Pastor Raymond Chow
From 1973 to 1975, my brother came to the US for business four times a year. Each time he stayed at my house for two weeks telling me about Jesus. At that time, my head was full of dreams of making money. I sat with him out of respect; but heard nothing he said.
In 1979 all my business ventures failed. Two lawsuits, totaling three million dollars, were filed against my company. My only business-partner left the United States. I had to face all the problems by myself. I exhausted all avenues of getting myself out of these hopeless situations and felt very lonely. At this desperate moment, some of the things about this almighty God, about Jesus that my brother told me before came to my mind. I got down on my knees and prayed to God for help and forgiveness. A sense of calmness swept over me. I felt peaceful. I knew the Lord heard & accepted my prayers. I was reborn that day.
From 1981 to 2005 I served as a bi-vocational in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I was fortunate enough to have a part in starting three Chinese churches there and pastored the last church for five years. Then I moved to Southern California for a new venture. I attended First Evangelical Church of Cerritos for two years. The following three years, I functioned as the interim Pastor for South Bay Chinese Christian Church in Gardena, California. I was instrumental in helping them start a Sunday School program, a weekly mid-week Bible study and prayer, and encouraged them to call a full time pastor who started on June 2011.
I started to attend CBCOC on September 2011. In the beginning of 2013 God laid on me the burden of serving Him full time and let me see that in the past I have missed the blessings of being in full time ministry. Thirty years ago, God already called me into full time ministry. Instead of submitting to God’s calling, I chose to do it my way and be a bi-vocational ministry worker instead. This conviction was getting stronger by the day. However, I am now 65 years old and will be retiring soon. How can I serve the Lord full time at this late age?
In late January 2013, on a Mission Sunday, my Pastor’s son, who works for Intervarsity, was the speaker. He first shared that God used the vision of the burning bush to call him into ministry. All thru his sharing, God convicts me that He is also using this burning bush experience to call me into fulltime ministry. God gave this vision to Moses when Moses was 80 years old. God is now giving me this same vision when I am nearing retirement age.
Nine months later, God orchestrated to close down my business. Pastor Eng & Pastor Teng came to visit me. I shared with them the vision God gave me back in January and my burden of going into fulltime ministry. Immediately, Pastor Eng asked if I would be interested in finishing my seminary studies that I started thirty years age. He offered me financial support to finish my MA in Biblical Studies at Truth Theological Seminary and an internship position with CBCOC.
Ten years ago, God gave CBCOC a vision to plant a new church. Since I had experience in planting churches before, CBCOC also called me as their Church Planter, target area in Eastvale, California, as soon as I finish my seminary studies.
I am grateful God gives me this second chance to serve Him fulltime and another chance to plant a new church. I am also very excited about this new venture in my late stage of life.