2020 九月禱告信 | September Prayer Letter

親愛的弟兄姐妹們主內平安!

當您們接到此信時,兩隊短宣隊正在美中服事。從今年三月初,新冠疫情在美國爆發以來,大部分的人都改在家中工作、學生在網上上課、教會改成線上聚會。但從五月起,各州陸續解禁,美中的美國教會大部分均迅速地回到實體聚會,華人教會也陸續開放,所以今年八月的讀經營及門徒訓練,靠著主的恩典,我們也採實體聚會,結果非常的好! 所以我們盼望八月中、及九月初,藉著短宣隊的到來, 能讓新學期的福音工作有好的開始, 弟兄姊妹能不畏疫情的攪擾, 把過去數月荒廢的福音工作恢復起來。這半年來弟兄姊妹居家聚會,少了實體見到弟兄姊妹,靈裡也相當枯乾, 所以請眾教會及校園團契,不僅能在禱告中記念短宣隊的腳蹤,當短宣隊到達貴教會或校園時, 也能盡全力地與他們一同配搭服事,因為他們實在是為了「主的名出外, 對於外邦人一無所取, 所以我們應該接待這樣的人,叫我們與他們一同為真理做工」(約三: 7-8) 。 的確,短宣隊員完全自掏腰包, 犧牲自己的假期,當大家不敢坐飛機時, 也願意「全程做好防護」地飛來美中, 相信主必記念與報答他們。

 

 

 

這是耶和華的得勝箭 (列王記下13章14-19節)

 

新冠病毒的疫情已經持續有半年多的時間了。剛開始的時候, 我們心裡面都覺得只要幾個星期,最多二、三個月以後,再不然暑假來了病毒就會成為過去。 但是現在暑假都快過去了,病毒的情況卻沒有變得更好,每天確診的人還是那麼的多,真不知道疫情什麼時候才會結束。這讓很多人的心裏實在非常的沮喪,有些人因此得憂鬱症,甚至想自殺。還有些人實在是受不了這樣被隔離的環境,就上街頭去參加了一些暴動的事情。所以我們看到在疫情當中, 很多人沒有辦法勝過病毒,反而被病毒所勝。不一定是被感染, 卻是在精神上受到病毒的打擊。

基督徒更慘! 很多時候不但我們的心情、精神方面在疫情之中受到影響,更感到病毒把我們的靈性也打垮了下來。 我們漸漸地不想去教會聚會了,連走去教會的動力也沒有;甚至每次討論要不要重開教會時,有些人說:政府已經容許教會重開,只要保持社交距離,好像其他美國教會重開一樣,是安全的、是可行的; 但是大部分的人都說不要,更有人說不要試探神。 這是因為我們被病毒所勝。我們已經習慣了不去教會,安於目前敬拜的方式。我們不僅自己不走回教會,也不要其他弟兄姊妹去教會。美中的大學,甚至中、小學已經可以重開,但教會卻不可以重開。為什麼?我們擔心責任問題,恐怕有人來教會後受感染,教會承擔不起責任;可是大部份的餐廳、高風險的酒吧為了賺錢的緣故,把責任問題置之度外,一解禁就馬上重開。教會重開是為了賺人的靈魂,但我們竟然能推遲再推遲,福音使命比不上「保護自己」重要。 教會竟被病毒所勝。福音的工作也是這樣,我們不僅自己不去傳,甚至看到別人勇敢地出去傳福音時 ,還對他們說,「你們不要去試探神,疫情期間不能傳福音」。新同學來到,我們都不敢去機場接這些從祖國來的學生;為了避免受感染,我們請他們自行搭出租車從機場到校園。出租車的司機為了一點小錢,願意冒著被感染的危險,而我們,卻不願意為了這些新同學的靈魂付出一點點的代價。比起世人所做的,我們不感到可恥嗎? 所以很多教會與眾聖徒都被病毒所勝。

