To Him be the Glory!
V OLU M E 3, I SS UE 5 J A N UA RY 5 , 2014
Photo courtesy of Mei Hsieh
Saying Goodbye... Шинэ оны мэнд хүргэе! (Happy New Year!) This will be the second to last issue for “To Him be the Glory!”. It’s with a mixture of sadness and anticipation that I announce my stepping off the field permantently on February 17, 2014 until and unless G0d leads me otherwise in the future . When I first left LA in June of 2010, I had no idea what G0d had in store for me. Now, over 3.5 years later, I’d like to testify to G0d’s faithfulness to me, the laboring team, and our m1nistry. I will also be officially transitioning out of full-time m1nistry, which I’ve been privileged to do for the past 7 years since graduating in 2007. As this chapter of my life closes and as another begins, I hope to have good closure as well as a smooth transition. If you’re interested to read more about how G0d led me to this decision and why I’m coming home, please read “A Time to Stay, A Time to Go” on page 4. I’ve also included other important updates and stories in this newsletter so you can read them at your leisure and interest. I cannot thank you all enough for your pr’ayers, encouragements, support, love and more! I sincerely could not have done it without you all beside me. Our m1nistries in Beijing and Ulaanbaatar as well as souls all over Asia have been eternally b1essed as a result of your perseverance in sending me! The L0rd will not forget the love you have shown His people (Hebrews 6:10). I plan to write one last issue of “To Him be the Gl0ry!” next month to summarize my last month of happenings in Ulaanbaatar. Until next time… thanks for reading!
Inside this issue: A Time to Stay, A Time to Go
ICA Around the World
Personal Pr’ayer Requests
Stories of Hope & Suffering
ULAANBAATAR ICA 60/3-р Байр, 47 тоот Чингэлтэй дүүрэг, 6-р Хороо Улаанбаатар хот, Монгол улс
Mongolia cell: +976 9519-1296 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephlee124 YouTube: www.youtube.com/sleebob
Strengthening of Personal Devotion and Commitment to Chr1st: Please pr’ay for our
chur’ch brothers and sisters to develop a strong and deep personal devotion to Chr1st and to be committed to Him above all else in their life. Though we have brothers and sisters who have been attending our chu’rch for 1-3 years, almost all of them have yet to fully submit themselves to the L0rdship of Chr1st and almost all struggle to have a regular Quiet Time. Upcoming VWET program: Please lift up me and Mei as we will be teaching a 2-week VWET (Volunteer Winter English Teachers) at the National University of Mongolia in midJanuary. By G0d’s provision, the person coordinating the program at NUM is very helpful and accommodating. She’s recruiting 1st and 2nd years from all different majors and reserving classrooms for us to teach in. Please pr’ay that (1) there would be at least 30 students total who will come consistently and (2) Mei and I could build relationships quickly to gain trust and a platform to share our lives and the g0spel, if and when appropriate.
A Time to Stay A Time to Go
I took this picture with my phone in June of 2010 at the airport as I tearfully waved goodbye. I didn’t even have to edit this picture for dramatic effect—it’s just blurry because there was no focus or flash back then and the megapixals on the camera phone were still dinky. As I head back, it’s just as hard to leave Ulaanbaatar now as it was to leave Los Angeles 4 years ago. I come back as a changed woman—I’m still 5’0” but I’ve quadrupled the amount of white hairs on my head and lost about 10 pounds. Joking aside, I’m so thankful that every step I’ve taken since becoming a Christian my 2nd year in college has been a step of fa1th and a step led by G0d. There have been tremendous challenges and difficulties Page 4
but I can sincerely testify that when G0d leads you, even through the desert or the storm, great good and b1essing result. For those interested, I wanted to share a little more about how G0d led me to come home. What led me out of America to begin with was a desire to be available to be used by G0d however and wherever He wanted to use me. Since my first short-term m1ssi0ns trip to Ulaanbaatar in 2005, I fell in love with the people and the country and when G0d presented me with the posisibility of living and serving in this country, I willingly stepped forward. I’ve spent the past years overseas building up the sisters in the alreadyVolume 3 , Issue 5
