Autumn 2012, Issue 1
Newcastle Chinese Christian Fellowship
NCCF Newsletter It’s finally here!
Welcome to the first issue of our NCCF Newsletter! We hope to provide a meeting place where members from across the world can build each other up by sharing their faith and personal experiences with one another. If you are interested in submitting a personal article to us, please send a word document file to the NCCF email address: firstname.lastname@example.org The length of your article (including title) should be about half an A4 page. It can be written in English or Chinese, in addition you are welcome to send us a photograph of your choice. We look forward to hear from you!
Shoulder to Shoulder
A day out at Stafford
Greetings from Hong Kong
Disciple training conference
From Our Pastor: Shoulder to Shoulder
Summer outing in Scarborough 5 Our journey so far
Fix your eyes above
Where are you when you are reading this? Are you near? May be you are far away from Newcastle, but you and I can still be close in spirit. The reason that you are reading this newsletter is maybe that you are a Christian. Even more likely is that you and I crossed our paths in Newcastle, and the Newcastle Chinese Christian Fellowship and our life together in it has left an indelible mark in your heart and memory! Do you remember the annual Christmas Retreat in the bitterly cold Whithaugh Park of Newcastleton? Do you remember our welcome campaign in September? How about the weekly Friday meetings of worship, bible study, sharing time and games? If you belong to the earlier generations of the NCCF, you may still remember the North England Easter Conference held annually in Cliff College.
Our journey so far…
Have I forgotten those who are in Newcastle right now? Certainly not! Greetings to you as well; to those who are working or studying here! Whether you are near or far, we are still united, for we are one in Christ. No matter where we are, we can still be linked in spirit. Because of this, I thought we could do a bit more to keep our link stronger – by sharing with, encouraging and praying for each other through written words. Let me share with you a true story you may have heard of. Pastor Tom Smith returned to South Africa after a sabbatical period with a renewed commitment for Christ. Having discerned a new direction, he didn’t rejoin his previous mega church. With a group of fellow Christians who shared the same vision, they embarked on a new journey of forming a small congregation. They adopted 2 Corinthians 4:7 as their motto,
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” At the end of worship one day, they put a clay jar in a bag and smashed it to pieces. They did it to symbolise their own brokenness. They identified with the pieces and each took a piece home. They wrote their prayer on their broken piece. In a later meeting, they brought the pieces and put them back together as best as they could. They had no illusion that it was a master piece of art. However, the truly wonderful, meaningful and spiritual thing happened when a candle was lowered into it – the glorious candle light radiated through the cracks and holes in the jar! What a beautiful picture! What a powerful symbol! When fellow Christians willing to bond together because of Christ and through Christ, we can achieve what the broken jar achieved – to let the beauty of Christ radiate out into people around us. Though we are broken, we can become a wonderful tool in God’s hands as we join together. One day we will become a perfect jar. Until that day let’s boast our brokenness and our weaknesses so that Christ’s power is made perfect in them. Would you like to join by the Spirit? Would you like to walk together in friendship and in spirit, no matter where you are? I hope you would. So let’s keep in touch through this newsletter. Let’s bridge our gap through it by remembering, encouraging, sharing with and praying for one another. All glory and praise to Him!
Pastor Desmond Chong, Newcastle.
