September 8, 2020- Update

•September 9, 2020 • 2 Comments

Hi everyone,

We just wanted to provide you all with a very short update and a prayer request. God has definitely got the ball rolling for us to finally start expecting to go back to China. Two weeks ago, I finally received a new VISA, even though my previous VISA had not yet expired. Apparently, my previous VISA was cancelled since we were outside of the country during this pandemic time. This VISA is only valid until November for my to travel to China, so needless to say we have some time, but not much time. So God has definitely been blessing us.

I recently posted on Facebook saying that my son’s travel document (or 旅行证) would be easy to apply for a new one. Well, at the moment they have been dragging their feet to help us. I know they are definitely swamped during this time and are probably working around the clock to process application and help overseas Chinese or foreigners traveling to China, but we could really use some prayer in this circumstance.

These last three weeks have been difficult, my school has returned back into session in China and I have now been working nights from 8pm-4am Sunday-Thursday. It is hard for me to get motivated to do much these days and I’ve been fairly exhausted. I do not sleep well during the day.

Please be praying that God will grant us favor for my son’s special travel permit, that God will allow the Chinese embassy in DC to see our request, to sympathize with our case, give my son his travel permit and God will allow us to return to China by mid-October.

Praise Be to God!

•October 8, 2020 • Leave a Comment
I’ll miss my mom and sister!

Everyone, this will be the final update until we enter quarantine in China. The Lord has done tremendous things these last 48 hours, not to mention the other blessings He has provided for us. Yesterday, we went to Nextcare Urgent Care to complete a Covid-19 test, the Chinese embassy explicitly stated on their website that we needed to complete a RT-PCR test before we leave in order to enter China. When I first went to Nextcare they assured us that this test was the exact test the Chinese government wanted us to get. After receiving the test results, we have found out it was in fact not the test that two of their staff told us it was. I had submitted their results and was denied because it was not a RT-PCR test (which apparently is the only type of test that is accurate for COVID on the market).

Well this caused us to call doctors offices all around town yet again to find the appropriate test. We called dozens of offices and they said they were either fully booked or didn’t have that test. We began to pray and fast for God’s guidance, favor and mercy. I knew God could and would provide because He has already overcome every obstacle for us. Well out of the blue, a few hours later around 4:30pm, a close family friend Rebekah Weins called me with a computer problem! Haha She had no idea about our dilemma and she could sense that something was wrong. I told her our problem and she was able to make some calls and provided a solution! We drove to Apex to get tested with Vero Diagnostics and they helped us tremendously!

We literally received our test results onboard our flight to LA and even God provided our flight to have WIFI on board so that we could take care of getting these test results and email the Chinese Embassy them, so they could give us our last negative COVID clearance form! Even now, I’m writing this blog post thousands of feet in the air, currently about to land to LAX. Now all we need to do is when we land in LAX is find a printer!

We were a little nervous about flying half way across the country without knowing whether or not we would receive our test results and this other document, but as these unfortunate mishaps were happening, it reminded me of a story I read about in the Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. There was a very similar story were he was praying for God to provide the money for their mortgage for their half way house. He prayed and prayed and God didn’t seem to provide. But eventually around the last hour before this big mortgage payment was due, God sent a older man that felt led to write a check covering the costs. Not knowing their need. This story and our personal experience with our amazing Father gave us the courage to move forward even without these documents! Praise the Lord, we are ever grateful to Him and those He used to help us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Noah’s Documents Have Officially Arrived

•September 30, 2020 • 2 Comments

This is Noah now when we ask him to smile! lol

Well everyone! We wanted to let everyone know we have officially received Noah’s travel permit to China! God has opened almost every door for us to go back! The last thing we need to do is get a COVID test (RT PCR) test on Tuesday morning and have the results emailed to the Chinese embassy, then they will give us a health clearance so we can board the plan October 7! We only have a week left here in the USA, but if the pandemic is over in the summer time, we will be back!

