December 24th, 2013
Dear friends of Faith Jireh Christian Commission,
Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King! Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) This year is very special for us because it marked the 10th anniversary of our first planted church in Oakland, California. In addition, Rev. Charisse has also finished all her course work for the Master of Theology program at Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary. Now, this we know: Some trust in money and some in fame, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God for He has been very gracious and faithful to us.
The time spent at Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary allowed Rev. Charisse to meet respectable scholars, teachers and enthusiastic seminarians. Dr. Shiu-lun Shum has really inspired Rev. Charisse to study the language of Greek for the interpretation of the Bible, while Dr. Andres Tang has expanded her horizon in Asian Theologies and Contextualization. Upon returning, Rev. Charisse will finish her thesis and continue her pastoral ministry, teaching the bible here and overseas.
Brothers and sisters of Faith Jireh Christian Church attended Biblical seminaries twice this year on How to Interpret the Bible by Dr. Sam Tsang. We also had Pastors Richie and Fanny of Hong Kong Short-term Mission Center and their son here this summer equipping us on evangelism skills. Together, we shared the gospel in Oakland and college campus in nearby city. We now have cell groups for couples, young adults (career), college students, as well as junior and senior high school students. God has raised up brothers and sisters in each group learning to lead bible study and serve. This Christmas, all the cell groups are coming together to raise funds for local mission and overseas mission with the passion that the Christmas story can be shared each year locally and to the ends of the earth. We are praying for God’s guidance in allowing us to reach outside of our community in 2014.
We missed sister Zhong Hua Mo as she went to be with the Lord at the end of 2012. She joined FJCC because she had the passion of planting churches and sharing the gospel even at the age of 81. She served as our pianist every Sunday, and as church school teacher when we expanded our senior ministry. She was our model of a faithful servant. We could always count on sister Mo as the encourager when we started a new ministry. She also started piano lessons for our high school students so that they could serve as pianists too. In her last days, though no longer able to attend church services, she watched the clock at home and remembered us in prayers when it was time for our worship every Sunday. Every year this time she would bring in Christmas cards and gifts for our pastoral staffs and brothers and sisters. This Christmas, we sure miss sister Mo. It’s truly God’s blessing for sister Mo to be with FJCC in the past years. God has blessed us with faithful seniors who worship and fellowship together with us every week.
This summer six of our brothers, Pastor Ivy and Rev. Charisse were walking to their cars after attending the Bay Area Bible Conference in San Francisco and we got robbed by two young men. No money was stolen but few of us got minor injuries. Back in our own city, Oakland Police department continues to suffer from major budget cuts. Safety has been a concern for us and now it has gotten worse. Despite of that, Pastor Ivy has been faithfully answering her call from God to serve in the Oakland neighborhood. We thank God for His protection and pray that God will continue to protect us and use us so that this community can turn to God.
As we count our blessings at the end of the year, we continue to trust in our Lord for His provision. We do need financial support as our ministries keep expanding, and our rents and expenses keep going up. We hope you will consider us in your mission budget and prayers. God supplies, but He does so through dedicated individuals who see the necessity of FJCC’s work, and sacrifice to help implement it. May you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Faith Jireh Christian Commission
Faith Jireh Christian Commission