Henry’s January 2022 Thank You Letter
Dear mission partners,
The arrival and rapid spread of the new COVID omicron variant at the end of last November stirred up concerns around the world. Anxieties were creeping in as the direction of the pandemic became unpredictable once again. Events planned to celebrate Christmas and New Year were in danger of being cancelled at the last minute should the government decide to impose further COVID restrictions. Praise the Lord! In the midst of uncertainty, our team of staff and volunteers at the Mission Centre had the opportunity to experience His sufficient grace for us.
In response to the omicron situation, we implemented vigorous COVID prevention measures and lateral-flow test-taking for those attending events at the Mission Centre. On Christmas Eve, we opened the door and invited families from Hong Kong who had just arrived in the UK to attend a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and enjoy a hotpot dinner. It was a lovely evening when we spent time together, listening to Christmas carols, reading scripture passages from the Gospel of Luke, and focusing our eyes on the baby Jesus born for mankind. This was the first Christmas holiday new Hong Kong immigrants had experienced in a foreign land. Perhaps our gathering seemed quite ordinary, lacking the vibrance and glamour they used to find in Hong Kong. But I believe that this Christmas Eve brought them the good news of great joy. I also pray for heavenly peace to come into their lives.
At the end of December, we resumed our Year End Student Camp in person, turning our mission center into a home away from home to welcome a new group of Chinese students in the UK. The Year End Camp has always been a key component of the COCM Mandarin student ministry. The pandemic brought restrictions on how we could run the camp this time. We had taken measures such as limiting the number of people at this camp to prevent the spread of COVID infection. I was surprised by how soon the camp was fully booked, and nearly 100 people attended in the end. It felt like a big family when we gathered inside the mission center to feast on spiritual food, pray and worship, laugh and cry. God’s protection kept us safe and sound. The work of the Holy Spirit was evident among the campers: seekers were willing to open their hearts to respond to God’s love, new believers were eager to read the Bible and learn to be disciples of Jesus. Brothers and sisters were courageous in revealing their inner struggles as they testified of the wonderful things God had done in their lives.
Give thanks to God that more than 20 young Christians accepted our invitation to serve as small group leaders at the Year End Camp. They came to the COCM Mission Centre a day earlier to attend a training session. They came with willingness to humble themselves, follow the example of Jesus, and be servants among their peers. During the camp, they functioned like little shepherds in their small groups, caring for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their group members. Their courage, compassion, and enthusiasm moved their group members and deeply moved me.
More than a decade ago, my wife and I started to pray that God would raise up a new generation of young people who would dare to go against the current of this world and be examples for others to follow as they follow Christ. Whenever I see young people willing to give their time and energy to take part in mission work, I am encouraged and thankful. May God continue to lead them in the new year and help them to grow as they serve in their respective campuses and churches as good soldiers of Christ.
As we start a new year, I pray to God that He would continue to use the COCM Mission Centre to bless the Chinese diaspora in the UK and Europe, proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, help believers to grow towards spiritual maturity in Christ, and encourage them to step out to participate in global mission. Please pray for our team. May God grant us wisdom to plan our work throughout the year and gifts and abilities to manage and maintain our mission center. May our training ministry equip brothers and sister better for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
Serving together in Christ,
General Director Rev. Henry Lu