For many things in life we need to overcome.
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?“
– 1 John 5:4-5
Again and again you need to overcome when you approach strangers to establish new contacts. Surely it also took some of the new students an effort to participate in our welcome project in October. In October, we held a barbecue to welcome newly arrived students to Marburg. In addition to get-to-know you games and live music, there was a talk on “Arriving in a New Culture” by a guest speaker couple from Basel in Switzerland. A campfire and rich food gave a good opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere. A team of helpers from Basel organized a children’s program, which made it easier for families to participate. In October, two men from our congregation also gave two lectures on helpful everyday, medical and legal information to make the arrival in Germany easier for the new arrivals. We are happy to report that some contacts have been made as a result of the project.
Two families and two students, whom we got to know through the barbecue, come again and again to the Alpha course, which we organize on Sundays after the church service. Here, too, it takes overcoming: it’s about dealing with some quite provoking questions. “Is there more to life?” “Who is Jesus?” “If he is who he claims to be, what does that mean for my life?” Pray for God to work during the Alpha Course sessions. Pray that participants will have the courage to ask their questions openly and explore faith matters. Since there are 2-3 families with several children who are interested in the Alpha course, we wanted to offer childcare. However, there is not enough space for this in the building where we worship. Therefore, we are grateful that a neighboring Christian church provides us with a room for this purpose.
It also costs effort to let people move on whom we have grown to love. One woman who just joined our group in August recently moved for work reasons. Xiaodan is currently doing a faith course with her (now online) and another woman. Pray that she will connect with a Christian church in her new place of residence and that her young faith will continue to develop to become stable. A believing man who has been part of our church for several years is expected to return to China soon. Pray that he will soon find a new spiritual home there and have the courage to remain faithful to what he has learned from Jesus so far.
As hard as it is to say goodbye to loved ones, it can also be difficult to integrate and accept new ones. Please pray that we, as a church, will integrate those who have joined us in recent months into our community. In order to do this, it is important that the “stronger” ones encourage and support each other so that they have the strength to carry the „weaker” ones. At present, some of our group often have to overcome a lot in order to participate in the community.
They are very burdened and pressed for time by their studies, writing their thesis, or their long commute to work. Pray that despite all the circumstances, they will have daily spiritual nourishment and seek fellowship regularly. There have also been difficulties for both of us to overcome in the last few weeks. Both the car and the washing machine gave us problems. We are thankful that we have now found cost-effective solutions for both.
Philipp is currently taking two courses for his MA studies in „Theology and Culture“, which he will complete by mid-December and early January. Since we will probably visit mission partners in Canada in 2023, and possibly Dan’s parents in China, Philipp will postpone the completion of his studies by one year to fall 2024. Moreover, we are preparing to start a youth group for 2nd generation Chinese in Kassel/Göttingen in the coming time. We are also continuing to look for suitable, larger church rooms and for a youth hostel for the Pentecost retreat. Pray for God’s provision and guidance in these matters.
On December 18, we invite people to a special Christmas service followed by a meal. Pray that Chinese will be invited to hear about Jesus, the “light in the darkness”
Sometimes we need to take an effort to become still and lay down all our thoughts, plans and purposes with God. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
Thank you for your interest and partnership in prayer and financially in 2022. God bless you, Have a Merry Christmas Season, Xiaodan and Philipp