The Journey of the Relocation of Formosan Christian Church of Dallas
by Charles Yang
Translators: Alex Chuang, Carolyn Chen, Chun-Liang Yeh
Cindy Tong, Hsien-Chang Wu, Jordan Wu,
Judy Hsieh-Rainey, Max Tsai, Richard Lin.
Editors: Ashley E. Chen, Justin I. Chen
In early 2008, after we had moved into our current church building, Rev. Chiang approached me to write a report ofmy reminiscence of thejourney related to the relocation of Formosan Christian Church and share this incredible experience with the congregation for the upcoming30THanniversary of our Church on October 30th 2008. At that time, I had just recovered from a surgeryand I was concerned that I might not be able to carry out his request, due to my still weak physical condition,so I suggested Rev. Chiang ask another church member to write the story. However, heconvinced methat I would be the most suitable person to write the story because I was the Chairman of the Church Board and the Chairman of the Church Relocation Committee. In addition, I was involved from the beginning to the end in details of the buying and moving process. Then, I knew in my mind that it would be my responsibilityto write and record truthfully and accurately the whole relocation process as a true testimony ofsuch a crucial time in our church’s history. At the beginning, I was worried that I would not be focused enough to write due to my still fragile physical condition, so the writing was delayed until last June when I finally made up my mind to embark on this project.Now, I amso relieved thatthe writing is finally done and I’m pleased to present this reportand share with you how God's merciful hand has led us to the new direction for the future of our church.
I. The rationale behind the Church Relocation
On Nov 12th and 13th 2005, our church Executive Committee members got together in a lock-in at a hotel to prepare for the following year’s Church budget plan. During the discussion and planning for the ministry, Rev. Chiang submitted a proposal to show the church’s current status and his visions for the future. The proposal mentioned that the church facilities needed improvements that would allow for larger classrooms and more space for children’s activities. Therefore, it was suggested that the church should either expand or relocate in order to meet those needs. Committee membersprayed together for this matter andlater the Board was invited to help make this important decision.
OnFebruary 5th, 2006, in a joint meeting of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the subject of church expansion and relocation again was discussed extensively. The pros and cons of both options, the associated funding needs, and the future development of the Church were discussed, as well. A final decision was reached to conduct a further study for church relocation. This new decision was explained to church members during the Sunday worship on Febuary 12, and the church asked members to provide suggestions and pray for this matter.
After a month of prayers and data collection, the Executive Committee held a joint meeting with the Board once again on March 12th, 2006. The meeting centered around in-depth discussion on the church space requirement for relocation, the churchcurrent financial situation, and available cash. The final decision was made that the church would relocate in several phases. The first phase was to purchase an adequate site in order to avoid the land price escalation. The relocation could then be planned after the land was paid off.
On March 19th, 2006, a church relocation proposal made by Executive Committee and board members was distributed to every church member during the Sunday worship, hoping that the church members would seriously consider this matter and prayurgently. We prayed that the church members would plead to our Heavenly Father to guide the church’s future direction and help us make good decisions in accordance to His will. We prayed that all the church members would face this challenge with an open mind and participate in making the decision with a positive attitude.
On May 7th, 2006, a special congregation meeting was held after the Sunday worship to report on the Dallas area Chinese residents’ northward migration situation and answer questions relating to the church relocation proposal. After enthusiastic discussion, a decision to relocate the church was passed by a majority vote of the congregation. The future church location was to be north of HWY 190, south of HWY 121, east of Dallas Toll Way, and west of Jupiter Road.
On May 14th, 2006, 9 church members - Shan-Tong Chen, Mei-Hsiang cheng, Alex Chuang, Bernadette Lee, Richard Lin, Yi-Shuong Lu, Jordan Wu, John Yang and I - were elected as Church Relocation Committee members and I was elected as chairman of the committee. I was worried and felt a heavy weight of responsibility on my shoulders. I could relate my feelings at that moment to the Israelites' exodus in the Old Testament: facing a path I had never traveled.I asked God to carry this burden for me, to grant me wisdom and to provide me courage. I also prayed that the committee and church members would jointly face this challenge with deep faith in God.
