A Yokefellow’s Chronicle: Modern Day Barnabasses
(Updated December 18 2017)
What a journey it was! The final leg of my two-week visit to the Northeastern part of the US ended with a visit with pastors and churches in New York City and Upstate New York. The freezing 15 degree Fahrenheit daytime temperature with blowing winds (making it feel colder than that) and white stuff falling in Rochester, Syracuse and Albany did not reflect the kind of reception and the warm fellowship we had with my fellow pastors there, akin to what I had experienced a week earlier in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
I feel so blessed to be in the company of pastors and ministers who are out in the forefront of ministry in different contexts, be that urban or suburban, intellectuals or grassroots, contending for the Gospel among the Chinese diaspora. These are the giants of the faith who labor faithfully each day in proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ. May their tribe increase!
My orientation and initiation into my new role as Executive Director on this trip would not have been as productive and energizing for me had it not been for a group of people the Lord had placed in strategic places way before I had planned this trip. They were my “Barnabasses”. Remember when Paul became a believer in the Lord and God’s people avoided him like a plague because of his former reputation as a persecutor of Christians, it was Barnabas who took the initiative to vouch for him and to bring him into fellowship with the church in Jerusalem. (Acts 9: 26-27) Joanna and Amy in Hartford mobilized her church to pray for me and Ruth (my wife) and introduced me to her Pastors and other leaders in another church; Pastor Gideon were instrumental in introducing me to the Pastors and ministers in the Greater Boston area and regional and national Convention leaders; Pastor Gu made the initial connections with pastors in New York; and, Pastor Jeremy who served with NAMB made a special trip to be with me and took me around visiting pastors and churches and navigating the maze of routes in the NYC MTA subway system and also in Upstate New York. Kudos to them all.
Through the tour, God allowed me to catch a glimpse of the enormous power of networking through connecting with people, needs, and resources among Chinese Baptists in North America and how the work of the Fellowship could be done more effectively to edify the church for the glory of God.
During the past week, God gave me yet another glimpse of the power of coming together as a family of Baptists doing something meaningful that is edifying to God’s people and glorifying to Him when we raised $28,117 for our Disaster Relief ministry albeit just a little short of our target. This money will be well spent when it is distributed this week to families who have homes they could not go back to for Christmas due to Hurricane Harvey. A Pastor in Houston who is very much into the recovery efforts of Harvey in his own church remarked: Our funds at the church for disaster relief are almost depleted. Thank God for CBF in coming up with the means to help our families in time for Christmas. What a joy it is to serve a God who sees, who hears, who is concerned, and who has come down to rescue His people! (Exodus 3:7-8)
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all !
在我計劃這次行程之前，神早已將一群人放在各個戰略性的位置上。藉著與他們接觸，我得著激勵和豐盛的收穫，也啟動了我作為新任總幹事的事奉定位和方向。這群人可說是我的巴拿巴。記得當保羅成為主的門徒時，神的子民因他曾經迫害基督徒的惡名而視他如瘟疫逃避他。巴拿巴卻主動為他作擔保，把他帶到耶路撒冷教會的當中。(使徒行傳9：26－27) 同樣，在哈城 (Hartford) 的龍姊妹和聶姊妹動員她的教會為我和我的師母婉華禱告，並將我介紹給她的牧師和另一教會的其他領袖。李業基牧師為我作介紹給大波士頓地區的教牧同工以及州區聯會的領袖。顧奇偉牧師代我們聯繫在紐約的多位牧師。 在NAMB服侍的冼志劍牧師專程來到紐約帶我去拜訪多間教會和牧者，他又帶領我穿梭於紐約上州和紐約市像迷宮般的大都會地鐵交通系統。願 神獎賞他們所付出的一切。
神又令我瞥見作為一個浸信會的大家庭所產生的力量。我們一起作了一件有意義的事。在過去數月，我們引導浸信會這個大家庭為「救災基金」籌款，共收集到28,117美元，只略低於我們的目標。這筆款項將會好好善用，在本週分發給那些因哈維颶風所影響、在期間還不能回到自已家園慶祝聖誕的家庭。 休斯頓的一位牧師說：我教會的救災基金幾乎用光了。 感謝神！著「美加華人浸信會聯會」的合時幫助及款項，讓他們過一個難忘的聖誕。為此，我衷心說：阿們！