Praise Report and Update

•September 16, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Hey everyone! I just wanted to provide another update and share a tremendous praise report since you all were helping us pray for God’s favor. Last time, I had sent you guys an update, we were waiting for the Chinese embassy to reply back to our emails in regard to our son’s entry exit permit. Literally the next day after that post and so many people praying, we received a reply. Though the reply was not what we expected or wanted. The Chinese embassy basically told us that they would not help us until we purchased our tickets back to China first. This was a little confusing for us but I contacted my school and asked them to arrange tickets for us because traveling to China is still heavily restricted. My school began trying to work with several Chinese travel agencies to see what they could do.

Though we received this unfavorable news from the Chinese embassy, we continued to pray (and I know you all did as well)! Well Thursday of last week, the embassy emailed us again and asked us to make an appointment on Friday so that we can get Noah’s travel document started! Another individual had read the email and decided to override the previous person’s message. Praise God! So we went ahead and completed the beginning steps that we were instructed to do. Well it turns out that we had to make appointment for Monday on Friday and this was the only appointments available for the entire month of September. Well my company on Friday had finally purchased our tickets, which they purchased them for the first week of October. If God hadn’t changed the heart of whoever was responsible for reading our email, I am quite positive we would have missed Monday’s only available appointment with the embassy and who knows when the next appointment would have been able to be scheduled in October. Divine Providence!

So yes, Noah’s paperwork was mailed out earlier this week and are on the way to the embassy. Thank you all for your prayers! Please lets continue to pray that these documents get safely to the Chinese Embassy, that they expedite Noah’s travel document and that it can arrive back here within a week.

We have really enjoyed our time here (and I have really enjoyed being back), as I was driving around today working on some errands, I realized that I am going to really miss Fayetteville (especially family and friends). But we are ready to return back to China and begin the work that we have been called to do! Please keep us in your prayers and I will keep you all posted once Noah’s travel permit arrives!

August 2020 Update

•August 13, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Hey everyone! I had originally wrote a post on this past Monday, but didn’t publish it. Probably a good thing, because the situation is always changing.

I have officially received an invitation letter from the local Chinese government (where we live in China) for me to go back. Obviously my wife is a Chinese citizen and can go back at any moment (but we don’t want to separate) and my son can go back because of Elizabeth. Well I sent in my passport yesterday morning and it already arrived in DC to begin this process. Unfortunately, we found out yesterday afternoon that it will be delayed a lot longer than we expected…

We really are in need of prayer. We have enjoyed our stay here and it’s been a total blessing to be back, but we want to go back to China. This is where our heart is and at the moment our lives are. Please help us stand together as a triple braided cord and ask God for His protection over us, that my VISA will be approved and expedited, along with my sons special entry permit and that God will pave a way for us to get back to China within the next 2 months. Thank you all for your support and prayers! I’m quite fortunate to have such a group of brothers and sisters in Christ like you all, along with other good close friends!

Mid July Update

•July 18, 2020 • Leave a Comment

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It’s almost surreal to actually have my wife and son in my hometown, taking photos in places I spent a lot of my time previously.

Good morning everyone! Wow, as I am writing this journal update, I am now realizing that we have been back in the USA now for a total of 6 months… Who would have thought that God would have permitted us being able to stay in the USA this long? God is eternally good. Well, I’d like to give a few updates about what’s going on in our lives and how you all can continue to pray for us.

First of all, toward the end of last month, I applied for an extension of Elizabeth’s VISA until the end of December. She is able to stay a year on her B2 VISA, except after I spoke with someone in the US immigration department, she told me that the extension process can take months… Needless to say  I was concerned about her VISA expiring, but I was assured that since we have completed the paperwork, she can legally stay until the requested date, unless they reject her extension application. Please help us pray that the government will grant my wife permission to stay under these unprecedented times until we can go back to China.

