2020 七月禱告信 | July Prayer Letter

親愛的弟兄姐妹們主內平安!

感謝主!暑假將近尾聲,離開學還有一個多月,據我們所做的調查,大部分的學校都準備實體開課,現在也有許多教會陸續開放實體聚會,求主幫助我們好好地裝備自己,預備新學期新的挑戰。

 

 

 

「維護生命」與「成全使命」的平衡

 

耶穌說:「我的食物就是遵行差我來者的旨意,作成他的工。你們豈不說『到收割的時候還有四個月』嗎?我告訴你們,舉目向田觀看,莊稼已經熟了(原文作發白),可以收割了。  收割的4人得工價,積蓄五穀到永生,叫撒種的和收割的一同快樂。  俗語說:『那人撒種,這人收割』,這話可見是真的。( 約 4:34-37)

在撒瑪利亞的井旁,門徒將食物拿給那穌,雖然已經是過了吃午飯的時間,實在饑餓。但耶穌卻說,祂所最需要的,不是那維生的食物,乃是遵行神的旨意,作成神的工,特別向那些撒瑪利亞人傳福音。耶穌將維生的需要放次要,卻將作成神的工,向撒瑪利亞人傳福音,看成首要,這是耶穌的心。我們常說要以耶穌的心為心,好像這個心志我們已忽略了好幾個月,為了保護我們的生命,我們整天都躲在家裡,卻沒有看到別人的需要,不僅沒有傳福音,連去關懷弟兄姊妹也都減少了。為了維護我的生命,很多人已經沒有到教會聚會,輕鬆的在家中敬拜,主真的喜歡我們目前敬拜的光景嗎?我們期待這病毒早日過去,可以早日恢復正常,去作神的工。一月底的時後,我已經跟弟兄姊妹說過,這次的病毒,不是到了天熱就能止住,看來會比2003年的煞士 (Sars)更長。現在我們必須要作好心理準備,這次病毒可能要再維持半年,一年,甚至多年,雖然我們不願意有這樣的日子來臨,但我們預備好與病毒共活一段長日子嗎?以我們目前以維護我們生命為首的態度與生活方式,神的教會、神的福音工作必定大大的萎縮,以後也不容易恢復過來。我們真以基督的心為心,最少要在「維護自己生命」與「成全神的使命」,二者之間取得平衡。教會現在就應當把門打開,讓有心到教會敬拜的人,能成全神給他們的心願。傳福音的工作,也必需盡早開始,不要只看見自己的生命,更要看別人屬靈的生命。在「維護生命」與「成全使命」兩者間,我們失去平衡已有好幾個月了,是需要重新調整的時候了!

要達到「維護生命」與「成全使命」的平衡,不是從心開始,用心去計算,我們就會害怕,我們要從眼睛開始。過去我們都定睛周圍的病毒,確診與死亡的人數,越看我們越要躲在家裡,更不敢去作成神的工。所以主耶穌說:「舉目向田觀看,莊稼已經熟了,可以收割了。」當時門徒所關心的是:食物與肚腹 - 維持生命的需要。但耶穌要他們舉目觀看,看那正在向他們走過來的撒瑪利亞人,看見他們靈裡的乾渴,看見他們在追求活水生命的主,看見他們懇切的心,就能知道現在就是動手收割的時候。我們要轉移我們的視線,抬頭仰望天上的神,了解祂在這疫病期間給我們的旨意與工作。不要老是定睛看病毒新聞,要抬頭舉目,越過保護我們生命的房子,就能看見靈魂迷失的需要,知道今天就是傳福音的日子,現在就是拯救的時候。只要我們肯去作神的工,就必定經歷現在就是收割的日子。

