Pastor Henry Lu was born in Xian, China. He moved to Hong Kong to go to high school in the late 70s. He came to the USA to study Landscape Architecture at the University of Georgia and then went to the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He has been teaching Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst since 1994.
In addition to the full-time teaching at the University Henry is also the sole Elder of Amherst Chinese Christian Church. While the church in Amherst is without a pastor for the past 7 years Henry has taken on much of the preaching and pastoral care work. His wife Ling is also from China. She went to Zhong Shan University to study Computer Science and then went for graduate studies at the University of Georgia where she met Henry. They have been married for 18 years and have an 11 year-old daughter Annabel and an 8 year-old son Jonathan.
After years of active involvement in overseas short term missions and with many months of prayerfully waiting upon the Lord, Henry and Ling have responded to God’s call to serve long term in the mission fields in Europe. Their family has joined COCM (Chinese Overseas Christian Mission) as full-time missionaries.
Mary Ma grew up in a family with parents being government cadets. She has four older sisters and two younger brothers. Her older stsister is 10 years older than her and her youngest brother is 8 years younger than her. They are all married now and each of them has one child already. She was looked after by her maternal grandmother and sisters. Her grandmother told them many stories and from them she learned a lot about life. Her mother gives them encouragement on their studies and other activities in life. The effect on her lasts till now. Her father has died, but he taught her a good principle, which is, in whatever you do, you only need to do your best. Her parents never exerted any pressure on her in her studies. When she got her matriculation exam result, which was not good and she was sulking in the back yard. Her father saw her and comforted her saying, “Matriculation result is not the only way for advancement. It is all right as long as you have done your best.” She was greatly consoled by her words. When her father fell ill, she found Jesus. When her father died, she was born again and gave her life to God. Now her mother lives on her own in an apartment for retired cadets.
Mary Ma was a student of the COCM Bible College pastoral degree course. She graduated in July 2006. At the end of 2005, she began seeking God’s guidance on her future. At the beginning of 2006, the general director of COCM, sister Mary Wang made an appointment with her. She expressed her wish for Mary Ma to join them in their Chinese student ministry, which is to spread the gospel to students from China. She had been a student in Switzerland for two years and so she had some experience of being an overseas student. Thus, she believed God guided her to join the Mandarin ministry and share the gospel with her countrymen.
Rev. Ian Ma graduated from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity and has served at the Chinese Christian Church in Somerset, New Jersey as a Youth Pastor for more than 16 years. With his outstanding experience and passion, I believe he will be used by the Lord to inspire the Chinese churches in the UK to expand their youth ministry.
Rev. Ma has been participating in short-term missions since 1984, leading mission teams every year since 1992, and partnering with COCM since 1998. He has built good relationships with many local youth leaders in the UK.
We praise the Lord for touching Pastor Ma’s heart to answer the new “Macedonian Call” and dedicate himself to the mission field in Europe. He and his wife Wai Ma are planning to move to the UK in early 2013. Their annual budget will be USD 65,000. This ministry will be a great challenge and a journey of faith for them. As you know, COCM is a faith mission organization so they need to fundraise prior to their deployment. We therefore appreciate your prayers and financial support to them. If you would like to support them, please send an email to our Treasurer Mrs. Lily Chuang at Ellilyc@aol.com.
At last, Rebecca Yen Chun Mao here at Milton Keynes, UK! It has been almost 8 months since I first shared with you the calling of God for me to come to Europe and to work with COCM. During these months of transitions and changes, the Lord’s overwhelming peace has guided my heart and kept my focus on finishing each task at hand and moved me steadily to complete all that are required for this missionary journey. Now I am on the mission field, I know that I am in His good will.
Thank you, dear friends, from the bottom of my heart, for your strong support and for being my ministry partners. God has showered me with His love through your help, words of encouragement, faithful prayer and generous giving to this ministry. You are truly my co-labors and we are in this joint adventure together for His kingdom.
Throughout this whole process of moving, I had to “let go” in many areas. Sorting through my stuff, I had to throw away junks and let go of things there were once precious and useful to me. I am reminded of the Lord’s words: “Don’t lay up treasures on this earth…”. It is no fun packing. I promise myself that I will not take free or buy too many stuff in the future. Anyone holds me accountable?
CACW was the first church I pastored with other pastors. It was the hardest things to say goodbye to my brothers and sisters whom I have served with for almost eight years. I also needed to let go of ministries at the church. It was a deeply emotional and spiritual experience. I am so thankful to the Lord for my church family’s love and support. Bless Your church, bless your people at CACW, Lord.
Then there was the burden of fundraising. When I was seeking God’s will for coming to Europe last year, I dreaded the thought of fundraising. It was a real hurdle that my faith had to overcome. I was not dreading as much about the result as much as about the process that I had to go through. So I had to let go of myself reliance and pride, and to learn to give my burden completely to the Lord. How precious His promise “Be still and know that I am God” is to me!
Goodbye to New York and Hello to England! The plane landed at Heathrow airport on August 26. The morning was cloudy and chilly as many of you have predicted. Strangely enough, I felt a sense of coming back to a home that I left long time ago. It has been twenty seven years since I first came to know the Lord in London. I am so grateful to the Lord for His presence and guidance all these years and for the many opportunities to serve Him.
On my first weekend at COCM, I participated in a Team Building Retreat with about 35 young people. It was a real joy to be serving among them again. I was asked to give two workshops and to preach on that Sunday. There was a lot of sharing after each session. I talked with a mother who came with her son and daughter In law for two nights. She was from Northern China and a shrewd business woman. Because of her wealth and pride, she was never able to really share her situation and her heart with anyone all her life. In this retreat, she committed herself to Christ and poured her heart out. The Lord’s mercy and grace was with her.
During this week and half, with other co-coworkers, I attended a meeting with Global Connection (a mission organization) in Leominster Spar and visited our missionaries in Colchester, on the campus of the University of Essex. There were many Chinese students walking on the campus. They came before the school starts to learn English. The harvest is plenty but the workers are few…
I feel almost settled down now. Because I was busy right away, it helped a bit with my jetlag. I am getting better each day with my sleep. I live on the 2nd (3rd in US) floor of the center and my office is on the ground floor. I have had a lot of exercises walking up and down those stairs. So this arrangement will do me a lot of good. My living quarter consists of one small room and a bathroom. It will be a challenge for me to fit all my stuff in when the shipment comes next week (hopefully!).
There are still so much to learn: language (car park, not parking lot; car boot sale, not garage sale; pound, not dollar), people and ministries. Driving is so confusing to me here. It seems all the roundabouts are in Milton Keynes. Traveling will be a real challenge for me. Now I will travel by train, coach or ride with others but later I will need to drive by myself. The weather is really windy here, this was a surprise to me.
All in all, I really have this peace and joy in my heart. Please join me in thanking the Lord. I am also counting on you for your prayer for the coming two months: