22 Feb Update from Jana Hoobler
The two-year anniversary of Living Stone Church is this month. It’s incredible to see how many people God has gathered into the congregation and the ways people are growing spiritually. All of our services are bilingual, which has its challenges, but I sometimes wonder if a “monolingual” worship service would seem boring to me now!
One disappointment this year was that, after several years of struggles and evaluation, the decision was made to close Living Word Church. Church planting always involves some risk, but it’s painful to have something close that you’ve invested in. It’s been a lesson in trusting God to continue working in the lives of many children and teens who were touched through our ministry there for many years.
At the same time, we’ve seen the Macau United Brethren Association mature and reach a point where they don’t need as much missionary involvement. For me, this is an exciting time of seeing many of our original dreams for Macau accomplished. This reality also started challenging me to think a few years ago about what will be next for me.
Through a series of events and conversations, God began moving my heart toward teaching in mainland China. I was involved in teaching across the border for my first eight or so years in Macau. Eventually, we didn’t have enough staff to continue, so we stopped. However, I’ve kept in relationship with several of the teachers and administrators we worked with and have felt drawn back to working with them.
Our Macau team held vision-casting meetings in January, and the vision God brought us includes working with teachers across the border. I’ll continue my focus in Macau until my next furlough, and upon my return will switch my focus to teaching in China. I’m very excited about what God’s accomplished in Macau and what He has for me in the future.
Many…actually, most…of the details still need to be worked out over the next year or so of transition for our team to new roles, but for me it’s a fun time of moving from one ministry I love to another opportunity I love. In the meantime, I’m working on learning Mandarin and looking forward to participating in a teacher training camp in Zhuhai this July.