Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Open Door


The Open Door

Rarely in ministry do we see a door open quite like this one. Several weeks ago we had three new exchange students from China visit our church. As is our practice, we asked our visitors to stand up during the announcement time before the service and give us their names so we could welcome them. Although we never ask why the person has visited us at this point, one of the girls decided to tell us anyway with this simple but powerful statement: “I’ve come here to find a faith to live by.” After I finished picking my jaw off the floor I began explaining to her and the rest of the congregation from the pulpit just what our faith is all about. I’m happy to report that after a few weeks of careful investigation Jade made the decision to follow Christ and is now growing in him. Please pray for her faith and love for Jesus to increase.

Fruit from the Woods

Last month our church celebrated the Labor Day weekend at a retreat center nestled in a beautiful canyon. While we ate, played, and worshipped together as an entire church, our Chinese and English congregations separated for the teaching sessions into their respective language groups. Several people rededicated their lives to Christ, and we also saw many new believers added to the Kingdom. Please pray for good growth and follow-up for those who made decisions. To see some pictures from the retreat and learn more about what we’re up to on a more frequent basis please go to our new Facebook ministry page at

Other Prayer Requests

We have recently received some substantial gifts toward our 2012 Support Deficit. Although we are still not where we need to be financially, these contributions have greatly encouraged us. Please praise the Lord with us for the gifts and these faithful givers. 

Our daughter Katie and family will soon be moving back to Arizona after having lived with us for the past few years. Our son-in-law Brad has already moved there for his new job, they are in escrow on a house, and are hoping to be reunited soon. Obviously we will miss all four of them, but we are excited about this new stage in their lives. Please pray for a smooth transition.

Yours by His Grace,
John for the rest of the Ropers

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Chance To Respond

A Chance To Respond

On May 19th the towns of Carney, Edmond, and Shawnee were hit by tornadoes that damaged or destroyed homes and killed two people. Tragically, this was just the warm-up act for this week of storms. On Monday, May 20th, a massive tornado plowed through Moore, a southern suburb of Oklahoma City, staying on the ground for 45 horrifying minutes. 24 people were killed, including 10 children. The majority of the kids were in an elementary school that was leveled by the F5 twister. Early estimates indicate that between 13,000-15,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the 17-mile long path of this tornado.

Our mission, WorldVenture, along with a sister organization, Missions Door, have established a fund to help the survivors of these disasters. They have also appointed me to take the lead in this ministry since we are based here in the metro area. In the next several days and weeks I will be networking with various churches and organizations to see how best to distribute these resources so that they do the most good. It is a daunting task and we would greatly appreciate your prayers.

As I write this the news in the background is talking about the flash flooding we are receiving today in the metro. More storms are forecast for the days ahead. So, once again, please be praying for us, for the relief efforts, and especially for all the many people affected by these natural disasters.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Expanding the Harvest

The RJ Worship team in action

Usually a person’s sphere of ministry increases gradually, but sometimes the Lord of the Harvest decides to double or triple it overnight. When He does so all we can do as his followers is smile, chuckle a little, and hold on for the wild ride that is to come.

I wrote to you awhile back mentioning that because of our low support I had been forced to take on a part time job. Although the work wasn’t that stressful, the time it took up limited the amount of ministry opportunities I could explore. As a missionary I struggled with this situation but was grateful that the Lord had provided us with some badly needed income. Suddenly one day a new management company took over and soon replaced my close friend (who had hired me) and his wife with a team of their own. Joyce and I sensed my days there were probably limited, as well.

Then one night at our Asian Fellowship some of our members approached me and asked me to apply for a new position opening in their church. Now, a little over a month later, I find myself the new pastor of a vibrant, young international congregation. Rejuvenate Worship is the English service of Edmond Chinese International, and despite the church being affiliated with the United Methodist the pastoral search team unanimously approved a Baptist boy like me to shepherd their group. For those of you I was able to connect with for prayer and counsel over this opportunity while it was developing, thank you for your overwhelming love and support of this move.

Sure enough, my other job let me go, but God has replaced that part-time position with another one that is infinitely more soul-satisfying. Please pray God will bring in much fruit through this new expansion of our ministry.

Other Prayer Requests

Continue to pray for our finances. The new position at RJ Worship is still just part-time, and while it does make up for some of our mission support shortfall we still are a long way from being financially where we need to be. 

Adding to our financial needs is a situation of urgent prayer. This last year some of our supporters died or for various reasons had to reduce or drop our support. These changes have not always been communicated effectively to the home office, and as the mission’s policy in the past has been to pay their missionaries based on the commitment level rather than funds received, we were accidentally overpaid last year. Currently, we owe the mission over $11,000.  Please pray that the Lord will provide for this loss through one-time gifts and/or additional support.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Crop

Volume 4, Issue 1
Summer 2012

Tales from the Harvest

We had been sensing for some time that “Betty” was close to making a decision for Christ and had been praying that she would come to know him soon. When she finally said yes to Jesus the change in her life was thrilling to see. Jane (a Mandarin speaker from Taiwan and a respected mother figure for many of the Chinese in our fellowship) and I sat Betty down one afternoon and talked with her extensively to make sure she understood her decision. Not only did she understand, she was ready to make her new commitment public by being baptized as soon as possible, and hopefully on a major holiday like Christmas or New Year’s Day. In the end the logistics didn’t work out for those days, but she was immersed in a beautiful ceremony early in January.

Meanwhile, a Korean couple in our group was feeling the tug to recommit their lives to Christ through baptism by immersion, having been baptized another way in their home country. Several of us gathered with Eunah and Park on a clear spring morning as they gave their testimonies and followed the leading of their Lord. They weren’t the first in the Fellowship to sense this need. In the late fall of last year a Korean mother and her son made a similar decision and were baptized before heading back home.

Recently, a young Chinese man in our group prayed to accept Christ as his savior, as well. Please pray for him to grow in his faith and also to be open to following his Lord in baptism.

Finally, please pray for Febby, an Indonesian girl from our Fellowship who has surrendered to missions and started to raise her support to work with Campus Crusade at a university in Texas. 

Prayer Requests

As many of you know our support is extremely low. Because of this I have had to take on a part-time job to help make ends meet. Of course, the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker as well as a missionary, and many pastors with small congregations have to work outside their ministry. Therefore, I’m in good company. However, I also know that I could be reaching out to even more internationals in the metro area if we had the support to do so. As you can see from this letter the Holy Spirit is moving among the foreign communities here. Please pray that the Lord will provide more funding for this vital work and a big thank you to all of you who give so sacrificially. The field is truly ripe for the harvest.

As always, please pray for Joyce’s heavy workload as wife, mother, and caregiver.

Yours by His Grace,
John for the rest of the Ropers