From a first time blogger, thoughts about life from an American missionary now living in the US after years in Russia and doing a lot of back and forth. Family stuff, Christian content, sports innuendo and lots of quotes from good books.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Good for One, Good for All (?)

It is interesting how in one culture to one group, a message is considered as on target as possible. To a group holding the same faith though in another culture, it brings harm and confusion.

BEIJING — The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson, one of the best-selling non-fiction books in the past ten years, has gutted China's house church movement, say observers.
"Chinese Christians used to sacrifice everything for Christ. Now they only want God to bless them," says one Chinese elder who has served five prison terms for planting churches. He and others say China's Christians have "grown soft with navel-gazing" and have lost their tolerance for persecution.
Copies of The Prayer of Jabez began circulating in China in 2001. Many Christians began "talking endlessly about God expanding their borders and keeping them free from pain," says one Chinese pastor whose weekly prayer meeting shrunk to half its previous size.
"Instead of asking God to strengthen the Chinese church they pray for personal fulfillment. They ignore all the Bible except Jabez," he says.
Sun Young, 24, says he and other Christians are tired of hearing only about "the way of the cross."
"Jabez changed my life. I pray every morning, 'God, let your hand be with me and keep me from harm,'" he says.
Unlike his parents, he does not want to suffer for Christ, but rather hopes to flourish in his personal giftings. "Jabez showed us a new way," he says.
According to 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 Jabez was "more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, 'I gave birth to him in pain.' Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, 'Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request."
As the Jabez book spreads to China's interior, the house church movement, once a model of Christian endurance, is bracing for even greater loss of members.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Let's Empty An Orphanage!

I've never used my blog in this fashion before but it is for orphans I am doing it. Nothing wrong with that. This is a ministry newsletter that I recently wrote and thought I'd share with blog land. I've included a picture of me with some of the boys from this orphanage of which I speak:

As you have followed the wonderful story of this ministry the last few months, you see the orphans of Novosibirsk coming into very clear focus. What James called “pure and faultless religion” in James 1:27 is a growing part of our outreach in Russia.

When you hear the phrase, “Let’s Empty the Orphanage”, what thoughts come to your mind? Sheer joy comes to ours. While we are very thankful for the directors and staff that care for, feed, and educate the children in the Russian orphanages with whom we partner, we long for a day when these children would know another place as home. In a small way and for a short time though this coming January, God has given us a way to literally empty an orphanage. Here’s how. Our 3rd consecutive winter camp outreach in Novosibirsk, Russia, begins this coming January 3 and runs until January 10. While many of the students who are a part of our year round mentoring and discipleship program are sure to attend, we have the opportunity this year to bring all remaining children from City Orphanage #10 in Novosibirsk to our winter camp. In this way, we can actually empty out an orphanage for a period of 8 days. In recent communication with the director of this orphanage, he has shared with us that he expects 15-17 children to remain there during the holiday period as they have no family or friends whatsoever who wish to have them during the holiday period.

December 31 to January 10 is the most celebrated time of year in Russia. With New Year’s being the biggest holiday of all, the celebrating begins just before New Year’s and continues on just past the first week of the year. Families gather, school is out, some families travel abroad, celebrations take place, and wonderful memories are made. While that goes on with children who have families, the orphans sit in their orphanage and watch television, share a single computer on which they play games, sleep, and remain painfully aware that they are alone. You see why we think this is a very special and unique opportunity to bring the light and love of Jesus to these precious children this coming winter.

Here’s how you can help us. Consider pulling out a few of the gifts that are sure to end up under your family’s tree this coming December. Commit that money to sponsoring one of these orphans to attend our camp. $350 is the amount it takes to sponsor a child and to help us empty this orphanage. Our goal is to find enough sponsors this year to help children from two different orphanages attend our winter camp. May we suggest you have your kids share in this process with you? Sure, you can easily write a check and be done with it but allow them the joy of knowingly giving up something they want under that Christmas tree December 25 in order to help an orphan learn about Jesus and experience his love for 8 days in January. If you and your family, small group, office, church, etc, are interested in providing funding for a child, please email me at I will gladly share with you what the next steps are.

We wish you and your families a joyful holiday season. Thank you again for your constant prayers and partnership with us in this ministry.

For the youth of the world, we are,

Rob, Traci, Benja, Nate and Aidan Browne