經過近半年的病毒封鎖,  大家不能出門,傳福音的工作也停頓了。感謝主!今年八月美中大部份的校園都會開始實體上課,當主再次將校園的大門打開時,也是祂讓福音的大門在校園打開的時候,學生繼續在校園穿梭,就是我們傳福音的好機會。雖然來的新同學會比以前的人數大大減少,但是以前的舊生還有很多,他們都是過去我們在傳福音時常被忽略的一群,今年我們應當更多去得著他們,他們經過多月躲在家中單獨生活,孤單、憂鬱、恐懼常在他們的心中,這樣的心情是需要人多去關懷的,只是過去幾個月,我們沒有機會去接觸他們,幫助與安慰他們,現在機會重來,讓我們一同珍惜,把握這機會傳福音給他們,過去很多校園中有軍方背景的學生,會影響同學來到教會,現在他們都被請回國,福音的攔阻,又少了一些。讓我們好好把握住。我們若不在這個時候去向同學傳福音,我們的校園事工會更萎縮、慢慢消失。疫情雖然是危機,但也是我們的轉機!主必加給我們力量去完成祂的事工。

感謝神!今年短宣隊仍然很樂意與美中各教會與校園團契配搭傳福音,他們也知道今年的校園短宣事工會是充滿挑戰性,但他們也是充滿信心,相信神會幫助,加添力量,多得著失落的靈魂。我們也鼓勵各教會與團契能與短宣隊一同配搭,傳福音給學生,也再次挑旺校園傳福音的使命與火熱。

雖然我已開始作胃癌化療,體力情況較以前差,為了校園事工不受虧損,能繼續往前行,這幾天我已發出很多封信給各地校園團契與教會,安排今年八、九月美中校園短宣的事工,感謝主!很多地方都已回覆,樂意全力與短宣配搭,新學期就是重振福音的日子,願主得榮耀,校園事工得興旺。也感謝主!這幾天身體一天比一天有力量,吃東西也一天比一天吃得更多,睡覺也睡得更好!對作化療的人實在是反常,這是神特別的恩典,為要賜福與加力量給那些舉目向田觀看的人。感謝主!馬上給我們有一個新的學期,讓我們舉目看田,相信主也會幫助我們,讓我們在這傳福音的危機中,經歷主的大能,得著傳福音的轉機,收取豐盛的果子,積蓄五穀到永生,叫撒種的和收割的一同快樂。

八月讀經營 (七月二十六日至八月一日)

在這最後一個月,弟兄姊妹寫的專題報告作業已在輔導的手中接受輔導,求主給輔導及弟兄姊妹都有聰明智慧,也能藉這些題目使弟兄姊妹得益處。目前我們計畫實體舉行,求主保守中心免受病毒的侵擾,弟兄姊妹能安心、且專心地浸淫在主的話語中,也能與其他弟兄姊妹有美好的交通。這次讀經營將研讀詩歌書,講員為:諶志豪牧師、與吳徐南玨師母等,在疫情與逆境的環境中能讀這五本智慧書,必能使我們從父神得著供應,心中充滿平安與喜樂,我們甚至還能將神所賜的喜樂與平安分享給別人。請在禱告中紀念此聚會。


八月門徒與同工訓練營 (八月二日至八日)

讀經營結束後的第二天晚上,在中心就開始有門徒與同工訓練營,講員有加州基督工人神學院的副院長葉裕波牧師,及在西岸服事主多年、也經常在國內作造就的林心昂牧師。這是一個很好的機會,裝備弟兄姊妹們與學生同工,去承接新學期更具挑戰性的校園事工。截止報名日期為七月二十四日,請弟兄姊妹走出您蟄居許久的家,好好地在神的家受裝備,報名表已貼在中心網站上,請自行下載並報名。 

七月東岸門徒與同工訓練營(七月一至四日)

七月東岸的門徒與同工訓練營仍將在網路上舉行,將由劉銘輝牧師、林祥源牧師及其他傳道人來教導。這是一次很好的造就機會,預備我們在疫情後為主做更大的工作。由於門徒訓練是幫助弟兄姊妹學習委身基督,這次營會雖然是在網上,也必須要委身參加,準時報名,全程參加,每堂都必需要準時出席等,詳細資料請聯絡:張潔華姊妹 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 。 

