The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 29

China Mission: an Outreach of Herald B-P Church

Herald B-P Church was founded in Feb 2004 with the inherent call for mission. Its name simply means “to proclaim, announce or acclaim” the good news of the Christian gospel (Lk 2:10). It has always exercised a two-prong calling in its ministry: local evangelism and overseas preaching of the Word. This is in line with fulfilling the Great Commission of Christ (Mt 28:20) – to go into all the world to make disciples, starting from its local environment to as many countries as the Lord would lead such as Thailand, China and East Africa (Acts 1:8). In this write up, I will focus only on the mission outreach to China.

Personal Testimony of the Call to Minister in China.

In May 2000, at the close of a sermon delivered by an elderly Chinese pastor, Rev Joseph Cheng, he issued a call for Christians to join him in a ministry in China. I was the only one who raised my hand to indicate my interest. After the church service, Rev Cheng spoke to me and specifically told me, “You are joining me in one month’s time in China.” This 70-year-old pastor from China, imprisoned for 14 years for his faith in Christ in the 1950s and 60s, migrated to the US after his release. His suffering only prepared him to return to China in the 70’s, not only to preach the gospel to his people but to heal many of various diseases. He recorded a total of more than 400 signs of miraculous healing under his ministry in various parts of the Mainland. An example of miraculous healing as reported by Rev Cheng was a 70-year-old woman who had very severe gum and dental problems which gave her endless pain. Her consultants and dental specialists in Shanghai and Beijing did not help at all. She came to listen to Rev Cheng preach when he came to her village, and received the prayer of healing before home. But it was only a year later that this woman came to Rev Cheng’s preaching session again, and told him that he had prayed for her before. He asked what had happened then. She replied that her dental pain had all disappeared and she had a new set of teeth. Praise the Lord!

A month later, I accompanied Rev Cheng to visit a few cities and suburbs in the countryside of the north-eastern coast of China to preach the Word. In one of the city’s house churches, a lady evangelist shared how she was so sick with a liver disease, and had come to Rev Cheng for healing as there was no other means of help for her illness. Hospitalization was out of reach, either too expensive or too far away. She received immediate healing after Rev Cheng prayed for her. This sister gave her life to become a full-time evangelist in one of the major cities along the eastern coastal region. She told me of an interesting episode – how one of the places for student ministry was closed down by the authorities. Among some of the University students who were converted to faith in Jesus was a Japanese student who was so enthusiastic about her new-found faith. When she returned to her hometown in Japan, she elatedly told her dad about it. Her dad, a high-ranking officer in Japan, was angry with her conversion. When he met his China counterpart in a national meeting, he complained about his displeasure with his daughter’s conversion. His Chinese counterpart returned to China and ordered the closure of the students’ meeting place, to the dismay of this sister’s heart. But she never blamed the Japanese student.

In my observation, the ministry of healing was prevalent in the 1990s and early 2000 especially in the house-churches in the countryside. When I preached in Fuzhou in the early 2000, I was told to remain in the pulpit area after preaching, and those who sought prayers for healing, assistance in family, marriage problem, financial or business matters would come to me and I would lay hands on them to petition to God for help. One depressed sister asked for God to answer her prayer. After I prayed for her, another sister told her in front of another, “Dedicate your house for worship and God will bless you and all your problems would be resolved.” Perhaps, this was how the house-church movement spread all over China. It seemed that those who opened their homes as places of worship were greatly blessed of God. We visited a few house-churches in the city and countryside. Believers were hungry for God’s Word.This experience was the beginning of my involvement in the gospel work in China.

Herald’s China Mission Team in Fuzhou

From 2005 to 2011, Herald B-P Church supported an evangelist, Paul Ye, who was trained in Chin Lien Bible Seminary and sent to Fuzhou to serve among the government-recognized churches or Three-Self churches in Fuzhou. I led our first mission team of three members including our full-time worker, Ee Meng, and brother Poh (This was in 2002 when we are in Moriah). We conducted a three-day conference for church leaders on How To Interpret the Bible in a Three-Self Church. We did visitation of several families living within the vicinity of the church. A second mission trip took place 2006. The team included Ee Meng, Steven Yeo, Steven Neam and Mary Tan. The team moved from Fuzhou to a town and city in Shandong. Each member of the team was given the task of teaching from the Bible on how to manage church events and also sharing lessons from the Book of Revelation.

On the second trip to Fuzhou, God answered our prayer for a childless couple who were in their early 30s and had been married for 7 years. They anxiously requested of us to pray to God for the wife to conceive. We prayed for their need, and left. In the following year when I made a trip to Fuzhou alone, the couple came joyfully to show me God’s gift of a handsome baby boy in the mother’s arms. Praise God for answering our prayers.

