By Betty Young
For many years I held in my heart a desire to visit the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the land of my ancestors. I wanted to walk the villages where generations of my family lived out their lives. It wasn’t until President Nixon visited in 1972 that I, along with other Americans, viewed images of Mao-era China. This presidential visit ended 25 years of no communication and no diplomatic ties between the two countries.
On January 1, 1979, the United States established diplomatic relations with the PRC which opened up opportunities to travel there. Without hesitation, I signed up with one of the many San Francisco Chinatown travel agencies that started to offer tours to China—the only option for travel to China available at that time. If you wanted to see China, the only way was to join a tour group with a tour company approved by the Chinese government. Read more
By Frankie Cheng
Have you ever felt like you were trapped or were missing something in your life? I have often felt like this and last year, I signed up for the women’s Empower class, hoping that God would resolve my problems. In the end, God freed me from my spiritual bondage and taught me many things along the way. I want to share the three things that God has done for me during this past year of being part of the Empower class.
God has released me from the bondage of fear. I used to say “no” to changes, new opportunities, things that I have never done before. I am scared of many things, like risks, failure, people’s rejection, and the thing I fear the most is…talking! I even labeled myself as “quiet and not good at talking!” Fear and anxiety have hindered me from personal growth. I could not fully enjoy my life and I often had regretful feelings. God has taken me out of my comfort zone through this class by pushing me to lead groups, pray for strangers, and care for other sisters. God has helped me overcome fear through reading, writing, doing homework, attending lectures, and prayer. I was able to enjoy a solo hike after God empowered me to be brave and conquer my fear. This lesson was rewarding. These days, fear still exists in me, but it is much less impactful. Read more
BY Dorcas Cheng
Back in November 2019, our church just finished its Missions Conference. On the last day, during prayer time, I went to Pastor Alan and Amy to receive prayer and they asked what I wanted Jesus to do for me. In tears (of course), I replied, “Courage, I want Jesus to give me courage.” Then the pandemic hit and I thought I would stay home and do nothing. But nothing can stop God and He said to me, “Didn’t you ask for courage? I will give you courage.” Sure enough, God opened up opportunities to step out of my comfort zone with courage. Read more
God, I know that I’ve been anxious and cautious…I’ve been sharing with you my thoughts about D leaving for college and how it will all play out. I’ve expressed to you anxieties and fears but yet, I realized today I haven’t been straightforward with you. I am using these phrases: “Where the Lord leads…” and “I’m ok with whatever you want.” “God, you know what’s best for her so I trust you.” Deep in that tiny little corner of my heart, I’ve not been honest with you Lord.
And you know what God’s answer was to me??? That morning, drinking my coffee, spending time with him, He said this to me loud and clear, “You are being so wimpy! Why are you beating around the bush? TELL me what you want for her…I DARE you to ask of me…stop playing safe and take a leap of faith.” Read more
“You are unattractive! Unwanted! Unloved!” Believing these lies distorted my self-worth, killed my dream and almost destroyed my life.
Being born in a poor and dysfunctional family in Vietnam, I was not allowed to be in school beyond the elementary level. I was ashamed of being identified as an unloved and low-educated person. I thought if I excelled in my accomplishment, people would love me. So, I became a perfectionist myself and worked very hard to earn a nursing degree after I arrived in the U.S. Outwardly, I was proud of my achievement. Inwardly, I felt insecure, inadequate and unconfident about myself. Read more
By Peter Chow
“…yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
For most, 2020 has been a challenging year…the pandemic…social distancing…shelter-in-place….lockdowns. There are a lot of negativities when we think about these words. But despite these circumstances, a few things that God has been teaching me through all this are that He is always working in everyone’s lives — including MINE and that each and every day, there is always something we can rejoice in the Lord about.
During the last session of our Missions Conference, Pastor Brett really spoke to me about the dire needs of many living in our county. But he also offered hope…if 160,000 households gave $730 each, $117 million of rent debt could be erased immediately. So the very next morning, I wanted to participate in this cause and decided to donate $1000. God has blessed me so generously throughout the year and this was the least I could do. Two things happened after this that totally demonstrated God wanted to speak to me through this.
