(In the following report Gaius expresses God's work in the local church in China, Ed.)
Dear HeartCry and Suppprters,
First of all, our church moved to a new place and you visited this place. The church attendance is growing. There are about 50 adults and 20 children attending the Sunday morning service, including 16 families. There are 34 members in our church now and 8 people are applying for membership. We will make decisions about their membership applications in our next members’ meeting. This is totally different from the beginning of the church planting. In all of these, we see how God have been guiding us, gradually increasing our number, and brothers and sisters have been maturing spiritually.
At the beginning of 2018, our church started a new yearly Bible reading plan. This Bible reading plan has been the center of our personal disciple making and public small group meetings. It helps brothers and sisters to grow in God’s word. I am very encouraged by their thirst for God’s word.
For the preaching on Lord’s Day, I finished 1 Timothy and Habakkuk in the past half year. Now I am preaching Sermon on the Mount (Ch. 5-7) in the Gospel of Matthew. The other elder in church is teaching 1 John. Since he just teaches once a month and needs to attend seminary, only one chapter has been preached. The preaching of 1Timothy reminds me how to serve God, teach God’s people, and watch my own soul as a pastor. The preaching also helps brothers and sisters have a more clear understanding about how to serve in the church. The preaching of Habakkuk reminds us how to be a watchman in this age, and how to put all our hope in God in afflictions. The studying and teaching of the Scripture are very beneficial for both our church and me. I am so grateful that people like me can be used by God to serve Him. It is God who has changed me, renewed me so that I can serve Him. I know overseeing God’s people is such a great responsibility for me, so please pray for my ministry. Pray I will be more faithful to God, faithful to my calling, and faithful to my responsibility.
In the past half year, my family experienced special providence and grace from God. The baby in the womb was diagnosed with potential heart disease during my wife’s pregnancy. But we are grateful that God answered our prayer and the baby was found healthy at the end of the pregnancy. This is God’s special care and providence for our family. It again shows us His presence with us and encourages us to trust Him more. The baby was born earlier this year and she is healthy and cute girl. I am very grateful God has given us a son and a daughter. It reminds us that we should raise them according to the teachings in Bible, and lead them to know Jesus. Please pray for my wife and me, that God will give us grace to be faithful parents to teach these two children.
After I came back from US, I adjusted my schedule in ministry to spend more time on training co-workers for the Lord. The mid-week church gathering is changed too. Members’ small group meeting is on Wednesday evening. Tuesday evening is our discipleship for men who desire to go to ministry. For the rest of the week, I encourage brothers and sisters to use them to serve in private and build close relationships with one another. In my personal devotion, I start by reading 4 chapters of the Scripture a day according to our church Bible reading plan, then meditate on one passage of the Scripture and read Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies. I close by praying for family, my church and myself. I pray for all the church members once a week. I lead the family worship every night. When I am out of town, my wife helps to lead the children in worship.
I experienced a lot in the past half year, but God’s grace is truly sufficient. Please pray for me that God will add me strength and wisdom to accomplish the work He entrusts to me.