existing Beijing ICA chu’rch, coldcontact evange1izing on college campuses in Beijing and Ulaanbaatar to pioneer campus m1nistries, planting the chu’rch here in Ulaanbaatar, and m1nistering to Mongolian middle schoolers and high schoolers. These past 7 years serving in full-time min1stry and the past 3.5+ years overseas helped me to understand more of how G0d has gifted me and what G0d’s calling for me is. Though I cannot clearly say what kind of m1nistry G0d is leading me to serve in next (see “What Now?”, page 12), I know that my time of pioneering campus m1nistries and serving in campus m1nistry on a full-time capacity has come to a close. Unto Him
I be1ieve G0d is leading me to the workplace. I will continue to serve the chu’rch, I will continue to evange1ize (though more on a relational basis), I will continue to discip1e sisters and commit my time and resources to invest in the lives of others, but the invaluable convictions that G0d has been developing in me over the past 9 years in ICA will now be lived out in a different context. And so, as I remember Ecclesiastes 3:1, there is an appointed time and season for everything. I’m thankful for G0d’s affirmation, along with the support of Past0r Min, my leader and spiritua1 father, as I close this chapter and look on to His next adventure. Page 5
Financial Update For the past 4 years of fundraising for overseas m1ssi0ns, you all have contributed an astounding $42,000! It’s truly a testimony of G0d’s fa1thful provision. I want to say thank you. I don’t take the financial support lightly as I’m aware that this is hard-earned money; with the U.S. economy not doing well, it’s definitely fa1th-driven giving. Also, I know that there are so many other very good opportunities to give to people, organizations, causes, and people groups that are equally if not even more in need. So I trust that every penny raised has truly been from your generosity and love for G0d and His people as well as from G0d’s s0vereign leading. Having said all that, I wanted to update you all on my current financial situation. As I wrote in my special edition support newsletter last June, I started to fundraise to receive a salary for my fourth year overseas (starting from July 2013). My fundraising goal was $9,600 for 6 months (now $12,000 for 8 months). M1nistry expenses, housing, food, and utilities are all mandatory deductions from this salary, leaving less than 50% for Monthly Expenses other needs. So, why am I bringing this up if I am going home in Ministry Savings Expenses 24% February? Misc. 6%
Firstly, I’d like to give an update on Food my salary fundraising. I have now Medical 10% raised a total of around $7,000! Insurance 6% Praise G0d! Secondly, I’d like to Personal invite you to pr’ay about giving one Needs Utilities Phone 2% 9% 1% last time as I prepare to step off the field. The funds that will be distributed to me after the mandatory deductions and taxes will be used for my transition back to life in America. Housing 11%
Volume 3, Issue 5
Having been gone for 4 years, it will take time to adjust on a physical, emotional, mental, cultural, and spiritual level. I hope to take it slow: reconnecting with people, pr’aying, reflecting on the past, envisioning for the future, looking for a job, finding housing, transportation, etc. I fear that if I jump into life too quickly because needs such as rent, bills, food are a pressing reality, the pressure of finding a job will make it difficult for me to smoothly transition. Any funds raised will thus allow for a cushion of time to adjust. Whoever brings To give a picture of what these funds would be used for, here’s a brief list: Food, rent, bills, transportation, health (dentist), gifts for others, clothes (especially as I prepare to enter the workplace), shoes, etc.
blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25 (ESV)
G0d recently encouraged me with this verse from Luke 12, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (verse 32, ESV). Truly, G0d has not held back the riches of His eternal kingdom, including His precious Son, and I trust that He will graciously give me all else that I need! I fully believe that however much raised will be enough and more than enough for all my needs! If you pledged a donation in the past but have not yet been able to give, I encourage you to fulfill that pledge today. For everyone else, I humbly ask you to pr’ay and consider giving as the L0rd leads you. You can send checks to: Stephanie Lee c/o VSET P.O. Box 18415 Los Angeles, CA 90018 (Payable to VSET, with “Stephanie Lee SMP#09241985” on the memo line) Unto Him
ICA Around the World
Ankara, Turkey Alex and Vanessa Lee Toronto, Canada Married in Nov. 2013, serving together in Turkey since then.
We’ve now planted a chu-rch in Ankara, Turkey! Contact me if you would like to be on any of the teams’/locations’ newsletters and receive regular updates and pr’ayer requests.
