BY RACHEL TENG
September 2017 my husband William and I put all our belongings into our car and followed God’s leading to be part of Reach the World Next Door (RWND) crosscultural missionary training program. We just knew that God had opened up an opportunity to serve, and we were not going to say no.
We arrived in Houston right after Hurricane Harvey. Immediately we went to work helping people in the Cambodian community of Rosharon, where there had been extensive flooding and damage. It was so hot and there were so many people who needed help. I wondered if it was worth the effort. We were not giving Bible studies, so how were we reaching our goal as missionaries? The words of Ecclesiastes 11:6 spoke to our hearts, “In the morning, sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand: For you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” So we prayed and served, and God brought to us many Buddhist friends who are now eagerly studying the Bible.
A visiting missionary family talked about their work among the unreached Uyghur people of China. One day they headed into Houston to visit a Uyghur restaurant and to make friends. William volunteered to go, too, and soon realized these immigrants could also speak Mandarin. That made it easy for him to connect. After the missionary family left, William and I continued to visit the Uyghur. Soon they wanted to learn more English, and our language exchange has become a great way to cultivate a friendship. We’ve had spiritual conversations and they even attended our graduation.
These experiences have given us confidence to help those who do not speak our language. They can learn about our values as they see what we do and how we treat others.
Once, we went to a grocery store, and I heard a couple speaking Taiwanese. I was so excited, because this is my heart language. I spoke with them and we immediately became friends. We later took them produce from our garden. This Buddhist couple has introduced us to many people, including their own family members and community leaders in Greater Houston. Just last week they asked us to help oversee the move of their business to a new location “because we know you are missionaries and we think you are more trustworthy than our employees.” They were surprised at how hard we worked and their comments were a reminder that our actions are a sermon.
More than 200,000 people in Houston speak Chinese, but there is no Chinese-speaking Seventh-day Adventist church. That’s why we have chosen to stay at RWND for an internship. ASAP Ministries is stepping out in faith to sponsor us, and you can help! We are renting an apartment in the Chinatown district so we can start small groups in our home, then develop a home church. We especially want to reach out to Chinesespeaking international students, look for ways to employ our health training, and provide positive character-building experiences for community children.
Pray for us as we embark on this challenging journey to which God called us. Pray for more laborers and more missiontraining students. And pray for more ministry partners to sponsor us at $100 a month. The harvest is great. Is the Lord calling you?