In early August, the Haikoulu Church in Changchun, Jilin, held its 10th anniversary service. In 2009, about 10 people gathered at a sister's house. Now the three-story church building can hold more than 800 people.
On that day, ten pastors, teachers and elderly Christians from the church shared their gratitude for the past decade.
1. Senior Pastor Shan Peng: God's grace is sufficient
In the sermon entitled "When I Think of You", the senior pastor Shan Peng confessed, "Along the way, we cried, knelt down and crept...Laughter is more than tears, happiness more than depression!"
He witnessed that God had been helping the church through his word. At first, the congregation gathered at a believer's house; then they bounced from one rental place to another for three years, and now finally own a religious premise to worship God. Everything was fulfilled by the grace of God.
2. Sister Ma Yuqin: grateful for God's word
In the beginning, the congregation of Haikoulu Church worshiped at Ma's home. Recalling the initial difficulties, Sister Ma said in tears, "We huddled together and cried."
To her, the most thankful thing was that the church had been preaching God's word. She said, "Pastors and teachers have a true heart of loving the Lord and clearly explaining His word."
3. Teacher Li Caimei: thanks for God's fulfillment
What moved Teacher Li the most was the scene where more than 200 believers prayed together for an auction. The congregation was hoping to win an auction for a building that they wanted to use as their church. At that time, Rev. Shan and more than ten church workers attended the auction. While praying, a believer received a revelation and declared that they will succeed in the auction.
After his prayer, they got phone call saying that they were the winners at 1.21 million yuan for the three-story building. However, the church only had savings of 300,000 yuan. Back in the church, the workers cried with the believers, mixed with feelings of joy and pressure from a large funding gap.
Then the church launched a fasting and prayer campaign to solve the large shortage in money. The pastor and some workers even fasted and prayed for seven days. In the sixth day of fasting and praying, Rev. Shan was convinced that God would help to fulfill their prayer. His anxiety was immediately lifted off his shoulders and along with the other believers, all anxiety was cast away. Instead of crying out loud, they had expectations and hope towards the future.
It turned out that the remaining money was handed over at the appointed time. There was a surplus of funds.
4. Teacher Zhang Xizhi: grateful for the church's acceptance
In gratitude for the pastor's acknowledge and acceptance from the staff, Teacher Zhang loved their ministry of one mind and a team atmosphere of learning from each other.
In the winter of the year before last, he felt homely warmth from the church because of the experience he had while undergoing an appendectomy operation. He was in surgery for a whole evening, about 3 hours. The minute he opened his eyes, he saw the church staff surrounding him with kind regards. One of them was a deacon in his seventies with a bad leg. Expecting the church to need his ministry, he held that he needed the church more since that day.
Another moving thing was when the church moved into the new building, the faces of the members were all wet on a slightly snowy day - indistinguishable whether it was the melting snow, sweat, or tears.
5. Sister Xia Guixin: grateful in being a part in church ministry
In the church's early days, Sister Xia had already begun her involvement in serving the church. She made an offering box with a carton; seeing a pastor's back wet with sweat, she planned to buy a microphone and stereo system; she brought a red carpet to church to cover the sanctuary's floor...
She gave thanks that the laypersons were engaged in church ministry, either doing some cleaning or carrying building materials.
6. Sister Wu Zhenxiang: we need God
Serving in the choir, Sister Wu still remembered the day when she went to the auction with Rev. Shan, who wore a clerical attire. Praying in a car with other workers, the auction was won. Then they went back to the church to rejoice with the laity.
In the sequential fundraising, the church experienced a hard time, but God eventually heard their prayer. Experiencing the whole story, she confessed, "It's not God who needs us, but us that need God!"
7. Deacon Yang Wanjun: thanks for having a home
"This is my home. There's nothing else to count on.", said the 70-year-old Deacon Yang.
He shared that some believers suffering from severe illness intended to give up treatment due to financial pressure, but the church helped them go through the difficulties. He added that it was nothing serious to live a poor life, "We give thanks every day.".
8. Sister He Shuyun: thanks for God's power
Sister He proclaimed that God is omnipotent after witnessing the church's development in the past decade. Consisting of barely more than ten people and possessing nothing, the congregation used to meet in a rental apartment without a heating system and went through several setbacks.
9. Sister Pan Qiuhua: thanks for having a responsible pastor
Sister Pan appreciated Rev. Shan's familiarity with his lamb, to the extent that he immediately knew those who were absent from Sunday services after standing in the lectern.
At one time, the son of a sister who lived in a different place fell sick; none of the relatives dared to decide on how to proceed because of his breathing difficulty. Knowing his condition, Rev. Shan decided to transfer him to a bigger hospital; meanwhile, he asked the congregation to pray for him. He was healed on the second day.
10. Sister Zhong Yuguang: thanks for God's providence
Busy with her programs, Sister Zhong said she was grateful for God's guidance for the church and the "home". She had great concern for Rev. Shan.
- Translated by Karen Luo