A couple of days after I donated, I received a postcard in the mail. It was to notify me that I am part of a class action lawsuit against a car manufacturer because of a faulty part which caused unreasonable repairs. This was a car that I no longer owned, but in fact I did pay for those repairs 4 years ago. I just had to fill out the form and I could get back up to $1000! At that point, I knew this was a ‘God-thing’ — it was no coincidence. It’s not like I get these postcards everyday — but I do get a few of these postcards throughout the year. Anyways, I submitted the form online but who knows, as a lot of times nothing will come out of this so it’s not a guarantee that I will get any money back. But the fact that it was for $1000 really confirmed that God was prompting me to make the donation.
Exactly, a week after I donated, I received a letter in the mail. It looked like a check. It was from some Claim Administrator. I opened the letter to confirm that it was a check but I didn’t look at the amount until later. Usually these checks don’t amount to much. I think I’ve gotten between $5 to $40 from these similar checks before. Later that night, when I looked at the check more closely, I became speechless and astounded. It was for $1,029.19! I did some research and found out that I had submitted this claim a year ago.
The point of this writing is not to say that when you donate, you should expect God to give you back the money. What I am most happy about is the fact that God wanted me to participate in His cause, He confirmed it, and how He revealed Himself to me through this incident. When you have been a Christian for a long time, sometimes it feels these things only happen to other people. I’m so glad that this time it happened for me. In the bigger picture, I learned that God is really the CFO of all my finances — I just work in the finance department….with JOY!!!
I served at the Women’s Empower One this year. When it came to serving time as a prayer minister I was attacked with a stomach ache. I prayed to God and said, “I know you called me to serve you right now, I can’t if my stomach aches. In Jesus’ name heal me. I reject the enemy’s scheme; God’s plan is much bigger.” Within 5 mins, my stomach ache left my body and I was able to pray for the ladies for the next 2 hours.
Earlier in the week, during my fasting time, as a passing thought, I thought if I prayed in word pictures, it’ll be cool. As we were in prayer time, the Holy Spirit just downloaded pictures into my mind to prayer over the women. Very cool!
The Bible teaching was on Joseph’s story. This story has always resonated with me. God reminded me to surrender my broken family relationships in my natural family to Him. I do not need to agonize over it. If He wills, in time the broken relationships can be miraculously mended. God reminded me that He has granted me a huge spiritual family that has been through various life stages with me. Christ’s body lifted me up in prayer, we witnessed miracles together, and He is helping me grow a stronger faith in the Lord Jesus.
I am thankful to Jesus for a spiritually soul refreshing time at the 1st Virtual Empower Women’s Retreat. Nothing can hinder the Holy Spirit from working…not distance, not space, not even different time zones.
It was a short and sweet time with God and many women at the Empower Retreat. The most memorable moments from the retreat were God’s swift and humorous response to me: “I see you. my dear, I do!”
The theme of the retreat was centered around the breaking of lies. On the first night, we were asked to write down the lies about ourselves in the mirror. My lists were not quite uplifting: I am a loser, not as good as others, unworthy, no one looks at me. Then a voice answered me, “I look at you. Yes, I do!”
At the retreat, I realized that so many women were like me, who suffer from low self-esteem. They think they are unlovable, desperate for other people’s love and acceptance. They want to perform well so that others would look at them and pay attention. Even for long time Christians and we still sometimes fall into Satan’s scheme. Thanks to God who spoke to my heart that night. He confirmed to me who I am, a beloved daughter of our dear Heavenly Father. He does not need me to do anything in return. He made me, and He knows me well. Read more
By Keaton Wong
Near the end of November, I had a dream that all my friends at school and I were giving out gifts to people in need. This dream actually happened right after Operation Christmas Child. Throughout my life, it hadn’t really occurred to me that after all the years I’ve been at church, this Operation Christmas Child event hasn’t gone past our church boundaries; all our boxes and gifts were all being donated and packed by our church community. I felt like that this opportunity of gift giving should be available to everyone and not just our church. This actually became a reality on December 18, 2020 with our first Healing Grove Christmas outreach. During that event I saw a lot of people…people who brought their own friends from school and just in general, a lot of people I didn’t know, which was really good because I was able to work with people of all backgrounds to give to people in need, which was really cool.
What I learned about God through this is that He can do anything. I didn’t know that one simple dream could bless over 500 people! I thought I needed months to plan this but you know, through prayer and the right connections, it worked out really well in the end. In addition, what I learned about myself that day, is that if you ever have a dream, big or small, you should never keep it to yourself because you never know that it could actually bless multiple people in just one day.