2020 National-Level Online English Hosanna Outreach Program
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Hallelujah! May the peace, joy, and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
The USGA is pleased to announce that the National-Level Hosanna Outreach will take place as follows:
What: 2020 National-Level Online Hosanna Outreach
When: Sunday, November 22 at 2:00PM PST/5:00PM EST
Where: Online via USGA YouTube
Please invite your English-speaking friends to attend this evangelical event, which will include a message on “Navigating Uncharted Waters” and virtual hymnal presentations. A copy of the flyer below can be downloaded here.
Finally, please remember this evangelical effort in your prayers.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you always.
Winter Student Online Events
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Hallelujah! Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Please be informed that this year’s regional Winter Student Spiritual Convocations and College Youth Spiritual Convocations (CYSC) will be held completely online. To find out more information and/or register for the events, please refer to the following links:
For all other events, please visit https://us.tjc.org/events/
Please keep these important events in your daily prayers.
2020 European Pioneering Area Updates
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus from all brethren in Europe to all the True Jesus Churches in the world. Since the beginning of this year, we all have had difficulties keeping the Sabbath in the church. In March, the governments of the European countries issued exit orders to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
For our brethren in the European pioneering area, it is particularly difficult, especially in Spain and Italy. On one hand, they had to close their shops and stop working for a minimum of two months without any income. On the other hand, the European Coordination Center (ECC) is also not able to support the holy work onsite. Before, ECC sent regular care-team workers and volunteers to Madrid, Albacete, Empoli, Prato, Budapest, and Athens. But since the beginning of March, we cannot visit them because of the entry ban and the ban on assembly.
Thank God, the faith of our brethren is so strong that they still find good solutions to keep the Sabbath and hold Bible studies together. Everyone was very quick to adapt to this difficult situation so that we changed from “meeting in the church” to “online services.” For example, in Italy, the brethren have a “QQ-chat group” for Bible study and Sabbath Service. ECC started on 21 March with the regularly-held online Sabbath services. Thanks to the possibilities of Mannheim Church and the availability of Preacher Ko and his family, we can provide a full Sabbath including hymn singing, Bible study, and prayer sessions on YouTube in Chinese and German languages. More than 200 brethren from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Georgia, Poland, Belgium, and the Netherlands take part.
Although it is difficult to preach the gospel at this time, our brethren in the European Pioneering Area search for new ways to bring the word of God to other people. For example, in Empoli, our brethren collected money to buy face masks from China and offered them to the local hospital. To Georgia, our newest pioneering area, we had our first visit at the beginning of this year. There are around 40 brethren. Preacher Ko visited the families who all live in different areas in Georgia. We encouraged them to look for a place in the capital of Tbilisi and have Sabbath Services together. Then it will be easier to invite truth-seekers to the services. In the meanwhile, the ECC started to support the brethren with the registration of True Jesus Church in Georgia.
During this pandemic time, we still continue searching for a suitable place for our church in Italy and Budapest. With the grace of God, the brethren in Prato have already found a new place to rent. The brethren had a hard time after they had to leave the previously rented place at the end of 2019. There were always cancellations when looking for new places. But according to Ecclesiastes 3:1, everything has its time. Now the space of the new place in Prato is more than doubled of the old place and has its own entry with the possibility to put our church name on. After the pandemic, they can enjoy the Sabbath together and can easily invite friends and truth-seekers. The brethren in Budapest also found a very suitable place for a chapel. Currently, we are designing the floor plans to start very soon with the applications at the Hungarian authorities. In the future, we could use that place even for bigger church events like convocations or trainings. Please pray for that matter that Jesus supports and guides us.
May God keep you safe and in peace. All glory and honour to our Lord Jesus.
ECC Online Service
Empoli support the local hospital with face masks
USGA Ministry Report
Thank God, from the 1960s until now, the ministry in the USA has flourished into 25 churches, 5 houses of prayer, and 3 places of worship. We have 11 preachers and about 4,000 believers.
The Evangelical Department consists of the evangelical team and the Spanish evangelical team. They hold Evangelical Training Workshops every two years, assist with hymnal outreaches in various regions, and collect various preaching resources. The Spanish evangelical team supports the work in Central and South America as well as the work of Spanish translation and preaching to the Spanish-speaking community in the United States.
