Brothers and Sisters,
The year 1792 marked the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society. One of the men in this society was William Carey. Carey felt called by God to leave everything behind to spread the gospel in India. He compared the venture into India to a few men who were to penetrate a deep, unexplored mine, without a guide. It was in that moment where Carey turned to his brothers in Christ and said to them, “Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” One of the men present at this meeting, John Ryland, said, “But before he [Carey] went down…he, as it seemed to me, took an oath from each of us, at the mouth of the pit, to this effect-that ‘while we lived, we should never let go of the rope.’”
Carey knew that not all were meant to be full time missionaries in India. He also knew, however, that there were those who would stay behind and “hold the rope” for him. They would support Carey from afar through their prayers and their financial support, enabling him to devote himself 100% to the work of ministry in India. Indeed, because of faithful “rope holders”, Carey persevered in ministry in India for 40 years, translating the Bible into 6 languages and portions of it into 29 additional languages.
At Harbins our vision is to be a church where the generations converge to enjoy God and change the world through making, maturing, and mobilizing disciples of Jesus Christ. We do this through our own personal ministry of evangelism and disciple-making, and we also do it by “holding the rope” for others engaged in gospel ministry in places we may never set foot.
Matt and Emily Tyler are Harbins Church supported missionaries spreading the gospel in one of the largest cities in the world, Shanghai, China. Matt is an associate pastor at an international church involved in campus evangelism ministry, church planting and the sending out of missionaries. It is teeming with folks from all over the globe who have NEVER heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, and God is doing some exciting things through Matt’s ministry there. For example, one young Chinese man named Guan Hua came to their church service and asked if there was someone who could read the Bible with him. Guan Hua is not a Christian. Matt and Emily have also had lunch with and befriended a lady named Eve who isn’t a Christian but now seems close to believing. In addition, Matt has been reading the Bible with a Hungarian man named Janos. This man has recently professed faith in Christ!
More information about the Tylers’ ministry will be shared Sunday, and I am hoping in September they will be able to make a personal visit to Harbins and share some more, but these are just a few examples of the wonderful things the Lord is doing through Matt and Emily’s missionary efforts. But here’s the important thing to realize: They cannot engage in this ministry unless others “hold the rope.” Presently there are only 5 churches (including Harbins) supporting the Tylers on a regular basis. And with that support they have never been at 100% of their monthly needs. With a growing family and cost of living increases in Shanghai, the Tylers really need additional support. Later this year our Finance Team will begin to put together our budget for the coming year. I have asked them to prayerfully consider if we can increase our quarterly support. That will largely depend on the strength of the regular giving of our membership.
But regardless of whether or not we’ll be able to increase our regular support, I am asking you this weekend to prayerfully consider putting extra in the offering this Sunday for Matt and Emily’s ministry. Basically I’m asking you to “hold that rope” a little tighter through participating in a love offering for the spread of the gospel in China.
If you are interested in helping, then, in addition to your regular offering, you can write a separate check, make it out to Harbins, and put “Missions” down in the note section to ensure the funds get to them. Cash should be put in an offering envelope with the giver’s name and marked for Matt and Emily on the outside.
Whether we can all give financially or not, another way to “hold the rope” is through our prayers. Please be praying for Matt and Emily and their ministry this weekend, and prepare for a time of corporate prayer this Sunday where we will lift them and the Church in China up before the Lord!
Grace and Peace,