Tag Archives: Ministry Update

Weekly Mind Dump: Thankful

✪ During our time in Taiwan we were able to meet with ministers working in 6 different countries. According to the CIA Factbook, here is how “Christian” each country is: China 5.1% Christian | Taiwan 4.5% Christian | India 2.3% Christian | Thailand 1.2% Christian | United Kingdom 59.5% Christian | United States 51.3% Protestant Christian. These percentages include the following groupings: Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox Christianity, Protestant Christianity. [1]

✪ Chinese Bible Distribution: THANK YOU! Because many of you gave to help us buy Bibles, we were able to spend all the money and buy Bibles in Dalian, Harbin, and Gaoxiong! We emptied out the account this week. If you are interested in helping us buy Bibles in China and Taiwan to reach the Chinese, you can send funds to our Chinese Bible Distribution Fund. 100% of the funds will be used to buy Bibles! No middle man fee! A Chinese pastor asked me to tell those who gave, “Thank you!”

✪ We had a great Thanksgiving service on Sunday. Everyone brought a little something to eat and then after the main service we enjoyed a meal together and then had an afternoon testimony service.

✪ Church Update: During the organization service the church officially voted me in as their pastor. I will be their temporary pastor until the Lord raises up a Chinese man to pastor the church. Please pray with us towards this end.

✪ We had more given towards the different needs that we have! Thank you so much for your generosity!

✪ We have many new ideas for outreach in the city, but we are limited on manpower. Pray that more labourers will come and help us reach this city of millions with the gospel!

✪ We are working on organizing and laying the foundation for our “Bible College”, Dalian Baptist Seminary. We would like to start the first classes sometimes at the beginning of next year. Please pray with us about this!

One of the young men who was recently here on a short-term trip is coming back in the spring of next year for a six-month internship. Pray for him and give to help him come if you can!

✪ I am thankful for my wonderful family and wife. My wife does so much that goes unnoticed, and I am not the best at always thanking her for all that she does. Thank you, my love, I couldn’t do what I do without you!

✪ Thank you Lord Jesus for your many blessings and allowing me to partake in your amazing grace!

November 2014 Prayer Letter

We were excited last month about the decision to merge the churches together, our new building, and how everything in the ministry was going, then the police showed up at the church on a Wednesday morning. Since then we have had a whirlwind of emotions and many decisions to make. Each step we have taken, the Lord has given us wisdom. We praise Him for help in a time of need!

The Police: Only one of the young Chinese men was at the church when the police came this time, but they asked many questions, took some of our information and asked for a follow-up visit. After that followup visit, the police told one of the young men that we could keep having services like normal. We were thankful for this, but were still unsure of the decision since they didn’t know the identity of the foreigners involved. I stepped down as the pastor hoping that would help with any issues of foreigner involvement and had the young men teach in my place for a week.

After praying and thinking about what to do, we decided that the “new” location was going to be a problem because of neighbors and our noise level. We decided to look for a commercial space and the Lord open up a door at the first place we went to. We rented a new place and have met there since. The surrounding neighbors in our new location are businesses who usually don’t work on Sunday. This should help with causing problems with the neighbors.

The Move: Everyone was disheartened at first because we didn’t know what the plan was going to be. We spent about two weeks renovating our new building and taking the church in a new direction, doing things nicer than we have ever done them. It seems the Lord has His hand in all this because each time the police come we find a new, better and bigger location.

Giving Opportunities: We have been through a lot in just the couple of months since we have been back. We are using all of our support each month and would like to raise more. We are thankful for those who have recently partnered with us. Also, there are several one-time giving opportunities to help this young persecuted church: rent, extra chairs, renovations, and reimbursing the confiscated funds. You can contact me directly for more details. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Church Organization: We officially organized into a local Baptist church. We had a great organization service where several of our people became founding members of the church, signing the church charter. Praise the Lord for continuing to work even through all the troubles!

Thank you for being a part of our team, Project China, with your prayers and financial support!

Weekly Mind Dump: Renovations

✪ It has been a busy week! The new commercial space we rented needed some fixing up to do, nearly spent the entire week, morning-to-night, working to fix the place up. All the major projects are done, and we are excited about using this as a means to assemble as a church.

✪ I think one of the mistakes I might have made is starting out too cheap or at least staying too cheap. So we are going to try a different route by making things nicer and more family friendly. So our new building reflects those changes.

✪ Of course, with a new building that needs work done, comes with a financial cost. If you are interested in knowing what these costs are and are willing and able to help, please let me know.

✪ If you somehow missed the latest update with our new direction, you can read that post here: At a Crossroads – Direction Known

✪ We are still raising funds to help the church as it grows: $4,800 – First Year’s Rent at $400 a month (Can you give one month’s rent?); $308 – 44 Extra Chairs at $7 each (Can you purchase some chairs?); $150 – Nursery/Kids Tables, Chairs, Furnishings (Can you give?); $1,100 for the house church who had their offerings confiscated.

