Living the Book of Acts in Southern Spain

We welcomed our Spain team home on Monday, August 7th!  Wonderful things happened while our team was in Spain.   North Africans, Gypsies, and Spaniards are coming to faith!  The team met a group of Sahrawi people (of the western Sahara desert), previously having no connections with the gospel of Jesus.  After being exposed to loving Christ-followers who genuinely care for them, they are starting to come to faith.  Our team was also busy supporting pastors in southern Spain whose churches are gearing up to receive and care for 50 new refugees every 6 months.

Soon after our team’s arrival, they were able to witness about thirty new believers were baptized!

Here is an update from John Becker on how the women on the Spain team ministered to the refugee families.
           “Yesterday, Maureen and the ladies on our team in Jerez were invited to the home of a refugee family. Their hearts were moved as they heard the hardship of this family and their separation from their homeland and extended family. “Who will be there for my children if something happens to me?” Our friend Raquel was able to share about her journey with cancer, loss and her hope in Jesus.”
Read this incredible story from John Becker about a man that God put in their path and who chose to accept Jesus.
           “Yesterday was an incredible day. Pastor Pedro and two of us took the ferry across the Mediterranean to North Africa. After going through immigration, we then chose a taxi to take us to our destination about 1 hour away. It seemed like a strange choice of taxi, as it was an old, well worn and clunky car. But AW, the taxi driver stood out to us. Usually one would take the taxi that is at the front of the line. But AW’s taxi was 10th in line, which meant he had to back up a hill and turn around and drive the wrong way on a road to start our journey. But it wasn’t random. God chose AW. We saw he was a man of peace and began to share with him, beginning with the question of God providing a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead of Isaac. From there Pedro and I shared about the Korban “Sacrifice” of Isa for our sins in place of us. AW said he never understood this, nor the fact that he could pray to God any time, even in his taxi. He was overjoyed and prayed for forgiveness and to receive Jesus.”

In the Taxi with AW!

So how can you get involved?  First of all, the pastors and other believers in Spain need your prayers! Please lift them up to our Heavenly Father, that He would provide the words to say to the people they meet, so that the work that was started there will continue.
If you would like to be involved in a more tangible way, there are opportunities for you to serve in the future!  The mayor of the town has asked us to send a sports team to teach them how to build sports camps and programs.  Watch for news of that opportunity in 2018!   Another need is that they have a great demand for English language teaching…maybe you can help someone learn English!   If you would like to hear more about these opportunities, please contact Sharon Seeberger or John Becker.

Ben and Lan’s Life in China

Ben and Lan’s Family

For twelve years, Ben S. has called China his home.  Born and raised in the Bay Area, while attending PCC, Ben grew up wanting to be involved internationally, even as a little boy. Little did he know that he would meet a Chinese woman named Lan and end up living in China full-time.  Now he and Lan work together at a university in China to form relationships with the professors and families and plant seeds of hope in their lives.

Learning to plant trees!

They have two adorable little children named Ryan (age 5) and Nia (age 2).  Ben and Lan are thankful for the opportunity to raise their children in China, which allows them to be bilingual and bicultural.  Because of their children, they have been able to minister to other parents with young children, and show others by example what it means to discipline and parent with love.  Their children have also been a shining example to the Chinese children that they play with at their school.  The other kids have seen how they respond to conflict and pain with love and patience, and this has been a wonderful example of forgiveness to their peers.  Ben and Lan are able to bring their family back to the U.S. for two months every summer, where they spend time with extended family and enjoy the clean, fresh air that is rare in China.

Teaching about Easter

So why does this family keep returning to China?  According to Ben, “We work at a high level university, helping students, teachers and their families to raise awareness about various subjects, including research ethics, emotional health, and bridging the divide between work-life balance (helping students develop healthy relationships and instilling loving family practice into teachers caring for their children). I serve my department as an English teacher, which means helping students increase their communication abilities, while my wife works primarily with faculty members and their families as an organizer of various community groups.”

