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Newsletter Articles

FollowOne sends printed newsletters each year that include updates on current ministry projects as well as our vision forward. See below to read previous newsletter articles. If you would like to receive these print newsletters, click the round Subscribe button at the top and be sure to give us your current mailing address.

 

Title

 

Ministry Area

 

Issue

Time to Celebrate   All   Winter 2014
I Saw the Light   All   Winter 2014
All Things New   Chinese Scholars   Winter 2014
Keep On Doing It   China Trips   Winter 2013
Friends4One: A Parent's Perspective    Children's Ministry   Winter 2013
Fruit Realized   Chinese Scholars   Winter 2013

 

 

 

celebrate

 

 

FollowOne is founded on the promise, command and invitation of key biblical texts like Acts 1:8, "But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

 

Ten years ago, Mark Forrester, Terry Brown, Cindy Lipscomb, Dan Walker, John Gilbert, Kathy Hayes and Rhonda Schrenk joined Carolyn and James Loftin in Memphis for FollowOne’s first Board meeting. They were elected as founding Board members along with Jay Harvill, Betty Moore and Laralee DeHart. All were passionate about worshipping Jesus and following his call. They affirmed that God wants to mobilize His church to more effectively proclaim and demonstrate His grace to a world rocked by fear, shame, hopelessness and injustice. They agreed that God had raised up FollowOne to run with Him in this global task.

 

Over the years God has blessed and saved thousands of lives through FollowOne. In this Tenth Anniversary edition of our newsletter, we are sharing some snapshots of grace. Join the celebration!

 

Mobilized Disciples.  The foundational calling of FollowOne is to mobilize disciples in ministry. One way we do this is by taking groups to China. We have led 22 trips involving 345 people who served Christ in 14 different Chinese cities. All trips involve exposure to Chinese culture, fellowship with Chinese coworkers, and service according to the requests of our Chinese partners. We have led business seminars, loved children in orphanages, taught English in universities, prayer walked, made presentations to over 1,500 children in 20 schools, and delivered over 2 tons of Bibles and Christian literature. Every trip ends with this challenge:  God took you to China to show you His glory and to invite you and your church to grow in your involvement in His ministry throughout the world. We are recruiting people now for our June trip.  

 

International Students. Nearly 250,000 Chinese are participating in universities across the USA. These are the emerging leaders of the most strategic nation in the world, but only ten percent will visit an American home or church during their sojourn here. In the past decade FollowOne has helped mobilize 14 churches and ministries to reach out to this important population. This ministry started in 2002 when a Chinese Christian asked Carolyn Loftin to help her teach English to Chinese families in Orlando. As Chinese scholars respond to Christ, they return to serve as very effective marketplace missionaries to their own people. After her baptism one scholar told us, "I really appreciate you helping me know the love from God so I could have a chance to follow and have faith in God. I'm so happy to be His daughter today!"

 

Strategic Churches.  FollowOne developed and uses an outreach education and mobilization plan for churches called The Impact Process. This interactive curriculum helps church leaders revisit the church’s missional call, celebrate their past outreach efforts, consider new underserved populations near and far, and build a strategic outreach plan based on each church’s gifts and calling. As churches make outreach decisions based on current needs and opportunities, ministry redundancies are eliminated and unreached people begin to hear the Good News. Here are a few ministries churches have begun in response to our assistance: international student ministries, education of urban youth, church planting in Pakistan, Bible translation assistance, and cross cultural ministries for children.   

 

Financial Generosity. God has blessed FollowOne in order for us to bless others. We have financially invested in mission beyond FollowOne by providing support to families devastated by the 2008 earthquake in China, American families adopting Chinese children, orphanages in China, 22 China ministries, 9 other mission ministries, leadership training, 6 international student ministries, and 4 ministries mobilizing university students for mission. The total amount we have given away is $186,498. When we complete the transfer of Friends4One to a partner ministry the total amount of our kingdom investment beyond FollowOne since 2004 will be $454,000.

 

Empowered Children.  For the past two years FollowOne’s major focus has been Friends4One, a global learning and outreach curriculum that connects children with friends in China. These online relationships provide ongoing discipleship experiences as elementary school-age students communicate their values and faith to peers in a pre-Christian culture. Over the past two years more than 3,000 people in almost 700 families have been directly impacted by Friends4One. God has even greater plans.  

 

These are some of the reasons we are celebrating God’s work through FollowOne since 2004. For God’s glory and for the good of the world, we yearn for even more impact during our next ten years.  