II. The Course of Buying the New Church in Plano
Everything by Prayer
As the old Chinese saying goes,each endeavor is difficult at the onset. The process of Church relocation was no exception. While the decision had been made to relocate the church, we had no idea where the new church would be. With a multitude of things that we were required to do, we did not know where to start. All committee members prayed constantly for this matter and waited patiently for God’s guidance.
In August 2006, a real estate agent informed me that an American church was for sale in Plano.The location was very convenient and many Chinese lived close by. The size of land was about 5 acres and the building size was 18,000 square feet. The building was fairly new and the other conditionsalso metour requirement. However, the asking price of $4 million was beyond our reach. At that time, I was thinking perhaps our church committee might consider an offer of $2.4 million. I told the Relocation Committee about this opportunity and invited all the members to visit the site. After the visit, everyone agreed that the church was perfect for us but we could not afford theasking price. Eventually, we made an offer of $2 million to the seller, hoping to have a chance to negotiate with him. The seller simply ignored our offer and told our agent angrily that he was insulted by such a low offer.
After this event, the agent continued to provide us with sale information on many lands and buildings, including existing churches and commercial buildings, but none of them met our requirements. So the committee went back to the original plan to search for a piece of land to buy first. During that time, I had also contacted the builders I knew to find out the construction costs,etc. I had also contacted banks to inquire about loan terms, interest rates, and other related matters and I had also started to work on a budgetary plan of the funding requirementfor purchasing land and construction costs.
In early 2007, the church relocation process had not made any progress for more than six months. Still we prayed together at every Relocation Committee meeting. All the committee members started a fasting prayer at noon of every first Sunday of the month, and later, we also invited church members to join in the fasting prayer.
Miracle: GodLeading the Way
In 2007, from March through May, we found several pieces of land that were suitable to build our church, but we didn’t pursue them any further due to the high price. Then, in June, we became interested in another piece of land with the right location and price. At the time, we could afford to purchase this land with cash, so I was excited that surely this deal would go through. Unfortunately, 2-3 weeks later, we found out thatthe land had a deed restriction prohibiting new owners from building a church on the property. I was very discouraged and very puzzled at the time. I didn’t understand why God had stopped us at the last moment. But God had His plan. While we thought we had lost our best choice, He had installed an even better one for us- our current church. Imagine this: we would have still been in our old church in Garland, waiting to build a new church, celebrating our 30th anniversary there, if we had purchased the land instead. Needless to say, The cost
wouldalso have been much higher and we would have had to raise more money from the congregation.Theinteresting thing was, after signing the contract with the Plano church, the real estate agent for the land came back and asked if we were still interested in buying the land because the seller had changed his mind and he would lift the deed restriction and allow the buyer to build a church on the property. Praise the Lord! He had been leading us one step at a time toward the best choice. I truly believe that the church we now own is God’s ultimate blessing for us.
In August of 2007, our agent informed me that the Plano church had lowered their price to $3.2 million. However, it was nonnegotiable. When I heard that, I became very excited and thought maybe God had intended for us to buy that church. At 9 AMon Saturday, August 18, I calledfor a Relocation Committee meeting.In the meeting, we did an in-depth analysis of buying an existing church versus buying land and building a church. After praying together on this matter, all members agreed that we would continue to pursue buying the Plano church, even though the price was still out of reach. After one more detailed calculation of the church’s financial situation,committee members made a decision to give me full authority to negotiate with the seller with the price limits of $2.8 million.
On Sunday, July 19, 2008, I informed our congregation of this good news and asked everyone to put the buying and selling negotiations on their prayer list. The following day, I met with our agent to decide on a new offer for the Plano church. He reminded me that the seller was very firm on the new price $3.2 million. He advised me that he would not submit any offer less than $3.2 million for fear that the seller, who was the owner and also a senior pastor of the church, would be offended. He mentioned that the seller was a very successful businessman with a very strong personality and he was not easy to deal with.
