March 12, 2021
Dear TCCBC church family, greetings!
We thank God for bringing us to finally worship Him in our church in person. Even though there were not many of us, but I believe we will soon see more and more brothers and sisters in the church, especially those who have already received vaccinations. I will also be bringing the weekly communication letters to a close after this week from discussion and a consensus decision with our deacons. It has been exactly one year since March 15 of last year, I was able to share with you over the 52 letters written. I am grateful for your prayers and support going through this difficult year of the pandemic together. I am also grateful for our Lord’s grace and His watch over us this past year, with our brothers and sisters pretty much in good shape under His protection. I am especially grateful for God’s help and His watch over the elderlies among us. They were able to endure the threats throughout the pandemic, having overcome it by the grace of God and the peace bestowed upon by Him! I will not be sending out the communication letters weekly from this point on. Instead, I will be sending them on special occasions when they are needed. This does not imply stopping our communication sharing. Through the many more opportunities as we gather in the church, we believe we can share with each other there. Important announcements will also be included in the weekly bulletins. Besides, as the pandemic situation improves and the infection rate drops, I am hopeful that church visitation will resume over time. Not only can pastors visit you at your homes, brothers and sisters are also encouraged to regularly connect with each other over phone calls to keep in touch with each other. In addition, the pastor of each congregation will also be reaching out to the congregation over emails and letters according to the needs. Please try to maintain our communication connections regularly.
The next time our Church Council meets, I believe we will be addressing how to resume regular church ministries and set program timetables beyond our worship services. God willing, I am hopeful that all will be back on track by the end of this June. In this way, we will be able to use the coming year to carry out the discipleship work that was originally scheduled for the past year. It is my hope that we can complete the revision of the church’s bylaws and the training of church leaders in the second half of this year. Please remember these needs in your prayers.
In less than a month, we will have Pastor Stephen Choy, our English Pastor, relocating to Northern California and begin his pastoral ministry in our church. Our church will also be opening another page in its history. This calling of a pastor to the English congregation sets the direction of the important future path of the church. As early as a year ago, the church council had arrived at a model on what the church’s future would be. The development of the next generation ministry will be an important focus of Tri-City Chinese Baptist Church for at least the next ten years. We are grateful for the answered prayer from God, sending Pastor Stephen to us. While it was a bit outside our expectations, it was the way God had intended to prepare us. Pastor Stephen is quite young, only thirty years old, but he has already acquired good experiences and training through his job at the law firm. He is married, and has a newborn son. He and his wife, Candace, are willing to come to our church, and join us to expand God’s gospel work. Under Pastor Stephen’s leadership, I believe that as long as we work hard to spread the gospel with humility and unity, serve through victories and setbacks, our church will be able to bring the younger generation to God, cultivate their gifts, and bring the church to the future that God has set before us!
Before we welcome Pastor Stephen to start his ministry in our church, I have a few words to share with you. If we believe that this young shepherd is the one that God has prepared for us, we must follow God, and also follow the spiritual authority that God has bestowed upon Pastor Stephen. Knowing that God has sent him to us, we are entrusted to him by God Himself. Sure, there may be times of insufficient experience. But those will be moments when we can see his genuineness, trusting God solely with all his heart and mind. It is similar to what God declared to us through the prophet Zechariah, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6) The apostle Paul had also said this to young Timothy, “Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. (1 Timothy 4:11-14) Even though this is an exhortation to young ministers, it is also important for believers to understand how they should give equal regard to young people. Paul made special mention of not looking down on a young minister’s youthfulness. What they prescribe and teach are gifts given by God. The laying of hands by the elders of the church carries the meaning of appointing the spiritual authority, confirmed by the church. Therefore, I especially want to ask everyone to love and care for a young pastor, be generous with your encouragements to him. As we humbly receive to his preaching before God, you will notice God’s blessings to brothers and sisters in the church through this young pastor!