但是, 神不是一位軟弱的神, 祂是全能的神。祂盼望我們能勝過對病毒的恐懼,祂已經把得勝的箭交給每一個基督徒。在你的裡面就有得勝的大能,因為聖靈與神的道就在我們裡面,只看你能不能成為神所用的得勝箭?特別是在疫情的時候! 列王紀下第13章這裡給我們看到,以利沙很得神使用,他不僅行了很多神蹟奇事,也幫助以色列王打了很多次勝仗。以利沙年紀大了,得了重病快要死的時候,以色列王就到他的面前跟他說:「先知啊, 你死了以後我們就沒有希望了」。王就伏在以利沙身上哭。 這個時候以利沙就對他說: 「拿你的弓箭來」。 王就把他的弓箭拿來,以利沙把手按在王的身上祝福他,也祝福他手上的弓與箭。以利沙又吩咐把窗戶打開射箭,說:「這箭就是耶和華得勝的箭,可以幫助你戰勝亞蘭人,直到他們滅絕,射箭出去吧」!他就射了。從這裡可以看到,以利沙告訴以色列王:「你不用怕,我雖然死了,但是神還是與你同在。只要神與你同在,你就有得勝的箭。這得勝的箭,不是讓你只打一場小勝仗,乃是勝了又勝,勝了又勝,直到把亞蘭王完全打敗為止」,這是神的心意與大能。

今天神也告訴我們,在病毒疫情的時候,我們需要作這射出去的箭,就是那得勝的箭,條件是:不僅是把你的窗打開,看那失喪世界的需要,也要把你的家門打開,讓自己能夠成為一個被射出去得勝的箭,去勝過病毒、罪惡與撒但。但要先勝過你自己的恐懼,勝過一切的擔心,也勝過我們屬靈的懶惰。不要想這病毒會在一個月、或兩個月就成為過去,我們現在不喜歡去參加教會聚會,時間一長,我們就更不想動。 有些教會已經宣布到年底都不會有實體的聚會。 最近更聽到有教會宣布直到明年的六月也不會有實體的聚會,這實在很可怕!若一年多不去教會,這懶惰的習慣會深深地根植到我們的心裡,以後就很難起來再去教會。這個一年,可能影響我們幾年,甚至幾十年都走不回到教會裡。所以,今天我們要曉得,我們每一個人都應當成為神手中得勝的箭,我們要走出去!從我們的家門走出去,走回教會;從教會的門走出去,走進社區。讓我們帶著得勝的心去敬拜主,帶著得勝的靈,去為神打美好的勝仗。把福音傳給人,以至於人在疫情當中也能聽到主的福音,因為福音朋友比我們更需要神的安慰和神的幫助。

我們繼續看到:王把這些箭射出去之後,以利沙說:「你把箭拿下來,用箭去打地」。王就用箭打地,但他打了三次便停止了。這代表什麼呢? 就是以利沙要他做,他就做。但是他不是帶著一個甘心樂意的心,乃是有一點勉強。既然你說打,我就打,打三次應當夠了。但是以利沙卻說:「這是耶和華的得勝箭,你怎麼只打三次呢? 你應該至少打5次,6次,因為你每打一次就代表一次的得勝。 要打勝亞蘭人,是要勝了又勝,勝了又勝,至少要勝五、六次才能夠完全的得勝」。 所以以利沙說:「既然你只打三次,那你只能夠勝亞蘭人三次」。也就是雖然你有得勝,但是沒有全勝,亞蘭人還會再起來,也還是會把你打敗的很慘,回到原來失敗的景況。 這對我們也是一個提醒,我們要勝了再勝,從家門出來回歸教會,再從教會走進社區作見證,每週都得勝,這些得勝的習慣,就深植在我們裡面。要能夠有大大得勝的教會,不能只有一支箭,箭袋要充滿,箭越多越好。越多弟兄姊妹成為神的箭,神會做震動的工作。神要以色列王用幾根箭打地,聖經不是要我們用一支箭,乃是要好多箭,有多少就用多少,這是震動大地的工作,讓這地脫離亞蘭人的手,成為得勝的地。今天神不是僅要在教會裡興起一位勇敢的精兵,乃是要興起一群大能的勇士,在這地做震動的工作。 因為一個人做的工作是有限的,神盼望興起一個小組,甚至一個團契,整個教會成為神的箭去打地。不是一支一支箭單獨的去打,而是有足夠的箭一同去打地,神會在這地上做震動的工作。