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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Conrad Shiao Los Angeles, CA Currently in Beijing; will come to UB in February. Marrying Chloe in May! Chloe Chung Sydney, Australia Serving in UB since Feb 2012 Mei Hsieh San Jose, CA Will be returning in April 2014
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Ed & Becky Oyama Los Angeles, CA Serving together in Bishkek since 2012 Lorraine Cho Chicago, IL On the field since Oct. 2012
Yaming Li Inner Mongolia, China Beijing ICA Elder Aaron Zhu Jiang Xi, China Beijing ICA Elder Lorin Chak Los Angeles, CA Going on sabbatical in midJanuary to mid-May
n less than 2 months, my life will be completely different from the way it’s been for the past 7 years. The logical question would be, what’s to come? Honestly, I don’t really know. What I do know is that G0d is leading me back to southern California, locationally. Vocationally, I’m praying about possibly getting a Masters degree in some form of teaching and going into teaching as a career. In the meantime, I’m also going to be looking for office jobs, potentionally with Chr1stian NGOs. As far as m1nistry goes, I will no longer be serving on campus (for the time being). I look forward to continuing to be a part of His
For my last month and a half in Monglia—that I would be able to have good last meet ups with my discip1es, contacts, students and friends. For a good transition, relationally and logistically, to Conrad and Chloe who will continue m1nistering here for the time being.
work around the world but I’m praying about what role G0d has in store for me. My current plan and hope is to spend the first months back in the States resting, catching up with friends and family, re-adjusting to life in the States (reverse culture shock), reflecting about the past and pr’aying about the future. Because so many things have changed over the years, I hope to take it slow before I have to search for a job, housing, etc. If you’re interested to hear about my time overseas or to just catch up, please contact me via email or Facebook (I don’t have a US phone number yet). I’d love to meet with you and share!
For me to trust in G0d’s gracious provision for me in this next stage
For my heart to have good closure—to properly “grieve” for the
end of this season of my life For encouragement as I feel a little scared/ nervous, facing the many future uncertainties For me to clearly follow G0d’s leading for me in terms of career and m1nistry For continual strong devotion to Jesus in this busy time Volume 3, Issue 5
Baljaa Baljaa is 14 years old. I’ve been teaching her class at School 50 as a volunteer teacher for the past 2 years. She came to one of our winter English programs and to my last birthday party where I shared my testimony of how G0d rescued me from depression and hopelessness. She was really blessed by the testimony because she said it related to her own experience as well. Since then, she’s been coming to our weekly high school VSET Clubs where we play games, sing songs, and learn a lesson from the Bib1e. I shared the Bridge illustration with her and she said she was interested to learn more about Je’sus. We’ve been able to meet one on one on several occasions, share about our lives and read the Bib1e together. Baljaa comes from a broken family and is an only child, living with her grandma and mother. PTL, she was also able to attend our Sunday Christmas service. T h e n , o n Christmas Eve, when I taught her class, I had the students make Christmas cards and write to someone. Baljaa made the card for me and she wrote in it that she didn’t know about Jes’us before she met me but now she believes in Jesus! It was a great Christmas gift for me to know that she has received Jesu’s into her heart—even if her faith is small, I know G0d will use it to greatly bless her life and others around her. I pr’ay that G0d would continue to reveal Himself to her, as her perfect Father who loves her and that He would forgive her of all her s1ns and heal her of all her brokenness.
STORIES OF HOPE
I’ve changed her name for the sake of privacy. Jessica is a great example of how a smiling face can mask a broken heart. Though Jessica is often a bundle of energy and positivity, inside her soul has been horribly hurt from the abandonment of her parents and years of emotional, verbal, and physical abuse from the people who are supposed to love and care about her the most. We cried together as she showed me the bruises. Sometimes she’s not allowed back into her house at night or she’s kicked out of her house without a winter coat. Her family tells her she’s worthless and good-for-nothing even though she’s so talented and smart. Jessica doesn’t yet be1ieve in Jes.us but she comes regularly to our meetings and she’s a close friend. I’m thankful that she allows me to pr’ay for her. Her biggest question is “why?”—though I can’t answer her, I praise G0d that she knows the g0spel message and I pr’ay for hope in the midst of her suffering. Living in Mongolia these past two years has helped me to see even more clearly the devastating effects of s1n in this world upon individuals, families, societies, cultures, and countries. But, as I shared with our chu.rch and friends this past Christmas, “the people who walked in the darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). Please pr’ay for more stories of hope!
Mongolia Cell: +976 9519-1296 E-mail: email@example.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephlee124 YouTube: www.youtube.com/sleebob