Below is an excerpt from my 2019 Winter newsletter.
My Chinese Church Choir: United in Prayer
In the last newsletter, I mentioned joining the church’s 35-strong Everlasting Love adult choir.
Our main means of communication is via phone text messaging. When I became a choir member, I joined two chat groups: Women’s Voices (altos and sopranos) and Daily Scripture Readings. The former announces choir rehearsal information, worship reminders and special prayer requests. The latter lists scriptures for the day, which we are to read and reply to as having done so. Because the scripture readings are all in Chinese, a difficult challenge for me, one of the sopranos was concerned.
To make me feel more integrated with the messaging group, she suggested we add an English chat group, where others could join and learn English Christian vocabulary. Scriptures in English and Chinese could be posted and I could give a daily prayer, which I would record for everyone to listen to, practice and repeat on their own.
Since we began our English Christian group, we’ve had several congregation members outside of the choir who have also joined us. Every morning, the first thing I do is post our daily prayer and read it aloud as a voice message. Throughout the day, others also record the daily prayer and read it aloud to the group. While I do pray every day, I must say that praying for and with these special Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ has made me feel more connected to the Christian faith than at any other time in my life.
End of newsletter excerpt
Current Circumstances: Daily English Prayer Continues
As already reported, all public gatherings have been canceled across the country and this suggested policy by local governments is still in effect. This includes religious places of worship, whether that be temples, mosques or churches. Luzhou’s Protestant church has turned to online worship services on Sunday, which can be watched on a downloaded App. You can hear and see our pastors taking turns to give the message, and sing along with taped music and words flowing across your cellphone or computer screen.
Although the choir is not meeting for practices or worship, we continue to keep in contact and I still post our daily English prayer.
One individual is in charge of posting our scripture readings. These are in Chinese, with a majority of Christian cellphone users having the Bible app installed on their phones. They can meditate on the full Bible at any time, anywhere, easily looking up verses and enlarging them for easier reading. The Bible app also has the ability to translate into any language. I can easily highlight any Chinese scripture and move to “translate” for a full English version. How convenient for me!
As for the English prayer, that is my responsibility and I take it very seriously. No matter where I am, I make sure to post our group prayer. Because of the world time changes, with China 13 hours ahead of me in Illinois, I usually post the prayer in the evening for my choir members to read as their day begins.
A Precious Document
In January, one of our choir members decided to compile into one document all prayers and scripture readings we had posted for 2019. This document she made available to all of us who were interested. Of course, my 365 prayers were included, along with the dates posted.
So much devotion, care, concern and love is found in that compiled document. It is something that I treasure and we choir members take comfort in, especially in this unbelievable situation (that of the virus) that we find ourselves in.
I leave you with my message this evening, just posted for tomorrow’s new day in China:
Today’s Prayer: Dear Lord, As each day ends, help me reflect upon changes I must make to better serve you. As each new day begins, lead me to become a better friend, a better family member, a better person and a better Christian. In your name I pray, Amen.
From Illinois, here’s wishing you 平安 (ping an), peace, for your day.