NEWSLETTER: May 2010

CWBCWEF HKTai Long Wan HikeCWB

BACK ON THE FIELD

I told some of you before I returned to Hong Kong that the last three months in the U.S. have been so great that it made me quite sad to leave again.

That is still very true, and I continue to miss family and friends at home as I always do, but I am happy to report that April has been an awesome first month back in Asia as I’ve been settling in to my new job and reconnecting with friends and coworkers.

I will be here in Hong Kong until early July, when I’ll make the move to Shanghai. In the meantime, I’ll be helping out with some projects here at the CWEF home office. This month, I’ve been working on some writing and graphic design projects.

CWEF has many short-term volunteers involved in our projects, and I’m working on a design for some materials we want to produce for them:

  • A service trip bible study booklet
  • A small booklet with basic information about CWEF and space for notes and trip-specific information

CWEF has relied largely on grassroots support up until this point. Most of our donors are friends or contacts made through church and school relationships. As the organization expands, we have begun to seek out additional sources of funding, namely corporate and foundation grants.

Seeking out funding sources and preparing grant proposals will be a small part of my role as service coordinator, and this month, I’ve been working on my first one. The project we’re hoping to fund with this grant is CWLA (Concordia Women’s Leadership Academy), a mentoring program we provide for our scholarship recipients, the majority of which are middle school and high school girls. Here is an excerpt from the proposal:

“These students qualified for scholarships because of their family's financial need, their high test scores, and their desire to continue their education beyond primary school. Once they reach high school, however, some of these young women decide to drop out due to societal, family, or financial pressure.

As a complement to the scholarship program, the CWLA mentoring program provides personal and professional training to these talented young women seeking to find their way in the world. The monthly CWLA meetings also encourage new friendships with students in similar situations, setting up a peer support network.

By providing this much-needed support, the CWLA mentoring program instills confidence in the students, empowering them to continue their education, change their lives, and create a new future.”

SHANGHAI TRIP

I am quite excited as I write this letter because I’m also preparing for a trip to Shanghai this week. On Friday, the migrant school we are partnering with will hold a ceremony to recognize the 15 students who will receive scholarships from CWEF next year. So, I’m heading up to attend the ceremony, meet the migrant school students and teachers, visit potential Mandarin language schools, and meet with future partners at local churches and at Concordia International School - Shanghai. Can’t wait to go meet my new home.

    NEWSLETTER: March 2010

    Lange FamilyJan, Josh, and KristiJosh and Rachel

    REJOICE WITH ME!

    Let me begin this letter with a sincere word of thanks for the prayers you have offered on my behalf this month. I am happy to report that God is answering those prayers and He is providing!

    It has been an amazing couple of weeks; over 60% of my total funding for 18 months of service has now been met!

    In other news, we have decided to postpone my return to Asia so I can work to reach my fundraising goal. I'll spend most of that time here in Missouri. Please be in touch if you'd like me to share with your congregation, Bible study, community group, or even your family. I will be in the U.S. through Easter and will return to Hong Kong April 6.

    PRAY. DRIVE. SPEAK. DRIVE. PRAY.

    This has been much of my life these past few weeks. I spent roughly 60 hours in the car this month, traveling almost 3,000 miles to Houston, Austin, College Station, Tulsa, and St. Louis. It's been quite a month. I've been able to meet and share with hundreds of people, and it's been a big blessing to reconnect with family and friends, past supporters and new partners.



    In all of these interactions, it's fairly common for someone to commiserate with me, saying something like, “How are you doing? Fundraising is tough, isn't it?” My answer to that is two-fold.

Yes, it can be a pretty difficult slog if I fall into the easy trap of thinking that raising support is a necessary but unpleasant activity.



    By the grace of God, though, I can see this part of my job from a radically different perspective. Henri Nouwen said it well: “As a form of ministry, fundraising is as spiritual as giving a sermon, entering a time of prayer, visiting the sick, or feeding the hungry.”



    At first glance, that statement might seem a little over the top, but from my experience, it's the truth. Fundraising can be a powerful spiritual experience. It provides opportunities to encounter God at work in amazing ways, and I have seen it first-hand, thanks to many of you.

God has brought you and me together to serve Him by serving the Chinese people, whom He loves so much. I am humbled by how He has led many of you to reach out with words of encouragement, offers of prayer, and generous gifts of time and resources.



    I know your gifts are not given to me, but are given to God for his purposes. I'm thankful that I get to be the conduit through which your gift is given, and it is my prayer that you will be blessed in your giving. God promises it!



    “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)



    “You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity...” (2 Corinthians 9:11)

    McALISTER's FUNDRAISING EVENT

    If you are in the Jefferson City area, please join me at McAlister's Deli on Missouri Boulevard on Tuesday March 23 from 5-9pm. McAlister's is donating 10% of all sales that night to my work in Asia. It's a great deal -- you can help send me back to China by eating some awesome food. It's win-win! No need to bring along any extra forms, just your appetite.



    I'll be there all night running food and bussing tables with some friends. Hope to see you there!

    NEWSLETTER: February 2010

    New PartnersMigrant School in Mengshan, ShanghaiMigrant School in Mengshan, Shanghai

    NEXT

    Starting in January, I embarked on a new role with Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation (CWEF), which works to improve the lives of impoverished people in Asia through education and service.

    Founded in 2000 by Lutheran Christians living in Hong Kong, CWEF started work in the rural areas of China's southwestern Yunnan province. Today, CWEF coordinates and carries out a wide variety of poverty alleviation projects in mainland China, Cambodia, and Thailand.

    CWEF works with communities and governments to identify local needs, then carries out projects in the areas of community health and education. Initiatives like these give people the tools to pull themselves out of poverty and to create a new future.

    I will work with a new scholarship project for middle and high school students in the Shanghai area whose families cannot afford to educate them (in mainland China, the government only pays for primary education). As 'service coordinator', I will organize opportunities for volunteers to visit our partner school (see photos above) and serve these students. I'll also work to expand CWEF's volunteer and donor base by building relationships with schools, churches, and other groups in the local community.

    TRUST. ASK.

    As I write this note, I'm in the middle of a two-month stint in the U.S., working to secure financial support for the next leg of my service in Asia.

    This period of 'home service' is a little more intense than last year. I have been charged with raising 70% of my 18-month budget ($48,574) before I am able to return to my work in Asia. Daunting, to be sure.

    Far outshining that uncertainty, though, are the things I am learning from all the people (like you) that God has placed in my life. You are teaching me humility, generosity, courage, and trust.

    That last one, trust, is the big one. It is an incredible ride when you ask God to guide your life and then attempt to follow that direction. I take comfort and gain motivation from Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

    What a promise. God also promises in Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

    So I will ask. If you feel God leading you to partner with me and with the work of CWEF, please follow that path. Or, maybe you can share my newsletter with a friend who might be interested in supporting my work. Maybe you are a member of a community group that could be a potential partner. If there is anything else you can do to help, or if you have any questions, please send me a message at jwalange@gmail.com or call me at 573-821-3859.