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Every September there is anticipation in the air at the Reign Ministries Headquarters, as we prepare to launch our Royal Servants mission trips for the following summer. Locations have to be chosen, details have to be finalized (as much as we can), and the website needs to be updated. But now…it is ready for YOU!

We are excited to announce the following Royal Servants Mission Trips for summer 2019. With all these wonderful places, how can you choose just one?

China, Costa Rica, Ireland, Japan (brand new to Royal Servants), Macedonia – Greece, Morocco, Nehemiah (alumni only), Nepal, Scotland, Spain, Uganda, and Western Europe.

See a photo that stirs adventure in your heart? Can you guess which country it is? Click the image to see if you guessed correctly, and then don’t forget to register for a life changing summer!


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All three of the final teams are in the air, flying to Chicago, and are so far scheduled to land on time!


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Final Team Returns: Today/Tomorrow the last 3 teams return home: China, Nehemiah, and Western Europe.

To make the time changes a little easier for you – all times given are in Central:

-China leaves around 6:25 pm tonight from Beijing and lands in Chicago tomorrow at 12:40 pm. They have a connecting flight.
-Nehemiah at 9:05 pm from Tel Aviv and gets into Chicago at 4:05pm. They have a connecting flight.
-Western Europe leaves at 4:30 am tomorrow from London direct to Chicago at 1:25 pm.

Check our FB page for ongoing updates.


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The emotional and spiritual preparation during debriefing has involved teaching, goal setting, and three topical studies from the Word on fear, choices, and trust. A last session will be tonight, where I will assign approximately 27 sections of the Word where the Father encourages His people to obey, and which is followed up with a promise. It’s good stuff. As I write, the team is engaged in a quiet, three-hour reflection time. Some of the questions are, “what have you done well this summer?”, “what things didn’t you do well, and what would you do differently?”, “what have you learned through your experiences this summer?”, and make a list of the things you are thankful for. Many students are hunkered down at one of the many coffee shops (there are four Starbucks within a 5-minute walk) around the hotel happily journaling away.

How would I sum up the summer from a Trip Leader perspective? I think four words would describe a good portion of our work: reality differed from expectation. It’s always that way in some shape or form, but this year it was much more pronounced. Going to Fuzhou on the front-end of the trip meant a smaller turnout. Whereas in previous years we had 100+ Chinese attend our summer camp there, this year it was closer to 40 or 50. However, this gave us opportunity to spend more time to get to know each person, and flexibility to send small groups of team members to do work in outside locations, such as the three-day camp for the migrant children. It was a good work and I was pleased, but we didn’t see as much spiritual fruit as we have in the past and some students were disappointed they didn’t have an opportunity to personally share with the Chinese.

ShiShi was a challenge of a different sort. If you’ve kept up with my updates, you’ll know that our team was given 280+ Chinese students that the school wanted us to teach English to. We had been scheduled to work with 8th (going into 9th) grade students, but the school switched it (without notice) and we were given the 7th (going into 8th) graders instead. The difference? I was told by a teacher that in 7th grade the students get English only one class per week (and most of that is spoken in Chinese), but 8th grade students are required to have an English class each day. The difference is incredible. The verbal skills and vocabulary comprehension is so much greater, and means you can have an actual conversation (short and basic, to be sure) vs. a class that simply stares up at you uncomprehendingly when you ask them how their weekend was.

How did the students do from my perspective? Well, I would dare anyone to walk into a classroom of 27 thirteen to fourteen year-olds, who barely understand a word you are saying, and then try to keep them from being distracted while teaching them a different language! But our team did it. And I am so amazed. This was a formational time for our team, and I think many of the China family grew up in a new way as a result of the pressure, stress, responsibility, and opportunity that was ShiShi. They found they were far stronger in the Father than they ever knew. And that is a gift beyond price. They were tested, and were not found wanting.

Sure, I would have liked it if each China family member had deep and meaningful spiritual conversations with the Chinese students, but that’s not in our hands. We are simply to be obedient to go, and look for opportunities to communicate Christ in any way possible. Sometimes it’s by our words. Sometimes it’s by our actions. And other times it’s by our love. I can say without hesitation that our student’s loved the Chinese in their classes.

Interestingly, almost half of the China family initially signed up for another team. But because of cancelations (Australia and Sierra Leone), or their first choice teams being full (Scotland and Uganda), many signed up on China as their second choice. It may have been their second choice, but it is my conviction that the Father chose each student and staff for this team and simply re-routed those He wanted.