八月、九月份美中短宣 ( 8月21-30日, 9月11-20日)

目前已有東西兩岸、及德州六間教會願意差派短宣隊前來美中,我們禱告8月份有更多教會能恢復實體聚會,學校也能恢復實體教學,在開學期間眾人同心合意來傳福音,感謝主,初步行程已排好,美中許多教會也向我們表示願意與短宣隊配搭,好好在開學時傳福音。疫情當中短宣的方式會更具機動及彈性,請為各校園的福音事工禱告,也為短宣隊禱告。

兒童活動中心擴建工程

感謝主!餐廳工程已經完成。目前我們正在開始建造兒童活動中心,就是會在馬可樓前面的平台上加建,這樣以後兒童與青少年的活動,在天候不好時,也可以在室內舉行。這個地基平台十多年前就已經完成,現在就直接在上面加蓋, Harold Shull 牧師與他的孫子兩個人每天在炎熱的天氣下工作,極其不易,求主紀念與加添他們力量,費用預估約需八萬元。請為工程進行順利與建造經費禱告。

高牧師近況:

高牧師因胃癌的原故,至六月底,已作了兩次的化療,感謝主!一切蒙主賜福與保守,反應都非常好!醫生會先為他作兩個月(共四次)的化療,預計八月底開始動手術切除胃與附近的癌細胞,手術後再作兩個月的化療,請為高牧師這半年的治療與康復禱告,高牧師計畫每週在中心網站上分享他身體的狀況,請持續閱讀並代禱。

疫情中的禱告與學習:

每主日黃昏高牧師仍會與弟兄姊妹一起讀經與禱告,我們會從聖經人物學習「主工人的品性」,也會有禱告的時間。願神的話餵養裝備我們,並塑造我們成為祂所合用的器皿,在這後疫情時代,作主美好的工人。我們在網上讀經禱告時間是每主日6:30pm (美國中部時間),我們會使用 Zoom, 帳號是: 8110999917,若需要密碼,請發短信給我,573-999-6235, 請大家一同參加。

代禱事項:

  1. 為已報名八月讀經營的弟兄姊妹禱告,這一個月他們將作專題報告,求主不僅加給弟兄姊妹聰明智慧,也幫助輔導們在他們繁忙的事奉外,有智慧去閱讀並輔導弟兄姊妹。
  2. 求主使疫情能在八月穩定下來,好讓八月底大家可以正常上學與聚會,弟兄姊妹可以用實體方式參加八月讀經營與八月門徒訓練。
  3. 為八月讀經營的講員:諶志豪牧師、吳徐南玨師母等禱告,求主藉他們讓我們能明瞭智慧書。
  4. 為八月門徒與同工訓練營講員: 葉裕波牧師、林心昂牧師等禱告,求主藉著這次營會,建立下學期新的同工。
  5. 為八月、九月短宣隊禱告,求主祝福他們現在的訓練,並在美中各地查經班、教會開路,藉著這疫情後開學的時機,多向福音朋友傳福音,復興神的教會。
  6. 為江士民姊妹的事奉禱告,在週日求主加添她有能力預備各項營會及處理行政,在週末在各地作神話語的出口,使眾人得益。
  7. 為同工梁慶龍的服事禱告,求主使用他在哥城與各地的事奉都能結出美好的果子。也求主祝福他一家,也為他申請R-1 工作簽証能順利禱告,求主帶領與開路。
  8. 求主幫助高牧師在疫情當中,仍能倚靠主,在事奉上更經歷主的恩典與大能,為主得更多的靈魂與同工。為高師母甲狀腺禱告,求主更多保守與醫治。
  9. 為維修與建造的美國同工禱告,在疫情中仍能被神使用,使中心更完善,也求主賜福他們的家人。
  10. 為疫情後的學生事工禱告,當新同學的數目減少時,讓我們可以向舊生傳福音 ,也忠心地建立更多學生同工。
  11. 為中心本月所需的經費禱告,求主感動更多弟兄姊妹一同支持中心事工,並為中心的事工禱告與奉獻。

特別為新的學期禱告,讓我們在最後一個月好好裝備自己,預備新的學期為主所用!

