As a church, we are delighted to partner with Johannesburg Gospel Church, a Chinese fellowship that meets at our chapel every Sunday. Recently the fellowship celebrated two years of their existence and on being on our campus. I had the privilege of interviewing Pastor William Tam and his wife Cecelia about what God has been doing in their quest to reach out to Chinese in our city:
Ndaba: What have you seen God do in the last years of your ministry?
Pastor Tam: It has been such a joy and privilege to see the SA Johannesburg Gospel Church being established on 14 August 2011. In the past two years, we experienced so much of the Lord’s gracious provision for our needs that we cannot recount them all. And we are particularly grateful to RUC for giving us a space in which we can worship God.
However, there is one experience which I would like to share:
We met a young man at a flea market and I asked him whether he knew what the origin of Easter was and he told me that he did not know, he said that the only thing he knew about Easter was that his business would start picking up round about that time. I also asked him whether or not he has heard of Jesus Christ and he just simply replied “No”. So I told him about the true meaning of Easter. Finally, he came to see his own need for Christ. The word “Jesus died for us and He is our Saviour” echoed in his mind, he then became a Christian and returned to China. He is currently sharing the gospel with his family and friends, and thus, the gospel was spread.
Ndaba: What are some of the challenges you face in reaching Chinese in Joburg?
Pastor Tam: For us, there are some challenges of reaching the Chinese in Joburg, as they are very hard working people, especially when they arrive at a new land like South Africa, they break their backs to make profit. In their mind, the only thing that is trustworthy and reliable is money in their pockets, and hence they work throughout the entire year with little or no leave. When they find out that Christians worship on a Sunday, they will see it as a lost opportunity to make even more money, so we share the gospel with them at their work place and have Bible studies during the weekdays.
There are also other Chinese who will set up a business in other outlying areas, and it is very difficult to reach them, all we can do is to give them some pamphlets with some DVDs and through these we are able to reach out to them.
Ndaba: We are privileged to be partners in the gospel. How can we pray for you?
Pastor Tam: Please help us in our ministry by praying for us in the many challenges we face in bringing the gospel to the Chinese people. In addition to the difficulties mentioned above, there are many other problems:
- For those Chinese who are religious, their religion is a mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism and ancestor worship. Superstitions and false beliefs cloud their minds, hindering their ability to grasp the grace and love of God. Pray that the Spirit can open their minds and free them from their ancient ignorance.
- Pray that the Lord will send more labourers who will have the heart and the desire to help us in reaching out to more Chinese people.
- Pray that our brothers and sisters will be firm in their faith and for the Spirit to guard them against every sin, heresy and attack against the one true Faith.