The Lord is Our Help
Thank God! After many twists and turns, our church¡¦s application to the City of Richmond¡¦s Urban Development Department for a building permit was finally approved and issued last Tuesday. I¡¦m sure everyone in the Council of Elders and Deacons and the Church-Building Committee agree that these past few weeks had been a stressful and trying time because we encountered so many difficulties and obstacles while handling the affairs of church building. Yet whenever we joined together in praying, God listened to our prayers and eventually helped us to resolve these problems. I would like to share here two incidents worthy of thanksgiving, so that everyone will comprehend the spiritual battle underlying the building of our church, and thereby encourage more brothers and sisters to be of one mind in keeping vigilance and praying for the church.
During the last meeting of elders and deacons, we discussed the issue of acquiring insurance for the construction. Received quotes indicated that two insurers were interested in proving coverage for the job at comparable premiums, but without earthquake insurance. Another company could offer earthquake insurance, but had the additional requirement that we hire qualified security personnel to guard the site to minimize the risk of theft or burglary. The elders and deacons all affirmed that earthquakes should be covered under the construction policy. But if the protection included earthquakes, we would have to pay the extra wages of security guards, thereby increasing our building budget. When this matter was discussed, I requested that the elders and deacons all join together in prayer and put it into the hands of God for His resolution. After the prayer we continued with discussion of other concerns. Less than a week later, the brother in charge was able to obtain for the church another quote for a policy that is co-insured by two large companies. No only are they willing to provide earthquake insurance, the security guard requirement is also waived, and the stated premium is around two hundred dollars less per month than the three previous quotes! Do you all reckon that God listens to prayers? Is He together with us?
The other matter is the process of applying for a building permit from the City¡¦s Urban Development Department. Late last year, our church submitted blue prints and the application for a building permit to said department through our architect. According to him, the application was not problematic. During the intervening months, the Church-Building Committee concentrated its efforts on the various components for establishment of a sewer connection, in order to facilitate rezoning approval from the relevant sections of the two levels of provincial and municipal governments. As well, the Committee put its mind to negotiations with the building contractor in hopes of controlling and tightening costs so that the construction budget could be held within $2,000,000. Around three weeks ago, we finally received our rezoning approval. When we followed up with the Urban Development Department regarding the building permit, we discovered that the review process on our application had in fact not concluded. Despite contacting and conferring with a number of different bureaucrats on many occasions, we found myriad roadblocks that even strained our relationship with our architect. At the same time, the contractor indicated that if we further delayed execution of the main contract with them, it would be difficult for them to guarantee that the construction cost would not escalate. At noon last Monday, the Building Committee convened an emergency meeting to discuss the handling of the current impasse and to pray ardently. Unexpectedly, early Tuesday morning the officer in charge at the Urban Development Department called to inform us that the building permit was actually approved. That of course also slackened the tension between ourselves and our working partners. Do you all reckon that God listens to prayers? Does He understand our needs?
I believe that the process of building an assembly hall is the same as the process of establishing a God-worshipping person. To be meaningful, we must be people of prayer building this temple of prayer. Therefore, I hope that everyone will be faithful to your duty as priests, diligently attend the church¡¦s prayer meetings, petition in unity with your brothers and sisters, and rely whole-heartedly upon the Lord.
¡§You who fear Him, trust in the Lord - He is their help and shield.¡¨ (Psalm 115:11)
By: Daniel To