April 2022 RCMI Newsletter
Separated by the Pandemic - But Not in Heart
Shanghai's Pandemic -- "Separated by the Pandemic – But Not in Heart"
Jesus said, "Who is my mother? And who are my brothers? ... Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:48-50) Church pastors, leaders, and members are not only praying more diligently, but they are spending more time serving their local communities and helping people get through this difficult time. Since the beginning of the pandemic lockdown in Shanghai, the number of people attending morning prayer meetings has increased significantly! So, while most of this city's early risers are busy on their phones trying to be the first ordering food online, Christians and friends seeking God because of the pressure they feel have already started their online worship sessions together. Refrigerators may be empty, but their hearts are not anxious! "Love Your Neighbor" is not an academic course to be taken! Loving people -- not just people who love you, but everyone around -- neighbors, passers-by, travelers -- the church is doing it! They've become everyone's "good neighbor” by reaching out and meeting needs!
Shanghai believers volunteering to serve their communities
Believers from districts all over Shanghai are volunteering for community service. They are caring for the needs of people under lockdown -- giving out daily necessities, sharing what they have with elderly living on the same floor, responding compassionately to pent-up emotions in locked-down families, being the ones to bring comfort, and also in other ways. During the pandemic, churches have been ceaselessly pastoring their flocks, providing spiritual food, caring for their members' mental health and physical needs. At the same time, they've also taken the initiative serving their local communities -- being salt and light for the Lord. During this very difficult time, they've not only taken good care of the Lord's flock but also have taken the role of intercessors for the community and the country -- functioning as the positive influence God meant the church to be in society!
Hong Kong -- The Pandemic's Fifth Wave When the Omicron variant spread into Hong Kong, case numbers skyrocketed -- the pandemic's fifth wave had arrived! So RCC has been doing an ever-increasing amount of community service.
RCC's Community Service -- On the Move!
RCC's Community Service -- More and More
Everyone in Revival Christian Church has been working together with one heart, preparing needed food and pandemic supplies, coworkers organizing everything and putting together packages of food etc. according to what each family needs, making weekly deliveries so those families can get what they need in timely fashion. These families include unbelievers and neighbors; and when they receive the packages, they are very moved. Some of them have been suffering all this time from illness, some have been living in depression and discouragement, others don't know what to do, some are very lonely ... some are almost at their wit's end. But when they receive a package -- a little love, concern, and prayer -- at such a time as this, it brings hope -- when the pandemic has made life so difficult, it brings warmth to their hearts! RCC's ongoing project continues to "send warmth" -- delivering needed items, care, and prayer -- to our neighbor families with dire needs in this pandemic.
Caring and Praying
Caring and Praying
Chinese Church Development -- The New Trend
In the vision of RCMI, the "C" stands for Church Development -- assisting the Chinese church in various aspects of its development. Since early 2020, China's COVID-19 restrictions have imposed long hotel stays for quarantine and prevented us from visiting coworkers there in person, so we've had to meet and interact only online. There's no question that the degree and depth of our ability to conduct ministry has been affected! But because China's pandemic measures have been effective, many areas have been able to resume near-normal living. Except in certain areas where cases of COVID-19 have been positively diagnosed, people don't necessarily have to wear masks when they go out. Many churches that were conducting meetings online have now gone back to having in-person meetings; and also, many churches are doing both -- holding small group meetings in person but joint worship online. By God's grace, we've been able to conduct online training sessions, teach courses, and confer with church leadership without any hindrance, just as we'd been doing before. To sum up our last two years' experience, we see that the amount of interaction we have now, both with individual leaders and in small group settings, has increased far more than the amount of online teaching and training we do. Two reasons for this change seem to stand out: first, it's because of the growth and increasing maturity of the Chinese church as a whole. They now have greater confidence and faith regarding issues normally covered in teaching and training sessions, and little by little are outgrowing their former idea that "the grass is always greener on the other side." Second, specifically, the pastors who are our coworkers have grown and matured. They now understand their own gifts and unique qualities better, as well as those of their coworkers; and they are not as satisfied as they used to be with the general sort of encouragement they can get from big meetings. They want communication and exchange focusing on the issues they face in their individual ministry situations. But in fact, all of this is simply showing us God's changing strategy in the way He is leading Revival Christian Church in our mission to evangelize China and Chinese populations. In the past our role was that of "teacher"; now it is "spiritual elder brother." We used to major on "instruction," but now we major on "coaching." We used to be "providers" supplying their needs; now we're a "bridge" linking up with them for revival and the expansion of God's Kingdom!
The Cry out of the Church of China
Please pray for the Church of China -- May God protect them and open the way for them! And pray for RCMI, that we can respond to the changing situation of this era in a new form, using new, effective ministry methods while still maintaining our vision and our love as we serve the churches of China and Chinese populations all over the world. May the Name of the Lord be praised! Sincerely, Pastor Samuel Lau Secretary-general, RCMI