News and Articles
12 August 2016
“Lois and I have been living in China since 2006, and as time has gone on and our family has grown, we have seen many changes. But one thing that hasn’t changed is God’s faithfulness.”
We met in China in 2006 doing a one-year program called ASM (Antioch School of Missions). After falling in love and knowing God was calling us to long term service in China, we married 16 months later and returned to live in China. We could only do this trusting God and knowing that this was His calling on our lives.
Where did it all begin?
When Lois was 14, a lady came into her school to talk about orphans in China. At age 19, Lois visited a Chinese orphanage for three weeks. Five years later, she left her job as a physiotherapist to work in China for a year. She walked into an orphanage in the middle of nowhere, only to find that the western lady working there was the same lady that had spoken in her school ten years earlier. It’s amazing how God works.I was 15 when I first crossed the border with suitcases full of books and Bibles. I was without a care in the world, and I remember saying a quick prayer for God to protect the team. I felt like James Bond sneaking around on a secret mission – until a few days later, after travelling thousands of kilometres on trains, the team met a scrawny-looking Chinese peasant in a hotel room with curtains drawn. He told us how he had travelled hours to receive the few hundred books and Bibles we had. He said his church of thousands would read and memorise them before passing them on. The feeling of being invincible soon turned to a feeling of sadness and grief for these believers.
Fast forward several years and we were living in China, among the orphans and those believers desperate to get their hands on Bibles and teaching materials. If this was to be a long term thing, we needed a good grounding in the language. That was always going to be tricky, with all those pictures and symbols. Where on earth would we start? We made lots of mistakes – many of them funny – along the journey, but the hard slog of learning Chinese is something we wouldn’t change for the world.
Working with orphans has been immensely rewarding. It has been a delight to see abandoned new-born babies be taken in, loved, nurtured, and then adopted into loving families around the world. Others, already seven or eight years old, have been fostered by local missionaries before joining their forever families overseas. We trust that we will see more of this, and pray that the hearts of the Chinese will be changed to keep their own children, and their mindset about orphans will change.
My first experience of teaching English came when I visited my older brother in northern China in 2003. I returned home and told my friends, ‘One day, I’ll do that.’ Moving out there in 2006, I imagined I’d be teaching and working with students immediately. But although I could do some work with students, since I was still mastering the language, it wasn’t until 2012 that I could start teaching University students. It was such a joy. Making friends with them, taking them on outdoors excursions, and building relationships with them was such a privilege. When I was later able to invite some of them to attend Alpha courses, I knew this was something that was worth waiting six years for. We trust more will come along to future Alpha courses and in turn come to know Christ.
We travel back in a few weeks' time. Working in the local orphanage and continuing with student outreach are just a few of the things that we are looking forward to doing. God has continually shown us he wants us in China. He has provided for all our needs when things seemed impossible and it looked like we’d have to leave. Satan throws things our way to try and deter all of us from doing the things we do for God, but we must all be courageous, stand strong, and trust the Lord. He is the one constant in our ever changing lives!
Photo credits (from top):
© Aaron Dolman. Used by permission.