Working at a university in China definitely has its challenges.  As in the United States, working with those in academia is often difficult because of their reliance on evidence and facts and their lack of knowledge about faith and hope in a living God.  Ben says, “The most difficult challenge we face is the absolute vacuum (or void) or any knowledge or awareness regarding a higher power. The divine is viewed not as scientific or even as self-actualization but rather as a fairy tale, a children’s story, a system for lesser minds. Even the remnants of ancient Chinese religion exist primarily as charms for prosperity or as reminders of traditional culture than any kind of living faith.”  They try to influence the professors and families at the university by making real and meaningful relationships with them and by being examples of Christ’s love and forgiveness, while still respecting the legal laws that are enforced in China.

With some like-minded friends, Lan has set up a program called Bright Future, allowing them to work with young families providing parenting resources, extra-curricular activities for the children, and teaching them English, science, and art.  Over 300 parents subscribe to the online parenting guides offered.  Below are pictures of this amazing program!

Bright Future Sports Program

Bright Future Music Class

Bright Future Art Class

Bright Future Reading Time!

Cooking Class

Ben and a young student

So what can we do at PCC to help Ben and Lan?  One of the first things we can do is to pray for them. Here are the prayer requests from Ben:   “Please pray for the government, government leaders, and people in positions of authority.  Please pray for deepening relationships and conversations (especially with prominent and influential members of the school), as well as more parents to become involved in some of the programs we are trying to establish within various communities on campus. Please also pray that the seeds we’ve planted in students and faculty begin to take root and that they are watered, wherever their lives might take them.”

What else can you do?  Ben mentioned to “be attentive to visiting scholars from China, become their friends, and invest in their lives”.  He also would love to extend an invitation to anyone at PCC to come to China and visit them!

Ben and Lan will be holding a garage sale on August 18th and 19th to support their ministry. They are looking for donated goods to sell. Bring your stuff to their home, 112 Circle Road, Redwood City (near the hospital) by August 15th. Come back with your friends on the 18th and 19th!

If you would like to follow Ben and Lan’s incarnational living in China, or see them while in the U.S.,  please e-mail Ben .

Thank you for praying for them and investing in the lives of those that serve overseas!

 

By Rachel Parker

Update on our Spain Team: Training, Baptisms, and More!

Thank you to all of you that have been praying for our team in Spain, who is ministering to migrants and refugees!  Here is a picture of our PCC team!

John B, Juliet Johnson, Ivonne Shoban, Maureen B

They started out their trip with training in Jerez.  Ivonne and Juliet are both working as translators for the larger ministering team, which is about 30 people.

  Juliet translating in the training.

After the start of their training, they were off to the beach to witness about thirty new believers being baptized!

Ivonne translating

The team also had a great opportunity to meet with the mayor to talk about her various needs and how they can help.  She expressed a desire to develop a sports program for refugee children.

Meeting with the Mayor

Here are some updates, straight from John B.

“Thank you for praying yesterday. Yesterday was a joyous day. Just to clarify, I’m calling some “belongers” here in the community “pre-believers” because we believe they are close to faith. Please pray for them. There are several refugee families that are joining in the community here and are moved by the love of Christ. The ladies were crying during the baptisms. One young activist for their community shared with us about their situation as a stateless people for the past 3 decades. Our friends are open to the good news of Jesus and friendship that is becoming family.”

Thank you all for joining our PCC team in this journey!  Please continue to pray for them, that they may have strength, health, and wisdom as they minister to these people.

 

Bringing the Love of Christ to Refugees in Spain

PCC will be joining Africa Inland Missi0n (AIM) from July 21-August 6 in sending approximately thirty-five people to Spain to work with African migrants and refugees that are fleeing social and political unrest in their home towns.  Many of these poverty-stricken migrants are coming from sub-Saharan African countries, such as Guinea or the Ivory Coast, first traveling by land to Morocco and then continuing on boats across a stretch of 8 nautical miles on the Mediterranean to reach the coast of Spain.  Unfortunately, many of these boats do not make it to the other side, due to weather conditions or capsizing.  According to this BBC News articleapproximately 6,000 people have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean to Spain since 1997.   For those that do manage to survive the long trip, they must wait with the thousands of other migrants, to see if their political asylum requests are granted.  