并肩同行 你在何方？你我相近吗？你也许身在远处，但你我仍可心灵相通！你收读这通讯，可能因你是基 督徒，更有可能是因你我曾在纽卡素这城市相遇过，在可能在你心灵和回忆上划过痕迹的纽卡素 华人基督徒团契中一起生活过。 还记得每年一次在寒冷的Newcastleton 之Whithaugh Park 圣诞退修会吗？ 还记得每年9月的迎新活动吗？当然少不了每周的敬拜、查经、主题分享和游戏！在NCCF早期之前 出现的弟兄姊妺，相信你还有其它的回忆，例如Cliff College的复活节春令会。 我忘了那些还住在Newcastle的吗？当然没有！在此向一些还在这城市工作或读书的弟兄姊妺问安 ！无论你在远在近，我们都是相连的，因为我们都是在主里相连，不分地域，我们可以在灵里相 连。正是如此，我们希望更多一层次的联系，透过文字彼此分享、彼此鼓励、彼此代祷。 让我跟大家先分享一个你可能听过的真实故事。经过安息年后，Tom Smith 回到南非。 他重新对主热诚，亦看到新的事奉方向。他没有回到以前的超级教会，而是与几位有相同异象的 信徒一起再上路。哥林多后书四章七节是他们的座右铭: “我们有这宝贝放在瓦器里，为要显明这莫大的能力是出於上帝，不是出於我们。” 在一次崇拜结束时，他们把一个残旧的陶壶放在布袋里，然后把它打碎。这行动象徵他们的破碎, 每人拿一碎片回家，在碎片写上祷告。在随后的一个聚会，他们把碎片再粘合一起。重修的陶壶 当然是残缺，但当他们把燃点着的蜡烛放进去时，烛光透过裂缝与破口向四面八方散犮出去。好 一帧美丽的象徵图画！ 信徒群体就是这样:当我们在主前确认自己的破碎，但又愿意因为主并靠着主而连结时，主的辉煌 荣光反倒因此而透射在我们的周围。我们是破碎的瓦片，但当这些瓦片愿意彼此连结，则成为一 个主所使用的器皿。有一天我们会成为完整的陶壶，但今天可以夸我们的软弱、我们的破碎，好 让主的刚强表明出来。 你愿意彼此连结吗？你愿意彼此无论身在何方，在灵里和情谊中扶持同行吗？就让我们保持联系 让我们透过这通讯作为桥梁互通消息、分享近况与心灵，更以它彼此代祷。愿荣耀赞美归与神！
Pastor Desmond Chong, Newcastle.
Greetings from Hong Kong It is my pleasure to write a sharing of personal experience since I gained love and care during the year when I stayed in NCL. When I recall 2010, the year I left for NCL for further study, I knew nothing and I had no friends. What I just knew was to look for a church. A British pastor told me to join NCCF, for this is a Chinese fellowship. The first night I joined the fellowship was such a warming night, brothers and sisters chatted with me cordially. Some of the sisters invited me to join in their gatherings, such as the Chinese New Year celebration and birthday meals. The other sisters also asked me to join worship. As a Christian, worship is such an important occasion to know God’s words. Besides, brothers and sisters of NCCF took me to travel to places out of Newcastle which was a surprise to me.
“As a Christian, worship is such an important occasion to know God’s words.”
A day out at Stafford
The last period in Newcastle was
It was a nice day. No rain, full of sunshine. Not a typical day in May in the UK. We set off to Stafford at 6 a.m. in the morning. I was glad I was not the one driving. We were heading to a worship-training day. There were nine of us in total.
a sad time for me as I was stuck in huge amount of assignments. When brothers and sisters knew my suffering, they accompanied
The day started off with a worship led by the organiser of the programme. It was different and inspirational. The most interesting thing was to see how people worship in their own way, i.e. with dancing, body language, etc., while enjoying themselves in the songs to praise God.
me to walk through my hardest time. I wish to say thank God for letting me know Wilson and Carmen, Cherry, Celia and Shirly. They all treated me as best as they could which brightened up
The day was packed. It was split up into different workshops mainly into vocals or musicians. I attended the vocals group. Starting from basic of how to breathe to more complicated stuff like harmony. We learned skills of expanding our vocal range and preparing our voice. With such a busy day, we still had time for lunch while we sat under the lovely sun and embraced the time together to share our thoughts and food.
my days in Newcastle.
The day ended with a discussion about worship leading and a short song sharing sung by the vocal group. It gave me more thoughts on why I join the worship team. I want to continue to praise and worship Him. It is such a privilege.
Pui Keng, Hong Kong.
A wonderful day ended with a drink at Costa. We know this is not the end of the training day but the beginning of putting ourselves one step closer to God and submit to him in songs and praises. Lindy Pun, Newcastle.