We supported Pr Ye for 6 years. Ye stopped his ministry because he was not well. He requested Herald to discontinue our support for him.

Teaching at Bible Institute

In April 2005, I was invited to teach in a newly-formed Bible Institute in Shandong which belonged to a house church. I was the first foreign lecturer who specialized in teaching Systematic Theology. The Institute needed more foreign lecturers to teach specialized subjects such as Greek, Apologetics, Christian Psychology, Christian Counselling and other courses, while their own local teachers taught other courses on Book studies or topical studies. The Institute was located in a commercial building, and accommodated 40 full-time Bible students. These students lived and studied in the rooms in the building. Basic meals with 3 vegetable dishes and 1 soup were provided with rice and mantou or bread. The students do not leave the building unless necessary. Sunday worship services were also held in the building. The rental for the entire floor of 8,000 sq ft was just S$1,500/- annually.

The Bible Institute was established by a businessman who saw the need to train young people from 17 to 24 years in the Province of Yunnan. Many of them were either out of school or unemployed. He invited them to the Institute to be trained in the Reformed Faith, and after graduation to return to their provinces to support the house churches. All seemed well when he began a new textile business, but he started to cough out blood. The first two times when it happened he thought it was nothing serious and ignored it. When he recovered, and was going to join his uncle in a big enterprise, he threw up blood again. He then told his wife it was not good to continue in the business and said, “Let us serve the Lord from this day on.” So they started the work of the Bible Institute in 2004. His two sons received theological education locally and in Singapore, and returned to the Mainland to strengthen their father’s calling in the Bible Institute. They joined the faculty to conduct the Bible courses and assisted in the administration of the school.

In 2009, the Institute had to move to new premises urgently because they were advised by the local authorities to discontinue the work of the Institute. In the following years, it shifted to three or four other locations. This made the faculty and students more determined to study the Word of God, only with more caution. They had to ensure that no one would be suspicious of the house or premises being used for Bible school training. But two years later it returned to the previous town to continue its ministry of Christian education. However, the student intake was reduced to 20 or less, and the courses were held in a home setting for safety reasons. This facilitated a closer bonding between students and lecturers.

On the 10th Anniversary of the Bible Institute held in the provincial capital in 2013, about 106 students, including those who had graduated, came for the celebrations. Three foreign lecturers were also present, including myself. The Institute already has about 300 graduates but only a third was able to attend the celebrations. Many shared how they had benefited from the training at the Institute. One of the outstanding fruits of the Institute was evident in a poor southern province where 41 graduates are now serving in the house churches there. Before that the southern churches did not have theological grounding because the support from the West was mainly for infrastructure and equipment, and there was very little teaching from God’s Word. With these graduates serving there, the churches now have Bible Study groups and music ministry. Believers in the Miao tribe have a very strong choir and a church music department.

Herald’s involvement in this outreach now focuses on supporting the dean of the Bible Institute, and his family, and I teach Systematic Theology twice a year.

Training of Evangelists in North-Eastern Region of China: Harbin and Jilin


The call to minister the Word of God in Harbin began with the invitation to conduct a Christian Pre-Marital Counselling course at a University students’ conference of 170 students in Beijing in 2010. A full-time lady worker from Harbin who was helping out at this conference invited me to teach 40 of the evangelists and church leaders she had gathered in Harbin. She felt that they needed a lot of help with marital relationships with their spouses. From Beijing, she brought me to Harbin for a week of instruction in a training centre located in a village an hour away from the city centre. As one entered the village, a distinct stench from the open sewers was obvious. But after some time, one gets used to it. Thank God for enabling His workers to adapt to such environment.

The training centre was a house converted to church use on Sunday, but doubled up as the monthly training centre for the church evangelists. The sisters in charge were very hospitable and provided food from their own farms. The lectures I conducted were from 8.30 am to 8.00 pm, with short breaks in between. The schedule was tight, tedious and challenging. It was programmed as such due to the rare opportunity for the participants (mostly farmers) to find spare time in the week days, and to travel the long distance to get to the training centre. A room of about 200 sq ft was used as a teaching place as well as for sleeping in the night, sometimes accommodating 15 to 20 persons on the floor covered by thin mattresses.

I conducted a marital survey among the participants and discovered that most of them were facing problems in their marriages – severe lack of communication between the spouses, as well as parents and children, no clear understanding of the husband-wife roles in the union. At the end of the course, the participants expressed appreciation for the counselling course. After the seminar, one of them reconciled with his wife and stopped the process of divorcing his wife. Other couples shared that there have been improvements in their marriages.