This year’s work was immeasurably harder than in previous summers, but the team was up for the test. The individuals He brought together bonded together unusually well; they encouraged, supported, and cared for each other. And they poured their hearts out into the work. They may not have seen a lot of tangible results, but I think that in the day they finally arrive Home (and may that day be very, very far off) the Father will refer to this time and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I would like to wrap this up by saying a word to the moms and dads reading this last update. Each and every one of you should be proud of what you son and/or daughter has accomplished in China this summer. I am. Every team member did a great job and, as a Trip Leader, I couldn’t have asked for more. And you can trust me in this, because after 37 years doing this, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about!

For the China family,
Tom

PS – We leave for the airport at 03:30 tomorrow morning (or late tonight), and we will so you all soon!


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China Pics

by Margaret Andrus

China Family … work hard, play hard!


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Yesterday, the China family hung out at the Forbidden City!


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China Update

by Margaret Andrus

For those who like quiet, I just want to say that China scoffs at you. When we first arrived in Fuzhou our hotel on Student Street was a blend of crazy evening carnival and raucous morning market, and each had its own sleep-shattering sounds that kept people awake or woke them up. When we moved down the street into the university dorms many of the China family were looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Ha! We soon found out that they were digging up the concrete thru-way and putting in new sewer lines. That meant power tools and backhoes late into the night. Goodbye dreams of dreaming.

But ShiShi was an enclosed school campus, surely it would be quiet there. Double ha! Not only were they jackhammering outside the classrooms each day during lessons, but they were building a new gymnasium literally 20 yards away from our rooms! And in good Chinese fashion, the sound of metal beating upon metal started bright and early. So much for sleeping in. But lest you think we could at least go to sleep in the quiet, let me disabuse you of that notion.

In China, migrant workers often live in the buildings they are constructing. It saves money. The building our rooms were located in on the campus was brand new, but unfinished. That means that (I think you can see it coming) the workers, who were living in the floors above us, could work late into the night. The air reverberated with loud crashes and booms as loads were dropped on the floor and doors were slammed, and evening quiet was pierced with the sounds of holes being drilled through concrete walls. It was all a part of our night-time routine.

“Surely,” I hear some of you say, “the train will be different!” “You must be able to find peace and quiet on public transportation!” I just want to say two words…au contraire (French for “on the contrary”). Though it may be relatively quiet at night once the lights go out in the train car at 10:00 pm, older Chinese rise early. By 6:00am they are massing outside our (door-less) compartments, eating, drinking tea, and talking at full volume, which falls somewhere between the decibels put out by a heavy-metal concert or standing next to a 747 revving for takeoff. Oh well, that’s China.

As you may have figured out, we are currently on the train, which is an 18.5 hour sleeper from Xiamen to Beijing, where we will check into a (hopefully quiet) hotel for our last five nights of debriefing. Debriefing is part emotional/spiritual preparation to go home, and part tourism. In between key studies on fear, trust, and choices, and training for “re-entry”, we’ll get to see the sights of China and play a little. The China family will get to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall. It’s a perfect transition for going home.

And how did ShiShi finish up? Perfect. As I noted in my last update, we got a handle on the troublemakers (or distracters) and the team was able to wrap things up with energy and enthusiasm. Friday afternoon was Closing Ceremonies in the gym. Between our team and the other group from Texas, there were 24 classes which were expected to have a “performance” in front of the school and local officials, and the rest of the other students. It was good time, with lots of gifts exchanged, many tears shed, and copious amounts of sweat produced. Then it was reluctant goodbye, but a welcomed sigh of relief that it was finished. Saturday was a bit of debriefing, downtime, and play, and a chance to rest up a bit before today’s travel.

We’ll arrive in Beijing in a little over an hour, where we’ll be met by our bus driver and taken to the King’s Joy Hotel. It’s a Chinese hotel in a tourist area totally geared to the Chinese (Beijing is a main tourist destination among the Chinese). While the area is super loud, the walls are thick and it should be the first “quiet” we’ll have since Training Camp … I hope.

I’ll catch you up later in the week and give you all a summary of our whole time in China. But for now, just know that the team is in excellent spirits and all are feeling well (and Viola is intensely focused on eating a bowl of Ramen noodles six inches from my laptop).

For the China family,
Tom


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China Update

by Margaret Andrus

The China team is on their way to Beijing for debriefing. Here’s some pics and a video of their journey so far.

Train Life


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These are the pics and videos that go along with the previous update:

Random evening things
Team cheers
Classroom activities
Nathan loses at War Games
The work next door


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