Summer outing in Scarborough
DTC continues… 当被问到，“你已经因信称义了 吗？你觉得自己是义人吗？”。 我卡住了，愣住了，不知道如何 作答。当我按着行为来判断自己 是否得到GQ(GodQuotient)时，我 就想到，自己已经信主六七年了 ，但平时的行为并没有像一个好 的基督徒，更别提义人了。太多 世界上的东西我放不下，太多的 问题我解决不了，于是就混着“ 日子”，自己和神的关系也就越 走越远。 DTC的主题是“新造的人”，慢 慢通过小组讨论和老师一遍遍地
Summer outing in Scarborough
在温暖的夏天中，我度过了一个充实的假期，丰富的节目填满了假期的每一天 ：参加了欧洲七天游，BBQ，Scarborough一日游，聚餐，还有和家人的六日游 。走过了很多地方，一路走来，我只愿说神的恩典满溢！ 每一段旅途都有独特的得着和感恩之处，要说三天三夜都讲不完。每当看到一 片风景，都迫不及待拿出相机来，咔嚓咔嚓！心里也常常会不由地哼些歌出来 ，印象最深刻的一句来自诗歌“宝贝”，里面讲到:“我已得着基督如同生命 之宝，脱去各样缠累欢欢喜喜跟随……”那一刻，心中真是无比喜悦地赞美 那位何等荣美、至高无上的神！
造的人了，从信主的那一刻起， 我的肉体，包裹着这个新生命的 “外壳”，还做着我信耶稣前的 所做各种事情。因为肉体的情欲 ，我还是会有软弱。当知道并且 发现原来我已经拥有这个新生命 后，我消极的状态大有转变。虽
在这一年的人生旅途里，上帝在我身上一次次见证了祂的作为是何等奇妙!尤其 是自己在面对没有武器的战场时，更加真实地感受到祂帮助随时都在。乌云背 后总是还有蓝天。还有一个特别的是能一起与NCCF的弟兄姐妹们彼此帮助，真 的极度感恩！最近观赏了一部《Letters to God》 的基督影片，从中有很多的得 着与反省。我问自己为何惧怕人？世界上的价值观是否有那么重要吗？也再次 省察自己是否跟随祂的旨意而行。神透过这部电影让我知道祂的恩典够用，祂 让我在每一次跌倒后，站起来变得更刚强。Do what JESUS did有时候，停下来 回头看一看，祂的恩典真的一路相伴。 神的祝福永远都跟随你。记得别把上帝 缩小了，当人自大的时候，上帝就变渺小。他的爱会让世界不一样。 Louis Ling, Newcastle.
然有多年的查经、也坚持去教会 ，但所获得的似乎都只是一些对 神的知识和道理，但是在DTC， 我觉得自己听到的是从神那里来 的真理，与先前听到的知识不同 ，真理是满有能力的，因此我的 心也开始敞开，一点点地被改变 ，也更加愿意去亲近上帝。我知 道，因为肉体的情欲我仍然会软
Disciple Training Conference 在弟兄多次的鼓励下，我还是参加了DTC，这已经我第三次参加DTC了。实话 说，我一开始的态度是很不耐烦。刚刚大学毕业，心里有很多的烦恼，还在为 着生活，为着工作，为着签证，为着将来做打算。以至在去到DTC后，还是有 “人在心不在”的感觉。DTC讲课的内容比较深，小组讨论开始时也有些混乱 ， 再加上自己的心如此地刚硬，所以开始时一直没有什么特别的感受，直到
弱犯罪，但是我更知道我已经得 到这无比可贵的新生命，因此可 以去不断得去操练，让这个新生 命的力量大大张显，我也愿意去 操练，因为我因信称义! De He, Newcastle.
Our journey so far… It gives me great pleasure to be given the opportunity to write in the first NCCF newsletter. It is nearly a decade since I arrived at Newcastle. With the intention of pursuing an undergraduate degree to help secure a better future, little did I know what God has installed for me. I am truly blessed to be a part of the fellowship’s big family. The NCCF became my spiritual home where I made a life changing decision to follow Christ. Throughout the years, many brothers and sisters (from various countries) played a major part in supporting and encouraging me in my walk with Jesus Christ. My faithful prayer partners (Michelle, Huong Nai, Mandy, Fang Fang) have been an invaluable blessing from God through the thick and thin times. This year has been very special for Leo (my husband) and I as it marked the birth of our beloved son, Jadon. The promotion to parenthood is both challenging and rewarding. My patience continues to be tested frequently but my love for Jadon grows stronger daily. Even though being woken up several times during the night is no fun matter, seeing him fall asleep on my arms just melts my heart away and makes all the effort worthwhile. There was never a day gone by where I do not thank God for him. Saying so, I understand the danger of placing little Jadon above God and have to constantly remind myself not to make him my idol. As for Leo, being a father is a joyful learning experience. On top of that, we understand the added responsibilities too, quoting Leo’s exact words, “In the past, I’ll buy McDonald’s for one, now, I’ll have to buy for three.” As Leo and I have decided to “balik kampung” (return to our home country, Malaysia), we left Newcastle with many fond memories of our experience in the North East. It was a rather difficult decision and took us nearly two years to make this move a reality. The daunting thought of searching for new jobs, home and church were probably the main reasons for the delay. However, God has patiently been guiding us along the way and step by step we could see His plan unfold. The more we prayed about it, the more confident we are that this move will only be for the better. With the peace of God that transcends all understanding, we are ready to face the uncertainties and challenges that lie ahead. We will always miss the NCCF annual “Welcome campaign” and “Christmas retreat”, where we get to spend quality time with brothers and sisters in Christ. The fellowship is unique in its own way and it has definitely served us through its different ministries. As we start this new journey, we sincerely ask for your prayers for our family. One of our biggest desires is to witness our parents and siblings come to know Christ. While we spend more time with them, may our actions and conversations bring glory to Jesus Christ. May we also have the courage to stand firm in our faith in times of testing and temptation. Hopefully we will be able to post our updates again on the newsletter soon. Hui Min & Leo Lee, Malaysia.