The lady worker and her husband, a pastor and lecturer in a Bible School, have made much progress in the training of the church leaders from all over Harbin. They bought a condominium for teaching and housing 30 participants for each training period. In the day, the lectures are held in the bedroom. At night, the ladies sleep on mattresses on the floor of the living room, and the men sleep in the bedroom. Together with other foreign lecturers, more than 1000 participants have been trained in Bible courses, church management, marital counselling, apologetics, Christian counselling in the last 7 years. Due to some sensitivities, the training centre has stopped conducting courses for this year. The pastor and his wife in charge of this programme now travel to different cities to conduct training among the evangelists in smaller meeting places and homes.


When Evangelist N became a Christian at the age of 19 years in 1991, a senior Preacher who led him to Christ told him to take up the Bible to teach in the Sunday School. He had no Bible training before, but he did it obediently because he was the only male believer there who could read the Bible and had secondary school education. He traveled everywhere in Jilin province to share the gospel faithfully. Within 20 years, many converts were brought into the kingdom and he appointed leaders to conduct Sunday worship service, which later became house churches.

Evangelist N had been imprisoned for 9 months for his faith before. He stood strong in the test, being unafraid to live for Christ and went on to set up 300 gospel stations in the last 20 years in the whole of Jilin Province.

In 2010, he came to Singapore to receive a short-term Bible training in a Bible Seminary. One Saturday afternoon, he walked into Herald B-P Church premises and asked me to teach him Reformed Theology. He returned home to Jilin after taking a few lessons with me.

A year later, he invited me to go to Jilin to teach his group of 30 evangelists some Biblical courses including Christian Marital counselling, church management, Pastoral Theology, and Biblical book studies. Since 2011, I have been going there to assist him in encouraging, equipping and training his leaders for the growth of the house churches in Jilin.

In April 2014, Rev Yap Beng Shin of Olivet B-P Church joined me to ordain evangelist N and his two lady elders for the ministry of the Lord in Jilin. Rev N became the first Senior Pastor of the Evangelical House Churches in Jilin. The following year, he and his leaders ordained 8 other evangelists and 4 deacons into the ministry. They have also a University students ministry in the city as well as teaching the Reformed faith in many house churches.

The need in Jilin is to find younger leaders to continue the ministry because most of the young people leave the countryside to find work in bigger towns and cities leaving the older folks and young children in the villages.

Called to Ordain A Pastor in the Capital, Aug 2014

The ordination of an evangelist of a house-church in Beijing was initiated by Rev Qin of Anhui Province. His daughter, who studied at SBC and played the piano at our Herald Mandarin Service, introduced her dad to us. Rev Qin approached Herald to assist in the ordination of his brother-in-law, Preacher Du, who had been trained in the Reformed faith in two Korean Bible Schools. An ordination council was formed with Rev Lee Fatt Ping of Grace B-P Church, Rev Qin, Elder Su of Calvary B-P Church to prepare Du for ordination. In 2014, Elder Su and I travelled to Beijing, and joined Rev Qin to formally ordain Du in the midst of 70 worshippers in a unit on the 14th floor of a commercial building in capital city. He now pastors three growing house-churches which consist of many working professionals. I have been conducting courses on Systematic Theology and Christian Leadership for the church leaders with counselling sessions for his congregations in the last three years. Elder Su also teaches OT courses every year, especially on the Kings of Israel and Judah.

The Need of the House Churches in China

There is a great need for Reformed teaching as against the experiential sharing in the preaching among the house-churches in China. The evangelists and pastors need to have proper training in the true science and art of Biblical Hermeneutics so that there is the sincere and honest preaching from the Word of God. In so doing, the congregations will be spiritual nourished in the Word and will not be easily misled by the self-revelational and erroneous preachers as one of them in trying to assert his authority had claimed before seven deacons, “You must listen to me. I am Jesus Christ.”

The house church leaders need to be trained and be equipped with a better understanding of God’s Word so that they can teach and preach effectively to their congregations.

Marital counselling is also very essential in China. Many evangelists and church leaders have dysfunctional marriages as spouses are unable to communicate with each other effectively. Husbands and wives need to learn to understand each other and improve in their communication.

The one-child policy in China has resulted in the raising up of a generation of very individualistic and self-willed persons who have neither goals nor directions in life, but only to have their desires satisfied first. God can use Christians in Singapore to help train and influence Chinese believers with sound teaching and examples through effective training of the church leaders. In due time, there will be more healthy and holistic families and churches in the Mainland.

May God continue to grant Herald B-P Church the privilege of supporting the gospel ministry in China.

Pastor Bob Phee

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