After listening to the agent’s analysis of the situation, I was worried about how we could afford this new church with a $400,000 price difference from our top price of $2.8 million. I felt lost on how to start the negotiation without jeopardizing the deal. I knew that I had to trust God wholeheartedly in this matter. What I did at that time was plead and pray to God. I implored to Him to grant us this church, asking Him to give us his blessing if the church was what he meant for us to have. I knew God would allow it to happen if it is his will. During that time, all I could do was learn to trust, obey and have faith in the Lord.
Besides finding a new church,the Church Relocation Committee had another challenging task - sellingthe old church at the same time. Between buying and selling, timing was very important and it was hard to coordinate the right timing. Again, in God’s gracious hand, while we were pursuing the new church, two potential buyers were simultaneously interested in buying our old church. One buyer was a Hispanic church in Garland, and the other one was an Indian church in Irving.
We knew we had to sell our old church in order to purchase the Plano church, but the two interested buyers for our old church also needed to sell their churches. Needless to say, with so many complicated variables involved, if one party didn’t sell its church, all deals would fail. At those difficult moments, my worries increased and I had many sleepless nights. But God’s words and assurance eventually calmed me down.
On August 24, 2007, I made an appointment with our agent in the morning at the Planochurch to meet apotential tenant for a day care center. I didn’t expect to meet the owner, Mr. Norrell,at the church. But for some unknown reason, he was in his office instead of in Louisiana where he was supposed to be that morning. I was very excitedbecause our agent had failed several times to arrange a meeting, and I grabbed this great opportunity and knocked at his door. Praise the Lord! This face-to-face meeting was a good beginning and also a big step in our negotiation.
I introduced myself to Rev. Norrell and he immediately rememebered that I was from FCCD, the church that made a low offer for his church about a year and half earlier. “Hi,I said, I am from FCCD and I am not here to steal your church.”, thinking it was a nice way to start our conversation. Rev. Norrell explained that his church was going to relocate further north to McKinney, and said he had reduced theprice of the church from $4 million to $3.2 million, so the new price would be a very good price for us. I replied that while the new price maybe very good for investment purpose, it was still beyond our budget because our congregation was still very small. I also emphasized that we were investing for the kingdom of God, not for business on earth.I was hoping I could persuade him to focus on God and agree to reduce the price further so the FCCD could afford it. I also tried to convince him that there was a large Asian communityin this neighborhood, and the new church would be able to reach out to more Taiwanese people in order to spread good news from God. After talking to him for more than an hour, to my surprise, Rev. Norrell agreed to drop his price to $2.7 million, and he repeatedly insisted that this would be the final price. Although this new price was within our reach, it would still pose a big burden on FCCD. After I pressed on to negotiate a better deal, Rev. Norrellthen agreed to include all the furniture and equipment in the churchin the new $2.7 million deal.
Our meeting continued and Rev. Norrelstood by his new price for another two hours.During this time, he told me that he didn’t like doing business with 3”C”s. The first C stands for “Churches”, becausechurches tend to make low offers and often bargain back and forth in negotiation. The second C stands for “Committees”, because committees tend to make decisions based on a lot of meetings, and they are time consuming. The third C stands for “Chinese”. He had had some bad experiences dealing with Chinese before. He stereotyped Chinese who like to bargain, even at the last minute before closing. Therefore, his principle was never to do business with the 3“C”s. He said, “You, above all, are all 3“C”s! How am I supposed to do business with you?”
