"Be my witnesses" - did you know that this is the most common command in the New Testament? Jesus' main concern was for His followers is to watch what He is doing and then tell others what they have witnessed! I've been watching and here is my witness here is what I see:
He's "safe." Even though it took took me 102 hours to travel to China (27 gates, 11 planes, and numerous taxis and trains), God gave me strength to endure without an ounce of jet lag, no sign of illness, no disharmony with teammates, and I actually enjoyed the various foods that were served even when I had no idea what I was swallowing!
He's "sovereign." He is opening doors of opportunity that only He can open. He is giving me His favor ZDL, the only government approved Christian publisher in China and China's largest marketplace ministry (name withheld). It's chairman (name withheld) is one of China's leading influencers on the Chinese economy and in my opinion, and others, is China's version of Alan Greenspan. He has become a Christian and is committed to training Chinese business leaders to follow Jesus by partnering with Lifework due to the endorsement of Lifework's Board of Advisor, Bill Pollard and numerous other successful marketplace leaders who are following Jesus. Chinese leaders are "witnessing" our impact! The content and contacts that the Lord has entrusted to me are what these Chinese leaders desire. Another sovereign door God is opening is at Beijing University.
American and Chinese business leaders meeting in Asheville, NC
This Chinese version of Harvard, has asked the Chinese marketplace ministry and me to host American exchange trip experiences for post MBA leaders who are not Christians and have enrolled in their two-year course focused on "Is There More to Life than Success?" I have responded to Beijing University's request by beginning the process of designing a one-week experience in March or April of 2015 that would introduce the role of Christianity in the lives of successful American business and government leaders. If this trip goes well, they wish to bring new groups over to America on a quarterly basis. This is too good to be true! God is at work!
He has a sense of humor. I have trouble with the English language never mind Mandarin! The Lord however used my white hair and white skin to give me a platform of respect that created audiences who were eager to learn. I spoke at two conferences hosted by our Chinese Marketplace partner and ZDL with over 300 Chinese Christian marketplace leaders in attendance. They loved my commitment to showing how Jesus modeled leadership development. They were so encouraged to hear how Americans are able to lead their businesses with a Christian faith that is vibrant. As a result, I hope to move forward with designing leadership programs for both these Chinese organizations.
What I am witnessing is that God is at work in China right now!
The key factor with the Chinese is our commitment to developing relationships with them. These initial trips are laying that critical foundation. I need financial support now so that over the next year or two I can build a relational foundation that will reap global influence and impact in the days ahead. If I can raise the funds for laying the foundation for Lifework globally (15k per month for two years) then over time we will be able to enjoy the fruit of having a self-sustaining ministry in China because of their willingness to financially support the ministry once it is in place.
If we can seed this opportunity, the Chinese leaders will sustain it!
God loves to stretch me. Our staff in Nairobi needs our prayers. They have made a commitment to launch Lifework, but few have expressed interest….yet. I believe the Lord wishes for me to go and help them launch or introduce Lifework to Nairobi leaders in early February 2015. Would you like to join me? Many believe Nairobi is perfectly placed to influence East Africa with its business and economic influence. I am one of those believers.
God is also stretching me with Chick-fil-A's LifeShape Foundation. They have invited me to join them on a trip to India (this Friday!) to explore a partnership that envisions Lifework being a follow-up to their SERVE seminar. They offer this seminar to leaders in many different countries as a mission endeavor. They will pay for my ground expenses. I need to raise my salary and travel expenses. The opportunity is God-sized and is available now. What I am witnessing causes me is go in faith. Only God provides these kinds of opportunities and only God will stir my friends to support me!
The stakes are significant and I am trusting that prayer will make the difference. If God stirs you to give to these efforts then please do so. I trust this update encourages you ... you are a witness of God's activity!
Steven French | President
P.S. If you see God at work, I encourage you to support it!