✪ We are thankful for a new church who financially partnered with us. We are in need of more support if you know of a church who would be interested in supporting a church-planter in mainland China, please pass along our information.

EasySlides – This is Worship Projection software that is free and for those working in China, it includes the Chinese Bible and over 1,000 Chinese song lyrics! Now they just need to make a mac version.

✪ I met with an Australian pastor of an international church here in the city yesterday. They have foreigners and Chinese both attending their church. They are about an hour away from where we are. It was encouraging to see God doing a work there!

✪ Our church has taken many bold steps forward, pray for God’s continued blessings! We are excited about what He is going to do!

✪ Hopefully, I will be able to give more of an update when things slow down here. God bless!

At a Crossroads – Direction Known

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I want to thank everyone for praying for us over the past week and a half. It has been a stressful and trying time. Through prayer, counsel and open doors we finally know the direction we are going.

First, we plan on staying in the city and continuing our ministry here. Our actual identities are not known. We don’t see a direct threat. With the information they do know; they could eventually find out who we are if they truly were wanting to know, but they haven’t seemed to pursue it at this time.

Second, we moved the church from the residential location to a commercial location. The new location means I can be involved back in the services of the church immediately. I preached both services this past Sunday. Also, before renting this new location we asked all the surrounding businesses if our services on Sunday would be a problem for them and they all said, “no.” (Renting commercial space has its benefits… planning to write more about the benefits of this in the future. The one downside is the extra cost.)

Third, for political reasons, I will still not be the official pastor of the church but will do many of the functions of a pastor until the church has one. (This is more of a word game that, hopefully, will help us with future run-ins with the police.)

Summary: The church has moved to a new commercial location that will, hopefully, help meet its needs and allow for future growth. We will continue to lead the church and train up young men as the Lord allows. We are moving forward trusting the Lord!

(We could be wrong about all these decisions.)

P.S. We have some different projects and that we are working on and if you are interested in helping the local church here with any of these financially, let me know and I can give you more details.

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At a Crossroads – Weekend Update!

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As you probably already read, the police did not come over the weekend nor have they come for a second time. The church boldly had it’s normal services. There were no interruptions. Thank you for praying!


OVER THE WEEKEND

With that being said here is a run down of the events for this weekend:

Friday: I met with the guys who are in training and we decided that it was best that I resign the church as the active pastor. Even if I end of staying in the city and going back to work at the church, this would allow the church members to honestly say they don’t have a foreigner as a pastor. So Friday evening, I sent the church members the following letter of resignation:

Dear Church,

I have been honored to be your pastor. I have seen many of you grow in the faith. Some of you I helped believe the gospel. Some of you I baptized. Some of you I helped understand the bible. Some of you I trained to preach. Together we planted a real local church.

The time has come for me to resign as the pastor of the church. The law in China doesn’t allow me as a foreigner to be your pastor. I know that we ought to obey God rather than men, and I hope that we will always do that. The Bible also gives examples of preachers moving on to other cities if they receive persecution. My continued leadership and attendance at the church will cause more problems for the church. If I resign, you shouldn’t experience those problems and can continue to build the church without hinderance.

I am praying that God will send you a pastor to help lead and guide you. I will help the church in every way possible, but I will no longer be the pastor of the church. Therefore, if the police ask if the church has a foreigner as a pastor, you can truthfully answer, “No.”

Whoever the pastor is, I will commit to training him and helping him to lead you, in the same way that I did.

I love you. Keep serving Jesus and building His church because He is worthy.

Also, two of the young men committed to leading the church and to continue the preaching and teaching until the church has a fulltime pastor (hopefully one of them with time).

Saturday: I left town and one of the guys from the church went to the police station to fulfill part of the request of the officers who came the Wednesday before. They wanted to know what we believe and wanted every who attends information. We obviously aren’t willing to give that information of everyone who attends, but we are willing to explain to them exactly what we believe. So that is what they did. At the end of their meeting, the church was given permissions to keep having services.

Saturday: The church had services with no interruptions. I was not at either of the services but in another city.


A COUPLE QUESTIONS

What does this mean? I don’t know. We are taking each day a step at a time.

But didn’t they give the church permission? Yes and no. The officer who he talked to said they could keep studying. Is there an underlying purpose for this, I hope not. But the local police station’s job is more to keep the unity among neighbors and to keep problems from arising. They don’t carry guns and they aren’t very intimidating. So the question is, what are they going to do with the information they attained? If they are required to file a report to the religious bureau, then we could have problems. That is what we are waiting to see. The religious bureau specializes in raiding the house churches and it is their job to keep the religious situation in China under control. Therefore, even if the local police don’t really care about the church, there is a good chance the religious bureau will if they find out.

What do they know about you? The local police station acquired more information about us from the talks, but nothing that gives away our identity yet. We are still praying for wisdom about our next step. Now, we are returning to our city and will continue training as we try to figure this out.