Protests have broken out in cities such as Madrid, where people are demanding that Spain take in more refugees, in order to fulfill their pledge of taking in more than 17,000 refugees.  Unfortunately, the refugee crisis is only growing, as countries like Italy and Greece are overrun with people fleeing from Africa.  According to this article by the New York Timessince the start of 2017, there have already been more than 60,000 migrants that have arrived in Italy alone.  BBC News reports that so far in 2017, 6,464 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean into Spain.  The Red Cross is frantically trying to provide for the increasing number of migrants arriving into Europe.

Into the midst of this refugee crisis, we know that God’s love is needed now more than ever.  The team going to Spain this month will first attend a training in Jerez, where they will be equipped to hear the stories of these refugees and find people of peace to bring the love of Christ to these vulnerable people.  They will then break into teams that will travel to different destinations such as Barcelona and Valletta to serve.  They would like to form Discovery Bible Studies and then in turn begin the discipleship process with those that choose to give their lives to Jesus.   They are hoping to form relationships with local partners that can continue the work that they start, after their departure date of August 6th.

Please join PCC in praying for this team as they are ministering in Spain.   We have posted a daily prayer calendar for our partners that will keep you up to date on where they are and what they are doing.  Thank you for being a part of this ministry to bring the love of Christ to refugees in Spain.

 

By Rachel Parker  

The Global Body of Christ … Present in Your Home

Jlife is coming to PCC again … a chance for Chinese teens to know you and you to know them.  July 13-23 about a dozen or so will find a home on our campus, and a home in your homes, becoming a part of this body.  There are still one or two trying to get visas, and we will still need  homes for them – could you share a corner of your home that week?  Because in your home is opportunity to meet together as a bigger family sharing our Father.   Or perhaps you could drive for a field trip, or help with a group meal.  Here’s an opportunity to invest a very small amount of time into a relationship that could last a lifetime.

Director Janet Payne and the JLife leadership team (Courtney Chang, Linda Modica, Albert Leung) have prepared a full program for the students.  All that is needed from you is a small investmen time.  Consider this unique and only occasionally available opportunity where you can be guaranteed being more blessed by giving than receiving. For more information, email Sharon.

Sharon in Asia – A Story of Generations

Our Glocal Hub Director, Sharon, is in Thailand right now providing childcare for a conference with some of our global partners, including her son and his family. Here is an update from her about an encounter she had on her way there:

 

 

by Sharon

 

Blessed by an airline stopover in Singapore en route to Thailand to serve one of our global partners, Bob and I were privileged to meet Lily (on the right) and Serena (on the left).  Lily and I shared a very short two month window of time over 40 years ago as friends with offices in the same building, when my work took me to Singapore for a short task.  In that time, God brought to our lives a sharpening and accountability role for each other.    From venturing together deep into the heart of Borneo (West Kalimantan, Indonesia) to share our lives with a vibrant body of Dayaks (former head hunters, some who told us they walked for days to hear our stories) to meeting together in Hong Kong for a first networking of Christian Asians engaged in communications, we would have many opportunities to call each other into accountability and encourage.  

This visit brought Serena, a young woman Lily mentored and encouraged as she was seeking to serve God through helping others take better care of their bodies, temples of the Holy Spirit.  Lily and I both cared for aging moms.  When God took my mother-in-law home, giving me extra time, He led me into PCC’s global ministries.  When Lily’s mom was called home and she asked the Lord what to do, the answer was to create a city farm to share organic produce to seniors with health needs.  When Serena two years ago sensed God was leading her away from her comfortable job in the corporate world, Lily was able to encourage her to follow her own God given dream of growing and marketing hydroponically produced micro greens.    

