Dear friends and supporters,
Thank you for being our co-workers by means of prayer and giving.
Yesterday morning started with an online video meeting with friends from Beijing, China and Ankeny, Iowa. Each week, we study the book of Romans together and spend time in prayer. There is potential for others from a church in Shanghai to join us. These friendships are deepening and these relationships are important. Through them, we hope to find a network of churches, where returning Chinese scholars who have become Christians may worship. For instance, Ronnie will be going back to China in late May, and will need a place to serve his Savior. On the other hand, Bolin found a job in California, which will begin in June. Her parents will be able to periodically join her there. Bolin’s parents also attend church now.
We have had a continual stream of young Christians leaving Boston, mostly heading back to their home in China. We always wonder if we did enough to prepare them to live for Christ.
One thing our young Christians need, before they leave us, is a mature church that ministers to the whole person in the whole city. They need this so they will know what God desires of them when they return home.
But the city also needs this. The city needs churches that will minister to the whole person in the whole city by teaching the whole Word. Cities, Boston and elsewhere, have precious little of this kind of church.
Our constituency needs this. Everyday more and more people are moving from rural areas to the city. Some believe that by 2050, 90 percent of people living in North America will live in cities. If we are to join our Savior in making disciples of all ethnicities, we must learn to thrive in the city.
In addition, our world needs solid, biblically based local churches. By 2050, perhaps 70 percent of all people globally will live in cities. It is estimated that 200 million migrants are on the move from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere, and from the rural areas to cities.
This is our hope and our mission. God is moving the world to cities in the North, which allows us to make disciples of all men. While maintaining their relationships at home, immigrants tend to remain longer in one place. This is missiologically exciting. By ministering to a stable people group in Boston, as well as other cities, we are able to also minister to their human connections internationally.
Twelve years ago, when we purchased and rebuilt our home in Malden, we did not know that over 40 percent of Maldonians were foreign born (the second largest percentage in the Boston area). Nor did we know that students from approximately 60 language groups and 70 countries attend Malden high school. God has sovereignly placed us in a very strategic place.
By ministering to immigrants, as well as the academic community, a mature church will be formed which ministers to the whole person in the whole city. By doing so, we will be able to prepare our academic disciples more thoroughly to minister the gospel in their homelands.
But more important than all of the above is this: the people of the city need a biblical-gospel-centered church, one which will minister to the whole person in the whole city, by faithfully teaching the whole Word of God.
Let me illustrate. Last Monday evening, Deb and I were returning home by subway after spending the day in downtown Boston. The subway car was full, so when a young man with a tired looking little girl (5-6 years old) entered the car, I offered her my seat and engaged the young father in conversation. He explained that his daughter had spent the day at several different homes, (friends and relatives) and that they were now heading to their own home after a long day. Evidently, he is a single dad who searches out the cheapest child care available, while doing whatever he does. As the father and young daughter talked, it seemed clear that later, he would leave his daughter alone in front of the TV while he went to the doctor (at 7 pm?). Upon realizing her father would abandon her for the evening, the small girl buried her head in her hood and would not come out. Maybe I am wrong about what I observed, but this I am certain, that there are thousands of such cases across Boston, and far worse. But as far as world-class cities go, Boston is small and the human need in other cities is far greater.
Our cities are crying out in pain, spiritual pain. Some inhabiting the city will respond to the gospel and be saved, but only if churches designed to minister to the whole person, in the whole city with the whole Word of God are established there.
By God’s grace and Almighty power, this we will do. Please specifically pray for that first immigrant family whom we will befriend by displaying the love of Christ. That’s what we need—one family in the immigrant community. That’s how it starts.
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We love you,
Bill and Deb