Church builds Hope Center

By August 4, 2009

China (MNN) — WorldServe
Ministries
is making progress on the Sichuan Hope Center. A team of 11 people recently traveled to the
property to build a bathroom and a septic field. 

They were not able to build the
bathroom because they could not obtain approval for the construction. However, they made progress on the septic
field and received general approval for the project from government
officials. 

The project is unprecedented in China
because it is actually driven by the underground house church movement. When an earthquake took almost 87,000 lives
on May 12, 2008, the underground church brought 1500 people to the affected
area within 48 hours of the disaster. The
resource center will serve as a location for the church to minister to
earthquake survivors. 

Over a year after the earthquake,
many still live in temporary shelters.  The
center will serve residents in two communities full of people who have lost their
homes and everything else. 

"We're kind of right there in the
middle of two communities that have been set up by the Chinese government,"
said WorldServe's Brian Rushton. "These people have lost everything…
and they're just in temporary shelters. So we're going to be able to be a phenomenal
resource to the people — to the seniors and the young people — and it's just
going to be a great place for them to come and get connected and get some help." 

The center will provide a youth
center, resources for seniors, vocational training, ESL instruction, computer
training, grief counseling, and discipleship. Thirty acres of fruit orchards will be used to train people in farming and
help the center become self-sustaining. 

The government had been treating
the center as a very low-priority project, but that changed when the team from
North America came out to work. 

"All of a sudden the profile of
this particular project went from way down low to almost a high priority,
because they saw people from foreign countries coming over to work at the site," Rushton explained.  "So
it moved it way up on the priority scale.
And the key leaders over there were so encouraged by
our presence…that now the government officials were actually looking at the
project and really considering what we were going to do."

A communist official actually
provided the land for the center because the ministry of the underground church
in the aftermath of the quake impressed him so much.   

The man "was so impressed with
the way that people came and served and worked and loved the people he
loves as well," Rushton said. "So he
made it possible for us to acquire this piece of property. We're able to expand the ministry as a result of the
testimony that the people had there and God touching this man's heart."

While the team was working on the
septic field at the center, a university class came to visit. The class is responsible for resolving a
sewage situation in another community was astounded by what they saw at
the resource center. 

"They could not believe the way
we do it here in North America," Rushton said. "They could not understand that concept at all. So…we  actually got an invitation to go
back and consult for another community to help them handle their sewage problem. And again, just being there opened
so many more doors. God took gave us a far bigger perspective than we could ever
imagine."

In the next step, a team from
Engineering Ministries International will travel to the center to do the
surveying and draw up the plans for the project. Then, WorldServe needs to raise the funds for
the project. It will cost $2.6 million
to build the resource center and run it for three years until it becomes
self-sufficient. Your contribution can
help accomplish this goal. 

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