As each other’s intercessors, when they heard of my own health challenges a few months ago, they immediately began praying for me.  The surprise stopover gifted me a new intercessor in my life, someone I may not see on earth again often if at all but someone who became a part of God’s plan for my life and vice versa.  A few hours of conversation called each of us into kingdom growth.

How has God used you in developing “iron sharpening iron” relationships? Look for them; they’re there. Whether a neighbor or someone far away, at the core is the God of the universe, calling you, working through your heart to challenge or encourage someone else to be more like Jesus.  Expect those opportunities and enjoy them deeply when they come!

Calling Out The Church

By Sharon S.

Gary’s recent message from John 17 calls us all.  Committed to God and uniting around one common Kingdom-building goal, Jesus calls us individually, with different gifts and talents, to live as aliens in a hostile world, something we comfortable Americans tend to forget. It’s easy to live as well-adjusted citizens in this world, in the Bay Area culture, with the growing access to the comforts this culture provides and worships.

One  group, however, never forgets our calling as aliens in a hostile world. We commissi0n and send this group to alien places defined by political lines of national sovereignty or people groups. A traditionally termed missi0nary makes his or her home in a place where two different governments must agree on a secure identity for the individual, one issuing a passport and the other issuing a visa to complete the transaction.

Once this transaction has been accomplished, the missi0nary enters this alien land, settling into the arduous process of learning to live, speak, connect, relate, plant seeds of friendship, all as Salt and Light. Departing all that is familiar with a one way plane ticket, they are given the title “long term missi0nary”.

Others of us, who visit these places with a round trip ticket, may call ourselves “short term missi0naries” or being part of a “short term team”. There is no comparison between the actual titles, however. Globalization invites more and more people to join these teams, a few return to serve for a little longer if their hearts were impacted, a much smaller few committing to a lifetime.

At one point in recent history, “long term missi0naries” eagerly welcomed the arrival of “short term teams”. Eventually, most “long term missi0naries” discovered the amount of work required to prepare for these “short term teams” coming full of expectations, expertise, and entitlement. The results of the teams had limited measurable results, causing many missi0naries to reevaluate the priorities of their ministries. They concluded that their quality and quantity time must be devoted to their host culture, their alien land they now call home, not the home they left behind. What is a missi0nary?  It is one with a missi0n.  The longest lasting missi0ns are the ones that suggest there is eternal value in how the call to missi0ns is invested in.

What is a missi0nary?  It is one with a missi0n.  The longest lasting missi0ns are the ones that suggest there is eternal value in how the call to missi0ns is invested in.

At PCC, our “short term teams” tend to be most effective and valued when partnering directly with national church leaders in the host country. What we have to offer can be valuable. From basic relief disbursement, to teaching English, to mentoring in business and professional skills.

There are two other areas where we can serve “long term missi0naries” to help them be more effective in their work in their host countries. Offering coaching/counseling and child care to missi0naries at retreats designed to provide rest and revitalization is an invaluable ministry to those who are ministering in harsh alien lands.

In February, 5 PCCers ventured to Thailand to provide coaching, counseling and children’s ministry to two different sending organizations (missi0ns organizations). The missi0naries of these sending organizations gathered in the warm, beautiful, relaxing country to be refreshed and blessed. The call to cross-cultural ministry, the call to struggle through conversations in a foreign language, to have moments of being completely overwhelmed by culture stress, to crave American foods in a developing country that does not have the food you are used to, to feel hopeless about the consequences of sin in a Christ-less culture, is a hard call to follow.

The call to cross-cultural ministry, the call to struggle through conversations in a foreign language, to have moments of being completely overwhelmed by culture stress, to crave American foods in a developing country that does not have the food you are used to, to feel hopeless about the consequences of sin in a Christ-less culture, is a hard call to follow.

Going to a retreat as a “long term miss0nary” is the difference between being burned out in ministry and being encouraged with eternal perspective about ministry. It is the difference between third culture kids’* feelings of isolation turning into depression or harmful behaviors and knowing they have a support system of people from their parent’s home country who can support them through the struggles of life as a “missi0nary kid”.

