their open house to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary and their 45 year anniversary with CRU (Campus Crusade)! When we were on staff with CRU and we were raising our support we very much appreciated him and his help as our support coach. Sherri has a high school friend that lives nearby and we were able to spend the weekend with them enjoying their warm and wonderful hospitality. It was the last weekend before Rolf left and it was a pleasant getaway to enjoy together and with friends.

Rolf has a full schedule with his business and finance classes. He teaches Monday through Thursday from 2pm – 4pm and 7pm – 9pm. He has 12 returning students and 47 new students for a total of 59.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”. II Timothy 2:2.

The most exciting news is what is going on with his new “Faith or Fiction” class that started up the Saturday after he arrived! Two of the ladies that went through his first class have become devoted Christ followers and valuable helpers to Rolf. They have carefully recruited these new people for this class – 21 in all!! Four of the students are from last semester that had wanted to join. The others are their neighbors and from the church.

The 12 week class is on Saturdays from 9am – Noon in a classroom that he is able to use in the school. Rolf leads off with the video presentation and then they break into 3 groups for discussion and prayer, one led by him and the other two by the two ladies. He then brings the class back together to wrap it up.

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” Acts 16:5
This is a great opportunity to train them and for them to be able to take over some day in the future when Rolf is no longer there. They are very capable and have a great heart for the Lord to reach out. They already have plans to take a modified version of this program into the church.

PRAY for a good harvest!! And please PRAY for protection for Rolf, the students and for the owner of the school.

Thank you for being on this exciting adventure with us and being a part of what God has done and will be doing!

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August 2016 Update

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over. It seemed to fly by but then we spent these last two months visiting doctors or recovering. With his back issues Rolf did not get the answer he was hoping for. He has a degenerative condition so it won’t get better. At the doctor’s recommendation he is doing physical therapy to hopefully keep the pain at bay. He has been given exercises that he should continue to do to help. PRAY the physical therapy gives him relief from the pain and for a long time to come!

Sherri’s eyelid surgery went very well, but the no bending, lifting or anything strenuous for what turned out to be doctor’s orders for 3 weeks not 2 which were on the original instructions, was hard especially when one feels perfectly fine. Sherri never realized how many times things get dropped or get knocked to the floor until she couldn’t bend down to pick them up! Rolf was a great help with chores and picking things up after her! At first it was really nice to not have to rush and to have long devotional times and to read but for someone who is used to being very active it became a little hard to do. Thank goodness after the stitches were out a week later the doctor told her she could at least resume walking her 3 miles again.

Rolf should be heading back to China at the end of September. The owner of the school he works for was not very happy about that. School starts the beginning of September and he wanted him back for that. With Rolf having to leave the country every 90 days to get his visa stamped it causes some inconveniences. Leaving here earlier would mean at the end of November he would have the expense and have to take a day off to fly somewhere near just to have his visa stamped. By waiting until the end of September he would leave and then come home end of December for the winter semester break. We know this causes difficulties for the owner of the school as he has to find someone to come in and cover the classes until Rolf gets there. Please PRAY this does not cause a rift between the two of them.

“We have not because we ask not”…. Prices keep going up and our support has not. As a result we are experiencing a shortage to meet our expenses. God has always been faithful with providing what we need when we need it and many times not to soon but never too late. We are praying and continue to trust He will also now provide. For Him to work we know there are times when we have to make our needs known. So we come before you with our request and ask for your help whether that be financially and/or with your prayers. We love you and are very grateful for having you on this journey with us.

“And my God will meet all your (ours and yours) needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

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