 

Explaining his own ministry, Paul wrote, And at his [God’s] appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior (Titus 1:3). In a similar way, we at FollowOne affirm that God birthed this ministry and has given us a particular message to proclaim. God is the Source of whatever good that has been done. Thus we offer loud praise to God even as we offer loving thanks to our partners. We deeply appreciate your prayers, participation and support.

 

Read more stories of God's grace through our 10 in 10 series this anniversary year.

 


 

I Saw The Light

Winter 2014

 

sully

Jesus is the Light of the world - The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-12

 

In this newsletter we have shared several reasons to celebrate God’s goodness expressed through FollowOne since 2004. All those blessings and every other gracious gift are based up the action God took 2,000 years ago. The Light of the world penetrated the darkness to show us the way home to God.

 

Several Christmas Eves ago I decided to take my Lab Sully on a hike in a state park near our home. I promised Carolyn that I would be back by dark, but the short hike turned into a marathon when I took a wrong turn. I eventually realized that we were no longer on a trail, but I pushed on trying to head in what I hoped was the direction of my car.

 

A hard steady rain began and it was pitch dark long before sunset. My phone had no service. I was lost in almost total darkness with no way to call for help. An hour later I realized that I might spend Christmas Eve in the woods separated from warmth, family and our Christmas celebration.

 

But then I saw a light. It was a long way away, but I cannot express the sense of joy and hope it gave me. For the next 30 minutes I trudged toward the light. I finally hit a highway, caught a ride, and made it home – wet, tired, late, but happy.     

 

It has been my honor to serve with the FollowOne family in 2014 as we have used various methods to introduce people to the joy, hope, power and purpose found only in the Light that shines in the darkness. Whatever darkness has enveloped you in 2014 I pray that you will catch a new glimpse of the Light of the world and may He motivate you to lift high the Light of Christ in 2015.

 

Thank you for your friendship, prayers and support. Have a Bright and Merry Christmas!

 

 


 

All Things New

Winter 2014

 

In the past year, staff member Laura M moved to a new city, had a new baby and bought a new home in a new neighborhood. These wonderful changes have also provided the opportuity to build new friendships with newly arrived Chinese scholars at Southern Polytechnic University. Join with her in prayer that in addition to learning about American culture, these scholars discover how their spirits and lives can be made new in Jesus. Contact us today for ways that you can share Christ's love wiht the future world leaders in your own backyard.

 

 


 

Keep On Doing It 

Winter 2013

 

This has been a great year for FollowOne. Like most fisherman and farmers, we do not get to see the fruit of our labors every day. But it is wonderful when we do! Seen or unseen, with or without us, God is always working.

 

From our launch in 2004, FollowOne (FOI) has followed two tactics: help churches develop effective outreach strategies, and help congregations reach the emerging leaders of the world by providing hospitality to international students. We still follow these tactics, and we have seen fruit from both.

 

Through the witness of a little girl in 2010, God called FollowOne to begin a tactic involving children in China and America. Friends4One continues to expand. We have added six new staff this fall. Never underestimate what God can accomplish through children! See inside for more.

 

This year FollowOne sent staff and teams to China three times. In March, James led a group of international pastors sponsored by Asbury Seminary. In June, FOI staff served with a team of educators, musicians and children’s ministry specialists. The group blessed students and faculty in 11 schools as they recruited more children for Friends4One. At the end of this trip, James was privileged to baptize 8 university students and faculty. They were led to Christ
by a professor that became a Christian while she was studying in America. We call her “Grace.” We praise God for this fruit from our
international student ministry. 

 

The third trip was a special mission by Carolyn  in September. The goals were to encourage sister Grace, serve her students, and follow up on some Friends4One contacts. The mission was a huge success. 

 

As people gathered to hear her share one night, Carolyn stepped into a bedroom to pray about her message from Colossians. When it was time to begin the meeting, the door would not open. After 30 minutes of struggle, Carolyn heard her Chinese hosts say, “Stand back. We are going to pray again and then bust the door down.” Minutes later the door burst open, and the apartment was filled with hallelujahs and laughter. Carolyn began the meeting with these words. “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ” (Col. 4: 2-6). A holy hush and tears of expectation surged through the room. Before the meeting ended, several people received God’s grace in faith.

 

After receiving his first Bible, a businessman later posted, “I am so glad to get the book. Now my wife reads the Bible every day with me, thank you very much. Many people in China are missing the right way to the truth. We really need your help to wash our minds. Keep on doing it.”

 

And by God’s grace, we will keep on connecting adults and children with Christ and His mission.