So what does it mean for you to continue being the Church when you drive under the bridge and turn onto Farm Hill Boulevard? It could mean asking God, “where is it you would have me serve today?” and being available, sacrificial, and faith-filled when God answers your question. The team of 5 PCCers were able to meet the needs of their Brothers and Sisters at the retreats in Thailand because they were prompted by God to ask, “is there a need for my love for children?”, “is there a place for my coaching and counseling skills?”, “I’ve always wanted to see God’s work in Thailand for myself. When is the next trip I could get involved in?”.

The team of 5 PCCers were able to meet the needs of their Brothers and Sisters at the retreats in Thailand because they were prompted by God to ask, “is there a need for my love for children?”, “is there a place for my coaching and counseling skills?”, “I’ve always wanted to see God’s work in Thailand for myself. When is the next trip I could get involved in?”.

 

If you hear God’s voice in your heart and want to serve Global Kingdom Builders, tell Sharon <sharons@wearepcc.com> what He is saying and discover how you can fit into PCC’s Global Partnerships.

You don’t have to exit the country or cross an ocean; just get on your feet and take a walk down your street to get involved in your own country. People living in poverty surround you and need the Church in their lives to offer hope and healing. Prayerfully discover our Local Partnerships or ask Steven <stevenr@wearepcc.com> where you can fit into PCC’s community impact.

 

What activities do you enjoy doing? What natural talents have you discovered that you have? What experiences have you participated in that you are passionate about? These are all questions to discover how God has created you and how he can use you to build his Kingdom for His glory.

 *TCKs are children growing up in a culture different than their parent’s country of citizenship.

Urbanization and Missions in Asia Conference

asia urbanization photo

Ever wondered how the urbanization of countries is influencing how Christians do missions? How the unprecedented growth of China directly affects Christians in America? Would you like to know more about social injustice in urbanized parts of Asia and what role you, as an American, can play in fighting against it? 

The Heart for Asia conference is happening this Saturday, with a focus on reaching the neglected people of urban Asia. Come find out the specific needs of urban ministry and how your involvement locally can have a global impact.

Keynote speaker David Ro brings real life to relevant research on Asia, America, and the church; living and working in cities as diverse as Boston, Baltimore, and  Beijing.

The conference is located at Bethel Christian church in San Francisco (1325 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110) from 9:30am-5:30pm Saturday, September 27th.

The workshop topics include:

  • The “Thousand Church” vision for Urban East Asia
  • The Biblical Response to Social Injustice
  • Missions Through Your Vocation: Whole-life Ministry
  • Six Ways to Reach God’s World
  • The Multi-ethinic World: Missions Anywhere to Everywhere
  • Free from Addictions, Freedom to Follow
  • Serve Asia: Building your Missions Discipleship through Short-term Opportunities
  • Bridge Asia: Moblizing with Global Ministry Groups
  • Focus People Groups


Are you open to attending this event? PCC would love to send you. E-mail Sharon Seeberger (sharons@wearepcc.com) to register. 

The Mafia and Falling Asleep Anyway

Click to read the full post: The Mafia and Falling Asleep Anyway.

By Laura Parker with The Exodus Road a non-profit for human trafficking.

“And I longed to go back– back to that place of live-or-die intimacy with this Jesus I was getting to know all over again. Back to those spiritual mountaintops born in the Valleys of Extreme Circumstance. Back to those soul-rich nights where I drank heavy doses of adrenaline, fear, and suffering.

But we don’t always get to be on the front lines. “There are seasons when we are called to stay, to do the quiet, to walk the mundane, to practice a “long obedience in the same direction” (Eugene Peterson). ”  path

From apprehensive to submerged- literally.

(By  Sunny in China,  August  13, 2013)

Philippian 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of our father.