主內
高榮徳牧師

 

 


 

 

Balancing Preserving life and Accomplishing Calling

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’” (John 4:34-37)

By the well in Samaria, the disciples gave food to Jesus. Lunchtime had passed and all felt hungry. But Jesus said that his need was not the food that sustains life. His need was doing the will of God and accomplishing God’s work, in particular sharing the Gospel to the Samaritans. Jesus put the need of sustaining life in a less important place. The highest priority was to accomplish God’s work, to share the Gospel to the Samaritans. This is the heart of Jesus. We always say, have Jesus’ mind as our mind. It seems like we have ignored this mindset for months. We hide in our homes the whole day and do not see the need of others. Not only we do not share the Gospel to others but also we decrease the care for our brothers and sisters in Christ. In order to preserve life, many people do not go to church to worship for a long period, rather casually worship at home. Does our Lord really like the current way we worship? We are looking forward to the pandemic to be over soon, so we can go back to normal sooner to do God’s work. I have told brothers and sisters back in the end of January that the virus would not be stopped by the hot weather. It may be longer than the 2003 SARS incident. And now we must prepare our hearts that the pandemic may last another six months, a year, or even years. We don’t like this prospect of days to come. Are we ready to coexist with the virus for a long period of time? With the ways we currently prioritize to preserve our own life’s attitude and life style, God’s church, God’s gospel works will greatly diminish and will be very difficult to recover. If we are truly having the mind of Christ as our own mind, to the very least we need to gain some balance between preserving life and accomplishing God’s calling. Churches now should open their doors to let in those having the desire to come to church to worship to fulfill the will of God on them. Evangelism work should start sooner too. Do not just look only at our own lives, but also other’s spiritual lives as well. We have lost the balance between preserving life and accomplishing calling for months. Now is the time to readjust!

In order to gain balance between preserving life and accomplishing calling, we should not start from our hearts, and start to calculate in our hearts. In this kind of situation, we will be afraid. We should start from our eyes. In the past we fixed our eyes on the virus surrounding us, the confirmed cases and death numbers. The more we watch, the more we want to hide in our own homes, not dare to go out to do God’s work. That’s why Jesus said, “lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” The disciples cared for food and stomach—the need to sustain life. But Jesus wanted them to lift up their eyes to see the Samaritans who were walking toward them, to see their spiritual thirst, to see they were pursuing the Lord of Living Water, to see their sincere hearts. Then they would know it was time to harvest. We need to shift our focus to lift up our eyes toward the God of Heaven, to know his will and work for us during this pandemic. Do not fix eyes on the news on the virus. We need to lift up our eyes, bypassing the houses which can protect our lives, then we will see the need of the lost souls and know today is the day of sharing the Gospel. Now is the time of salvation.

As long as we are willing to do God’s work, we will experience the days of harvest. 

Experiencing close to a half year of quarantine, people can’t go out and the Gospel work has paused. Praise the Lord! Most Midwest campuses will resume in-person classes in August. When the Lord once again opens the doors of campuses, it is the time that God opens the door of Gospel in the campuses. It is our good opportunity to share the Gospel when students are walking back and forth on campus. Even though new student number will be drastically lower than before, there are still many remaining students whom in the past we ignored to share the Gospel with. This year we will more gain this group of people. They have experienced isolation at home for months. Loneliness, depression, and fear are always in their hearts. They need someone to care for them. In the past few months, we did not have the chance to get in touch with them to help them and comfort them. Now the opportunity is coming again. Let us treasure it and grasp the opportunity to share the Gospel with them. In the past some students with Chinese military background, who influenced other students to go to church, have been sent back to China. The hinderance of Gospel is lessening. Let us take advantage of this opportunity. If we don’t share the Gospel with other students during this time, our campus ministry will shrink and disappear slowly. The pandemic is a crisis, but we can turn the crisis into opportunity! The Lord will give us strength to accomplish his mission.