感謝主,八月的讀經營與門徒訓練營都是以實體聚會舉行,因為我們盼望藉著這樣的營會,幫助弟兄姊妹在疫情當中走出來,進入教會聚會,進入社區傳福音。 這個時候舉辦實體營會雖然充滿挑戰,但是感謝主,祂將祂的得勝賞賜給忠心倚靠祂的人。我們也感謝主,密蘇里州對於疫情的規定算是比較開放的,實體聚會只有一個要求,就是要保持社交距離。我們的同工也都盡心的預備。從走路的動線、口罩、洗手的消毒液,及清潔劑都預備充足, 每天量兩次體溫,不論聚會、或吃飯,參加的人都保持社交距離。住宿方面,這次安排一人一個房間,所以非常的安全。弟兄姊妹從東岸西岸來到這裡聚會,都覺得非常的得幫助。感謝主,五十多位的精兵來參加這次讀經營,其中不少留下來參加接下來的門徒訓練營。也感謝主,這次的實體聚會,不僅使弟兄姊妹得到幫助,連我們的講員也感到得到幫助。 有一對傳道人夫婦是這一次讀經營的講員,看到弟兄姊妹認真追求長進的心,並神的工作,他們在聚會結束以前就把1月讀經營的報名單填好,交給同工,還把15元的講義費也放在裡面。感謝主,他們不是要來作講員,乃是要與這班愛主、認真追求主的人一同學習主道,實在是美好的見證。感謝主的工作。

門徒訓練營也看到主得勝的工作。在參加門徒訓練的弟兄姊妹中,超過一半的人是接著讀經營繼續參加門徒訓練, 因為他們覺得一個星期不夠,要參加兩次的聚會。真的是感謝主,因為這些人就是得勝再得勝。我們看到主也藉著這些營會,不僅把知識給人,也把生命的操練給人,在這次的營會當中操練到倚靠主的好處。營會中,大家每天都要量兩次體溫。感謝主!兩週中連一個發燒的都沒有,主都做了保守與興旺的工作。

八、九月都有短宣隊來到美中校園傳福音。他們的來臨就是一個得勝的見證與榜樣,使我們看到在疫情中,我們也可以衝出疫情與各樣困難,堅定地為主的福音爭戰。盼望短宣隊能夠帶動各地校園同工一同走出去傳福音。這次安排短宣的事情並不容易,但他們實在對美中有很大的負擔。他們曾問我說,雖然學校打開,但是學生在哪裡呢?要怎麼樣去把福音傳開呢?到底我們可以做什麼呢?我跟他們說:

第一,你們來最重要的就是:作美中弟兄姊妹傳福音的榜樣。讓他們看到短宣隊不怕困難,也不怕坐飛機的危險。他們就可以倚靠神,也可以一同把福音傳出去。這樣,神得到的不是只有短宣隊,也透過傳福音,把更多傳福音的心,及去教會參加主日敬拜的心也挑旺起來。第二, 即使是在疫情當中,還是可以傳福音的。雖然校園裡人數不多,但是我們傳福音的人總是要是跟著主,主要怎樣帶領我們,就怎樣走出去,越困難就越容易看到主奇妙的手在作工。 

我們想到腓利的例子(徒8章),神告訴腓利離開撒瑪利亞的大教會,走出去到南地的沙漠去傳福音。腓利沒有說:向誰傳?有多少人會去聽?他知道那邊沒有人!但是他順服神的帶領,就碰到一個埃提阿伯人,一位有大權的太監,腓利把福音傳給他,他就信了主,回到他的國家就影響他國家的人,也開始了非洲的福音工作。 

我們看到在神帶領中,你以為碰不到人,但還是會碰到人的。此外,我們還是可以與過去一樣,一家一家的敲門去傳福音。過去我們去學生家裡敲門,大部份的學生都不在家。今年應當大部分的人都會在家,也會打開門,我們多多少少就可以把福音傳給他們。我們要用智慧,把握這個機會傳福音給他們。有一些福音朋友可能並不喜歡拿我們的福音單張,我們可以請他用手機把單張用手機拍一下,這樣也可以把福音傳開。說不定他看了以後覺得很好,也把這個傳給別人。聚會時也可以線上與實體並行。也可以邀請福音朋友聚會前來吃飯,我們可以採用盒飯方式。只要一切按政府的規定,都是合法與安全,加上我們細心的安排、與同心倚靠神,必能得著人的靈魂,彰顯主的得勝。 

讓我們同心合意的禱告,讓主得勝的福音、與傳福音的靈能夠在美中再次被挑動起來,讓美中這片大地,能夠震動起來。神的眾教會在疫情中得釋放,回歸教會聚會,愛主、追求主,傳福音、及敬拜主的心都如火再次挑旺起來,不僅更愛慕神,也能倚靠神作一個成全主使命的人,一同走出去傳福音,使福音朋友得拯救。不論困難有多大,我們依靠主,就是站在得勝的地位,主也會親自來彰顯祂得勝的作為。

