Update: D. & J. (China)

November 30, 2009

November 27, 2009:

Dear pr^ing friends,

The L^ is our joy and strength.  He has answered our pr^ers!
Many have been asking what happened this Sunday, did we worship in the park, in the auditorium?  Neither.  We were informed last Saturday that we were worshiping in an atrium of the TS Park (across the street from our home).  According to Pstr TM, when the authorities forced the landlords to end the rental contracts for the ch^ at the end of October, it seems that the police did not really think that the ch^ was really going to worship in the park as they said they would.  They probably assumed like in the past, the ch^ would close their doors for awhile or underground into the homes.    Apparently not this time.  SW ch^ stated their bottom line: worship service will continue no matter what… indoors or outdoors, rain, sleet or snow.  And snow it did that first Sunday in November.  (We may need to reconsider the 1 inch snow canceling policy in the US).

The 3rd Sunday (Nov 15th) was a crucial turning point since Obama was in town.  Both the ch^ and the authorities re-evaluated the situation and took a step back to negotiate a compromise for the ch^ to worship indoors as no one wanted this to reach headline news.  The authorities questioned Pstr TM whether he had motives for the conflict to be timed to coincide with Obama’s visit.  Pstr TM replied that they should not have ended the rental contracts in October after the 60th celebration overlooking Obama’s visit a couple weeks later.  If the authorities wanted to avoid the conflict during Obama’s visit, they should have planned it better by ending their rental contract in November.  In the end, Pstr TM stated his position again.  We just want to worship G^ in peace.  
From my many years of friendship with Pstr TM, I can attest that this is the very core of Pstr TM and the SW ch^ position.  They do not want to involve the media (they politely asked the media to leave the service, not take pictures and refused interviews), they do not want to be political and involve the US government or President Obama (The US government asked how they could help, but Pstr TM relayed the message: We thank the US government for their concern, but please do not get involved directly or indirectly).  They just want to worship G^ with no other motives. 
Even though a compromise was reached to worship in the auditorium on Nov 15th, the authorities tried to intimidate the ch^ leadership by detaining 2 of their ministers preventing them from leaving their homes.  If you remember my email describing that morning when Pstr TM seemed a bit frazzled.  He told me later that he wasn’t frazzled but angry that his people were detained and had just gotten off the phone with the authorities telling them off that unless they released his people, he would not start worship.  He said that was most heated moment of the whole conflict.  The message to the authorities was that they could not detain the ch^ leadership and give the impression that the ch^ can continue to worship.  
What about last Sunday?  For the time being, there seems to be a unwritten compromise.  SW will not seek to worship outdoors, and the authorities will not try to interfere with the rent.  Pstr TM also asked that the authorities not put their plainclothes police outside the worship service as they have an intimidating mafia like effect.  The authorities have agreed, even noting with surprise that SW ch^ really is a unified body of believers.  (It really is a testament to what can be done when G^’s people unify together) 
So how did we manage to worship right next to TSP?  There was a ch^ wedding on Saturday and after the wedding, the ch^ asked to see if they could rent the space for worship the next day.  It was available and so we all 800 people got the message Saturday night.  We worshipped G^ under glass roofing with a great view of the sky and the hi-tech buildings around including [many international companies] (see pictures below).  Right next to where the future leaders of China are being groomed.  Pstr TM gave a wonder message saying that G^ is using this experience to build us up for the future.  It was a wonderful service as when we were singing “At the Cross”, our Chinese friend from Peking University next to us began to cry.  I teared up many times as well.  To worship G^ is truly a privilege we sometimes take for granted. 

Where are we going to worship this Sunday?  TSP is not available as there is a art exhibit renting it for this week.  Pstr TM and I went to look at a location yesterday and passed on the information to those in charge to follow-up.  I still don’t know where we will meet, but we will find out tomorrow (Saturday). 


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