Ends of the Earth
Our strategy to reach the Ends of the Earth (people outside the USA) includes partnership with specific individuals in China and Africa, and a sizable contribution to the SBC Cooperative Program.
Cecilia Dell'Immagine - Macau, China
Cecilia was called to China and sent by Petaluma Valley Baptist Church in 2009. She teaches English to restaurant workers in Macau, China as a way to develop relationships and share the gospel. She is affiliated as a volunteer field worker with Light for the City, Inc., and holds a "blue card" (similar to a "green card" in the USA) sponsored by Concordia English Center as a part time employer. Petaluma Valley Baptist Church is providing most of Cecilia's support, historically currently the budget and in 2012 through the Missions Fund.
Here is a letter from Cecilia to PVBC dated June 2011:
How happy I am to share with you once again the continuing work of God among the Chinese. As Paul was thankful for those who supported him, encouraged him, prayed for him, and joined him in his work, so I thank our God for you and your partnership with me.
For those of you who are new to PVBC, I am serving in Macau, East Asia located an hours ferry ride from Hong Kong. Macau is a “small” city by Chinese standards with a population of 650,000 people. Considered to be the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau is likewise inflicted with all the tragedies and darkness that accompanies gambling – greed, fortunes lost, families broken, alcoholism, prostitution, and corruption. Spiritually speaking, there is a sense of “darkness & hardness” that prevails in the hearts of many. Jesus is seen as a “western God” whereas they are Chinese. Commitment to ancestors is another great stumbling block. It is difficult to “abandon” those you feel responsible for, and to accept eternal separation from them as well. Only 1-3% of the population are believers so the need remains GREAT.
As in many nations of the world today, one does not go to any part of China for the sole purpose of sharing Jesus. A work permit for some type of business is required. Being an English Teacher provides that work permit but the foremost goal and purpose is sharing Jesus.
My work continues with two English Centers: Light for the City and Concordia English Center. Light for the City students share the experience of being recruited from their mainland home, and for many, their first time away from their family and village. Our goals are to meet these people and love them by providing a social gathering place to connect with others experiencing the same burdens, as well as help with their English. Of greatest importance is living Jesus before them, bringing them to Christ, and hoping for their eventual return to their family and friends with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Concordia English Center students are business & professional people. I am free to share my beliefs in class only as it relates to the class materials or during times shared outside of the classroom. There are, however, two other exciting opportunities to share Jesus at the center. Tuesday-Friday we offer 2 hours of free “lunch time talk” each day. God continues to provide wonderful opportunities to share about Him during these conversations. Three times a week we offer free Bible Study English Classes praying for the Holy Spirit’s working in hearts as we read to understand God’s Word. Praise God for his promise that His Word does not return to Him void but accomplishes what He pleases. As co-laborers in this ministry, I am convinced there are many with whom we will celebrate in heaven.
Another aspect of my ministry here is to be intentional about praying for people. Riding the buses an hour each day enables me to pray for many. Though it is hot and humid much of the time in Macau, there are several wonderful spots to sit and pray for people as they walk by.
So----I pray and sweat <g>. Of course, we regularly pray for the students in our English Classes.
Happily, lives are being affected. Praise God, He is accomplishing great and mighty things. I have witnessed tears of joy running down Angel’s cheeks as she told me how her entire family had been led to Christ. I have rejoiced with William and Sue after God’s healing from illness. Anxiety has been replaced with peace for Debbie, Sophia, and Joey. Answers and guidance have been provided in broken relationships as well as strength to endure. I have seen understanding on people’s faces as the Holy Spirit speaks to hearts while studying God’s Word. Please continue to pray for those who are so close to accepting Jesus and for His continued work of drawing others to Himself who remain distant.
Looking to the future, my current work permit expires in October. Please pray with me for God’s hand to be in the renewal process and for His desired outcome.
Love and blessings to you all,
Larry & Sarah Ballew - Macau, China
MEET THE BALLEWS
We are Larry and Sarah Ballew.
Larry was born in Fresno, California. He graduated from Hanford Union High School (1980), the University of California at Davis (1985) and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (1991).
Sarah was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, graduated from Blacksburg High School (VA) (1980), Radford University, Radford VA (1985) and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (1991).
We were married August, 1988.
We have two sons. Joshua (born in 1992) and Nathanael (born in 1994). Joshua after a year of service in Sacramento, CA with MissionYear, is a freshman at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He is majoring in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Nathanael is in his last year of secondary school and making plans for the future.
We currently work with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Macau Baptist Church.
(Previously we served as FMB Journeyman: Larry in Zambia and Sarah in S. Korea from '85-'87. We both received our MDiv at GGBTS. This is where we first met some of PVBC members. We served with the Home Mission Board for 4 years in Rhode Island, then the International Mission Board for 7 years when we first came to Macau in 1996.)
Since 2003 we have been raising our own support through Light for the City, Inc. while continuing to serve in Macau. Our affiliation with CBF began in June, 2005. Our partnering with Macau Baptist Church began in June, 2008.