Thanks be to God! This year short term mission teams are still willing to work with Midwest churches and fellowships to share the Gospel. They understand this year’s mission will be filled with challenges, but they are confident and believe that God will help them and strengthen them. They will gain more lost souls. We also encourage churches and fellowships to work with the mission teams to share the Gospel with the students to revive the mission and fervent of campus ministry.

Even though my energy levels are lower after starting chemotherapy, campus ministry has not stopped and keeps going. These days I sent emails to various local fellowships and churches regarding August and September short-term mission teams. Thanks be to the Lord! Many have responded and are eager to give full support and cowork with the mission teams. Each new semester brings days for reviving the Gospel. May the Lord be glorified and may campus ministry thrive! I am also grateful that my strength is better each day and my appetite improves daily. My sleep is even better. It is abnormal for those who are under the chemotherapy. I know this is God’s special grace to bless and strengthen those who lift their eyes to the Gospel field. Praise the Lord! New semester is coming soon. Let us lift our eyes to see the field and believe the Lord will help us. Let us experience the Lord’s mighty power during this crisis of evangelism to change it into opportunity to share the Gospel to bear abundant fruit and laid up harvest to eternity. Let the sowers and reapers rejoice together.

August Bible Camp (July 26-August 1)

In this last month, our advisors have received the special topic reports from brothers and sisters and are advising them. May the Lord give wisdom to both advisors and students and bless the brothers and sisters in the process of working on the special topics. Now we still plan to hold the camp in person. May the Lord keep CWC free from virus invasion and give peace in brothers and sisters’ hearts. They can focus on studying the Lord’s Words and have wonderful fellowship with others during the camp. This time we will study the books of Wisdom. Our speakers are Rev. Chih-Hao Shen and Mrs. Juanna Wu, among others. Under the shadow of pandemic and trials, studying these five books of Wisdom will allow us to receive provision from the Father and fill our hearts with peace and joy. We can then share this joy and peace from God with others. Please remember this camp in your prayers. 

August Disciple and Coworker Training Camp (August 2-8)

The second evening after the Bible Camp will be Disciple and Coworker Training Camp in CWC. One of our speakers is Rev. James Ip, the vice chair president of Christian Witness Theological Seminary in California. The other speaker is Rev. Andrew Lin who has served many years in the West Coast, and also in edifying ministry overseas. This is a great opportunity to equip brothers and sisters and student coworkers to undertake the more challenging campus ministry in the new semester. Deadline will be July 24. Please come out of the home that you have been hiding for a long time to be equipped well in God’s house. Registration form has been posted on CWC website. Please download and register.

July East Coast Disciple and Coworker Training Camp (July 1-4)

July East Coast Training Camp will still be held virtually, taught by Rev. Minghuei Liu, Rev. Albert Lam and other ministers. It is a great chance to equip ourselves to do greater work for the Lord after the pandemic. Disciple training requires commitment to Christ. Though it is online, attendees must commit to register on time, participate full time, and attend each class on time. For details please email Sister Zhang at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

August and September Midwest Short-term Mission (August 21-30, September 11-20)

Currently we have six churches from East Coast, West Coast, and Texas willing to send short term mission teams to the Midwest. Our prayer is that the Lord will allow more churches to resume physical meetings in August and schools to resume physical classes. We all share the Gospel with others together during the beginning of the new semester. Praise the Lord! We have a tentative schedule already. Many Midwest churches are willing to work with the mission teams to share the Gospel during the new semester. The formats and tools our mission teams utilize will be more flexible and mobile during the pandemic. Please pray for the campus ministries on different campuses and the short-term mission teams.

