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Nicole (Xiao) Zhang's baptism on May 10, 2009, culminated a seven-year journey that began when she met a friendly American named Jeanne Mueller.
Jeanne was part of a group of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) members who were teaching English at a university in Chuzhou, China. They had been placed through the Amity Foundation
, an ELCA companion program.
A member of Trinity Lutheran Church
, Cedarburg, Wisconsin, Jeanne says she didn't go to China with the intention of converting people to Christianity. "I volunteered to help as the hands and feet of Jesus," she said. "I went to be a servant, empowered by the Holy Spirit."
While working as a translator, Nicole recalls being "incredibly moved by how naturally Jeanne and the other missionaries showed their love to students. That love attracted me to them and to Christianity."
Nicole stayed in touch with Jeanne over the years. After completing her graduate studies in the United States, she received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at St. Luke Lutheran Church
, Park Ridge, Illinois, with Jeanne standing by her side as one of her sponsors.
"I felt like God had been knocking on my door for seven years and I finally opened it," Nicole said. "When the door opened, I felt like I became a new person. The faith I have now will strengthen and support me for the rest of my life.
"I'm glad I've become a member of God's big family."
Jeanne says God has placed Nicole in her life to strengthen her own faith. "Nicole tells me that as her sponsor I have to tell her about God," she says. "As much as I think I know it all, I'm really a couch potato. I can become lazy. Nicole holds me true to my responsibility as her sponsor to get off the couch and into the Word."
ELCA Global Mission
provides short-term service opportunities — ranging from two months to two years — in nearly 50 countries around the globe. Global service
positions range from English teachers to surgical nurses to music instructors and more.
to explore openings with less than a one-year commitment.