I have heard it said by a dear mentor of mine that starting a new ministry is like raising a child. She starts out in infancy and there needs to be a lot of care, and then soon she grows bigger and does a few things for herself. She grows independent and doesn’t need you in the ways she did before. You have dreams for the child, hopes of who she will become and feel curious about what her personality will be like, but you in no way can contain or dictate the expression of her life.
Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of Watermark (10/10/12) and we can very much relate to this thought. We are humbled and overwhelmed by all that God is done. We have been like new parents over the past two years- extremely busy and involved in all detail, preventing and cleaning up messes, worrying and wondering if our “parenting” is ok… praying and pleading with the Lord for these things and more… and He had been GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL to us.
I feel I have reached a stage where this “child” isn’t as demanding as she was the past two years. We are still very busy and working hard but the pace and mental energy is a bit different. I am thankful for the new season here and the wonderful leaders God has raised up to carry the work with us. Finally, I’m able to digest a bit more these days and hope to share more of it here.
Just know God is amazing and He is working all over the world. We couldn’t have imagined this would be like it is, and it’s only by His grace. May Christ’s church be radiant and beautiful that more people will know, love and serve Him wholeheartedly!!
At the beginning of the semester some of our students promoted at Welcome Party on campus with FREE FOOD! We asked people to RSVP but didn’t hear back… until a few days before the event. The RSVP’s started pouring in and we had a huge turnout. It was great to see the old students welcome and connect with the new ones. It was a great start to an amazing semester. We really enjoy being on a campus that contains so many students from all over the world.
welcome party from Katie Bartlett on Vimeo.
Our University Mission with Watermark Church has adopted a new name. To some of you it may not mean much and to others it has many emotions and stories and experiences attached to it: the name?
It’s our heart and desire that all students we come in contact with will have a true ENCOUNTER with God- whether it’s at the English Cafe´ or community group, an on-campus fellowship time or just living life together over a meal or hiking. God is all and in all things and everyone should have a chance to encounter Him in a real way.
Some of you may know the story of this name: There was a gathering on the campus of Auburn University called Encounter that started with a handful of students passionate about Jesus and grew to a movement of students who love Him and have served Him all over the world! There were many holy and life changing moments during Encounter including the one that brought me (Katie) to Hong Kong, and Maik to join our team. It’s our joy to continue in a new way: the heartbeat is the same and the story is not over. IWe are humbled to be living out this new chapter– being a small part of encouraging this generation towards Jesus.
This is only the beginning. We have a few new things starting in the Encounter ministry where we would really use your help. Please join us in praying for the people who will join our upcoming activities this semester:
On Campus WELCOME party Sept 7
Encounter Cafe (with language exchange and Business/Career prep and mentoring) every Sunday afternoon
ICF (International Christian Fellowship) every Wednesday lunch
Small groups every Thursday night
Creative worship nights one Sunday a month
We will give more details as these things happen- thanks for taking the time to read and pray!
What have we been up to?
Well, we managed to get married,
spend a little extra time with our families afterwards,
take a wonderful honeymoon to Maldives,
come back to “real life”
plan and prepare our volunteers at church to jump start the Uni ministry this fall,
and host ELIC’s Engage program with 70 North American College students who came to teach middle school Hong Kong kids, while showing them what life in Hong Kong University ministry is like through our English Cafe and church gatherings.
I have been leading worship,
Maik has been preaching…
and we are so blessed to be doing this together.
And we are JUST getting started… stay tuned for more stories of what has been happening in Hong Kong!
One day until our wedding! Can you believe it??
We cannot! So much has been happening in our personal lives as well as ministry life and we have so much to share! Just know that God has done so much in our group on campus and within the Church. He is uniting believers in His name… pray that God would continue to provide students to train up as leaders. Pray that the passion for His name would grow.
And now, for the wedding that is SO soon:
If you would like to tune in, 4:30am Central time /5:30am Eastern, you can watch our wedding.
I am not promising a perfect live stream but you may get a semblance of the ceremony
Hope many of you can join us at qik.com/katieb822
for our Wedding!
We shared earlier that JOY has been our semester’s theme because we had various church leaders and students share on any passage from Phillippians while drawing out this them, along with the ultimate satisfaction that Christ brings when we find our ultimate JOY in Him– a message we all need to hear! It has been an amazing semester together and we finished it off with an Easter celebration in the middle of campus. The students had the idea to worship together there .(In the photo below you will see Maik beside Sun Yat Sen’s statue, just in case you were wondering.) They used the opportunity also to share about our organization with students passing by in hopes to get the word out and hopefully share the love of God with more students. Please continue to pray that the seeds planted will grow and relationships will come about that continue this movement on God on campus– that more will know the JOY that comes from Him alone.
We talked about resurrection power and how when we ponder the truth that Jesus arose from the dead that it is LIFE-CHANGING! One student who is from Africa shared about how it’s so powerful that all these years people have tried to refute the resurrection of Christ, yet none have been able to do so. The evidence is greater that our Savior LIVES! So there we were, in the middle of campus, sharing these things. A teacher walked by and began to talk to another student in Cantonese. He was mad at God and was struggling with some life issues as well. The student was able to pray for him and he stayed for our entire time of singing!
We finished on a joyful note, singing “How Great is Our God” over the campus. It was so powerful to us personally because some of our friends from other Cantonese Christian campus organizations joined us and were excited for the “next time” we all worship together. God is truly drawing His people together! What a gift it is that he would put us in touch with this network of Students who want to see their campus turned upside down for Christ!
Ironically, once we finished, I saw this:
In case you didn’t know, there is Buddhist Center on campus, but for that we are thankful because it’s paving the way for a Christian Center. Check out this post for a little more about that.
Here is some of our group at the end. I am so proud to be a part of it and to have a front row seat to seeing God work miracles in these hearts! May they lead the next generation into passionate pursuit of true joy, hope, and love:
the person of Jesus!
It has been an amazing journey with this church plant. These are just a few of our exciting moments so far. A lot has happened and there is so much on our heart for the future. Please pray that God will guide and direct us and give us His strength to carry out the mission He has laid on our hearts!
This semester we have been studying the book of Philippians and what Paul has to say about joy. Yesterday we finished our looking at chapter 4: “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” As is custom, (well at least this semester) we had a weekly guest speaker, and this week was our own Joshua Hammond, another pastor at Watermark/good friend/best man in the wedding. This timely message was really poignant in that it forced everyone to go from an intellectual theology of the verse to an ACTUAL lived-out theology. That is the challenge: to not just talk about this truth but to LIVE it and see the campus transformed by our LIVING in Christ!
The truth is: We may feel happy or sad when circumstances change in our life… but true JOY comes from knowing Christ and living in Him. So I say to you: REJOICE ALWAYS!
We are constantly reminded by the stories we hear that most students strive toward happiness instead of joy. They put their hope in their grades, their relationships and the jobs they work towards instead of the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.
part of HKUICF after our Easter Celebration
Pray for His wisdom in how to reach HKU campus and to be God’s presence in the lives of students that are in desperate need of true JOY!
One of our church members is driving the vision for a Christian Centre at Hong Kong University. We believe that this would be a huge blessing to the campus and an open door to impact the student community. Next week the proposal will be presented to the Senior Management Team of the university…
Please pray for Daniel as he leads this effort and for all involved… as well as for favor by the University leadership.