Expansion of the Children Activity Center

Thanks be to the Lord! Our dining hall expansion has been completed. Currently we start to build a children’s activity center in front of Mark Hall. This will become the indoor place for children and youth activities especially during bad weather. We laid the foundation for the area more than a decade ago. Now all we need is just to build on the top of this foundation. Pastor Harold Shull and his grandson are working on this project during the hot summer. It is indeed not easy. May the Lord remember them and strengthen them. Our budget is estimated to be $80,000. Please pray that the project will go smoothly and for the building fund.

Update of Pastor Ko’s health

Pastor Ko has completed two chemotherapy treatments since the end of June for his stomach cancer. Praise the Lord! God has blessed and kept him. His body responds to treatment very well! Doctors prescribe him four chemotherapy treatments within two months. They then plan to do surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding cancer cells. There will be two more months of chemotherapy after the surgery. Please pray for Pastor Ko’s treatment and recover during these six months. He plans to share updates on his health condition weekly on the CWC website. Please continue to read it and supplicate.

Prayers and Study during the Pandemic

Every Sunday evening Pastor Ko will still lead the Bible study and prayers with the brothers and sisters. We are studying the Bible characters to learn “the characteristics of God’s servants”. We will also spend time praying to allow God’s Words to establish us that we can be molded as the useful vessels for the Lord. And we can be good servants for our Lord in this post-pandemic era, please join our online prayer and Bible study time (Sundays 6:30pm central time, Zoom ID:8110999917). If you need the password, please text me at 573-999-6235.

Prayer Requests

  1. Pray for those who have registered for August Bible Camp. This month they will finish the special topic reports. May the Lord give them wisdom and understanding and give the advisors wisdom to read and to advise brothers and sisters on top of their busy church ministry.
  2. Pray that God will make the pandemic permanently quiet down in August that people can resume normal schooling and worship by the end of August, and so brothers and sisters can come to CWC Camp in person for August Bible Camp and August Disciple Training Camp.
  3. Pray for speakers of August Bible Camp, Rev. Chih-Hao Shen and Mrs. Juanna Wu. May God use them to help us understand the wisdom books.
  4. Pray for speakers for August Disciple Training Camp: Rev. James Ip and Rev. Andrew Lin. May God use this camp to equip new coworkers for the fall semester.
  5. Pray for the August and September short-term mission teams. May the Lord bless their current training. Please also pray the Lord to open the way among the churches and the Bible Study groups that they will use this good opportunity at the beginning of the fall semester and after this pandemic to share the Gospel to many students. Pray the Lord to revive the churches in the Midwest. 
  6. Pray for Cindy Chiang’s ministry. May God give her strength during weekdays to prepare for all the camps and administration and be the output of God’s Word on weekends that she will be a blessing to others.
  7. Pray for Qing-Long Liang to bear good fruit as he serves in Columbia and other churches. May God bless his whole family. Also pray for his R-1 job visa application. May God guide and lead the way.
  8. May the Lord help Pastor Ko during the pandemic that he can trust in the Lord and experience God’s grace and might while serving, so he will gain more souls and coworkers for the Lord. Pray for Mrs. Ko’s thyroid surgery. May God keep her and heal her.
  9. Pray for the maintenance and building American coworkers. God still uses them during the pandemic to make our CWC camp more complete. May God bless their families.
  10. Pray for the post-pandemic student ministry. Even the numbers of the new students may drop, but we still can share the gospel to the old students. Also we can faithfully build up more student coworkers.
  11. Pray for the operating fund for the CWC. May God move among more brothers and sisters to support our ministry by prayers and offerings.

Especially pray for the new semester. Let us equip ourselves well during this last month to prepare to be used by the Lord during the new semester.

In Him, 
Pastor Billy Ko