I knew he was trying to discourage me from asking for more price reductions, so I respondedimmediately “FCCD is a small church with limited funding, but we relied on our master who created heaven and earth. You are doing God’s work, so you must understand the truth. Although I am just one of the Relocation Committee members, all of our members are united and they have delegated me with full authority to make a deal. Thirdly, I’m Taiwanese and I have been in the DFW real estate business for over 30 years. I have never tried to bargain at the last minute in aclosing. I’ll be glad to provide you with all the references. ”Rev. Norrellseemed to be satisfied with my response but he reiterated again that his asking price was fair. I knew I had to somehow convince him that we were not doing this for selfish gain, that we would all stand and work for the same God. Making a profit in this deal was not our goal. We were focusing on God’s kingdom and making sure our folks were taken care of and their souls were saved. I persisted in asking him again to further reduce the price. I knew if he would reduce the price to $2.4 million, we would save $300,000 for the church, and this would greatly reduce the burden for our small church.At the meeting I was also worried that my persistence would aggravate Rev. Norrell, so I prayed silently to God and asked Him to take this case in His hand.
The Work of Holly Spirit
I truly believe that the Holy Spirit was present with us during the meeting Rev.Norrell’s heart must have been touched by God. When Itold him our bottom price was$2.4 million, I was expecting him to get so offended that he would escort me out of his office, but instead, and to my utmost surprise, he accepted the offer without any resistance. What a miracle! I just thank God for his gracious blessing for our small church. He had listened to our prayers, and Hehad guided Rev. Norrell and me through the long negotiation. His intercessions enabled us to save$800,000in three and a half hours. Even the agentwas stunned thatRev. Norrell would accept such a low offerat the firstmeeting. No one but God could do that. Isn’t this truly God’s miracle? God is powerful, and He listens to our prayers!
Since I didn’t expect to meetRev.Norrell that morning, I had not prepared any contracts or paperwork to sign. What I did thenwas to stand up and shake his hands and ask him to honor our oral agreementin God’s name.We agreed to have the contract signed on August 29 at 2:00PM. At that moment, Mrs.Norrell called. When Rev.Norrell told her that hehad accepted $2.4 million offering from FCCA. I overheardaloud and clear “No, No” from the other end of the phone. “I don’t agree. We are not short of money. Why do you have to sell in such a hurry...”Rev.Norrell told her that he had already made the agreement. He told her that they would discuss it later and he hung up the phone. Just before I was leaving, Rev.Norrell’s phone rang again. Whenhe recognized that it was Mrs. Norrell from the caller ID, he handedthe phone to his assistant pastor and asked him to tell Mrs. Norrell thathewas busy. A few minutes later, his assistant came back to tell him that his wife urgedhimto cancel the deal. At that moment, I saw Rev.Norrell shake his head and say, “I am in big trouble now. I will face a tough time when I get home.”
In retrospect, if Mrs. Norrell had called during the negotiation, we would not have reached the agreement of the $2.4 million price. Our meeting lasted about 4 hours from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. In a normal day, my wife Sarah would have already called to ask if I planned to come home for lunch. I can not help but believe that God was directing the meeting with his magic power, so we were able to conduct the negotiation without any interruptions.
Faith: Patiently Waiting with Submission
I called Rev.Chiang and my wife Sarah immediately after I left the church. They were both so elated to hear the good news. We praised the Lord and gave all the glory to Him.
On Sunday August 26, I wake up early in the morning, and while lying in bed, I thought about how I should prepare the contract to sign for the following week. I wanted to wait until the contract was completed before I announced the good news to the congregation. I didn’t want to disappoint the members in case Rev. Norrell backed out of our agreement. Thenan inner voice whispered tome: “Be faithful, God has promised to complete this purchase according to the agreed price. He has listened to the congregation’s unitedprayers, so do not hesitate and do not doubt. Be bold and tell the congregation the good news.” Our God is a promising God, a trustworthy God! That morning, I announced confidently to the congregation the good news. I asked the congregation to continue to pray for Rev.Norrell, his wife, andfora successful transaction of the purchase.
