Behind the Scenes

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Think back with us to high school and college. Your teacher has just announced a group project and the class let's out a collective "ugh."

You glance across the classroom to your best friend; make eye contact and give them the 'if we get to pick our own group, we're picking each other' look.

Then the teacher announces "I've chosen your groups for you." The sound of everyone's hearts dropping to the floor can be heard all across campus.

Worst feeling ever, right? Who likes getting assigned to groups?

So come back to present day with us... think about the Women in the Word Leadership Team as they've had the task of dividing up the 197 ladies who've arrived to do the Faith to Face Bible Study. These leaders know the way we all feel when we're about to get paired up with people because they've been in the same spot too!

Our Women's Ministry Lead, Stephanie Rousselle said, "The Women in the Word Leadership Team has been praying daily since April that God would weave a tapestry of relationships at each table, like a masterpiece of art to His pleasure and glory - with the Holy Spirit as the gold thread in this tapestry of relationships."

Women attending this fall's Bible Study session are divided up into "tables." These tables allow more intimate discussion, a small group of support and encouragement, and a chance to more easily connect with other women. They are nothing like those pesky group projects from school!

Thankfully, God has had His hand in this whole process and is working in ways that no one could have imagined.

Take this email from a Table Leader to Stephanie as an example:

"I know the selection is not exactly random...as a matter of fact, I know there was a lot of work put into it. However, I know you could not have known everyone's story when you were building this group so I want to share some connections. Laura and I met at the Easter Tea last year and hit it off because we realized our children were in the same stages and I am so thankful to have her with me. Kerry and Leah, two moms with small children, met for the first time last week and already hit it off so well. Cathy and Kerry sat near each other last year in Bible Study and already have an informal mentor relationship. Leah was new to the church last year, and decided to attend after she came to church and tried it out one Sunday morning. It was that Sunday during the service when she heard Cathy and her husband speak about their faith through their personal tragedy. She knew it was the church for her after that service....and now the two of them are at the same table. Laura and Sarah sat at the same table last year and although Sarah is quiet and hesitant, Laura's relationship with her is caring and she can help Sarah feel comfortable. So you see... How cool is it that God has already been busy weaving our relationships, well before we all sat together today? And if He is weaving our relationships into a tapestry, I would say it is being done with expensive gold and silver thread, be-dazzled with precious gems! I love this group and I'm so thankful we will be together."

It is so exciting to see how God is at work in this ministry. We can't wait to continue seeing what He has planned for these women!


These tables are never full, if you or someone you know would like to join Faith to Face, please visit cfdowningtown.com/women to register for the study or simply show up on Wednesdays at 9:30AM, 6:30PM, or 7:30PM and sign up at the door. You are always welcome!

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Meet the Smiths

Meet Nathan + Jessica Smith, two of Calvary's Global Partners working in China.
 

The Smiths and their daughter (4) and son (2.5) are back in the US for a six-month Home Service, four months of which will be spent here with us at Calvary. Since we have such a short amount of time with them, we wanted to turbo charge the "get-to-know-you" process by sharing some of their story with you.

Read our quick interview with Nathan and the next time you see them, be sure to say hello! You can even invite them over for dinner (Nathan LOVES hoagies so you don't even have to cook!), take them out for coffee, send a sweet email of encouragement - anything to let them know they're loved and supported by their Calvary family!

How long have you been Global Partners in China? 4.5 years. We've been in China for 8 years. We were teachers from 2006-2010 (that's how they met!), came home for 2 years and then went back to China as Global Partners.

Where did you grow up? I was born in Prescott, AZ and lived there until I was 7. I then moved to this area and used to go to the Bridge service here.
Fun Fact: Nathan was born and dedicated at a church where Pastor Lee would later serve before he came to Calvary.

What made you sure of your calling to China? I first went to China after I graduated from college with the mindset that I'd be there a year to have an experience that looked good on a resume. It seemed like a good business decision. I taught students who were very curious about Christianity. They'd come to my office and when they found out I was American; they'd ask if I was a Christian because they were really eager to learn more about it. You're not allowed to share your faith there but the opportunities appear because people are curious. It was a refreshing situation to be in. A one-year contract became four and then I fell in love with the country. I still have gripes about China but at the same time, I'm very grateful for where I live and the wonderful aspects of how God made the Chinese people. I'm thankful I can be a light among them.

What's your favorite thing about working in China? Life is just interesting as a result of it. I'm an outsider, I don't fit in in the least sense of that culture, China is not my home in many ways. Being able to look at the US from the outside, I know that it isn't my home either. It helps me realize that as a Christian, life on earth isn't our home, it's temporary. I'm very grateful for that perspective, holding onto what is coming is much more real to us. I'm not representing America in China, I'm an ambassador for the Kingdom of God. Often times I find myself more proud of that than being an American.

Can you tell us an awesome story of how God is at work in China? In our first two years there, we became friends with a family who had a son and lived in our neighborhood. One night we went out to dinner with them and they told us they were pregnant again. At that time in China, you were only allowed to have one child and you'd be fined for having a second. Their parents were not in favor of this pregnancy and wanted them to get an abortion. Jessica and I tried to encourage them that an abortion wasn't a good idea, it was a precious life and they'll regret it. We could tell the couple was really torn about it; the husband wanted to keep the baby and the wife wasn't sure what to do. After that dinner, we sent out prayer letters to our Christian friends and asked them to lift this family up in their prayers. The couple eventually decided to keep the child. He's such a great kid and being able to hold him, see him, and be with him is really encouraging knowing that God can use us to make a difference in someone's life over there.

 

While in the States, some of the Smiths' plans are to reconnect with individuals and fellowships who are currently giving to their work and making new contacts to make up whatever funds are lacking, share what they've been doing while on the field and what they plan to do, attend a debrief at their company's headquarters, travel to visit family and friends in NY and CA, and introduce their kids to everything American!

We are so happy to have the Smiths here with us for a few months and hope you take full advantage of this time to get to know them, encourage them, and support them!

Send them an email at  to let them know you're praying for their family.

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