Karl: I am here, please send me!

I have worked in the clothing industry for over 20 years in the U.S. and Canada, and even in Hong Kong as high positions.

After leaving the workplace in the fall of 2017, I thought a bit about my future direction, but I had too many ideas, although eager to work for God, but many times it is with self-understanding that I did not follow God’s plan. I continued to pursue my own goals, while God continued his work on me at the same time.

At the end of last year, my body developed an undetermined problem, and while waiting for the results of tests, I felt afraid of an unstable and short life, and God’s Word reached my heart and penetrated my soul at this time. Proverbs 27:1 says don’t boast for tomorrow, because what happens in a day, you do not even know.

God is a God of mercy, in my time of difficulties, when I turn toward Him, and seek Him, His Word unexpectedly strengthen me and give me peace. God is changing my life thoroughly according to His plan. In this difficult time, I felt like I experience a lot of what Jonah experienced, and really experienced God at work, this difficulty also made me completely submit myself in front of the throne of God, and handed over my rights to Him, I removed all my past thoughts, stopped all my previous pursuits and plans, and quietly waited for God’s plan. I said to God: “I am here, please send me!”

Throughout this difficult experience, I also gained a lot of support and care from brothers and sisters, I received a lot of prayers and encouragement, I really felt the warmth and peace brought to me in the big family of God, I am very happy that I joined my class ceremony on January 6th, after being in the class for many years, now I am through the whole training, I have entered a whole new chapter of my life. God is faithful and wonderful; He is changing my life according to his timing and ways, thank God. In the future, I hope to become more equipped and to grow more, to serve God better, and to glorify His Name.

Julie: I really experienced the power of God

I went to Bridge English corner with an older sister while I was studying in the graduate school. At the time it was Christmas, and at first I went only to improve my English, but eventually I felt a sense of belonging, I felt a different kind of ease and warmth, and started to know God and learn His Word, and through this process I also applied what I have learned to improve my communication skills, there are friends that felt I have changed, I really experienced the power of God, God can change people, the true God of guidance, strengthened my desire to be a servant of God, because my heart needs God’s light to thoroughly shine upon it. Similarly, I also hope to become a trained well believer, but when it was time for me to determine whether to join the training, I hesitated. I felt that I could not contribute anything to others, for a long time, my focus was on myself, this prevented me from progressing, but then under the guidance of a spiritual teacher, I developed the courage to keep going, even though I just started, I know that God walks with me, and that all is well on the road ahead.

Jane: Preaching the Gospel for God’s glory

Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18) From a non-believer to being in the third and fourth stages of the training group ,to joining a group to serve, it has been around two years, my life has been turn around dramatically by God.  I was born in a small village and my family worship idols.  When I was first exposed to the Gospel, it was really hard for me to accept that there is only one God. Now when I look back, my reason tells me that it was not because of my desire and insistence to learn and to pursue God’s blessing, it was because of God looking after me who is not deserved every day, leading, disciplining me, and bringing me to Him by his grace.

Once I did not understand that why being a Christian, I still encountered so many difficulties, but trusting in God time after time, I realized his righteousness. When I told my family about God, they saw the effect of God on my life, and did not scold me, this grace truly is unexpected, thank the Lord, my family supports my belief. I also please God to have mercy on me, I am a coward and I am weak, I please God to keep me alert, to help keep me away from any no pleasure in things to Him. In the new year, I am willing to commit myself to God and preach His Name, I pray that God keep me, and help me to offer up my heart wholly, to dedicate my time and energy, to stay in the Bridge ministry, completing the mission God revealed to me, and I ask God to let me participate in His plan.

Audrey: The Prodigal Son

The first time I came to the English corner group of bridge was in May of 2015, I made a lordship prayer that same year in August, and very soon got baptized and became a Christian.  After participating the stage three class of experiencing the faith, I left Xiamen due to personal reasons. This departure caused me to start falling away from God. Now that I think of it, this was like me in the wilderness. After experiencing pains from both losing family and broken heart.  I chose to return to Xiamen again and started a new business. When I started to feel like my life was getting dry, I saw that a lot of my companions have grown a lot in Christ, suddenly I was reminded by the Holy Spirit to return to the bridge fellowship group. I came back and started learning from the third stage again, and until I complete the fourth stage, in the midst of all the love from brothers and sisters, I finally reconciled with my past self, and also exited the wilderness. I chose to join the fellowship group, commit myself to God’s family, and hope to help others know God as I grow.

