(1) The origin of the church
On a Sunday after Thanksgiving in October 1989, Richmond Bethel Church came to a group of Chinese believers, including Chen Ziqing and his wife, Chen Tianxi, Liang Jiaxiong, Cao Bangjie, Xie Yiqun, and Pang Linkunde. The members of the Western Church are very friendly to these new guests, making us feel at home, so we become their congregation. Pastor Brad later found out where we came from, and he wrote to the pastor of our former church, and formally obtained a letter of recommendation, proving that we are truly children of God and believers of pure faith. In a few months, we have become one with them, and we have nothing to do with each other. Our information was published in the church address book and included in their prayer list. We have truly experienced that in the kingdom of God, regardless of nationality or race, we are one family, full of love and care.
(2) Family Bible Study Class
In October of the same year that we attended Bethel Church, we set up a Sunday evening Bible study and prayer meeting at the home of Cao Bangjie and his wife. In order to maintain a life of fellowship among Chinese believers, we also welcome some brothers and sisters in the Lord to participate. Each time the Bible study class invites pastors from various churches to lead, successively Pastor Chen Jiabai, Pastor Huang Changhao, Brother Xu Xingyan, and Miss Leung Jingfang led us to investigate the "Acts of the Apostles" for three months, and we received a good supply. After the Bible study, we prayed in groups, and a rudimentary church gradually took shape.
(3) The work of the Holy Spirit
The elders of Bethel Church knew that we had a meeting on Sunday night, and seemed to have seen our aspirations. During the conversation, they asked whether we had a vision to do Chinese gospel work in this place. At that time, there was no consensus among us, and some people opposed it, so we could only continue to pray earnestly and ask God to show us His will. At that time, Pastor Chen Zhongdao was pastoring at the Toronto Chinese Missionary Society. We, a weak group, without the leadership of god servants, really did not have the confidence to shoulder this arduous task. But God has heard our prayers for half a year, and the Holy Spirit has begun to work. On April 29th, 1990, Pastor Brad informed us that he would come to our Bible study meeting in the evening. The Bible study was going on that night. Pastor Brad and the three elders came and immediately convened a meeting with several representatives and formally informed us that they have planned to carry out the Chinese Gospel Ministry, because there are already Chinese people and a place. If we want, we can Use all their resources, including the Fireside Room as a meeting place, with chairs, pianos, and podiums, and prepare to set aside a room for church office use, and be responsible for all financial needs. God’s grace exceeds what we ask and think, we have no faith, no ability, and God has mercy on us. We have never dared to take the initiative to make any request, and the Holy Spirit has already done good work in their hearts; we have nothing, but we have everything. This is a miraculous act. The pastors and elders of Bethel Church have a broad mind and infinite love from God. In order to expand the kingdom of God, they are willing to share the gospel with us and move us deeply. When the good news was reported to the brothers and sisters in the Bible study group that night, everyone was overjoyed, praying and thanking God, feeling excited, and reluctant to leave the meeting for a long time.
(4) Establish a working committee
We began to prepare closely for the Legislative Council. First, we wrote to Pastor Chen Zhongdao and asked him to return to Vancouver to pastor us after the end of his one-year pastoral service in Toronto. The pastor understood our urgent need and agreed to our request. This is the second step in God's way.
When the elders of Bethel Church met with us, we were given two choices: (1) As a gospel work under Bethel Church, belonging to their elders; (2) becoming a Chinese Mennonite Brotherhood, Economic independence, and Bethel Church is only a supporter, providing all resources, free of charge for six months. And asked us to submit plans and proposals. After the meeting, we decided to accept the second option and returned the submission to Pastor Brad. By May 29, the Bethel Chief Executive had a meeting to study, and it was revised. By the time of Sunday worship on June 3, it was formally announced to the members that they agreed to let a group of Chinese in the meeting set up a church on the site. A meeting of members was held on June 12 and was accepted by all members. God has done everything for us.