The Pastoral Department consists of the Marriage Coordination & Counseling Committee, the Religious Education Working Team and the National Youth Ministry Committee. The Marriage Counseling Committee is responsible for planning a biennial Marriage Coordinator’s Workshop. The work of the marriage coordinators is to introduce youth to each other and to assist in premarital counseling. A revised version of the J1 RE textbook has been finished and can be used in the upcoming school year in September. The Youth Ministry Committee is responsible for national youth ministry training and campus fellowships. In May of this year, the East Region held a Young Adult Spiritual Convocation. The theme was, “Finding Peace in Chaos.” It was the first time a seminar was held entirely online because of the pandemic. Thank God, nearly 90 youth attended. In addition to participants from the East Region, there were youth from the Midwest, Canada, and even the UK.
In addition to the Theological Training Program, the Training Department also organizes Minister Workshop as well as theological events for youth and adults each year. Over the past few years, over a hundred participants attend these seminars each time. The National Youth Theological Seminar was also held online this year because of the pandemic. In addition to classes, there were also group discussions and online fellowship.
The USGA has invested many human resources in assisting IA in multimedia ministry. The value of this ministry has been highlighted especially in the absence of physical gatherings.
At present, the ministry in the United States has reached a turning point, as the early workers who came to the States are getting older. The church’s ministry is gradually being handed over to the youth who have grown up in the USA. Therefore, the church must be proactive in rooting the youth firmly in the truth and pass down the good spirit of service to the next generation.
Japan Holy Work Status
Thank the Lord, Japan churches and members are currently well (Ps 91:15). Due to COVID-19, the coordination center decided to stop physical services, fellowship, and meetings starting in April 2020.
However, the pandemic brought out the warmth in people. Members of different countries felt like family. Many showed concern to Japan over phone calls and mail and also provided protective gear. The council of the coordination center has weekly meetings focusing on the pandemic to provide help to each church and try to understand the needs of the members. Although the physical services have come to a halt at the churches, the church council and fellowship leaders actively invite members and truth seekers to join online services. They also encourage everyone to continue making offerings so that the church will not go through financial hardship.
Currently, Elder and Mrs. Dong Wen Huang and Preacher and Mrs. Shun Chung Hsiao take turns to pastor the Kansai Prayer House, Nagoya, and Kobe Family Service Locations. The Kanto region consists of the Japan Coordination Center, five churches, and five family service locations and is pastored by Elder and Mrs. Yung Ji Lin. Elder Lin is also the speaker for the Theological Seminary in Japan. Deacon and Mrs. Chi Cheng Chang were pastoring for a short term from February to March. May the Lord remember their labor.
Three years ago, Brother Liji Kobayashi signed up as a theological student. Thanks go to the Taiwan General Assembly and the Japan Theological Seminary for assisting Japan in training preachers. Brother Kobayashi completed the Theological courses in June 2020 and will return to Japan for fieldwork. Two youths also dedicated themselves last year, but they were not able to go to Taiwan for classes due to their visa statuses. After many considerations, the decision was reached to establish the Theological Seminary at the Japan Coordination Center. Starting in September 2019, International Assembly and Taiwan GA has sent speakers to train the two students for three years.
There are seven council members in the Coordination Center. There are six churches, seven family service locations, and approximately 1200 members. There are three theological students and three resident pastors. Starting in May, there will be two full-time administrators. There is a hope to establish a Japan GA within five years.
Pray to the Lord to continue the growth of Japan’s holy work. We believe that the name of the Lord will be more glorious than the previous glory in Japan. May the Lord have mercy upon mankind on this world and keep all members of the True Church in His peace during this pandemic.
African Ministry Committee (AMC) Charity Fund
Hallelujah! May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
- Due to global climate change, natural disasters in Africa have continued. Droughts, locusts, and the global COVID-19 have caused the African economy to stagnate. Believers are unemployed and crops are not yielding harvest, bringing our brethren in Africa into an extremely critical state. There are believers who cannot pay rent, tuition, and medical expenses, and their lives are very difficult.
- For this reason, the African Ministry Committee under the IA has decided to set up the AMC Charity Fund to help the poor brethren in Africa to overcome the difficulties of the pandemic and provide support for any needs in the future.
- We ask that after each General Assembly, Coordination Center, and IA-directed Church assists in raising funds, the spirit of one family in Christ continues through the continual supply of love and intercession (2 Cor 8:12-14). Please encourage everyone to actively donate, be it big or small, that God may regard our combined offerings of “two mites” as an acceptable sacrifice.
