Published on 07/16/14

Dear friends and supporters,

Thank you for being our co-workers by means of prayer and giving.

Today I intended to write about networking with the Chinese church for global church planting. That will be the topic for next week. The beginning of a church in Shanghai will be the subject of this letter. The story began when a Chinese policeman traveled to England for the wedding of his Christian daughter. Upon arriving in England, the future father-in-law was dismayed to learn that, according to Chinese tradition, the wedding date was an unlucky number. He insisted the wedding date be changed, and a compromise was made. Along with the rehearsal, the wedding license would be signed a day before the planned ceremony.

Perhaps feeling remorse, and although not a Christian, the future father-in-law insisted on praying about the situation with his future son-in-law, “God, if you don’t want this wedding to happen the way we planned it, don’t allow it.” The day came for the wedding rehearsal and license signing, but also came the rain—so hard that the wedding party was prevented from traveling to do their official business. In fact, all were concerned that the whole wedding would need to be canceled. But the next morning, the sun was out and the roads were dry. The wedding took place as originally planned under blue skies, but by the end of the day, after the wedding was over, the skies opened and record rains fell.

The convinced father-in-law became a Christian and returned to Shanghai, eager to tell his brother about what had happened to him. But upon arriving at the Shanghai airport, he learned that his brother, on the way to pick him up, had died of a heart attack. The father-in-law was so changed by the providential movement of God and the sudden death of his brother, that he dedicated himself to the starting of a Christian church in Shanghai.

Deb and I attended that church one Sunday while in China. The ‘father in-law become pastor’ was confidently preaching the Word of God to a congregation of 15 in his living room, which doubles for the church auditorium. Baptisms are performed in the bathtub and lunch is provided each Sunday afternoon. This seems typical of the Chinese church—limited education, few resources, but faithful and determined to serve the Savior. They strengthened me by knowing them.

This is the skyline of Shanghai from an apartment where a church regularly meets.

Shanghai View

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We love you,

Bill and Deb