04
Jun
08

China Disaster Relief

As so many of you know my mentor and friend, Dr. Harry Lucenay is pastor of Kowloon International Baptist Church in Hong Kong. Some of you will remember Harry from the Easter Bunny story during my Temple Baptist days. Others of you met Harry last January when he preached in my absence at CrossPoint, while I was preaching for him in Hong Kong. Enough with the explanations, it’s time to get to the point to today’s blog.

Each week Harry sends many of us in the States an electronic newsletter keeping us informed of the needs, ministries and results of KIBC. This week’s report will blow your mind:

The spring of 1994 Nancy and I visited China with a group from the Baptist World Alliance. One Sunday when we were in Nanjing an elderly Chinese lady in our group crossed the river and visited a rural church she attended when she was young. She still remembered hiding behind her mom’s dress as the missionary talked to her mom about Jesus. When she visited the church of her childhood she was invited to speak and she talked about what God was doing through her church to reach Chinese people in Los Angeles. After church the pastor gave her the entire morning offering because he said his people wanted to “help reach Chinese people for Christ.” I was amazed. I couldn’t think of a church anywhere that would give her entire Sunday morning offering for anything or anyone.
When the Sichuan earthquake took place my memory flipped back to 1994. For a few days I wrestled with the idea of encouraging our people to give the Sunday offering to China Disaster. The more I thought and prayed, the more I was sure God would work in this. Nancy encouraged me to make the announcement one week and take the offering the next week. I spoke to some of our church leaders. They said, “We can do this. Then, if we need money later, the people will give.” So we set the date of the offering for 25 May. I announced that the entire offering would be taken for China Disaster Relief. If people wanted to designate for Myanmar Disaster Relief they could. If they wanted to designate for the church offering they could. But our focus would be on Disaster Relief. I encouraged the people to go home and pray about their gifts. Then return and honor God.
We do not mail out a newsletter or send an email to everyone to announce what we are doing. Thus our communication is not always the best. The offering was taken with a word of clarification as to what the offering was for but there was no spoken emotional appeal.
The people gave HK$1,815,000 to China Disaster Relief and HK$565,000 to Myanmar Disaster Relief. HK$2,380,000 was given in one day. Even serving in large US churches I have never seen the congregation raise US$305,000 in one Sunday for missions or disaster relief. To put the numbers in perspective this one Sunday Disaster Relief Offering equaled 41% of our annual budget (the end of the tax year in Hong Kong is March so tax-related gifts did not drive this offering). I have no doubt the gifts to China Relief will exceed HK$2 million within a few days. Our people are excited about the way the Holy Spirit has multiplied our gifts to touch lives. The China Relief Offering will be given through the Hong Kong Baptist Convention which will send it to the Sichuan Christian Council. The Myanmar Relief offering will go through the Baptist World Aid division of the Baptist World Alliance.

I have a special place in my heart for these people who gave this money because my family and I lived with them for two weeks last winter. We know, firsthand, of their generosity. In light of what we know about this church, this does not surprise us.

I thank the Lord for KIBC. I thank Him for their generosity. I thank Him for their willingness. Most of all, I thank the Lord for their sincere and genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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