Rosalie is a 4th generation Chinese American, raised in the countryside of Oregon. She and her sister were the only believers among the clan. In 1986, she went to China for a year of language study, and discovered two things: she did not want to teach English, and it would take more than a year or two to have meaningful ministry.
Patient & faithful to the call
It took her ten years to return to China—a long wait, but time well spent. Rosalie moved to San Francisco, grew in her career, made friends and learned Chinese culture in a Chinese-American church. She also promoted missions through serving at church and the World Christian Conference. Finally, when a management position in her field opened up in China, she was ready to go.
Over 8 years, Rosalie oversaw construction projects in three cities. Long working hours was tough, but she bonded well with her colleagues. No matter how tired she was, Rosalie made time for English Corner, small groups, and friends, patiently sowing seeds of love and truth.
Into her sixth year, her parents’ health began to fail. Rosalie went home multiple times to visit, help them sell the farm, pack, and relocate for better care. Their salvation was always on her heart and in her prayers. Another year or so later, she sensed the Lord’s release to go home.
At her farewell, a colleague came up and said to her, “Rosalie, thank you for coming to China to show us how to be a good engineer.”
“Emotionally,” Rosalie reflected, “leaving was hard. The difficult contemplation of when to leave (not if) was compounded by seeing Him at work and being a privileged part of it. But the ministry could never end and the Master Architect would orchestrate His plans to continue building up what He wants to do—with or without me there. After eight years of living overseas and wrestling with all my family needs for the last two years, it is time to go back and serve the two Chinese people who mean the most to me.”
In God’s good time
Coming home, Rosalie landed a consulting job with a good engineering firm. Her bigger challenge was parenting eighty-something parents with heart disease and Alzheimer’s. For two years, they showed no spiritual openness, while their health continued to decline.
One day, God prompted Rosalie’s sister to talk to their father about God. In the past, there was asked if he was ready to pray, he simply said, “I’m ready now. Let’s do it.” He ended the prayer with a hearty “Amen”. That Christmas, their father went home to be with the Lord.
Rosalie’s mother with her dementia was a “heavier door to knock on.” It took serious fasting and prayer. Friends in the US and in Asia joined in intercession. Rosalie told God she only had mustard seed faith for her mom, but had to believe that was enough for him to work with.
Mustard seed faith is enough
One Saturday morning, Rosalie had a conversation with her mother, a conversation they had had before. But then it went differently. “Do you know where Dad is?” “Yes, in heaven,” her mom replied softly. “Do you want to be with him? Do you want to talk to God about it?” Softly, she said, “Yes.” But when she repeated the sinner’s prayer, her voice grew strong and clear. Afterwards, Rosalie asked, “Do you know what it meant?” Without hesitation, she said, “I am now a Christian.”
Rosalie could hardly believe this was happening. She checked with her mother again at lunch to see if she recalled what happened at breakfast. She did. But two hours later, when Rosalie’s sister came, mom had already forgotten. What a poignant illustration of 2 Corinthians 4:16—the inner spirit is renewed even as the outer body wastes away! For a four-hour window, Rosalie’s mother remembered. This is what God can do with faith the size of a mustard seed that dares to believe with just that much.
To those who hesitate to respond to the missionary call because loved ones have yet to believe, we say: If the God who calls is the God who saves, will He not honor your obedience to follow, and bring your loved ones to salvation at the appointed time?
After Rosalie came home to the US, not only had her parents come to faith, but she also led five other elderly relatives to Christ. The Father will honor those who honor him. Rosalie’s mother is 92, and living with her.