- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Friday, 03 July 2020 23:00
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）
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。
八月、九月份美中短宣 ( 8月21-30日， 9月11-20日)
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。
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。
- 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。
- 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。
- 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。
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)
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Pastor Billy Ko