by Pastor Joshua So
My wife Anita and I came from Hong Kong; our church speaks Cantonese. Cantonese is one of the dialects in China and the official language in Hong Kong.
In the early 1980s, Pastor Lee Sze Fun traveled from Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco to share with me a vision from the Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference which was to build a Chinese church in San Francisco area. After two months of fervent prayers and digging deep into the fundamental faith of the Mennonites, I was happy to accept Pastor Lee’s invitation and started the San Francisco Chinese Mennonite Church at the same location it is now.
Since then, a lot of preparation work has been carried out, finding a location, printing promotional materials and so on but we saw the hands of God’s through many prayers. November 8, 1980 was our first Sunday worship service and we worshiped with a thankful heart. On November 15, 1980, as the Conference planned to come to present our church with a certificate, I got an emergency call from my father in Hong Kong. It was heartbreaking to hear that my beloved grandma was seriously ill. My family earnestly urged me to go back. I felt I should go back but what about the new church? It was tough! I called every day to check on grandma’s progress, only to find out that she was not getting better. I cried out to God in my prayers, and brothers and sisters also walked with me in prayers until one day, I picked up the phone and told my father that I planned to stay because the church needed me. Then my father responded with relief that grandma’s condition was no longer life-threatening! Praise the Lord! He let me make the decision and he took care of my worries.
With God’s many blessings, we celebrated our 39th anniversary this November with Pastor Jeff Wright among us and also grateful to be part of the Franconia Mennonite Conference. Our church has many ongoing programs like Sunday worship with Sunday School & morning prayer meeting, Tuesday bible study, Rejoice Together Fellowship, special outreach events, festival & holiday celebrations, a churchwide retreat, nursing home & hospital ministry and intergenerational church members care ministry to equip and nurture our congregation. More than a dozen brothers and sisters join hand in hand, to serve the hospital ministry with joy.
Lately, our church had a new vision, to be the salt and light for Jesus to a group of Chinese restaurant workers in the San Francisco area. The Chinese Restaurant Workers Fellowship was born. This ministry’s first meeting was on December 10 and followed by the Christmas celebration on December 24. Unfortunately, there is no other church in the San Francisco area also serving this group of workers and that also reflected the significance and importance of this ministry. Restaurant workers absolutely need the gospel due to their emptiness of mind, working hours and boring, long hours; many of them are addicted to bad habits. Even though we acknowledge how hard it was to reach out for this group of people, we assured ourselves that their hearts need Jesus the most.
We believe God loves to save their souls and this ministry is in consensus with the vision and mission statement of the Mennonite belief.
Please pray with me for our financial needs and for more willingness of heart to share our vision down the road for this new workers’ ministry. We appreciate all your support, care and prayers for the future of our church.