In 2001, when God called me to China, I was a middle-aged attorney who had never been to Bible school, had no background in Chinese culture, didn’t speak a word of the language, and had no support in place whatsoever. I didn’t seem a very likely candidate to be one of His representatives to the people of China, but I went in faith, remembering that God called an old Bedouin to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and a shepherd boy to be King of Israel. He called a fisherman to be His apostle to the Jews and a Pharisee to go to the Gentiles. I was unqualified by every measurable standard. It didn’t matter—God had called me. “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…” (2 Cor. 3:5-6)
The result of answering that call is that I became the founder and Executive Director of Harmony Outreach—a ministry that has grown to include China, Ethiopia, Cambodia and Vietnam. In China, Harmony has a home for orphans near Beijing called Harmony House. Our children have been adopted all over the United States and the world. In Ethiopia we support five orphan homes and partner with the Word of Life Stadium church in Wolaita, Sodo. In Cambodia we train and equip indigenous pastors, help victims of sex-trafficking, have our Learn2Work outreach to university students, and are an official partner of the state orphanage in Phnom Penh. In Vietnam we are training underground pastors in Saigon and Hanoi and are providing water wells for village churches located in remote areas.
Although many considered my former life as an attorney to be the ideal, I increasingly came to believe that I had been climbing a ladder leaning against the wrong house. When God had called me to follow Him by faith to China, it had required that I walk away from the American Dream. But in doing so, I found abundant life in Christ!
John holds a BA in History from UCLA, an MS in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Juris Doctor from Regent University. He is a former Army Captain and Gulf War veteran. He has four biological and two adopted children from China and lives in southern California with his Cambodian wife Dalin. Media guest appearances include Focus on the Family, Prime Time America, The Joni Show, Celebration with Marcus and Joni Lamb, Moody Radio Network’s Morning Ride with Mark Elfstrand and numerous other radio interviews in the U.S. and Canada. John’s story and Harmony’s work have been mentioned in several of Max Lucado’s books including Fearless, Every Day Deserves a Chance, and You Changed My Life.