八月讀經營及八月門徒與同工訓練營

這次我們是實體舉行,感謝神,仍有近五十位弟兄姊妹 (不包括他們十多位的孩子)來參加,我們尤其感謝主的是: 雖然高牧師因病不能前來, 但他不僅預先錄好他要分享的信息, 每天晚禱都來參加, 有時也去各組的小組分享。另外要感恩的事: 除了中心的兩位同工、兩位講員外, 還有五位全時間或退休的傳道人來參加與幫忙, 所以可以想見: 整個聚會裏裏外外都充滿了主的豐富,弟兄姊妹不僅均飽嚐主話語的甘甜, 也非常感恩的是:  因為實體聚會,終於可以走出家門, 與弟兄姊妹面對面的交通,真是何等的美、 何等的善,他們分享說:  這些都不是網上聚會所能享有的, 我們為此滿心歡喜地把讚美歸給神。結束之前,大部分的人都交上了明年一月啟示錄的報名表, 盼望能再在一起追求主。若您也想報名明年的讀經營, 資訊已貼在網上。

接下來的門徒訓練, 除了二十多位弟兄姊妹帶著他們十多位孩子來參加外, 也有六位傳道人在我們當中分享與幫忙,雖然外面有疫情的報導,大家卻不受影響, 歡歡喜喜地在這個困難的時代,為著下學期將要面對的新挑戰, 認真地背誦聖經, 並準時地參加每一堂聚會,好好地來裝備自己, 這真的是可紀念的日子, 我們每天量兩次體溫, 這兩個聚會下來,「 沒有發燒的, 連一個也沒有」(羅 3:10 ), 再次感謝主的恩典。 

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、及德州五間教會願意差派短宣隊前來美中,據我們知道:  美中許多大學已恢復實體、或實體與網路並行的上課,雖然今年短宣的方式會有所改變, 但我們傳福音的心志,卻一點都不受影響,美中許多教會與校園團契也向我們表示願意與短宣隊配搭,好好在開學時傳福音,請為八、九月的短宣隊禱告。八月的兩隊主要是去幫忙 Missouri、 Iowa 及小部分的Illinois、Arkansas 和 Kansas等州,九月的三隊則要去更遠之處, 如Oklahoma、 Arkansas、 Alabama、 Mississippi、Tennessee、 Nebraska、 South Dakota、 North Dakota、 Minnesota、 Kentucky 及Kansas 等州, 求主讓他們所經過之地,都留下佳美福音的果子。

高牧師近況

這兩個多月來,眾教會及弟兄姊妹在得知高牧師生病後,都非常關心, 並在私禱及教會禱告會中紀念他的身體。高牧師每週末均會在中心網站上分享他身體的現狀,請常常上網查詢,並在禱告中紀念。到七月底, 他已做過四次的化療,本來預計八月底,就要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,現在經醫生評估, 就把後面的四次化療移到前面, 所以他還會繼續再做化療,請繼續用禱告托住高牧師, 感謝主的是: 高牧師仍不失信心與喜樂的心,在病中仍幫忙訓練、 讀經營、 或安排短宣的行程,我們為此感謝主。

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。

感恩及代禱事項:

  1. 為著八月讀經營及門徒訓練蒙主保守與賜福,獻上感謝。
  2. 為著八月美中許多大學已開始實體或線上開學禱告,求主讓弟兄姊妹生活、學業、工作、教會聚會與服事,都能很快地回復正常,繼續為我們的主做見證 ,並打美好的仗。
  3. 為八月、九月短宣隊禱告,這次短宣挑戰性極大,求主賜給他們聰明智慧,能幫助更多的同學得著福音、弟兄姊妹靈裡得興旺,也為美中的眾教會與查經班禱告,求主使他們能與短宣隊有美好的配搭,齊心努力興旺福音。
  4. 為江士民姊妹的事奉禱告,周間她要處理中心所有的事務, 周末也要在教會與校園傳講主的話,八、九月還有兩次各十天的短宣行程,求主保守她「凡事興盛, 身體健壯,正如靈魂興盛一樣」(約三: 2)。
  5. 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。
  6. 求主幫助高牧師雖然身體要做許多治療,但仍能倚靠主,在事奉上更經歷主的恩典與大能,求主親自施行醫治的大能。也為高師母甲狀腺禱告,求主扶持與醫治。
  7. 為維修同工 Scott 手上的工作禱告,也求主賜福他們的家人,特別為她兩個女兒今年已離家上大學禱告。
  8. 求主為中心預備新的同工一同參予事奉。
  9. 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。
  10. 求神讓疫情能快快的結束, 好讓我們冬天的三項聚會: 冬令會、 門徒訓練、 及讀經營能夠實體聚會。

求主祝福您及您的全家。

主內
高榮徳牧師

 

 


 

Dear Brothers and sisters, peace to you in the Lord!