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Noah trying to act all cool during our drive in service at Northwood Temple Church. XD

 

Many of you have asked us if we are going back or why would we want to go back. To answer the first question, we definitely are going back to China for however long this season is that God would have us there. The answer to the second question will take a little longer to answer. China has been a country that God has put on my heart for a very long time. It bears a very special meaning to me, both spiritually and physically and even being where I found my wife and had my son. Mostly Americans who asked me this question of why would you desire to go back, have only seen the negative image of China portrayed in the media complex here in the USA. China is not perfect, but we need to know governments are very different from the people of those countries. This is where we are being called at the moment. I really have to leave it at that and I believe you guys can understand our motives.

So when might we be able to move back to China? I have spoken with my school and they have said there is a possibility that we can go back sometime in September. Everything is up in the air at the moment, but it would seem that this projection seems reasonable. That being said, there have been no official announcements regarding to China re-opening it’s borders to foreigners, so please lets pray for China to re-open their borders to foreigners as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will need to possibly figure out another country to travel to after this upcoming December.

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Crazy Pandemic Times…

The great news is that I have received an email from Maple Leaf, saying that despite whether they re-open the borders in August or September, I am still contracted with Maple Leaf. Therefore, I can still work via distance learning with my school back in China. That has been a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. Unfortunately, there is a lot that I cannot share with you all online, but please keep us in your prayers.

Anyway, please be praying for the USA and China, that God will end the cornavirus pandemic, guidance on how God wants us to proceed, Elizabeth’s VISA and that China will re-open it’s borders to foreigners soon. Thank you everyone and God bless!

A Warning to the People of the World

•April 14, 2020 • Leave a Comment

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Good afternoon everyone, today is April 14th and we have been back in the USA since Jan 21st… We had not expected to still be here for this length of time, but there have been some things hard re-adjusting with in America. Especially on Facebook, I cannot believe some of the comments, articles, videos that have been shared on this social media site… Therefore, I have decided to delete Facebook off my phone and I will be checking it only a few times a week on my laptop… There is nothing Social about Social Media and these last few months have shown me my greatest concern from these tech giants of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, these corporations and their inventions (social engineering) are destroying our country and humanity… Death by social media… (社会媒体) By the way, I am saying this of ALL social media and tech giants(社会媒体)! Here in the USA and abroad…

Yet Another Update

•March 27, 2020 • 1 Comment

Well everyone… The situation is changing almost daily (or even hourly)! I sent out a short post on Facebook the other day because I was really exhausted and drained from the entire situation. So I will make this update very short cause I know a lot of people have been praying for us and might be wondering what happened.

So late Saturday March 21st EST, the school system I work for in China ordered us to start traveling back to China… I was rather worried about the safety of Elizabeth and Noah, so we had come up with the plan for them to stay behind until July when I could come back to get them. That being said, I knew God would provide, but we were not thrilled with this idea. So I purchased a one way ticket through Kayak to Dalian China. Well, we found out on the following Monday that the school would not open as they originally speculated in early April and I called my principal that night. I expressed my concerns with him about Elizabeth and Noah staying behind. He agreed with me about leaving my family and told me he would fight for me if the superintendent did not approve. So needless to say, I cancelled my ticket, though I lost half of the ticket cost.

Now the newest update as of yesterday and that came into effect as of today is China has officially barred all foreigners from returning to China during this time. Our school released a final memo in regard to this topic and said we can continue teaching online without any consequences. God is good and He is continually taking care of us every step of the way! Mr. Malcolm Patterson, a dear friend of mine, recently quoted Romans 8:28 when talking to me- “And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose”. God will provide and I sincerely believe that perhaps God is directing our paths. We will continue to keep you all posted! God bless and stay safe!WechatIMG396

Travel Update- March 22, 2020

•March 23, 2020 • 1 Comment

Well guys, this is my last blog from the USA… Unfortunately, my school has demanded my return and has threatened to stop my salary until I returned… It is unbelievable that they have decided to take this approach, especially since the US, Canada, Japan, a lot of Europe have issued strong recommendations to not fly through these countries. We have been hurt financially with this whole debacle and believe that this was our last option. Though I’ve communicated my concerns, they have been headstrong in my return no matter the circumstances.

