Tag Archives: Next Steps

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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