When you received this letter, two short-term mission teams are serving in the Midwest. Covid-19 has been widely infecting people in the US since early March of this year. Most people changed to work from home; students took classes online; churches changed to do online services. From May on, many states gradually reopened. Most American churches in the Midwest quickly resumed physical gatherings perhaps in more meetings to allow distancing. Some Chinese churches reopened gradually. By the grace of the Lord, in August the Bible Camp and the Discipleship Training Camp were held in person and they turned out very good! So we hope that with the coming of the mission teams in the mid-August through early September, evangelism in the new semester will have a great start. Brothers and sisters will not fear the pandemic and will resume the Gospel work that has been paused for months. Believers have been meeting in their own homes for the past six months, seldom seeing other brothers and sisters in person. Their spirits are dry. Thus, we ask the churches and fellowships, not only to pray for the footprints of the mission teams, but also wholeheartedly to work with them when they come to your churches and fellowships. “For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” (3 John 7-8) Indeed all expenses are out-of-pocket for short-term mission team members and they use their vacations. When everyone is afraid of getting on a plane, they are willing to fly to the Midwest while applying appropriate caution the whole way. We believe that the Lord will remember them and reward them.

 

The LORD’s Arrow of Victory  2 Kings 13:14-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has lasted for over half a year. When it started we thought it would just last a few weeks, at most two to three months. With summer break the virus will be the past. But now summer break is almost over and the pandemic has not turned better. There are still many new cases each day. We don’t know when the pandemic will be over. This is discouraging and many people have depression and even thoughts of suicide. There are also some cannot stand the quarantine environment. Some go on the streets to participate in protests or riots. So we can see that many people have no victory over the virus, but rather are defeated without becoming ill. 

Christians can be even worse. Many times, our moods and spirit not only are affected by the pandemic, but also our spiritual lives are affected by the “new normal”. Gradually some do not want to go to church. Some don’t feel like walking into a church meeting. Moreover, when discussing whether to reopen the churches or not, some said, “government has allowed churches to reopen as long as we keep the social distance. Just as other American churches reopened, it is safe and doable.” But the majority will say no. Some say not to tempt God. This is because the virus has victory over us. We become accustomed to not going to church meetings and accustomed to the new form of worship. We ourselves do not want to return to the churches and do not want our brothers and sisters to go back to churches either. The universities in the Midwest, even secondary and primary schools, have reopened. But churches do not reopen. Why? We worry about responsibility issues, afraid that if someone gets infected in church, the church must take responsibility. But restaurants and bars for the sake of making money have left responsibility issues. They reopen as soon as the ban is lifted. Reopening the churches is to save lost souls. But we keep postponing. The mission of evangelism is less important than protecting ourselves. Church has been defeated by the virus, so has the ministry of evangelism. Not only we ourselves do not go out to share the Gospel, but when we see others brave enough to go out and share the Gospel, we say to them, “You should not tempt God. Don’t evangelize during the pandemic time.” When new students come from China, we dare not go to the airport to greet and transport them. We will ask them to take a taxi. Taxi drivers are willing to risk being infected to make a little money. But we are not even willing to pay for a small price for the soul of these new students. Comparing to what the secular interests have done, do we feel shamed? We the saints are being defeated by the virus.