Actually today I am in the fifth stage, which I have never thought of before. Step by step, it has been God who led me all the way, and not in my own plan. Looking back, when making important decisions, the results were all not what I had expected. I decided to follow Jesus in 2013; as to give up myself, which occurred after I finished the various stages of learning. I am very thankful for the opportunities created by the Bridge, which allowed me to experience God’s love in His big family, and were willing to submit myself to God, to love each other,  to keep follow Jesus and spread His love, and give all glory and honor to God.

Lisa : An invitation opens the door of the gospel

I accepted an invitation from my friend to English Corner on October, 2015. Once she asked me if I wanted to listen in their class. From that point on, I became their audit student. I thought that the class was very interesting, and also wanted to know what kind of a God turned my father against his parents and made my father rely on Him. Afterwards, I attended another class called “the belief you can experience.” All along the way, I was perplexed. During that time, my father passed away and my older sister broke up from our family.  A lot of misfortunes kept on happening. At night, I often dreamed of my father. It might be because of the guilt I felt and my unwillingness to let him go. I used to not be able to stand my father’s nagging, and quarreled a lot with him. So now, there are many things that are too late to tell him. Fortunately, a lot of sisters here accompanied and cared for me and I felt that I gained a lot through the class. I am a very introverted person and am not good at expressing myself, but the sisters always greet me from their heart, which makes me feel very warm. These sisters frankly share their remarkable testimonies with me, and these things help me firmly toward my goal.

In 2016 during a weekend of spiritual activity, I made a lordship prayer. Afterwards, I kept participating in all of the classes and felt that there were fewer problems to worry about. I learned to solely depend on God and had hope in everlasting life. I was baptized in May of 2017 and continued on taking the fourth stage class for another one more year. I learned more about God and developed peace and joy. In addition, I realized that giving is more of a blessing than receiving. I have received so much from God and ought to help more people come to know God and receive blessing. In January of 2019, I joined the serving team.

My family’s towards faith has changed dramatically

The gospel revival in my family was not easy. When I was 8 years old, my grandpa had cancer. My grandpa and grandma accepted Jesus. Now I am 28 years old, and I was the only Christian that had been added to my family. For 20 years, no matter how my grandma shared the gospel, my mom and my sister ignored it and my dad behaved even worse. He rejected and always attacked the faith. He told me that it was old people’s feudal ideas and superstition.

Because the guests visited, they brought gospel revival to my family. My sister accepted Jesus and that was the first good news. One weekend I brought my sister and two nephews to the Grace Family activity. My elder nephew lost control and he hit his younger brother and pinched his neck. They fought over a balloon. Usually my two nephews were very kind to each other, so that fight was abnormal. One of our guests, Wendy, noticed and she felt the need to make an appointment with my sister to discuss how to raise children.

After the conversation, my sister mentioned that the Grace Family activity was very good and she would like to be a volunteer. However, she knew if she wanted to become a volunteer, she needed to be a Christian. Then Wendy asked, “Would you like to be a Christian?” My sister answered, “Sure!” Wendy didn’t expect such a speedy response from my sister. Then, Wendy prayed, “Lord, what should I do? How do I lead her to pray and accept Jesus?” She asked my sister whether she believed in Jesus as her Savior, if she acknowledged herself as a sinner and if she believed in the second coming of Christ. My sister accepted and believed.

Thank God, that He works all things for good for those who love him. My sister was the first person that she led to Christ. Before Wendy came to China, she prayed to God that she could have a chance to share the gospel. Her prayer was answered.

 

The second bit of good news was that my father’s attitude to faith has dramatically changed.

Last year, the STM of GCAC came to Xiamen and visited my parents. I was scared during the whole time, because I knew that my dad rejected the gospel. I worried that he might feel angry and curse. I felt that visit was wasted when my dad didn’t show any interest.

This year, the GCAC guests came back and asked to visit my parents again. I was a little worried, but I accepted their visit. I remembered someone told me that the messengers came to share the gospel. They were compelled because of the gospel, so they knew God would be with them. During this year, I experienced a lot of God’s work and I was not afraid.

When the guests came to my house to visit my parents, only my mom was there. I immediately thought that my dad might be making up an excuse because he didn’t want to talk to the guests. Afterwards, my mom told me that my dad really had an appointment that had been booked a few days ago.

It seems to me that God had His plan. Four guests came to my house to visit my mom. It was so meaningful to her. My mom has 3 siblings; she was the first-born. Her parents didn’t take good care of her, and she had very low self-esteem. She felt loved when she knew that she was the only reason that the four guests still came to her house. After the visit, the guests invited my mom to join the senior fellowship.