(5) The beginning of the truth hall
On the evening of June 17, Pastor Chen Zhongdao returned to Vancouver from Toronto. During the Sunday service on June 24, Pastor Brad introduced the pastor and his wife to their friends. Under the leadership of God himself, the first Sunday service was held in the name of the Truth Church on July 15. Pastor Brad prayed and exhorted, and Pastor Chen preached. The brothers and sisters of the churches who came to celebrate, thank and praise God with us.
(6) The Truth Church was formally established
After three months of observation, the Mennonite Brotherhood Conference saw that the church has loyal servants and members who love the Lord. It approved us to become a Mennonite Brotherhood member church. The church inauguration ceremony was held in Bethel Church on Sunday, and the basic members were accepted. During the meeting, Pastor Chen gave a testimony, Pastor Brad gave a speech, Brother Chen Mingbin interpreted, and the truth church choir presented poems. Lunch at the Xinhuadu Restaurant at noon, the chief pastor of Bethel Church attended.
(7) Ten years
God blessed the gospel work of the Truth Church, and the number of gatherings increased monthly. Six months after the church was established, we began to pay for the maintenance and cleaning of the church site. The members are enthusiastic and dedicated, and we have spared no effort to purchase tables and chairs, add podiums, and improve audio equipment. God not only added the number of saved people to us, but also called Brother Chen Mingbin to dedicate his life to the Lord and help the church in various tasks while studying in theology. By April 1991, the number of gatherings had increased to 90 people. On July 4 of the same year, the church planting director in British Columbia notified Pastor Chen to attend the Conference of MB Church in Saskatchewan, and Chen Tianxi represented Pastor Chen to attend. In the ceremony of accepting this church as a member church in the conference, the Truth Church was officially included among the members of the National Mennonite Brotherhood.
In March 1993, Sister Chen Suling was hired as the director of basic education, and the ministry developed rapidly. In April of the same year, Pastor Chen requested to be appointed as a voluntary senior pastor. In September, Sister Rao Shaoli was hired as the director of English Ministry, and she worked part-time until she resigned in December 1994.
On January 31, 1995, Pastor Chen suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma after being admitted to the hospital. Brothers and sisters of God's revival of the church have prayer groups praying to God every night. God listened to our cry and performed miracles and miracles. Pastor Chen was finally healed and went home to recuperate. This incident has been detailed in Pastor Chen’s personal testimony, so I won’t repeat it here. In November 1995, Pastor Chen resigned from the position of voluntary senior pastor and only served as the advisory pastor of the Association. The English Ministry is in charge of Sister Li Huiai (until February 1999). In December, Mr. Miao Yongtang was hired as the preacher, until today.
(8) Building a new hall
The Truth Church started in 1994, and often discussed plans for church expansion with the Pastor Bethel Church. I participated in the joint venture of two churches to purchase an independent house on the right side of the church for our fellowship activities and dinners. Later, the house was demolished and converted into a parking lot. Later, we proposed to roof the open space in front of the Fireside Room to expand the auditorium area. After research by engineers, this proposal was shelved. By the end of 1996, Christian School and Bethel Church discussed the construction of a new school building. God’s blessing once again came to the Truth Church. We were invited to join the expansion plan, which is to build an auditorium where the church and the school are connected. The expenses shall be borne by the Association. The new hall was completed in March 1997. The construction cost was only more than 400,000 yuan. God gave us new seats, grand pianos, new audio equipment and so on. In the same year, the first worship service was held in the new hall on Easter Sunday.
The psalmist said: "My heart, you must give thanks to the Lord and do not forget all his graces." (Psalm 103:2)
People are forgetful, things change for stars, and many things will gradually disappear in your mind, but the grace of God must not be forgotten. In the ten-year "history" of the church, if you count people's deeds, it is nothing more than ignorance and weakness! However, God demonstrates his power through man’s weakness; through foolish people, he fulfills his beautiful and benevolent purposes. This is true in the Church of Truth, and it is also true in all the churches that truly belong to Him.
I only hope that the truth hall can abide by the truth and not be assimilated by secular trends. In this crooked and absurd generation, it is like a bright light shining, showing the way of life.
Brother Chen Tianxi (1925-2007)
1990 was one of the first group of members of the Truth Church