That being said, we as a family have decided to have Elizabeth and Noah stay in the US until the school semester is over. Most of the cases that have been identified recently are from people on boats or flying. Therefore, since Noah is too young to understand that he needs to wear a mask, keep his hands out of his mouth or eyes, we think it is a good idea to keep them here.

I do not know what to expect traveling through these airports with all of the safety measures they are taking. Also, I do not know what to expect when I arrive back in Dalian, China. I know what they have told us, but I also know that terms and conditions are always subject to change with the Chinese government or local authorities in China.

Please pray for my family here. We are thankful to have my mom and my sister, but this will be the longest time Elizabeth and I have been apart since we have known each other. We have only spent 2-3 days apart since we have been married and Noah and I have never been apart. It has been an emotional roller coaster having to make these decisions, but we are just trying to do what we think is right. I prayed for several weeks that if this was the right decision, that Elizabeth would find peace in this decision without my asking her. She has even though she acknowledges this is going to be difficult. I am taking this as a confirmation that we are moving in steps ordained by God.

I will keep you all posted on the whole ordeal, especially after I arrive back in China. My flight is this Wednesday (Match 25) at 6am from RDU. It is going to be the longest flight I’ve ever taken, almost a total of 40 hours… I am trying to stay positive about the whole situation, but I am already missing Elizabeth, Noah, my mom, my sister… Thankfully, it will only be for 3 months. But once my school ends, I will return to the USA for about a week, get my family and we will need to leave. Elizabeth’s VISA will run out toward to end of July.

Anyway, take care everyone. Please take care of yourselves. Stay close to God and rely on His strength. But please continue to take precautions for your sake and others. God bless

Second Update on Travel Plans

•March 7, 2020 • 2 Comments

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MiCasita, Oh How I’ve Missed You!

Hey everyone! I am beginning to get a lot more email messages on Facebook/ my email about whats going on with the Howard family. So I wanted to provide a short little update.

First off, though this trip has definitely been difficult and filled with unexpected outcomes, God has provided for us the entire way. I was just reflecting on this this morning, it could have ended up a lot worse. So before I get started, I just think I should give a major shout out to our Heavenly Father for taking care of us!

So now for the short update, we are still in my hometown in the USA. My job back in China has officially begun online teaching with Canvas, so I do still have a job. Our school is not opened yet in China, Maple Leaf has been instructed to remain closed (as well as most schools in China) until further notice. Our school has been speculating when they will open again, but I’ve been in China long enough to know, this is pointless. It is impossible to speculate what the government is thinking and especially how a virus is going to react. But that being said, they are a business, so I feel like they have every right to begin planning as much as they can.They have been asking us to return, but we are not the only teachers in this predicament. I would say over 30% of the teachers at my school are in same circumstances and our school operates campuses all across China. They have similar reports at their other campuses across China.

We were really hoping to fly out mid this month, but we have been notified if we were to fly through either Korea or Japan, then we would be quarantined in a facility in Dalian (because these countries now have “higher infection rates” than China at the moment). So needless to say, we are not interested in that. We have been looking for alternative routes and flying through Canada seems like our only feasible option. Unfortunately, Elizabeth needs a VISA to travel through Canada (even the airport), so we are in the process of applying for a travel VISA to Canada for her. Please help us pray that it’s a speedy process because at the moment it looks like it’ll take this entire month to process it.

Currently, in the state of North Carolina, we have had our first two reported cases of COVID-19 in Wake and Chatham County. I am not sure what to believe about how prepared the USA is in regard to this virus, but it seems like we are not exactly prepared. Please pray for all of the countries affected by this virus, especially China, ‘Merica, S. Korea, Japan and Iran.

Well that’s about it at the moment, I will continue to keep you all updated! It has been a major blessing to be back home, but it still has been a mixed bag of things. Thank you all for your prayers and please continue to pray for us and others safety/ wellbeing.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article240915536.html

https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/raleigh-restaurant-says-it-was-visited-by-covid-19-patient/275-8e34ea4a-8112-4f73-8609-29b8fa60fd93

https://abc11.com/5982249/

 
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