Sunday, October 27th: Jiangjin and Shanghai
Today is the day that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it. We did just that in fellowship with our brothers and sisters at the Jiangyin Church. It was a bright sunny and warm day. We arrived at 0825 for worship. From 0830 until 0900 we listened and participated in praise music. There were 7 men and women vocalists across the front of the stage plus keyboard, guitar drums and bass in the background. Each vocalist used a wireless mic. The music was simple, melodic, not syncopated and sung with great enthusiasm. The congregation was fully engaged with the music. The band did about six songs interspersed with prayer. It was a great experience.
The order of worship was straight forward with prayer, apostles creed, hymns with piano accompaniment, scripture (new and old testament), the Lord’s prayer and sermon. Ernie preached and John McCall translated. They were a great team and John was able to really engage with the congregation. Ernie’s text was Acts 10, vs. 35, Peter’s explanation that all people in every nation are acceptable to God. He did a great job and the congregation was engaged, attentive and appreciative. Afterwards there many photos. I particularly enjoyed meeting Pastor Gu’s young son who was about 9 years old. His name translated is faith. We went to lunch with Pastor Mary and her team at our hotel. Wonderful time of fellowship.
We next traveled to Suzhou, a city of 13 million people near Shanghai. It is an impressive city with a large university town area, major industrial parks and what appears to be a relatively wealthy population. We visited at the Lake Church of Suzhou. This congregation has grown from 270 believers in 2008 to 1200 believers today. They constructed a majestic new church in 2008 and 2009 which has been one of the keys to their growth. As great as the structure is though, their growth has been achieved with purposeful, determined and committed evangelism. This seems to be a signature of all of the churches we have visited. It is inspirational and at the same time daunting to us. We were received by Pastor Chris, Associate Senior Pastor Cathy and Senior Pastor Hur. Pastor Hur articulated with great clarity and force the history, vision, strategy and priorities of the Lake church. It was one of the best expositions on this subject that we have heard during our visit. We felt privileged to be with them. We left Suzhou about 1640 but encountered very heavy traffic as we entered Shanghai. Fierce. We finally arrived at The Majestic Hotel at 2000. It seemed to take us hours to go the last few miles. We ate Thai food tonight and it was very enjoyable. Tomorrow will be a busy day. Five will stay in Shanghai one more day, John will return to Taiwan and nine of us will continue on to Beijing.
Bruce for the China Mission Team