My mom mentioned this visit to my dad.  That made him realize that one of the guests, Edward, had visited him last year, but this time he had missed the chance to meet him. My dad decided he would like to go to the fellowship with my mom to see Edward again. Thank God, the seed of the gospel had been planted in my dad’s heart. In my dad’s mindset, attending the activity meant going to church. For other people, it is not difficult, but for my dad, it is harder than winning a 5 million dollar lottery prize. My mom had tried to go with me to the church before, and my dad had noticed it. He told my mom that if she went to the church, he would divorce her. 

Finally, my dad really did go to the senior fellowship with my mom; he danced with the group and he felt very happy. That was amazing, because after he came to the meeting, his misunderstanding of the church had been corrected. Now, he really understood how Christians live.

 

 

After the meeting, my dad invited the guests to come home to join us for dinner. He asked many questions about faith. That showed he wanted to know more. My mom turned on the machine that played the praise songs. After dinner, the guests asked my dad if we could pray together. My dad said, “Okay!” We held hands together and the guests prayed for us. That was a beautiful picture, and I really wanted to take a photo at that moment.

In the past, when I shared the gospel with my family, I had fear. My family knows me well; they understood my weakness and insufficiency. I thought I needed to wait until I become a good Christian; then they would notice the difference and they might accept Jesus. But actually, I am much the same person as before. I didn’t become perfect. If I really was to say what was my change of this year it was my willingness to submit to the guiding of God and that I trusted Him with faith to move forward.

In my own wisdom, I could never have imagined that God would turn my family around within a week. My dad was so stubborn that I thought I might need to wait at least 20 years. I might need to wait until he become old and had no more temper; then I could share the gospel with him. God’s mind is much smarter than our mind. God’s works are wonderful and awesome. We shouldn’t use our limitations to limit God who is infinite.  Each one of us should rise up to fight the battle of faith.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”     Matthew 28:19

The relationship breakthrough

On Saturday, Oct 21st, 2017, Vera (one of our purple tags) arranged for me to meet with 2 guests to chat about the gospel. I was an unbeliever at that time. Edward and brother Pan from GCAC had a conversation with me and it really touched my heart.

Edward shared about his suffering from depression. I understood the pain and struggle which he experienced. My thirst to be healed was the same as his. However, I didn’t want to trade the healing for forcing myself to believe what I didn’t understand. I wanted to know God before I could trust Him.

They prayed for me and I decided to buy the book (Bible) to read. Actually, I always wanted to get a Bible. Because I suffered from depression, I used to sleep during daytime and I used to miss the office hours of the bookstore of the church. After this conversation, I decided to wake up no matter what happened. The day after our conversation would be Sunday and I could go to church to get a Bible.

However, friends of mine invited me to drink together. I thought if I drank with them, I would not be able to wake up the next day. My friends kept trying to persuade me to drink. In order to get along well with people, I used to join their drinking parties. This time, with extraordinary courage, I refused them. Then, I didn’t drink that night, but I still suffered from insomnia as usual. I was exhausted but I still set the alarm clock to wake myself up. Finally, I went to the bookstore of the church and I got a Bible.

Afterwards, during the time that I took FYCE classes, with prayer, our God healed my insomnia and anxiety. For the first time I experienced peace that I couldn’t describe with words. As a result, I made the decision to follow Jesus and be baptized in May 2018.

 

When I discovered one of my parents had an affair outside marriage, I felt my heart being torn apart. I was angry, ashamed, desperate and weak. I was sick and very uncomfortable. I stopped any connection with them and that situation lasted for a year and a half.

When I believed in Jesus, I learned about forgiveness. Not being able to forgive is sin and sin damaged my relationship with God. I really wanted to forgive because I didn’t want any sin to impact my relationship with Him. 

I read stories in the Bible and other books. I learned about the damage of unforgiveness and I knew what to do. Forgive others and let God heal me. However, my heart was stubborn as a donkey that wouldn’t make a turn.

Then, I thought I could let it go when my spiritual life matured. I was full of hope at that time and I believed our God would be my peacemaker. However, I thought the process of forgiving would take a few years.

He is the God of miracles. On Oct 21st, He began His work in my family. That day during the worship, from Vincent’s sharing, I became aware that my parents brought shame to me. On my knees, I confessed my sin. Amy was nearby; she noticed and she prayed for me. I felt very warm at that moment; I prayed to our Father to help me to forgive my parents. Our Father opened my eyes to see that my parents were struggling with the pain of sin. They were bound by sin the same as I was.

Drops of tears came from my eyes. For more than one and a half years I tried to run away from this shame. That day, God touched me and moved me to connect with my parents. Before I could change my mind when my passion disappeared, I immediately made a date to meet them. We met naturally; I was filled with joy and I was relieved.

