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 Mandarin, 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 to China, Ethiopia, Cambodia and Vietnam. In China, Harmony had an orphan home near Beijing called Harmony House. Nearly 130 of our children have been adopted to families all over the United States and the world. In Ethiopia, we have four orphan homes and an evangelistic outreach that has brought hundreds of Muslims to Christ. In Cambodia, our popular Learn2Work outreach is resulting in scores of Buddhist background university students coming to Christ. We also help rescue young girls from sex-exploitation, and train and equip village pastors. In Vietnam, we train pastors from the underground church, graduating upwards of 50 each year. We provide clean water sources for remote village communities, reach university students through our J-Club outreach in Hanoi and Saigon, and plant churches in unreached tribal areas near the Chinese border.
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 called me to follow Him by faith into international missions, it 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’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.