Here are some prayer requests concerning our labor. Thank you for your kind remembrance of us. Read more…
Praise the Lord for the Training! Some days being here are not as easy as others, but I’m just learning to be open to the Lord and open to learning in general. Read more…
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We are so sorry that this little report of our migration to Germany is so long overdue. In a few days it will be three complete months since we arrived in Dusseldorf and started the process of immersion into life in Germany. We are so happy to be here and feel so blessed by the Lord to be able to participate with Him in His move on the earth. We are the most unqualified of all the saints, yet it seems that the Lord glanced in our direction when the call came, and we were able to give the Amen and go!
Being in Europe and particularly being in Germany is a major change for us. Every aspect of our life needed to be adjusted to be able to live here. In Dusseldorf, being a campus city means that many, if not most, of the people know some degree of English. So language has not been an issue. However, for our full integration into German life, we both feel it is important for us to go to school and learn to speak German. Joyce’s classes begin September1. The course that I will take will be in January and February.
Just last week we finally received our shipment of goods that we shipped from Irvine. It feels now that we have finally moved in and are completely here. It is a good feeling to get things settled and put away, so we can jump more fully into the labor here.
The church in Dusseldorf is a small church of about 40-50 saints. However, since the gospel move to Germany began earlier this year, we regularly have 70+ in our Lord’s day meetings. There are always about 20 of the refugees coming every Lord’s Day. It is such a joy to see them walking to the meeting hall from the train station as they arrive from many of the surrounding cities to be with us.
We have the Lord’s Table together in three languages: Deutsch, English, and Farsi (last LD we also had translation into Turkish). Every week there are new ones who have been invited by the refugees to come to our meetings. After the Lord’s Table we break into two groups. One group is for the prophesying meeting and the second group is what we call a teaching meeting for these new ones. We’ve been covering lessons from a series developed for this group of new ones called “A Healthy Walk with God.” It is a twelve lesson series covering some of the more basic aspects of the Christian life and truth. Week after week we speak these things to them and help them to call, pray-read, sing, and testify of their experiences in the Lord. It is so precious to see our babies learning how to call, sing, pray-read, and speak. Every one of them has a story and when they begin to tell you how they came to Germany, it will break your heart. These dear people lost everything, including their dignity, and all their posses-sions to get here. Now as they hear the gospel and the ministry opened up to them, they understand why God brought them here. The next wave of gospel trips, which are beginning now, are really shepherding trips to feed these newborns and keep them covered and fed. On the side of the church we are doing our best to prepare the container to receive
not just a few, but hundreds of these immigrants from the Middle-east. While the German government can be commended for opening up their boarders to receive these suffering peoples, the German government doesn’t have the heart of love and care that these dear ones need. Only the church can become the refuge for them. What they find with the saints is a real, safe, secure, and joyful place to settle down into. They have come home.
When we baptize them, they fully know and understand that because of their baptism, they can never go home to their country. In
many cases they can never see their families again. We have never experienced such costly baptisms before, where they are truly cutting the shorelines and launching into the deep. One by one as they are baptized, they are burning the bridges as they call on the Lord
going into the water.
There are too many stories to tell and there is not enough room in this letter to be able to pass on all that is happening. We miss all the dear saints from Irvine more than you can know. Having the understanding that you are there and you are backing us in this labor gives us the boldness and confidence to be here and to do what we do.
I would like to mention a few items for your prayer: [the first few items for prayer are listed under Detailed Prayer Items]
On a personal side, our interview with the immigration department is next Wednesday, September 7. They will be the ones to decide whether we can have a long term visa to stay here for the Lord’s interests. Please pray for our interview and that the government will grant us a longer term visa to stay in Germany for the Lord’s present recovery.
Thank you all for your loving care for us, for your prayers, and for your support. We will do our best to write further reports from time to time. Amen.
In His grace, Tom & Joyce
O never speak of sacrifice, a privilege untold,
Is to be His at any price,
No mortal tongue can e’er describe the freedom
of the soul,
All things are His, yes life and death, things pre-sent or to come,
Arise the holy bargain strike
As we are sitting here on a flight headed to a foreign land, I am reminded of various lines of hymn #473 that describe our current
The church in Irvine has been my home for the last 36 years. My parents migrated to Irvine in 1980. My early memories include having children’s meeting at Verano Place on the UCI campus while the adults met in a classroom on the University High School campus. Soon afterwards the church bought the property on Irvine Center Drive, and we were soon given the opportunity to participate in small tasks in helping to build the hall, such as spackling and painting a portion of the ladies bathroom. I recall the first wedding meeting held in Hall 1, in which the few young people at the time were quite excited because it was our serving ones getting married! I recall learning how to pray-read and exercise our spirits in the homes of serving ones who are still faithfully serving young people today.
Eventually we too married in the Irvine meet-ing hall and began to raise our children in the church here. Now as the last of our four children have gone away to college, we cannot help but praise and thank the Lord for His mercy in preserving us in such a healthy, stable, and rich church life, one in which our whole family has been shepherded to this day.
Our decision to migrate to Europe began when we consecrated ourselves in the early 1990’s, when the call was sounded of the Lord’s need. At the time we were a young couple with 4 young children. Even though we had the willingness to go, it seemed like there was not a way for us to go practically. Years passed and as the children began to grow and settle into their teenage years, making such a move seemed even more impossible and improbable. When we would suggest such a move, the children’s response was “you can move when we graduate.” Additionally, at the time our practical situation still did not seem to allow it.
As the children began to graduate, the Lord led and afforded us the opportunity to attend the Middle Age Training in Anaheim as
a couple. What a blessing that was to us! For one year we were flooded with the riches in His Word, and were able to blend with a number of saints.
We went to the training with the hope that the Lord would make us more send-able. However, as we were finishing the training in
2014, it was still unclear as to where and when the Lord would send us. We signed up for a gospel trip with the FTTA to Europe that was to occur in January 2016, with the hope that the Lord would burden us with a place. Because of the situation with the refugees, the trainees were mainly sent to Germany. At the conclusion of the trip, we were quite clear, the time was ripe for us to go to Germany. Through fellowship with various members in the Body, and in consideration of our practical situation, we felt that the Lord was leading us to make the move now.
We consider it a privilege that we can cooperate with the Lord at this time, while we are still able. It is a “holy bargain”, and so
freeing to be His at any price. We thank the Lord for the prayers and supply in the Body that has upheld us for this move. We also would like to thank the saints in Irvine for all their supply and shepherding. May the Lord gain what He is after in all of us for His move today.
—Sydney and Lina Kwan
The Summer School of Truth was held from July 24 -July 30. Read more…
This year’s Summer Bible Camp was held from July 18-July 22. This year, children enter-ing grades K-6 learned about the Apostle Paul, a chosen vessel of the Lord. Read more…
This summer’s regional College Training was held at Oak Glen from July 11-July 17. The topic of this year’s training was “The Revelation of the Mystery.” Read more…
In February the church sent 8 saints to visit churches in the 4 major cities of Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi to blend and fellowship for the mutual encouragement between the church in Irvine and the churches in India. Read more…
Dear brothers and sisters, Read more…