On August 29, 2007, our agent and I met the listing agent and Rev. Norrell at the church to sign the contract.To my surprise, the listing agent asked me,”Do you want to buy this church?” “Yes, we have agreed on the sale price and I am ready to sign the contract today” I replied. “Have you sold your churchyet?” He asked. “Not yet, but there are two churches that are interested in buying our church.” I replied. He said immediately “Do you need to sell your church so that you can afford buying this church?” I said, “Yes”. He said “ We can’t sign the contract today. We will be wasting our time if you can’t sell your church within 90 days. Besides, we have other buyers who are interested in buying this church. We will lose our opportunity to sell to them if we sign the contract with you today without being sure.”
Rev. Norrell did not say a word. I turned to him and said “Haven’t we already agreed on this? What happened?” He replied, “What my listing agent said is reasonable.” I was very disappointed and upset, but I didn’t lose my temper. I told him I was very certain that we would get a contract to sell our church within a week. If this didn’t happen, we would get a short-term loan from the bank. Rev.Norrell looked at me and said, “Are you 100 percent sure?” I replied, “Yes” (I was very confident because I had already talked to Cathay Bank about a loan commitment). Rev.Norrellthen agreed to postpone signing the contract for another week to September 6th when I would have to show him either a letter of loan commitment or a signed contract from our buyer. He thought those conditions would discourage me from signing the contract. But, God was in control. I had total confidence in God’s assurance. I felt His presence and His guidance when I announced to our congregation this good news. He would fulfill the promise. I believed He was a trustworthy God who would lead me all the way to the end.
God’s Help Came Just in Time
I left the church deeply disappointed I calledRev. Chiang about the news and also asked the committee members to start praying urgently and diligently. I then visited Mr. Liu at Cathay Bank the next morning. After discussing the loan details, Mr. Liu kindly provided me a letter of loan commitment, confirming that FCCD was qualified for the loan from Cathay Bank. I was so thankful for his help. Thebig burden in my heart was suddenly lifted. On the same day, I visited the Indian Church and the Hispanic Church and disclosed to them the selling price and conditions of our old Garland church. I told them that I would sign the contract if either one of them could bring me a contract with the agreeable selling price and terms.
By September 6th, neither of these 2 churches had brought us a sale contract. Therefore, we still had no buyer for our old Garland church. On September 6, as scheduled, I met Rev. Norell and showed him the loan commitment letter from Cathay Bank. He gladly agreed and signed our sale contract without any hesitation.The closing escrow date was set for December 19th. Praise the Lord! God’s promise was again been fulfilled. He is so trustworthy and faithful!
I then reported the good news to all the church members. I told them we had successfully accomplished the first half of our relocation venture. Our next step was to sell our old church in Garland as soon as we could, or the church had to carry two loans, which would be an unbearable financial burden on our church.
III. The course of Selling our Garland Church Property to theHispanic Church and the Hispanic Church sold their churchto the African American Church:
III. The course of Selling our Garland Church Property to theHispanic Church and the Hispanic Church sold their churchto the African American Church:
God is Faithful and Trustworthy
After we signed the contract to purchase the new Plano church, I started contacting the Indian Church and the Hispanic churchproactively about buying our Garland church. The Indian group seemed more motivated because their pastor came to look at the building many times, and he also brought their church elders and many church members to look at the building. They all were very fond of our church.They told me they already had a buyer who was very interested in buying their church as well. When I knew that they did not have a bank that was willing to make a loan to them, I volunteered to arrange a meeting to introduce them toMr.liufrom Cathay bank. I thought if we both used the same bank, we would simplify the complicated transactions in the future.
At the same time the Hispanic church also contacted me. The pastor andhis wife (also a pastor) represented their church. They thought our church’s location and facility were ideal for their church’s future growth. They shared their testimony with me on howthey became pastors and started their church from a home bible study about 10 years ago. Their membership had grown, so they needed a more spacious facility. They also mentioned that their church building had already been under contractwith an African American church (the African American church just sold a piece of their land to raise the funds to buy a church property), sothey would need to relocate as soon as possible. I asked them to provide a loan commitment letter from their bank and a bank statement from the African American church. I explained that these statements needed to be submitted to our church Relocation Committee as soon as possible because the Indian church was also preparing to send their contract to us. I stressed that our relocation committee would accept a contract that was completed with all the required terms on a first-come first-served basis.
