The 5th-anniversary reconstruction celebration for Haikoulu Church officially started on the morning of Jul 28.
There were only about 10 members gathering at a sister's house when Haikoulu Church was founded in 2009. As the number grew bigger, they started to rent a place for gathering. During the renting periods, the church met different troubles like cotenants not accepting any activities of worship or complaining crowded environment, a landlord selling the place they rent, or not allowing members to use restrooms, according to Pan Qiuhua, one of the earliest stuff.
Four years of relocations time after time made up their mind to buy a house. In Nov 2012, the church was informed that the house they have rented would be auctioned at the starting bid of 5.85 million yuan. The church finally won the bid at the price of 12.1 million yuan, though there were only 300 thousand yuan in hand.
The auctioneer asked the church to pay off in 5 days. However, the church raised only 400 thousand yuan in the first two days. There were touching movements during financing. Some donated their beloved rings and bracelets, and some remortgaged houses. A theology student's mother intended to sell her shop. The church did not accept all these. On Dec 30, 2012, 20 days after the bid, the church raised 12.1 million yuan, most of which was borrowed.
"We are the trailblazers... we begged and cried through the founding of the church... I have been suffering illnesses and losing my hair over the last 5 years. I am now 40, but some may think I am 70. It's true... we are celebrating the church not for the building itself, but for it gathers people who love God and whom God loves. Through the grateful service, we should never forget the first love and faith, and our first step." Said Rev. Yan Peng of Haikoulu Church when reviewing the history of the church.
The church spent near one million yuan on decoration after they bought the house. The three-floor church, of which the first floor is the main hall, and the second and third floor are auxiliary hall and office, occupied a floor area of more than 1400 m2.
In the front of the church, there is a red cross on the top of a light yellow wall. Inside it, there are a grape trellis and various flowers, brand new yellow wooden chairs, a big desk, where lies an opened scroll so long as stretching arms, on the platform with a luminous white cross on the wall.
In five years after the church has been decorated, the member has grown to more than 1000 from several hundred. The church has paid half of the debt. Pan, the cashier of the church, said that the balance of the account dropped to 200 or 300 yuan sometimes, and once remained at 18 yuan for over a month, but it was never under zero. The church could always pay money back in time to the members in need.
- Translated by Lin Changfeng