Next Step? As of now, we aren’t planning on attending any of the services but will be looking into doing something else for my family for the time being.

We still need your prayers.

Thank you.

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China Church Plant Update

An update is finally here! We arrived back in the country on the 3rd of this month, and we are running at full steam. I haven’t written much or been able to put out many updates because of all the changes that are taking place. Our plans seem to keep evolving as we take each step.

I had a post drafted about the next step for our church “Grace” as they were finally going to be moving from renting a restaurant two hours a week to having their own place full-time. Then, since I drafted that post, plans changed again!

Everyone is a little confused on what is going on and which church is doing what (since plans are changing weekly) so this post will, hopefully, clear everything up.

A new direction for the churches: “Gospel B.C.” started on Sunday April 7, 2013 (17 months old). It has been the focal point of the ministry here in the city. The church started with my family and a couple Chinese contacts. It has slowly grown seeing some saved and baptized. “Grace B.C.” started on April 6, 2014 (5 months old) and was birthed out of a Bible study where we saw people getting saved and baptized. Starting this coming Sunday, September 28, 2014, Lord willing, we are going to merge these two small churches into a larger church. Gospel B.C. will be merging into Grace B.C. Therefore, after this Sunday we will only have Grace B.C., and it will be the new focal point of the ministry here.

We have wanted to do this for a long time, but the distance between the churches has kept us from going forward with it. Now, we have found a way to make it possible and we are excited about this new change.

About Dalian Grace Baptist Church: We started hosting preliminary Bible studies in October of 2013 with a group of young people who were 95% unbelievers. After teaching the gospel for several months, we started seeing people saved, baptized, and discipled. Then in 2014 we turned the Bible study into a church because of the distance it was from the other church.

Grace B.C. has never had their own building space. They have always been meeting in restaurants. When they were only a bible study, they rented a pizza place for an hour a week. Then when they became a church, they rented a banquet room in a Chinese restaurant for 2 hours.

The changes started because one of the goals, when we got back, was to find office space to be able to work from on a daily basis for studying and training. (A lot of our manpower is being raised up out of Grace and I wanted to be closer to where they lived. Previously, we were meeting outside or my house for our training time.) We couldn’t find anything suitable or affordable that was considered “official office space,” so we started looking at apartments.

We thought we might be able to find something to use as office space and church meeting space. Long story short, the last apartment we looked at was perfect for what we needed and more. The new location and size of the building we were going to rent started to cause us to think about what else we could change.

Also, since Grace B.C. was only meeting once a week, many of their members were going to the services at Gospel B.C. to get more teaching. At times, there would be more Grace people there than Gospel. This signified something needed to be changed.

The following thoughts led us to merge the two churches together:

  • Location: The new location helps meet the needs of both places. Even though, it is still considered “far” for those coming from the other part of town, we will no longer be renting a building over there and can help with the cost of their transportation.
  • Manpower: The lack of full-time manpower; I am the only one that is full-time now, therefore, I can only spend the majority of my time in one place. As a result one place was growing more than the other. On the other hand, we do have the manpower to take the church to the next level, since it isn’t only me serving now.
  • Training: We have a few young men who are considering full-time ministry. They are all from the same part of town. So I set up office in that part of town so I can be around and start training them more. We are slowly moving towards becoming a training center.
  • Fruit: We see more fruit in one part of town than the other. There could be many reasons for this, but we want to focus more of our time and efforts to where the harvest is.
  • Services: Gospel was meeting twice a week, Sunday night and Thursday night. Grace was meeting once a week on Sunday morning, for Sunday School and Worship. We weren’t able to start more at each location because of workers, but now that the churches are one, they will meet three times a week, Sunday morning for Sunday School and Worship, Sunday Night and Wednesday Night.
  • Culture: We have tried to figure out the culture of the city and see how expensive or cheap things should be done so it can be reproduced. We have started out the cheaper route but we are seeing we can do things nicer than before (and it goes with the culture of the city), so we are trying to go that route and make things more officially “churchish”.

How can you help? I am glad you asked!

As this young church takes a step of faith, we want to ask if you are willing to help through prayer and giving.

Will you choose at least one day a week to pray for Dalian Grace Baptist Church? If so, leave the day in the comments!

Will you be willing to give any amount to help this church go forward over the next year:

  • $4,800 – First Year’s Rent at $400 a month. (Can you give one month’s rent?)
  • $480 – 120 Bibles at $4.00 each. (Purchased!)
  • $308 – 44 Extra Chairs at $7 each.
  • $150 – Nursery/Kids Tables, Chairs, Furnishings.

Please sent all donations to Vision Baptist Missions, P.O. Box 442, Alpharetta, GA 30009 and write Dalian Grace Baptist Church in the memo.

Thank you in advance for praying and giving. We know that you will be a blessing as you always are. We couldn’t do this without the supporters like we have! God bless!