Greetings from China
I learned a lot in the retreat in Thailand last month. The three-day study in Bangkok reminded me once again the inerrancy and authority of the Scripture. The seven-day vacation in Hua Hin was very enjoyable. I never had such an opportunity for retreating since I started serving the Lord full time in 2006. But God provided me this refreshment in the weariest and most difficult time of my ministry. I am very thankful for BSI Church that provided plane tickets for my whole family so that we could participate in this fellowship. Praise God for His faithfulness! He truly knew how much hardship I had suffered and the weariness I had experienced in in the past few months. He graciously prepared for us such a wonderful retreat. Both of my body and soul were refreshed in this retreat. I am very thankful and pray God will give opportunities to attend more retreats like this, because it is really helpful for me. I had much personal time in the days in Thailand to quiet my heart and reflect on my own problems in the ministry. My problem might be that I went too fast and to let my co- worker keep up with my pace. It made him feel lacking the sense of security. I didn’t consider the feelings of my coworker or sympathize his weakness. I should repent of this sin. This retreat helped me to draw near to God to re-examine my relationship with Him. I found that sometimes I was too busy and ignored my personal communion with God. I was grateful I could realize these problems and make changes through this vacation.
I preached twice this month on Galatians. As I understood more deeply the content of this Book, I felt more of God’s abundant grace and man’s wickedness. We were all sinners under the law who only deserve condemnations, but because of Christ’s substitutionary atonement on the cross, we could be justified by faith and obtain the blessing in the covenant that God made with Abraham. However, it is easy for us to be drawn by other teachings that boast on our own righteousness. Human beings often tend to prove our identity by obeying the law and commandments. When I examine my own heart, I find I fall into the same category. I am a sinner justified by faith, but I often try to earn God’s acceptance by my service, ministry and theology, ignoring the fact that I have already been fully accepted in Christ. These man-oriented and self-centered things will come out if I don’t guard my heart. But I am grateful that God’s word reminded of me the truth and led me to repentance as I was preparing the sermons.
I didn’t need to teach in small groups for church members on Wednesdays this month, because another brother in church is growing mature in Christ. Through me and co- worker’s observation, we were assured that this brother has been mature in characters and doctrines. So I encouraged him to join me in teaching in a small group. This brother came to our church in July, 2014. He has been seeking God diligently and growing very fast in Christ. When I was visiting other brothers and sisters, I always brought him around me so that he could follow my example to serve. I often met with this brother in private to talk about life, theology and spiritual discipline. I also provided some books for him to read. After about two year of discipleship, I started to allow him to gradually participate in serving in church and leading in small groups in the beginning of 2016. Now we handed over to him almost all the teachings in small groups, so I didn’t need to lead small groups this month. Praise God for raising up this brother to become my helper. Ministries on Thursday this month were cancelled, because many of the traditional Chinese festivals were in this month. Brothers and sisters in church need to visit family members and friends besides working, so our church decided to stop the gospel outreach on Thursdays this month.
God bless, Gaius