Personally, I preferred to sell our church to the Hispanic group. Their church was just minutes away from our church in Garland. Their members also lived around the same neighborhood. Our church would be anideal site for their relocation. In addition,since the pastor and his wife would assume the ownership of the church property, the transaction and paper work would be less complicated at closing. On the contrary, the Indian church was located in Irving. If their church movedto Garland, theywould lose many of their current members. On top of that, they would still need to get a majority vote to approve the relocation and obtain a loan commitment from the bank.
God’s will is wonderful and unpredictable!!
While I was hoping the Hispanic church would send in their contract soon, the Indian church group calledfirst and informed me that their church members had voted to relocate to Garland, and they had also obtained a loan commitment from Cathay Bank. I had no choice but to joyfully report this to FCCD’s relocation committee. On September 25th, the contract to sell our Garland church to the Indian Church was signed. Priase the Lord! He had again made the deal possible for us!
Testimony of Faith
Two days after we signed the contract with the Indian church, the lady pastor from the Hispanic church called. I apologized to her, saying we had already signed the contract with the Indian church. I thought she would be upset about the news. On the contrary, she thanked me for giving her the opportunity to work with our church. She said confidently that even they lost the timing in getting all the documents ready, she still firmly believedthat eventually this church would be sold to them. She said God had promised to answer their prayers, so she asked me to notify her if the contract with Indian church fell through. I was quite amazed at such great faith she had in the Lord! I wondered if God had touched her and had truly spoken to her. This was truly a beautiful testimony of faith.
Three weeks had passed, and our church had been busy preparing to move. Suddenly on one Tuesday morning, I received an unexpected call from theIndian pastor. He apologized profusely and said that the church committee decided not to buy the Garland church because more than 10 families from their church jointly wrote a letter saying they had changed their minds about relocation. If the church insisted on moving, they would choose to leave the church. He said hewas saddened at this sudden development, but in order to avoid the division of their church, hedecided to abandon the original plan of relocation.
In my mind, I thought everything would go well without a hitch. I didn’t expect this sudden turn of events. I wondered if God was testing us, or if He was teaching me not to become too complacent and take His will too lightly. I now believed God was using this experience to remind me to be obedient and submissive to His will.
After the conversation, I immediately called the pastor of the Hispanic church to see if they were still interested in buying our church. Praise to the Lord! They were still waiting to buy our church, and they also had all of their documents ready to sign. They never gave up, and they truly believed that our church was the one that God had promised them.
The next day, we signed thecontract with the Hispanic church and we set the closing day on December 7th. Our closing day for the Plano church was set on Dec 19th, so wewould have sufficient funds in the closing without having to obtain a short term loan from the Cathay bank.
On October 24th, 2007, the pastor and I were scheduled to meet at the agent’s office. When I asked about his wife, he told me that she had returned to Mexico for a surgery the week before. I felt sosad to hear the news. I wondered whyGod would inflict pain on such a faithful servant. I could only resort to the truth that God had His plans for everyone. Iknewwe needed to pray for her, so I called our pastor Rev. Chiang immediately to pray for her speedy and uneventful recovery in our Wednesday night prayer meeting. Two weeks later, the pastor called me and said she was still in Mexico, and that a second operation was required because of the infection. It was just so incomprehensible to me that I started to wonder why God did not take away her physical suffering. When I open the Scripture, the answer from God came to me “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” I firmly believed that God would reward His faithful servant. I started to pray to God to have mercy on her and her family, and to pray for her complete healing and recovery.
After we signed the contract with the Hispanic church, I constantly kept in touch with both the Hispanic and African American churches to make sure that their loan applications with the banks were going smoothly.
