China has a population of 1.3 billion people and less than four hundred thousand of them are Adventists. But things are changing.
In the heart of northeastern China, in the province of Jilin, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has grown rapidly in the past 20 years. From a modest home church in the city of Garjuling more than 400 new congregations have been planted and more than 20,000 people have been baptized.
The person responsible is Elder Zu Shuwa, a thoughtful, humble woman of prayer who claims no personal credit, and says the growth of the church is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit and a team of workers. Today Elder Zu oversees the training of dozens of volunteers who conduct Bible studies, preach sermons and offer spiritual care.
Also in northeastern China lies the city of Shenyang. The city is home to more than seven million people. It’s also home to one of the largest Adventist churches in the world. Elder Hailya Jee pastors the Begwan Adventist Church and its 7,000 members. Begwan started as a church plant in 1985 with only nine members. Today it holds three church services every Sabbath and has started 117 church plants. The Begwan church holds lay evangelism training seminars, literacy classes and prayer meetings.
There are still hundreds of millions of people in China thirsting for the good news about Jesus. And the church is not as blessed in all parts of China and still faces many challenges. But through sacrifice, through commitment, through prayer, planting new congregations is, touching hearts, transforming lives and growing the kingdom of God.
The Adventist Church and the world have lost a champion of mission. On November 8 Dorothy Eaton Watts laid down her burden and quietly fell asleep in Jesus following a three-year battle with cancer.
Dorothy, with her husband, Ron, at her side, lived a life filled with service to God. Every aspect of her life was devoted to others. They spent more than 26 years serving in India, 10 of which she served as associate secretary of the Southern Asia Division and Ron served as president. During their time in India, this division grew from about 200,000 to 1.4 million church members. Dorothy was instrumental in establishing the Adventist Child India, a program dedicated to sending children of new church to Adventist schools in order to help prepare them for future service in God’s work.
Dorothy wrote more than 25 books, including several devotionals for women and juniors. She served as editor of Adventist Mission’s two mission quarterlies until she and her husband were called to work in British Columbia, Canada.
Dorothy was an encourager. She saw possibilities in people that they often didn’t see in themselves, and she encouraged others to be the best they could be.
We will miss Dorothy, a woman of valor and courage, a prayer warrior who was willing to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves, a woman who put mission first in her life every single day.
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