- Each country is requested to collect the funds and transfer them to the account of the International Assembly in the USA. Please indicate that the purpose of the offering is for the AMC Charity Fund. For details, please contact the IA offices in the USA or Taiwan.
- May the grace and peace of the Lord always be with you!
Please contact your local church council if you’d like to make a donation to the AMC Charity Fund.
Development of True Jesus Church in India
The Gospel was preached to India by two (2) different groups of people.
On July 18, 1931, Zaccheus S. Ponniah was ordained as a deacon in the True Jesus Church Mission, Ipoh, in the Federal Malay State of Perak. He had originally come to Malaya around 1930 to work and he accepted the gospel during his period of stay. In 1932, he brought the gospel of Jesus Christ back to his native village in Madathupatti, Tirunelveli, south of Tamil Nadu state, India. With the guidance of God and the power of the Lord, six local churches were established within 300 miles. Afterwards, contact with Malaya was lost because of the second World War. Attempts were made later by this group of believers to contact our church in China, but they were not successful because of the border war between China and India at the time. Members were later scattered to other parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They brought the gospel to these new places where they settled and churches were established on various tea plantation estates. However, due to the lack of foundation in the truth, some of their teachings changed over the years.
In 1969, the gospel was again brought back to India by a believer who received the gospel in Malaysia. This time, it was an Indian brother by the name of James who was touched through hymn singing at our church in Sungai Petani. His process of searching for the truth began and he eventually got baptized in our church. He then brought the gospel back to India in 1969. In that same year, a few deacons from Malaysia preached the truth of gospel in Madras, in Tamil Nadu state. Church centers were established at Pammal, and at Ambatur (1969). Later, the first church was established in Kerala State (1977). The gospel was later brought to the other states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The initial few years saw many places of worship being set up with the support of the International Assembly (IA) and the South-East Asia Evangelical Center (SEAEC). Since then, a coordination board had also been established. Until now, the church continues to progress.
Today in India there are fourteen churches, four prayer houses and five places of worship located across three states in South India. The membership totals 1,568. There are also fifteen deacons, four deaconesses, five preachers, and a full-time holy worker serving in India. Pioneering work is being carried out in Northeast India. Thank God for His guidance every step of the way. May all the glory and praise be unto His holy name!
Suggested Guidelines for Holding In-person Church Services
After three months of stay-at-home orders from the government, most states are now gradually reopening businesses and allowing religious gatherings to take place. As such, the USGA encourages local churches to start to consider reestablishing in-person services; through this in-person fellowship and interactions, we can better understand and care for the spiritual well-being of our members during these difficult times. As you plan for reopening, please keep in mind the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in your respective areas as well as any mandatory orders issued by your local, state, or federal governments. We recommend the reopening of churches in stages with well-implemented preventative measures so that we can maintain safe environments for members to peacefully worship God. Please work with your Regional Coordinator to coordinate your starting date of holding in-person church services.
The following are some suggested guidelines to take into account as your local church transitions back to in-person church services:
- Intensify the cleaning and disinfection of your church building, especially high touch areas.
- All members must wear masks at all times other than to eat or drink and try their best to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from people not of their own household. An exception to masking would be for young children under age 2, who cannot tolerate masking.
- Promote healthy hygiene practices to members.
- Unless your local, state, or federal government expressly forbids the singing of hymns or prayer in tongues, the singing of hymns and prayer in tongues should be encouraged and practiced with masks on and with social distancing during in-person church worship services.
- When observing Holy Communion, ministers and council members to sanitize their hands, wear masks, and use disposable gloves when handling the bread and cup. The bread and the cup should be handed to members instead of having each member reach into a communal tray to retrieve the bread or cup.
Let us persevere and continue to reach out to members who are struggling in their faith during this time. We must be especially vigilant, that we do not lose any of God’s precious sheep through these trials. May God give us the wisdom to know His will during these unprecedented times and may He guide us to make sound decisions for our local churches in the upcoming months.
Malaysia General Assembly Divine Work Report
The truth was preached to Malaysia in 1927, and for seventy years our main focus of evangelism was on the Chinese population. In 1997, two Indian members were baptized in the Lord, and they preached this gospel to their friends and relatives. The church began to grow in the number of Indian members. In 2003, the gospel was then preached to a native village called Semai, where a total of twelve people were baptized. Praise and thank God, the first indigenous church was established in 2006 at the foot of the Cameron Highlands, called Tapah Batu Lapan. Around 2011, through some of our Myanmar believers who were working in Malaysia at that time, we found a new channel to preach to the Myanmese, and a Myanmar Fellowship center was established in 2015.