At the end of October, I had my annual routine physical. My PSA was found to be elevated, and my physician recommended further checkups. I had a prostate biopsy in the middle of November and had an uneasy feeling afterwards. “What if it’s cancer?” I wondered. One week later, my doctor called me to set up an appointment to discuss the biopsy results. I figured it meant bad news. If the biopsy result was ok, he would have told me over the phone so that I would not worry. Before the appointment, I prayed urgently everyday for God’s mercy. With trepidation in my heart, I went to see the doctor. He told me that “there is bad news, and there is good news.” The bad news was I did have prostate cancer. The good news was that the cancer was localized since it was detected early, and there was no distant spread. There were several effective treatments, with cure rates over 95%. It was very hard to describe my feeling at that time. I was apprehensive of all I had already been through.
After the diagnosis of cancer was confirmed by a second opinion, I needed to face the challenge. All I could pray for was for God to provide an excellent surgeon for my operation. This truly was the darkest time in my life. People are usually afraid of the word “cancer”. Without exception, I was not immune to it. I had many questions in my heart. I was busy doing God’s work, as buying the new church and selling the old church was coming to fruition. Why would God place this burden on me now? All I could do now was to humbly come before Him and pray for His mercy. Perhaps God was testing my faith. The Scripture says “God shows his might when we are weak.” I needed to submit to the Lord, and continue forward.
In early December, the Hispanic church replied to us that their mortgage was approved; however, the bank denied the African American church’s mortgage application. As a result, the Hispanic church couldn’t close the transaction on our church on December 7th . We had no choice but to postpone closing the contract with the Hispanic church for one month and see if we could help the African American church work with their mortgage.
Since the Hispanic church couldn’t close their contract with us on time, we had to contact Cathay Bank for a short-term loan. I was afraid that our new church’s closing date would be delayed. As a matter of fact, there were only 10 days left. The bank informed me that we had to make a decision whether we needed the loan right away, since we couldn’t sell our old church on time on Dec. 7th. Although the board of directors had approved the short-term loan, I still felt nervous about the $20,000-$25,000 extra cost we were going to pay for the short-term loan. It was also a pretty large amount of money to our church. I was wondering if our members could lend this amount of money to our church with no interest, allowing us to save the interest payment from the short-term loan. I didn’t want to make the proposal because I was worried about the additional burden to everyone.
While I was pondering, I went to see my doctor on the afternoon of Dec. 12th to set a date for my surgery. When I was on the way to doctor’s office, I received a phone call from a director sharing the same idea as mine. She suggested raising funds from all our members to loan it to our church without interest. This would reduce the loan from the bank and lighten the financial burden of our church. After hearing this, I thanked God for His spiritual guidance to touch this director. After returning home at 6 PM, I called all the directors about this idea of raising funds from the members. I believed it was a test of faith of our members by taking such an action. When some of them asked me: “Are you sure the Hispanic church will buy our church?” “Will our church be sold quickly” I said that I was sure we would complete the transaction in a short time if we devoted ourselves to God like Abraham did. When he gave his son to God as a sacrifice, God actually prepared a substitute for his son. God was testing Abraham’s faith in Him. We should have the same faith in God. Thank the Lord!All the directors and one of the church members were willing to participate in this action even though they didn’t know when our old church was going to be sold and when they would get their money back. But I firmly believed that our God would provide for us. By ten o'clockthat night, we had raised about $950,000. It almost made up for the short-term loan of one million dollar that we planned to borrow from Cathay Bank. As a result, I informed Cathay Bank the next day that we didn’t need to borrow a short-term loan from them. At the same time, we also reduced our long-term loan to $850,000.
In the meantime, there was still no news from the African American church about their mortgage as of Dec. 19th, but we still went ahead and completed the transaction with Rev.Norrell for the new church. Two days later, we got the keys and decided to hold our 2007 Christmas celebration on Dec. 23rd at the new church. Many guests took part in our thanksgiving service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and everybody immersed in this joyful event.