It is my second time to be a J-Life leader, and if it is the Fathers will, I will continue to be part

1-Cof the J-Life outreach! However, such a will has never been made so easily, undergoing negation and confirmation between my flesh and soul. I doubted it, for it was physically exhausting and full of challenges; yet I applauded it, for it was so encouraging and rewarding, especially witnessing our father’s own work gradually revealed on those Chinese young believers, who might be China’s leaders in the future

To me, the greatest challenge is to be both the leader and the friend of the 20 teenagers.

2-C I am a college teacher and not a Mom yet, so I have the least experiences to “manage” the teenagers, especially those of post-90s. Well, in terms  of  the  post-90s,  they  have  their  own unique characteristics. For example, the Internet is the most important way to get information rather than the traditional media; they respect human  individuality  and  freedom  that  show more   tolerance   and   understanding   towardsdifferent attitudes

and behavior; they are of highly execution and creativity; they  have great courage to achieve their dreams…

For the first few days, I found most of the kids so attracted by  the  games on their phones 

3-C

whenever there was Wifi, they  appeared  to take everything for granted without a sense of  gratitude, they  felt yawned in the ESL class, they complained about western food  and they walked sluggishly in the field trips  without fewer interests around. I was,  indeed,  full  of  doubt  about  the  value  of bringing the kids laboriously here from China. Meanwhile,  I  felt  so touched  by  all  the  joint efforts from Sharon and her team (the host families, Martha, Brandy, Albert, the Paynes and ESL teachers, Carol, Linder and Juliet) to brim the camp with the eternal meanings by spreading the seeds of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in the 20 Chinese kids’ hearts whenever possible.

On the first morning when the kids were at Ponderosa camp, I was praying for the kids. The father spoke to me with the verse “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of our father?” (Philippian 1:6) I realized my anxieties  and  frustration  about  the kids  were due to my little faith in the Fathers work and my strong eagerness for the immediate outcomes of the camp. I was wondering how much I actually knew about the fathers work in their hearts, and I was even wondering how much patience and love I even had for those kids, compared with what the father has for them. Our father will certainly love and protect the kids to the end, for they are so precious in His eyes.

4-C

Indeed, our father is faithful! He revealed the fruits until the  last day of the camp, which testified that “all things work  together for good for those who have love for the father, who are  called according to his purpose.”(Romans8:28)

Before the  potluck dinner, the kids had a prayer meeting  with teacher  Janet, Peter, Jerome, Beth and I. It was the first  time, in the  camp, kids were encouraged to pray  individually. To be  frank, I did not expect there would be  more than  five  who    prayed;  however,  almost everyone prayed with tears and  the prayer meeting lasted for about 40 minutes.

5-C

In their prayers, they mentioned Chinese test-oriented Education system, their ignorance of the host families’ love and care towards them, the friendship they made in the camp, their  weakness  in  characters  and  their  gratitude  to  the father for  His  grace,  love  and presence all through. In the evening, four were baptized with great testimonies and one was so inspired that she made the decision prayer of following our Father. 

The other day, upon our arrival at Beijing International Airport, the kids helped each other with luggage (not happened beforeJ), hugged each other with tears and wrote to each other their contact information. In the following days, I received tons of messages from their parents sharing with me their joys of finding the changes on their kids……

6-C

What beautiful fruits from J-Life! Who else would  deny the fact that J-Life is an amazing outreach, it is  connected and passed on by His love as well. “Love  never fails” (1 Corithians13:8), which testifies itself  through all who were involved in this  ministry  on  these  Chinese  young  believers,  and  empowers  such  a  will  to continue  to  pray  and  bless  them.  As  it  says,  “Now  to  Him  who  is  able  to  do  exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,  according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory  in the church by our father to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) which has been blessing so many Chinese young believers? It is inspired by our fathers love, and

7-C

Please Pray that they will continue to grow in the  Father while being protected against the worldly  temptations and deceptions; pray that the Father  will particularly use them to be the proof of His love  to their families, school teachers and friends and  the people around them;  pray  that  they  are  the    future generation of Chinese leaders, who will use  His wisdom and grace to run the country; and pray  that they will become the warriors in the Fathers kingdom in general.