“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” -Matthew 1:23 (NLT)
It is an exciting time in our household. As we await Christmas and remember how Jesus came into the world, Coco and I are also gearing up for the birth of our first-born son.
Preparing to welcome a child into the world brings a whole new sense of wonder to the Advent season. After experiencing our own anticipation and joy, I can only imagine Mary’s state of mind in the weeks leading up to Jesus’s birth. Our feelings must have been multiplied many times over in Mary as she processed the magnitude of this God-Child kicking and poking her ribs. Mary knew what this baby meant: God is with us! We are so thankful for this reality as we ready ourselves for the responsibility of raising a child, and as we continue to go out each day to the work He has called us to here.
In early November, I was grateful to have the opportunity to join my LCMS colleagues from the Asia region in Taiwan for a regional meeting, and then in Hong Kong for a leadership training workshop. God has blessed us with wonderful coworkers.
One of my tasks each quarter for CWEF is to help assemble and send out our quarterly newsletter (which you can sign up for by filling out the form in the bottom right of our home page at cwef.org.hk). :) The last issue featured a few stories I’d like to share again here:
1) Ros Sineng is a widow from rural Cambodia who was one of the recipients of CWEF’s Animal Gift program in her home village of Taben. Sineng was one of 10 ladies in Taben who received 2 piglets earlier this year through the program, which was started there in March 2011 with the help of a generous grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries. The program in Taben is coordinated by a local pastor, Rev. Oum Chanbol, together with Danay Mao of CWEF. The original group of 8 recipients in 2011 received the gift of pigs and was trained in how to raise them as a source of income. They subsequently brought in enough money to gift the second group of 12 ladies with pigs in September 2012. The cycle continued with Sineng’s group in January 2014, and the program will continue with a fourth group of ladies in 2015. When we followed up with Sineng after six months, she had almost doubled her money and was raising four additional pigs. She said:
“I want to raise 4 pigs, and then 6 pigs, and then 10 pigs. I want to run a pig farm. That’s my goal.”
2) You may know that CWEF also helps to provide the tuition needs of students in rural China, helping them to continue their education and follow their dreams. Here is a letter that one student, Li, wrote to her sponsor:
"I want to write you to express my thanks for giving me the opportunity to be so fortunate. Through all the teachers and students I have faced over this last year, your kindness has been an anchor to me, keeping me strong, and indeed, a major form of stability in my life. It makes me happy to know there is such love both within and outside the family circle. I am extremely aware now that friends look after our needs so well and that perhaps there is a Being who knows that a supportive friend is needed to help through their troubled times.
“Thank you my dear friend for all your prayers and for standing by me through everything. You can never know how grateful I am to you for bringing me a little sense and sanity into what was a very difficult period of my life. For your help, I am very happy, because it gave me a little light, and that light truly shines through you, and you have been such a great blessing to my life. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for everything!”
Pray that Li and many others like her may receive the greatest blessing anyone has ever known – to know the True Light, who gives light to everyone and who has come into our world to be God with us.