Our website is http://www.light4macau.org/index.html. Our other affiliations are listed on this site.Other links:
We serve in Macau, China. It is a Cantonese speaking city located on the southern coast of China. It is a tourist city with the main economy based on the gambling industry, the "Las Vegas" of Asia. The city is safe and clean physically, but spiritually challenging. Less than 1% of the people are Christian. The gospel work is slow and hard with very few people deciding to follow Christ.
WITNESS AND IMPACT
We are working with Macau Baptist Church to reach the people of Macau. Macau, being a tourist city, has a growing number of people working in the hospitality industry (hotels and restaurants). Many of them come from the all over China and South-East Asia to work in our city. We offer free English classes as a way to meet and build relationships with these workers. We have been so excited with the grow of this ministry over the years. Through our literature distribution, invitation distribution and the word of mouth invitation of our students to their co-workers, we have a steady stream of contacts with people. We celebrate life in our H.I. class ministry. We celebrate birthdays and special events/festivals. We teach Christian songs, use the Bible for English teaching and make ourselves available to meet with these workers when they have time off from work. One of the most common remarks we hear from people who join our classes is that they feel peaceful there. One aspect of this work that challenges us is the limited length of time we have with people. It is common for people to leave Macau after 2 or 3 years when their work contract is completed. We have seen some of these people orient themselves in a more Jesus direction and we encourage them to find a place to continue with Jesus' people when they return home.
Our non-profit Light for the City, Inc. (a 501(c)3 organization) receives and distributes our support money. If you are interested in participating financially in what God is doing in Macau, you can send a check to
Light for the City, Inc.
c/o Allen Campbell
202 Spickard St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
We have about 8 churches that give financially to us on a monthly or yearly bases. We do not make a special effort to raise funds. Through relationships with churches and individuals we trust the Father to provide for our needs. We base our budget on receipts of US$6,000.00 per month. While this goal has rarely been met on a consistent basis, we somehow have enough. We are debt free and so we can live on what we get. Sometimes our activities have to be cut back until we have the needed funds. It is difficult to answer this question because we have no control over how much we receive. Some churches give a fixed amount each month. Others give a percentage of their receipts. If they receive more, they give more. This means our receipts go up and down from month to month. Through it all we trust the Father to provide.
Our whole family is on facebook. Names are
Lawrence (Larry) Ballew
Sarah Byrd Ballew
Joshua Lawrence Ballew
Sarah posts many photos on her page of our ministry. We also send out regular prayer updates. If you would like to receive this, please let us know by contacting our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our mailing address is very simple:
Lawrence and Sarah Ballew
P.O. BOX 1492
MACAU, (East ASIA)
When corresponding, the only word we avoid is missionary. We use the word "field personnel" when communicating about our status with CBF. But otherwise we are free to use all words: prayer, God, Jesus, Christianity... because we work with the open/registered churches in Macau and the rest of China.
Bill & Michelle Cayard - Chengdu, China
Letter received March 6, 2012 from Michelle Cayard, after receiving word of our love offering to them:
Dear PVBC Evangelism and Missions Committee and Members of PVBC,
How grateful and encouraged we were when we received your message! In these challenging economic times, financial strain is an ever present reality. Your faithful offering means we can continue our work knowing that the churches who sent us out are there to support us.
Living and ministering in a far away place sometimes means isolation and loneliness. Your offering not only provides needed financial resources, but also encourages us in knowing that we are not serving alone but in partnership with and on behalf of churches throughout the US.
Chinese we come in contact with are always amazed that Christians in the US who are far away from them, will likely never know them personally, and may never even visit China are committed to pray for China and to support the spread of the gospel in China. Recently a local believer was praying over a group of seminary students and when she thanked God for the American churches who support these students, she was moved to tears. To believers and unbelievers, this is a tangible expression of God's great love and the fact that He cares for each of us more than we can imagine. Just as while we were still sinners God loved us and sent us His Son, you have loved the people here and helped them to receive God's love.
Please convey our gratitude to all the members of Petaluma Valley Baptist Church for partnering in sharing the gospel in western China. Because of your willingness to partner, church leaders will be trained, new churches will be planted, and unbelievers will hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
With thankful hearts,
Bill and Michelle
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ." (Philippians 1:3-6)
Brian & Esther Writebol - Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa
We were delighted to host Brian & Esther Writebol at Petaluma Valley Baptist Church on March 4, 2012. They were in the USA on furlough for the birth of their third child, Isaac.
Brian is an airline mechanic for Mission Aviation Fellowship based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa. Brian plays a critical support role to keep planes flying to reach remote areas. MAF helps to transport missionaries, Bibles, relief supplies, and medical evacuations.
Keeping a flight ministry operational is very expensive. PVBC provides a portion of the $7200 per month that it takes to keep the average MAF missionary and ministry operating.
SBC Cooperative Program - Worldwide
Most churches cannot afford to sponsor full-time missionaries without help, and reaching the world for Christ is a big job. Missionaries need a full array of services in a supportive organization that understands their unique needs, helps them address their challenges, provides training, and channels resources as the Holy Spirit directs.
The SBC Cooperative Program is a mission sponsoring agency that is equipped to reach lost people groups to the Ends of the Earth. Petaluma Valley Baptist Church supports the SBC Cooperative Program at 4.25% of overall giving. Along with other churches in our denomination, we are making an impact with the gospel around the globe every day.