Nevertheless, God is not a weak god. He is the Almighty God. He expects us to triumph over fear—not just fear of rejection or ridicule, but now a few fears new to this century. God has already given each Christian the arrow of victory. There is the power of victory within you because the Holy Spirit and God’s Words abide in us. They see if you can become the arrow of victory that God uses, especially during the pandemic! We see in 2 Kings chapter 13 that God used Elisha greatly. He not only performed many miracles, but also helped the king of Israel win many battles. When Elisha was old and had fallen serious ill and about to die, the king of Israel came before him and lamented, “O Prophet, we will be hopeless after you die.” The king laid on Elisha and wept. At this moment, Eisha said to him, “take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. Elisha laid hands on the king and blessed him and blessed the bow and arrows on his hands. Elisha told him to open the window and shoot the arrow, saying, “This is the Lord’s arrow of victory that can help you win over the Syrians until you have made an end of them. Shoot!” He shot the arrow. We can see from here that Elisha told King of Israel, “Do not be afraid. Even though I am dead, God is with you. As long as God is with you, you have the arrow of victory.” These arrows of victory are not just for one small victory, but victory after victory, until the opposition is completely defeated. This is God’s will and mighty power.

Today God also tells us that we need to be the arrows that are shot during the pandemic. Those are the arrows of victory. The conditions are not only that you must open the window to see the needs of the lost world, but also open the door of your home to let yourselves becoming the arrows of victory that are shot out, to triumph over the virus, sin and Satan. First need to win over worries about yourself, and win over our “spiritual” laziness. Don’t think the pandemic will be over in a month or two. Now we do not like to go to church to worship. As time goes by, we will even do not want to move. Some churches have already announced that they will not have in person meetings until the end of the year. Recently, I even heard that some churches announced that they will not have in person meetings until next June. This is scary indeed! If we don’t go to church for over a year, this lazy habit will root deeply in our hearts. It will be very difficult to return to the churches. This one year may influence us for years, even decades, not returning to churches. So, today we need to know: each one of us should be the arrows of victory in God’s hands. We need to go out! Come out the doors of our homes to go back to the church meetings. Come out the doors of churches and go into the community. Let us bring the hearts of victory to worship the Lord and bring the spirit of victory to win the war for the Lord. Share the Gospel to others, so that they can hear the Lord’s Gospel during the pandemic. Why share? Non-believers need the comfort and help of God as much as we do.

Let us continue to read. After the King shot the arrows, Elisha told him to take down the arrows and stroke the ground with the arrows. The King used the arrows to strike the ground, but he stopped after three times. What does this represent? Elisha told him to strike, he did strike. Three times were enough. But Eisha said, “These are the Lord’s arrows of victory. Why do you only strike three times? You should have struck at least five or six times, for each strike represents one victory.” In order to defeat the Syrian, you need to win at least five or six times. As a result, Elisha said, “but now you will win over Syria three times as you only strike three times. Despite these victories, you will not have complete victory. Syria will rise again and will defeat you very badly, returning to the original failing situation.” This is also another reminder for us: we need to win after winning; keep leaving the door of homes and return to church meetings, then from churches to communities to witness, for victory each week. These habits of victory will engrave in us. If the church congregations wish to be big and victorious, they need not just one arrow. The quivers should fill with arrows, the more the better. The more brothers and sisters becoming the arrows of God, God will do shocking work. God wanted the king of Israel to strike the ground with many arrows. The Bible does not want us to use only one arrow, but more arrows the better, utilize as many as you have. This is the work that shakes the earth. Let the land become the land of victory. Today God not only will raise one mighty warrior in the church, but raise up a group of mighty warriors to do work that shakes the earth. It is because the work that one person can do is limited. God wants to raise a small group, even one fellowship, one whole church to become God’s arrows that strike the ground. It is not one arrow after one arrow to strike, but enough arrows strike the ground all at once. God will do shocking work on this land.

Thanks be to the Lord! August Bible camp and Discipleship Training camp were held in person. Because we hope to use these camps to help brothers and sisters to come out during the pandemic, to enter into church meetings, then enter into communities to share the Gospel. Holding in-person camps during this period was filled with challenges. But thank God! He gave victory to those trusting Him faithfully. We also thank God that the State of Missouri’s regulations concerning the pandemic are more open. The only requirement for in-person gathering is to keep social distance. Our coworkers worked hard to prepare for it. We prepared well according to directions for distancing, face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant supplies. As for lodging, we arranged one person per room. It was very safe. Brothers and sisters from East and West Coasts coming here to meet. They all felt they learned a lot. Thanks be to the Lord! There are over fifty good soldiers attending Bible camp and quite a few staying after to attend Discipleship Training camp. We are grateful that this in-person camp not only helps brothers and sisters, but also our speakers were edified. One pastor couple were the first-time speakers of Bible camp. They saw brothers and sisters’ hearts that focused on pursuing growth and the work of God. They filled out the January Bible Camp application form including 15 dollars material fee and turned into our coworkers. Thanks be to the Lord! They come not as speakers, but wanted to study God’s Words with this group of brothers and sisters who love God and are serious about pursuing the Lord. It is indeed a beautiful testimony. Thank God for His works.