In the past few years, the growth rate of our membership has been between two and three percent.. At the moment, the total number of members in West Malaysia is around 3,539. Apart from Chinese, there are also sixty-four Indian members, around 110 Orang Asli members, 200 Orang Asli members from Sabah, as well as members of other nationalities. Malaysia has a total of twenty-nine churches, four prayer houses, eight evangelical points, and five pioneering areas in the Orang Asli Village.
Throughout the years, although the Malaysia General Assembly (GA) has tried to improve the evangelism culture, i.e. to instill into members the spirit of evangelism and to motivate all churches to focus on evangelism, we are still far away from this goal. The church still needs preachers that focus on pioneering work. Although there is much “good soil” in this Orang Asli pioneering ministry, so far only a few volunteers and full-time workers are actively involved.
Thanks to the grace of God, the International Assembly has managed to arrange workers from Sabah, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, and Taiwan to help us with evangelism and pastoral work. The West Malaysia GA will also arrange more full-time workers to participate in pioneering work in and out of the country, and train more local ministers to take care of the pastoral ministry, with the strategies listed below:
- Deploy backup national volunteers. The church will send ministers, and brothers and sisters who are retired and have free time, to different churches or regions to assist in local pastoral and evangelism work in those areas.
- Delegate pastoral work to local ministers and divine workers, Local divine workers will be entrusted with the role of a pastor. For example, they will be leading family altar cell group services at certain times and locations.
- Strengthen the regions. The GA will promote cooperation among churches to share resources and workers. The GA will allocate resources according to the needs of different churches and regions.
It is our prayer that God will help motivate more youths and workers to continue working for the Lord Jesus according to His will and Great Commission.
Overview of Holy Work in Canada
Canada is a country of immigrants. Cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are multicultural, with residents of different ethnic backgrounds. These ethnic communities maintain their own culture, language, and traditional customs while showing respect for each other and living in peace together. The diversity of people living in Canada, who share the bountiful resources of this vast northern country, makes the country a perfect ground for spreading the gospel to all nations.
Currently, the churches in Canada are in a transitional period as young workers are maturing and gradually taking over the responsibilities of pastoral and evangelical work. The Canadian Coordination Centre is actively training these young holy workers and placing emphasis on passing on the truth and faith in various areas of church ministry. At present, there are four churches, two prayer houses, and two other locations of worship in Canada. In total, the membership is around 930.
The comfortable living environment of Canada and its diversity in employment opportunities have attracted many church members from various countries to move there. In the past, most of them came from Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In recent years, many members from mainland China immigrated to Canada. Many of the newly immigrated members are young families. Thank God, they have been able to take care of each other in terms of livelihood and work together to further the gospel for church.
The Toronto church has many young families. There are around one hundred members in number, inclusive of students and teachers, within the Religious Education system. It has become evident that religious education in church has to be tightly connected with that in each family. This is a goal that the Toronto church is working on.
A few church members live more than a three hours’ drive from a local church, for example, in Lethbridge, which is about three hours away from Calgary, and Ottawa, which is five hours from Toronto. It is very inconvenient for these members to attend church services. However, these distant locations present themselves as potential places to hold services if the faith of these members could be well-cultivated. The Canadian Coordination Centre has encouraged local churches to look after the ministry in small regional areas. They are advised to actively schedule family services and dialogs on the basic doctrines. May the Lord Jesus guide and bless this ministry.
In terms of training, annual events include the National Adult Theological Seminar, Bible seminars on specific scriptural books which are held in all local churches consecutively, and National Youth Ministry Training. Besides these national training events, Sermon Speakers and Interpreters Workshops and Evangelism Strategy Workshops are held regularly by local churches.
Currently, many English-speaking members listen to sermons through translation. This situation likely reduced their understanding of the sermon messages and their conversancy of biblical insights. Therefore, the priority now is to intensively cultivate the youths to have a deeper understanding of the doctrines and to help them to develop a rooted faith. It is equally important to train them up to deliver sermons in English.
The churches in Vancouver and Toronto are planning to branch out. We pray that the Lord Jesus watch over and guide their plans. We also plead for all members’ intercession for the Canadian ministry. May everything we do glorify the holy name of the Lord Jesus.