 

“Every time the memory of Carolyn comes to mind, my eyes will be wet. She shared God’s Word with us every day! I was really impressed by her challenge, “Know HIM and you will love HIM. Love HIM and you will serve HIM.” Every time I read Bible, these words come to my mind.” Abigail, 24
 

“I will always remember our prayer sessions in homes, at the museum, and with the pregnant woman who doesn’t have a husband. I am definitely better equipped with the knowledge of God and what I should do next in life.” Minnie, 22

 


 

Friends4One Updates

Winter 2013

pengyouandbuddy

 

Friends4One is our education and missions program that connects children in China with Christian children in America. Hear what participating children and parents have experienced so far. 

 

  • “My friend is a lot like me. He just lives on the other side of the world.” - Peyton, Age 8
  • “I like having a Chinese friend. We can talk to each other even though we live in different places. I learned that they have a moon festival where they get to eat moon cake.” - Naomi, Age 7
  • “Recently my friend mentioned there was a bad typhoon in her city. I told her I would pray for her. Through that I had a chance to tell her I am a Christian. I pray one day that she will be a Christian too.” - Allie, Age 12

 

A Parent's Perspective - by Shannon Mersinger

 

I have longed for ways my children might engage in mission. It has been difficult to find ways for them to have cross-cultural relationships at their young ages. Friends4One seems to be a perfect opportunity for our family. 

 

The Friends4One training was fascinating. Often we would work through the training lessons in the afternoon, and then discuss them as a family over dinner. After working through Lesson 7 about religion in China, I asked my son to tell his dad what he had learned. He quoted verbatim from the lesson. “The freedom of the Chinese church is like a bird living in a cage. The bird is free to eat, sleep, chirp, but it isn’t really free because it’s in a cage.”

 

I was amazed that my 5 year-old had been so impacted. When asked how he felt about the lesson, my son responded, “Sad.” He recognizes the need and sees how he can be a part of God’s work in China and around the world. 

 

Our kids are beginning to understand that their friends live in a different culture, have different life experiences, and have a different worldview. We are excited that our children have cross-cultural relationships with children in China. They are also becoming more aware of how they can be good friends to those who need it here in the USA.

 

The monthly devotionals have been an invaluable resource for our children. They provide a natural springboard to deep discussions about how God is bringing His Kingdom to this earth and how we can be a part of it.

 

praying

 

Our family is blessed to be friends with two Chinese families – we have two children in F41. We pray that we get to watch the Lord bring true freedom to our friends!

 

How Children are Praying

Lord, please let our Chinese friends have a good week. Please bless their families and schools, and keep them safe. Lord, I pray that our Chinese friends will believe in you. I want them to get to know Jesus so that my Chinese friends and their families will know that Jesus is powerful and very special. Amen. - Children in Venice, FL and Hattiesburg, MS

 

 

 


 

Fruit Realized

Winter 2013

 

pool

 

Last year a new ministry to Chinese scholars was launched by a small church, in a small South Georgia town, with a small university. This past year God transformed all that “small” into something infinitely larger.

In the summer of 2012, a group from Thomasville United Methodist Church formed a missional community intent on reaching the lost and least. Prayer and research led them to focus on reaching Chinese scholars at Thomas University. FollowOne provided training and resources, and soon the new You Yi Ministry (friendship) took off. 

 

Standing beside a group member’s pool that summer someone remarked, “One day we are going to baptize new believers in this pool.” On September 8, 2013 that prophetic word was realized as four Chinese scholars publicly professed their faith in Christ through baptism in that very pool.

 

During that year, each Chinese scholar was so loved by their American friendship family that they were frequently referred to as “my Chinese son” or “my Chinese daughter.” Scholars participated in their family’s outings and dinners, and field trips to explore Georgia and Florida. Most came to a church service at least once. Some even came to the fourweek Bible study, Understanding Jesus.

In a farewell video made by the Chinese scholars, they said to their American friends, “Thank God for letting us meet you. Because of you we have an opportunity to be a family. Because of you we can experience the real American culture.”

 

Most of the 2012 group returned to China this fall, but the new believers are staying another year. They have joined the missional community in ministry to the group of Chinese scholars that arrived in August. In a short period of time, these scholars moved from strangers to partners in ministry.

 

One newly arrived student has already shared his interest in Jesus. His grandmother is a believer, but he says his father is “a nothing.” When asked by his American family if he was a Christian he replied, “I’ve never had the chance.” The You Yi Ministry intends to do something about that.

 

Join us in praying for this new cohort of scholars, the growth of these new believers and the faithful Americans who shower them all with Christ’s love. Contact us for ways your family and church can offer this same kind of transforming hospitality.

 

Wait there's more!

  • Read more about this ministry!
  • Watch the video made by the 2012 group of Chinese for their American families.
  • Read comments in the Huffington Post by Thomas University President regarding Chinese on American campuses.

 


 

 

 

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