Advent Greetings to you and yours! We pray you are doing well in the Lord.
In our corner of the world, life has certainly felt abundant these past few months. Actually, it often feels a little too abundant. Does that sound familiar to anyone else…?
As our inboxes, schedules and shopping carts overflow, we pray that God’s Spirit helps us to resist the world’s tendency to pull us around in every direction. May we instead be grounded in the Greatest Gift: our Good Shepherd, who came to lay down his life for you and me. Centered on him and his perfect birth, life, death and resurrection, we can “take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Tim. 6:19).
That is good news worth celebrating.
More good news worth celebrating: Coco and I had the joy of welcoming two people we love into God’s Family recently through the “washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
The first was Mona, whose family lived one building over from us at our previous apartment complex and became one of Coco’s closest friends over the past few years. We thank God for his perfect design in bringing Mona and her family into our lives for friendship and encouragement, as we have been growing together in our marriages and in raising young kids. Mona was also there for our family in a big way when Coco was going through her recent bout of hospitalizations and surgeries right after Sophie was born. And in the midst of all of this life together, the Spirit was working in Mona’s life as she got to know Jesus and was introduced to a great local church family, who have welcomed her and have lovingly walked with her through the first steps of her journey of trust in Him.
The second person we dearly love whom we now also call a sister in Christ is our baby girl, Sophie. We were so grateful to be surrounded by friends and colleagues from Concordia International School Shanghai (where John is now also attending preschool), as we welcomed Sophie into God’s Family.
Our work with and for communities in rural Asia through CWEF continues:
We recently welcomed Panhary to our team in Cambodia, who is doing great work with our education programs there, one being scholarships for university students. The young people we support through the University Scholarship program come from various connections within the Cambodia Lutheran Church community, and from a local partner home for orphaned or abandoned children called Child Rescue. In October, we were thankful to be able to partner with Child Rescue and another local non-profit called Stronghold Cambodia to carry out a ‘Teen Health Retreat’ led by two Cambodian pastors – Jesse and Joseph – which was focused on God’s good design for relationships.
Several Drinking Water and HEAL projects (with a focus on health education) are ongoing in China’s Yunnan province. These projects are led by CWEF’s Jenny Chu and are focused on bringing renewal of bodily health to children and families in five communities, impacting over 800 people. Soon, Jenny will begin working to develop relationships and HEAL projects at a new project site near her hometown in northwestern Yunnan province, which is very close to the border with Tibet and Myanmar.
Working with churches, schools, partner non-profits and other groups, CWEF has more than ten Service Learning experiences planned for the coming year, which will provide support for CWEF health and education programs.
Many people continue to ask about Coco’s health and ongoing road to recovery these past few months. Deep thanks to everyone who continues to pray and show concern for her. We are very happy to report that she is now nearly back to 100% physical health. Which is great timing, because now Sophie’s sleep is starting to get less and less peaceful, so we all need to be at full strength!
Prayer and Praise
For Mona and her family – Gary, Mia and Gabe.
For Sophie, as she grows into the person God has made her to be.
For Coco, as she continues to recover and gain strength for her service to our family and community.
For all of the health, education and service learning work planned for 2019 in Asia, that God would use our service for his good purposes.
For God’s provision of funding for all of CWEF’s planned programs and operations support.
For CWEF’s board of directors – for wisdom and vision as they make decisions about the future direction of the organization.
For all the people connected to our family and the work of CWEF, that the Spirit would be working in their lives.
Please Consider a Year-End Gift
As the year comes to an end, please pray about and consider a special year-end gift to support us as we serve God’s people in Asia. We thank God for your faithful prayer and financial support through the years. We have been so blessed by you and the many supporters who stand with us in the work God has called us to.
www.lcms.org/lange / 888-930-4438
www.missioncentral.us / 712-882-1029
Thank you so much for your prayers and support!
Josh + Coco + John + Sophia // lcms.org/lange