August 28, 2020
Dear TCCBC Church Family,
Let me first remind everyone that this weekend (8/29) at nine o’clock Saturday morning we will all come together for a Concert of Prayer. This joint prayer meeting will be chaired by Deacon Wayne Wong and Deacon Roddy Kwan. We will be meeting over YouTube. Please use the following link to go online and pray together: https://youtu.be/ArgW0ihWTZY
As Paul taught the church, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
The whole of California has been hit by 650 wildfires this past week. Many of the fires were caused by at least 12,000 lightning strikes on August 15 with 14,000 firefighters, 2,400 fire trucks and 95 helicopters deployed to combat the fires. The two fires in the north and southeast of San Francisco have evolved into the second of the three largest forest fires in California history, spreading over 500 square miles (Data from the August 24, 2020 World Journal webpage) The area of Fremont near the church is also affected by the forest fire. The sky is covered in dense smoke and the air quality is very poor. I hope that the brothers and sisters will pay more attention to their physical health. Try not to go out if it is not necessary. If you do go out, be sure to wear a mask and do not open the windows when driving. The weather being hot and dry, please drink more water. Be prepared if you do receive an evacuation notice and evacuate immediately, don’t push your luck and delay. Of course, there is no need to panic, just calmly wait for the notice from the government or related units.
This week, the President of the United States together with Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, announced an emergency authorization use (EAU) of plasma to treat hospitalized coronavirus patients. They claim that this treatment can reduce mortality by 35%. They also urged all Americans who recovered from the virus to donate plasma. This may not be the perfect solution to the coronavirus but it may be the beginning of a series of effective treatments. We pray for the Lord’s help so that medical and health professionals can develop vaccines as soon as possible so that this pandemic can be controlled as soon as possible and for infected people to receive effective treatments.
As I announced in last week’s letter, I have invited Pastor Daryl Watts to write of his observations of Internet worship from the perspective of the English church, as well as encouragement and advice to everyone.
Hi, TCCBC family. After over five months in quarantine, I am missing being with you more and more. But I am thankful to God for His protection and blessing church members during this time. I want to share with you a little good and bad news from the English congregation.
Good News: We made a smooth transition to online ministry. We now broadcast live worship services from multiple locations with minimal expense. Many members have stepped up to the challenge and learned new skills and resources for our online presence. We have continued all our Sunday School classes and even created a new class for those in college through mid-20s. We have reached new people. We started online giving options and new online communication tools. AWANA will restart next month to continue our ministry to our children and children in the community.
Despite this, there is Bad News. Most of our congregation is staying connected with each other and growing in their faith, but some are dropping out. I have communicated with some who are expressing doubts or disconnection with the church and with God. While we cannot be absolutely sure about how many people are watching our live streamed worship services, my guess is about 30 people watch it live. At least 4-5 of those are members of other churches or out of the area. So, I’m guessing that we have 25 people or so. That’s down from 35-40 that we had in worship before the quarantine. We also don’t have a great way to measure if our members are growing spiritually.
What do we plan to do about this? In September, I plan to conduct some Zoom sessions to explore these questions (and questions about our future) with the English congregation. I will also be addressing some personal discipleship ideas in upcoming English congregation newsletters.
What can you do? First, as we mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon, ask God to examine your heart (Psalm 139:23-24) and for help to grow spiritually. Second, communicate with me, Pastor Lee, your Bible study leader, or one of our deacons. Let us know how you are doing and what you need to keep growing and ministering during this time. Third, take charge of your own spiritual growth now and always. Times of disruption, like with COVID-19, are often tools God uses to take us to new heights in our walk with Him.
Our church is still doing well. God is still in control. Our members and leaders are sharp people who love Jesus. With all this on our side, we can come through this stronger and better able to love and serve God than ever before. I believe in God and I believe in you.
Thanks to Pastor Watts for the writing and Brother Mark Tchao for translating.
Looking up together to the Lord’s protected shelter,
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team