January 2013 Update
Steve & Charlene Giegerich (1984)
Dear Praying Friends:
Many times after I shared in a prayer letter of the exciting things happening in the South Bend CBF ministry, a decrease in attendance occurs or one falls into sin. I pray this will not happen in what I am about to share with you.
Charlene told me at the end of the summer all of our Asian contacts left South Bend.
All of a sudden we started receiving emails from more internationals requesting furniture. They are scholars, post doctorates or graduate students from non-English speaking countries. When we delivered the furniture we informed them of the Bible study on Friday evenings and also allow them a time to practice English.
We also met new contacts by volunteering to pick them up at the bus depot when they arrived in South Bend. We told them about the Friday Bible study & a time to practice English. Several started attending. The topic is The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus.
Some unusual & exciting things happened at the Friday Evening Bible studies: 1) The percentage of internationals to Americans was 50% or higher for over a month, 2) The unsaved were inviting their unsaved friends to Bible study. The Christians were not inviting their friends so God is using the unsaved to bring other unsaved people in. 3) Several told Charlene or me at Bible study, “This is the first time I’ve heard this.” Some are so hungry they want to learn the Bible because for years teaching the Bible has been forbidden in their country. Several come back each Friday to study the Bible and to practice English. I have not sensed this type of hunger for spiritual things when I speak in churches in the United States. One U.S. student stopped coming to Bible study on campus because he “already heard this material”. A few families from Fellowship Baptist Church help us on Friday nights. One family speaks fluent Mandarin. We are grateful for all those from Fellowship Baptist who help when we break up into small groups to help with both the Bible teaching and English. We could not do this ministry in this way without their help.
Another way we are reaching internationals is teaching English. Charlene and I visit three internationals each week. We are using the Bible and a Picture Dictionary as the textbooks. I am more aware how difficult English is to someone who does not speak it. One of them said during a Bible lesson, “The Son (Jesus) is God.” This is incredible to hear because he lives in an atheistic country.
We hosted a Christmas Party on December 14. Over 50 people came of which seventeen internationals attended, most of them unsaved. Pastor Habegger from Community Baptist ministered the Word and his entire family wife shared music.
Steve went before the city officials with our lawyer on December 6 to appeal the property tax denial. We were granted a 70% exemption. We do not know what the exact amount is, but we will have to pay a property tax for the year 2012. From what we understand, in order to receive 100% property tax exemption we will no longer be collecting money from those who live with us at the Campus House and we will not collect any money when we park cars during home football games. Pray we receive 100% exemption as we reapply in 2013.
We also have some projects that we need help: Two cabinets need to be put up in the garage, A tree needs cut up, the riding lawn mower steering needs fixed, the sidewalk in front of the house needs leveled (at the Christmas party a person fell because she tripped over it and had to go to the hospital for x-rays).
Charlene and I wish all of you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! There will be many in the United States that will be away from family and will not be able to enjoy Christmas with their loved ones. Some of them are from countries that do not celebrate Christmas as the incarnation of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. We plan to have several of them over to spend Christmas day with us. One international we invited said, “I have been in the United States for three years and this is the first year I will be in an American family’s home to celebrate Christmas.” How sad it is that there are many who are alone during Christmas. We take it for granted everyone will be with their families at Christmas. Let’s make Christmas special for those who are not so fortunate.
Thanks so much for your prayers! God is working in South Bend on the campuses because of your faithful prayer support!
Stephen and Charlene Giegerich
19525 Pendle Road Baptist Mid-Missions
South Bend, IN 46637 P.O. Box 308011
firstname.lastname@example.org Cleveland, OH 44130
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