The next day when we met again, I noticed the anger and shame gradually disappeared. Our Lord strengthened my weakness. Thank you God that I could join this big family. There are so many spiritual elders that help me to grow. Obstacles of every stage in my life are breaking apart; the impossible is becoming possible. Praise our Lord! Thank you for grace and thanks for what He has done in my life.

 

“YOU CHRISTIANS ARE DIFFERENT. YOU HAVE LOVE…THAT’S WHY I’M WILLING TO BELIEVE IN YOUR JESUS.”

Those were the words of Shiao, a woman who came to the Lord through BRIDGES’ Family Outreach platform.  She came to The Bridge through the strong recommendations of a friend and attended the Parenting Small Group.  Over time, it became apparent to the Small Group Leader that Shiao’s attendance was sporadic, due to an ailing father inflicted with cancer.  Sharing his own battle with cancer, the leader gave her hope and engaged Tiger and Helen to visit Shiao’s father.   Shiao reflects throughout this experience:  “I never believed in anything before.  Whenever I’d hear of the negative press the Buddhists get, I’m turned off by religion altogether.  But you Christians are different, you have love.  That’s why I’m willing to believe in your Jesus.”

With follow-up visits by our new Co-workers Siukay and Katy , the Family Outreach Team loved upon the family…and that’s how they know Jesus.

Prayers Answered, Kevin Found God But Only Through Continued Follow-Up

Kevin: I attended the Seeker’s Class for the first time a few months ago, back then I had the impression that becoming a Christian means I have to start obeying a bunch of rules, and I have to spend so many hours every week to read the Bible and go to church, so I got cold feet and stopped going. Then it came the shocking announcement that one of my close relative became very ill and the was about to die. I cared a lot about this family member but there was nothing I could do for him. It was at that moment that I remembered there was a God… Although I hadn’t given my life to him or anything, I wanted to try and see if what they told me was real, so I prayed. Three days later my relative’s health started to get better! Actually after that experience there were 2 other times where I prayed for other people and their problems were solved. That’s when I started seriously considering that God might exist and is if He does, He must be a very good God. During that time I continued to sign up for Bridge Interest Groups and Kitchen Table Conversions led by short-term visitors. Bridges leaders also kept following-up on me and even arranged for me one-on-one time with short-termers to help me in my faith. So after all this effort, when they invited me for the second time I went back to the Seeker’s Class. I said “I know it’s not right for me to keep receiving benefits from this God but refuse to know who He really is”. I committed to going to the Seeker’s Class and the New Life Class after that. When the leaders asked me if I want to get baptized, I know I have experienced enough to know that this is a true God and a good God who is worth following, so for me there is no other answer but a firm “Yes”.

 

Teresa’s story

Teresa has been serving at The Bridge as a Secretary, stepping down from her former position as a Manager.  This never sat well with her husband Peter, a non-believing businessman.  “I wanted this job because I want to grow spiritually.  And this is a ministry that can develop me in this area.”  Indeed, while Peter and Teresa fought over her meager salary, her faith and changing parental values, she was also being groomed through our teammings and trainings to be an effective witness and influencer—even while she assisted the team with logistical details of every-day ministry life. This lasted for 2 years until the cruncher came.  Peter’s company needed help. So he immediately wanted Teresa to quit her job and help out at his company. Teresa was anxious. She worried there would be even more conflicts if they worked together, she worried about having to do things that don’t please God in the business. But above all else, she worried that she would be affected in her faith and begin to drift away from God. Nevertheless, God worked everything for the good of Teresa and her family.

With the brother and sisters at the Bridge praying for her, Teresa was encouraged and her faith strengthened. Instead of resisting her husband’s demands,  she went to Peter’s company, with prayer to begin her day—a habit that she developed back when she was working at the Bridge. The conflicts, miraculously, didn’t happen. Instead, they grew as a couple through working and resting together. As their marriage relationship improved, Teresa capitalized on the opportunities afforded by their weekly walks to share more about God and His Word with Peter. After a few weeks Peter also became more and more open to the message and approved of Teresa taking their kids to Bridge’s Sunday school.

One evening, Teresa’s son, Jon Jon, had a very serious look on his face and said, “Daddy, I need to talk to you.” This was surprising to both Teresa and Peter because Jon Jon is normally quiet and kept things to himself. What could he possibly be so somber about, at his tender age? So they listened intently and was quite surprised by what this little guy had to say as he pulled Peter aside.

“Daddy, why don’t you believe in Jesus? What will you do when the rest of us all go to heaven?” Peter was stunned by his son’s innocent yet powerful question. As he considered the messages he’s heard and the testimony in his wife’s life, Peter made a decision to embark on a journey to become a Christian. Please pray for Peter’s new found faith as he is now attending our weekly Seeker’s class.