We also saw the Lord’s victorious work in the Discipleship Training camp. Among the attendees, more than half stayed for this after the preceding Bible camp because they thought one week wasn’t enough and wanted to join two camps. We thank the Lord for them because these people demonstrate victory upon victory. God uses this camp not only to give knowledge, but also to give practice. In this camp, they practice the benefit of trusting on God. 

In these two camps, everyone was asked to measure body temperature twice a day. Thanks be to the Lord! Not even one person had a fever in these two weeks. The Lord kept us and revived us.

There are short-term mission teams coming to Midwest campuses both August and September. Their presence is a victorious witness and example for us to see that we also can break through the pestilence and all kinds of difficulties, firmly fight for the Lord’s gospel. We hope that mission teams can motivate campus ministry coworkers from all over to come out to share the Gospel. The arrangement for this short-term mission is indeed not easy. But they have a big burden for the Midwest. One asked me, “Schools are open, but where are the students? How should we share the Gospel? What indeed can we do?”

I told them: Firstly, the most important part of you coming is to be the role model for Midwest brothers and sisters to share the Gospel. Let them see that the mission teams are not afraid of difficulties, nor the danger of airplane flights. So that they also can trust in God and come along to share the Gospel. In this way, God gains not just the mission teams, but also through evangelism, reviving more hearts that want to share the Gospel and attend Sunday service with churches. Secondly, despite the pandemic, there are still opportunities for evangelism. Even though there are not many people on campus, we, the people sharing the Gospel, need to follow the footprint of the Lord. How the Lord leads, we follow. The more difficult the circumstance, the easier for us to see the Lord’s wonderful hands at work.

We think of Philip’s example (Acts 8). God told him to leave the big church in Samaria and go south to the dessert to share the Gospel. He did not say, “share—to whom? How many people will listen?” He knew there were no people there! But he obeyed God’s leading and met an Ethiopian, a eunuch with great power. Philip shared the Gospel and this government official believed in the Lord and surely influenced other people in his country after his return. This is also the beginning of evangelism work in Africa.

We see that from God’s leading, you think that you will not meet anyone, but indeed you will meet people. Besides this, as in the past we can go door to door to share the Gospel. In the past we knocked on the doors of students, most of them were not at home. This year, the majority of them should be at home! They may peek from their doors. We more or less can share the Gospel to them. We need to use wisdom to grasp this opportunity to share the Gospel to them. Some non-believers may not like to receive a tract, but we can ask them to use their cell phones to take a picture of it. This way can still share the Gospel. Who knows they may think it is very good after they read it and will forward it to others. Meetings can be both online and in person. We can still invite non-believers to dinner before meetings using lunch boxes. As far as we follow government’s regulation, it is lawful and safe. In addition to our careful planning and trusting in God with one accord, certainly we can win souls to reveal the Lord’s victory.

Let us pray with one heart and same mind. Let the Lord’s victorious Gospel and the spirit of evangelism be revived in the Midwest once again. Let this great plain of the Midwest be shook up. The Lord’s many congregations will be released from the pandemic. They will return to church meetings for fellowship, loving the Lord, pursuing the Lord, sharing the Gospel. And the heart to worship the Lord will be kindled again like fire. They not only love the Lord more dearly, but also trust in God to be the people fulfilling God’s great commission, coming out together to share the Gospel. The non-believers will be saved. No matter how big the difficulties are, we trust in the Lord, standing on the position of victory. The Lord will personally reveal His victorious works to us.

August Bible Camp and August Disciple Training Camp

We held these camps in person. Thanks be to the Lord! Attending were around fifty brothers and sisters and ten-plus of their children. We especially thank God that even though Pastor Ko could not come due to illness, he recorded his message in advance, joined in prayer time each night, and sometimes went to small groups to share. We are also very grateful that besides the CWC’s two full time coworkers, and two Bible Camp speakers, there were another five fulltime or retired ministers participating and assisting the camps. You can imagine that the whole camp was filled with the Lord’s riches inside and out. Brothers and sisters not only filled with the sweetness of the Lord’s Words, but also were thankful for finally escaping their homes to attend camp physically, talking to other brothers and sisters face to face. How beautiful! How good it is! They shared that they would not experience this from online camp. We give praise to God with our joyful hearts. Before the conclusion of the camp, most of them turned in their application forms for next January’s Bible Camp on the book of Revelation, hoping to pursue the Lord together. If you also want to sign up for next year’s Bible camp, the details have been posted on our webpage.