Allow me also take a moment to express the appreciation from my heart. I desired to provide not only some news and messages through my communication letters during this past year, but also accompanying you to walk this difficult and dark path through the valley, and helping you to lift your spirit up. Some of you have occasionally responded to the content from the communication letters. Even through just a few words, they have brought much encouragement to me. While it is not appropriate to cite who they were, I have been deeply moved by your love and your care toward me, realizing that I am not walking this dark path alone, but with you by my side.
Even though I had mentioned this before, but I want to thank our two interim pastors, Pastor Stephen Mak and Pastor Daryl Watts again. Brothers and sisters from all our three congregations have received good spiritual care and feeding from them through their excellent co-laboring arrangement. It is my hope that what they have offered would become models for us to learn from.
It is undeniable that in the past year, the support and working together among the deacons and the church council, with excellent support to me and co-laboring with me, are obvious to all. Without their faithful service in their individual positions, the church ministries would have suffered much decline. Even under the pandemic impacts, the ministries have been able to stay close to normal under their leadership. Even the children’s ministry was no exception. The parents of children were touched by what has been done for them and their sons and daughters, far exceeding their expectations during the pandemic. I also want to thank all the Sunday School teachers, AWANA leaders and co-workers, for their hard work in the ministries. With God helping us, we have completed the pastoral searches. I need not say more as you all understand this well. But what I really appreciate our brothers and sisters is your 100% support to whatever decisions made by the deacons and the Church Council. This is both rare and precious. May all glory be to our Father in heaven!
I also want to thank Deacon Wayne Wong and Pat Wong for leading the worship music in both the Mandarin and Cantonese worship services without any breaks this past year. Similarly, thank you to Jonathan in the English congregation with the worship team leading the music in the English worship services. Under pandemic limitations, it has not been easy leading singing in worship, requiring overcoming many technical issues. But these were all accomplished through the power that God has added. Furthermore, they have continued to improve over time. You must all have noticed that in the past few months, we could hear multiple parts harmony in worship singing, getting immersed in beautiful worship music, enjoying God’s presence and being close to Him. These sacrifices and the time offered by these brothers and sisters may be difficult to comprehend by us who benefited from watching from home. Only those who have been directly involved would know. Thank you, all!
Lastly but not least, and this is very important to me while most of our brothers and sisters are not aware of the arrangement. Every week, Pastor Lee only wrote the communication letters in Chinese. The English translation have been handled by two brothers from the English congregation. I want to especially thank Deacon Roddy Kwan, who started assisting me on the translation work since the beginning. As you know, Deacon Roddy is the current council chairperson, and carries busy regular church commitments. But he has been supporting me completing timely translations this past year, enabling the English speaking members to receive my communication with no hindrance. I am deeply moved and grateful. After several months, our dear Brother Herb SooHoo also joined the translation work. The two of them took turns sharing this important responsibility on monthly rotations. The most challenging part is not only from the difficulties on the translation, but also the time pressure from Pastor Lee. They had to complete the translation within a day or two after receiving the draft. But what surprised me was their writing in English was both accurate and fluent, and I am filled with admiration on their work. Both of them worked tirelessly without any complaint. I thank God for providing so many gifted brothers and sisters to our church, who are willing to fervently serve the Lord. I would like to express my gratitude to the two brothers who have been working so hard. I also thank God for placing you around me to assist me in my church work. I believe God has brought many blessings to brothers and sisters through your service. May all glory and praise be to God our Father in heaven!
Finally, a reminder to everyone that we are bidding Pastor Daryl farewell and expressing our appreciation to him in the church on March 21. Everyone is welcome to join this farewell event. A day before this on March 20 in the afternoon, the English congregation will also hold a farewell luncheon in the church parking lot for Pastor Daryl. Other brothers and sisters who are interested in joining the luncheon or would like more information, please contact Jashin Hsu (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Those of you who would like to give to the “love offering” for Pastor Daryl, you can either send a check to the church, or go to the online giving web page, and indicate “Love offering for Pastor Daryl”.
The worship links for this Sunday will be included in the individual congregations’ weekly news emails.
May the God of peace be with you all!
Waiting with you upon the arrival of spring following the passing of the pandemic,
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team