After Christmas, I contacted the agent of the African American church’s mortgage company. I found out that their mortgage was denied, resulting from the low credit score of their pastor. He had endorsed guarantees for many church members and it affected his own credit score. Fortunately, they still had a piece of land to provide to the bank as collateral for the loan. The bank finally approved their mortgage application and agreed to process the transaction after the New Year. I felt relieved after hearing this and decided to have my prostate cancer surgery on Dec. 27th. After four and a half hoursof surgery, the doctor told me that everything went smoothly. The cancer did not spread and had been removed. Furthermore, there was no need to do chemotherapy. I thanked God for his mercy and kindness in helping me go through this crisis. I was released from the hospital on the 29th.
Originally, the bank of the African American church planned to finish the closing on Jan. 4th and to completethe transaction with Hispanic church on the same day. Then, the Hispanic church could complete theirs with us for our old church.
We thought that everything would move smoothly according to our plan, however, we found at the last minute that the legal documentsweren’t ready from the African American church to complete the transaction. They had to turn to an attorney to prepare the missing documents. As a result, the closing date was postponedagain to Jan. 14th.
On the morning of Jan. 14th,the title company suddenly called and said they couldn’t find the African American church’s pastor, so they might have to cancel closing the contract in the afternoon. Around noon, the pastor was located and he was on a flight back to Dallas from Houston. He had to go to Houston the evening of the 13th because his daughter was in the emergency room. At 3 PM of Jan. 14th, the African American church’s pastor completed the transaction with the Hispanic church. Our transaction with theHispanic church also took place on the same afternoon at around five-thirty. This fulfilled God’s promise to theHispanic churchthat our church would finally be sold to them. Our amazing Lord always delivers what He promises.
At last, we had finally accomplished the church relocation mission that God entrusted us with. Looking back at the whole process, we had passed through the winding and bumpy roads, all with God’s guidance and blessing.
I thank God for giving me the opportunity to participate in the church relocation project. Twenty years ago, I was involved in building the first Formosan church. In my lifetime, I had the honor and priviledge to serve God twice in the sacred works of the construction of our first church in Garland and therelocationto the new church in Plano. This was not only a special grace God gave me; it was also the most meaningful thing in my life and I would like to share my personal testimony and wonderful experience. It is my hope that each of us can learn from the church relocation project to experience God’s presence and vigilance. Without God's guidance, we wouldn’t be here to worship, and praise Him together today. Let us attribute all the glories to the omnipotent, faithful, merciful, compassionate, and listening-to-prayer God, our Father in heaven.
The will of God is greater than our own will, and God’s achievements are also greater than what we ask for because God is so wonderful and trustworthy. God bestows to us well beyond what we ask. We planned only to buy about 2.5 acres of land, hoping to pay off the loan in 3 to 5 years, and then we planned to build a church on the land. However, within one and a half years, God gave us a five-acreplot of land with an 18,000-square-foot church in Plano. We also simultaneously sold the old church. The process was very complex, involving people of five different races buying and selling three different church properties at the same time. Even the officer of the title company told me that these were the most complex transactions he had ever handled. Before we could buy the new church, we had to sell our old church. Originally, we signed a contract with the Indian church, and they later called off the deal. We then quickly signed with the Hispanic church to sell our old church. But in order for the Hispanic churchto buy our church, they had to sell their property to the African American church first. And the African American church also needed to obtain a bank loan to buy the Hispanic church. The ultimate success in coordinating the intricate relations among the parties involved and the timing of each and every deal to satisfactory conclusion was truly miraculous. Only God can bestow this upon us. If one part failed, this sale could not have been completed. I believe that this plan was God’s will, otherwise it would have been impossible to complete such a truly complex transaction within four months. Now that we can all cherish our God-given, wonderful new church, I hope we shall rededicate ourselves and work together with the blessings of God’s love to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in generations to come.