Tuesday, September 4, 2012


One of the greatest opportunities I have is to encourage and help partnerships start, take flight and grow. But building partnerships is hard work and those of us doing it often network together receiving from each other advise and counsel, as we discuss best practices, failures and successes. We are a “Band of Brothers and Sisters” that serves the greater body of Jesus to see the church experience everything desired by God.

As we connect people, churches and businesses together with people of other nations and cultures we see everyone involved grow in their passion and love for God and His desire for all the peoples of the earth. One such friendship is with a passionate facilitator, James of FollowOne International. This recent story has created a huge partnership opportunity the perhaps your church may want to consider.

It all began when God started moving in the life of a young girl in Georgia. When James met Emma in 2010 her mother mentioned that Emma has a special place in her heart for China.

James says, “As I sat down and looked into the face of my new eight-year-old friend: beautiful, pure, humble, bright, full of hope and faith. If the Bible included pictures, Matthew 18:1-4 would be illustrated with the picture of someone like, Emma. Jesus called a small child over to him and put the child among them.”

James learned that Emma had been praying for China every night since she was five years old. No one in her family had been to China. There were no Chinese children in her small community. She didn’t know of any families that had adopted a child from China. There was no human explanation of why Emma had been praying for China.

At last she added, “Mr. James, someday I will go to China and tell them how much God loves them.” James was amazed and gave praise to God.

Two days later James received an email from a Chinese friend in Beijing. Among other things, he made this request; “Please remember my nine-year-old son. He is having a hard time in school this week.”

James continued the story, “As I drove down the interstate that day, these children came to mind. I heard myself whisper, I wish there were some way to connect loving, gifted, praying, and believing children in America with children in China. My mind raced for implementation options, but soon the idea began to fade… a wonderful idea, but impossible.”

At that moment I felt the unmistakable words of the Holy Spirit, “There might be a way.”

A little girl in Georgia, a little boy in Beijing and the touch of the Spirit combined to confirm a calling from God. As James began to research ways to connect the underutilized resource of Christian children in America with the beautiful children of China where only five percent live in Christian families.

After two-and-a-half years of research, planning and the miraculous provision of God, FollowOne International is elated to announce the launch of Friends4One.

Friends4One is a friendship, education and missions engagement program that connects children in China with children in America. The program is a 21st century version of the pen pal custom, but with computers and the Internet instead of pens, paper and the postal service. Without leaving their own communities, young Christian ambassadors learn about other cultures, develop authentic relationships and share Christ’s love with children thousands of miles away. The program is designed for children age 12 and younger.

I want to personally encourage each of you as individuals and leaders of Christian schools, churches and families to explore a partnership with Friends4One. Families can sign up individually, but the ministry is even more effective when a children a part of a group working together. This is a great experience for a parent and child to share together, but grandparents are signing up with their grandchildren also.

Over the next two years, FollowOne International is attempting to match 200,000 Christian children with some of the 212 million young children in China. Pray that God will raise up thousands of Emmas to share His love.

This is your investment. This is your joy.

Mark Szymanski

Won’t you please consider joining our financial support team? You can send contributions to: United World Mission, PO Box 602002, Charlotte NC 28260-2002 and write ACCT# 11013 in the memo line. Further info about on-line giving and other programs see www.uwm.org. Thank you to our present supports that allow us to impact the many lives across the planet. Again, THANKS!

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