Following came Discipleship Training camp. Besides more than twenty brothers and sisters and their ten plus children attending, there were six ministers among us to share and assist. Despite the news on the pandemic outside, we were not affected by that at all. The attendees were all joyfully preparing for the new challenges of the new semester during this difficult time, faithfully memorizing Scripture verses and attending each class on time in order to equip themselves. These were memorable days. They were requested to measure the body temperature twice daily. After two camps, no fevers, “no not one” (Romans 3:10). We thank the Lord’s grace once again.

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

Currently we have five churches from East Coast, West Coast, and Texas willing to send short term mission teams to the Midwest. As far as we know, many Midwest universities have resumed physical classes or hybrid classes. Even though the format of this year’s short-term mission team has some changes, our hearts for sharing the Gospel have not been affected at all. Many Midwest churches and campus fellowship told us that they are willing to cowork with mission teams in order to share the Gospel in this new semester.

Please pray for the August and September short-term mission teams. August has two teams mainly going to help in Missouri, Iowa, some cities of Illinois, Arkansas, and Kansas. September has three teams going farther: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Kansas. May the Lord let the places they set foot in all bear much beautiful and good fruit.

Update of Pastor Ko’s Health

In the past two months, many churches and brothers and sisters were very concerned after knowing Pastor Ko being sick. The prayed for his health privately or in church prayer meetings. Pastor Ko posts updates on his condition every weekend on the CWC webpage. Please continue to read and supplicate. He completed four chemotherapy treatments by the end of July. Originally plans expected surgery to remove the cancer cells at the stomach and surrounding tissues at the end of August, then two more months of chemotherapy. Recently the doctors re-evaluated and decide to do all the chemotherapy first, then the surgery. Please continue to uphold him in your prayers. We thank the Lord that Pastor Ko has not lost his faith and joyful heart. He still helps out during Discipleship Training camp, Bible camp, and with plans for short-term mission trips. We thank God for that. 

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 several Bible persons to learn “the characteristics of God’s servants”. We will also spend time praying to allow God’s Words to establish us, that we too can be molded as the useful vessels for the Lord. 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 us at 573-999-6235. Please join us.

Thanksgiving and Prayer Requests

  1. We are grateful for God watching over and blessing August Bible Camp and Disciple Training Camp.
  2. Many Midwest universities have resumed the physical or online classes in August. Pray the Lord to let the brothers and sisters quickly return to their normal lives, studies, careers, church meetings, serving and continue to witness for our Lord to fight good fight..
  3. Pray for the August and September short-term mission teams. It is a very challenging mission. May the Lord give them wisdom and cleverness to help more students hear the Gospel and reignite the spirits of the brothers and sisters. Also pray for Midwest churches and fellowships that they will work seamlessly with the mission teams to advance the gospel. 
  4. Pray for Cindy Chiang’s ministry as she needs to take care of all the office works of the CWC on weekdays and minister at different churches and fellowships on weekends. In August and September, there are two ten-day mission trips.  May the Lord keep her “all may go well with her and that she may be in good health, as it goes well with her soul.” (3 John 2).
  5. Pray for Qing-Long Liang to bear good fruit as he serves in Columbia, Missouri and other churches. May God bless his whole family. Also pray for his R-1 religious visa application. May God guide and lead the way.
  6. May the Lord help Pastor Ko, that while he is going through many treatments that he can trust in the Lord and experience God’s grace and might while serving, Pray for Mrs. Ko’s thyroid treatment. May God keep her and heal her.
  7. Pray for Scott, the maintenance coworker, for the hands of his works. Also may the Lord bless his family, especially her two daughters who have left home for colleges this year.
  8. Pray that the Lord will prepare new CWC coworkers to join us to serve.
  9. Pray for the finance for the CWC for this month. May God move among more brothers and sisters to support our ministry by prayers and offerings.
  10. May the Lord end the pandemic quickly that we can hold the three winter meetings (Winter Conference, December Discipleship Training, and January Bible camp) in person.

May the Lord bless you and your whole family.

In Him,
Pastor Billy Ko