Praise God, through His protection and leading, the year 2014 has passed by peacefully. Looking back to February 9, 2014, it’s now been a full 11 months since we had the very first meeting of this church. In these 11 months my family and I have experienced much of God’s blessing and grace. During the first three months the president of my school and his family came to W_____ to help us in our ministry and to direct me in how to Biblically carry out church planting. Then in June my family began to receive your support. This was a great blessing to me, my family, and even to this church because God has used you to help me forward in my ministry, enabling me to shepherd the flock God has entrusted to me with a lighter heart (without financial pressures).
This month my family and I have continued to pursue spiritual growth. We have made some changes with regards to family worship. Before we were doing it right before my son went to bed. However, we discovered that this often led to him getting to bed late. So we now have moved family worship time to right after eating dinner. After eating I lead my wife and son in reading a Psalm, share for about 5 minutes on the main theme of the Psalm and how to apply it to practical life both personally and as a family. We then close with prayer. When my child is going to sleep we also read him a Bible story. In the mornings I lead in prayer and teach my son the Catechism.
Once or twice each week we invite brothers and sisters over to our house to eat and to get to know them and their spiritual conditions better. Among them there was one brother that shared with me that his parents are asking him to get married soon. They have found a sister (“believer”) for him through matchmakers. But after getting to know her a little bit he realized she is not a real Christian and so wanted to end their relationship. His parents however would not agree to this and gave him lots of pressure. On one hand he didn’t want to be in conflict with his parents, but he also didn’t want to continue in that relationship with the girl. So I gave him some suggestions and eventually he was able to get his parents support in breaking up with her.
This month two sisters left us. Both of them had just began to attend. They were willing to truly repent and to commit to the group. Later on though, they felt that we were too strict in asking everyone to keep the Sabbath, maintain personal devotions, and tithe. They thought that this group was not really a good fit for them. They also had a hard time accepting the teaching that marriage to non-believers is a sin, because their former church had taught that it was fine, even that it was a way given to them by God to evangelize the lost. So they left us to return to less strict churches. Both of them leaving at once made me have more caution with other people who say they are willing to repent. I need to pay more attention to their lives and see if they are having any practical changes.
We also added a new sister to our group this month. She began attending to check us out and gain a better understanding of us. After a month of observation and comparison she finally decided to stay with us. I asked her why and she said here she can hear the gospel clearly presented. Also, in our Sunday preaching she received much encouragement and realization of personal sin. She thought that the teaching here is Biblical and so decided to stay.
Our Sunday worship now has only about 13 people. This month I preached three times on Sunday and led three times on Thursday evening a study of the 1689. We are now preaching through Mark 7, particularly about the Phoenician woman who came to talk to Jesus in search of her daughter receiving healing. She was willing to admit her lowliness and yet still persisted in her hope in Christ. Jesus showed her and her daughter great grace so that they received peace. This was a great encouragement to myself. If I am willing to admit my nothingness I am not degrading myself because in myself am already so low. But when I admit this Jesus then can begin his work and his grace and blessing will soon follow.
We are now in the chapter about the church in our study of the Confession. The brethren have shared that they never knew before what a church really was or how it was to be governed. This encouraged me to continue in these public teachings. Though this kind of studying may seem boring to many, those who are truly God’s people will be drawn to it.
At the end of this month, my coworker left to study theology. He will not return till February 1. This means that in this coming month I have to take on all his part of the responsibilities and preaching myself. So please pray for me that God would strengthen me. Please also keep praying for my leading of the family, especially that God would save my child.