Dear mission partners,
Greetings from Marburg in Germany!
During the last months we heard a lot of bad news. All around the world the pandemic caused unparalleled changes. In Marburg it’s no different: Public events are shut down. Chinese students who live alone are attacked mentally and by feelings of loneliness. Some students are so frightened by the virus, that they decided to return to China.
But there is also some good news.
Supporting Each Other
Since the end of March all our events need to take place online. However, this gives us the opportunity to hold our church service together with the churches in Göttingen, Kassel and Heidelberg. By the help of the internet we are enabled to overcome the boundaries of our areas and to use community platforms and other resources to encourage each other.
Caused by the well taken measures in Germany, by the end of May it became possible to open church buildings and services to the public again under certain hygiene measures. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of restrictions. For example, events that take place in buildings are not allowed to take more than hour. Group meetings like bible study and Sunday school are not allowed to take place in the church building. As a result, we decided to continue to hold our services and bible study online, for now.
Looking to the Interests of Others
More and more Chinese students who mostly spent time alone at home during the pandemic, experienced a great measure of mental pressure, emotional instability and even mental breakdowns. We give thanks to God that at the end of May the Federal Government changed the ban on public meetings, which until then only allowed people from no more than two households to meet each other. Because of this change we organized our first outdoor activity since the beginning of the epidemic: sandbag throwing. We greatly enjoyed the freedom to be outside and refreshed mind and soul. Sighing, we realized that it was the grace of God that enabled us in the past to freely assemble.
We realized that it would become very difficult for the students to stay isolated in their housings until the end of the year. So we started to meet in small student groups at their respective residences. Every group of 3 to 5 students participates in the online bible study and online worship. This way, we are able to enjoy our fellowship online and offline at the same time. It’s truly beautiful to see that some Christians are willing to open up their houses to serve lonely students. The epidemic made everyone learn to care for each other and not only for themselves.
I hope that by this method we can supply the spiritual wants of believers and spiritual seekers. But we also wish for a normalization of the situation in order for the church-related restrictions to be eased, so that we can soon return into our church building. We want for the students to have the opportunity to come out of their student dorms, experience something different and to be able to better focus during service.
Philipp and I are Engaged
This is another good news. At the end of December, after more than half a year of getting know and learning to understand each other, Philipp and I felt led by God concerning our relationship. We want to travel life’s journey together from now on and wish to serve the Lord together!
We thank God for providing Philipp during this epidemic with a job and apartment in Marburg. At the beginning of July, he moved from South Germany to Marburg, so that the distance doesn’t keep us apart anymore and so that it’s easier for us to prepare our wedding in December. We also thank God for giving us opportunities to learn more about and from each other, so that we can prepare well for marriage.
When Philipp moved to Marburg he often visited the Chinese students together with me. During this time, he felt led by God to care for the need of some students to improve their German language skills. So, we decided to launch a German reading group and to read “The Purpose Driven Life” together. The students are learning German and at the same time discussing the purpose of life. Last week, the group met for the first time. Some students engaged actively and are looking forward to the next meeting of the group. We are thankful for God giving us opportunity to serve him together. May God also give us wisdom in projects like this to help students to get to know God and begin to believe in him.
Moon Festival and Welcoming of the Newly Arriving Students
The epidemic makes it difficult for us this year to hold an orientation event, but the newly arriving students are very dear to our hearts. After discussing this in church, we decided to stay confident: Even with many factors of uncertainty during this pandemic, we still want to organize an orientation event at September 26 at the day of moon festival. May God use us in this city to spread the Gospel to the Chinese.
Thank you all so much for your care and encouragement in different ways in this exceptional time!
Thanksgiving and Intercession
- We thank God for giving us a positive attitude to make various changes. May God use these changes to encourage people and let them grow in faith.
- Pray for God to free the students from their mental problems and for them to experience God in all of this.
- We thank God for giving us passionate hearts for the newly arriving students. Please pray that we are able to celebrate the Moon festival on September 26 and for the new students to be blessed by it.
- Thank God for bringing Philipp and I together. Pray for God to lead our way into the future and to prepare our ministry.