Fix your eyes above As a Christian, my spiritual journey is not always on a smooth path. Especially being an architecture student, I face a lot of coursework deadlines and criticism from tutors. The architecture studio can become a negative and competitive atmosphere when everyone is overwhelmed with stress and is lacking of sleep. I can understand that no matter how much I try to suppress myself, I can easily become a horrible person in this kind of environment if I don’t rely on Jesus. In the past, I have always believed moral and intelligence are key factors in making people whole, and that if we behaved properly then we would be doing just fine. Working with coursemates on group projects is a good example of this social interaction. People are always happy greeting in project briefings, but the stress level will rise up automatically as we discuss workload and rewards from group mark. This happened over and over again in my circumstance throughout my time in University. However the more I blamed myself for not handling my selfishness and emotion well afterwards, the more I discovered that people like me are very limited. We could not make ourselves better human beings if we believed morality can ever suppress selfishness and anxiety, fear of lost and not taking control of a situation. Having the church and fellowship life in 2008 offered me a psychological balance on dealing with the social issues. I learnt how to rely on God to deal with my weaknesses and fear. A bible quote I would like to share, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Corinthians 4:16-18 Here the wisdom I learn is that, we as believers of Christ are not to follow the morals of this world and the surface of behaviour but the vision on our glory and rewards are in heaven. With this vision we can overcome our major weakness as being “shortsighted” for not seeing the unseen reward in heaven. Over the years I spent in NCCF with brothers and sisters, I have received lots of knowledge, support and love. Although I am a quiet person, I always observe and learn from everyone here because they are all amazing in their own ways which make NCCF always so attractive to visit, and I believe it is also because we have a tendency to rely on God even when we are not always doing so well. I know I will be leaving UK soon if I cannot find a job here, but even if I am going back to Hong Kong, I will always remember the friendship God has given me in NCCF and I will keep on practicing relying on Him. Dennis Chan, Newcastle.
“The joy of the Lord is our strength!”
一生的年日是七十歲，若強壯可到八十歲，我用了人生的二十分一去經歷「另類 信仰」。四年前隨丈夫與當時九歲的兒子到紐卡素住了兩年，讓他可專心完成碩 士課程，我就由全職婦女轉做全職母親。這改變若在香港是不可行的，因為人人 也為了更好的衣食住行勞碌著；返教會，做事俸，十一俸獻是我認定身為基督徒 的最基本要求，但我並 熟識聖靈。我對神的認識是透過事俸去表現出來，有時 卻像馬大那樣，在勞碌中渡過，但神要我們的「心」多過我們的「工」！ 英國的節拍比較慢，使我學習在安靜中等候及仰望神，當時還看了一本叫「The Shack 小屋」的書，讓我對神有更多角度的認識；透過服待身邊的弟兄姊妹同哭 同笑經歷生命被改做的喜悅！原來過去認識的神都是平面及鑲在特定的框架內， 但透過讚美與神相交，聆聽祂的呼喚，突破環境的限制，安靜在主裏，與神同行 ，那感覺是何等美妙，也給我們信心繼續前行；因為無論順逆，神也知道、也伴 我同行，所以應當一無掛慮，因為＂The joy of the Lord is our strength＂！ 這兩年可說是我信仰一個重要的里程碑，跟著兩年就被「差」到土耳其，一個連 旅行也不會考慮的國家，若知后事如何，請看下回分解！ Louisa Lai, Turkey.
NCCF Contact details: Newcastle Chinese Christian Fellowship St James’s United Reformed Church Hall Northumberland Road Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 8JF Website: http://www.nccf.org.uk/ Email: email@example.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NewcastleChineseChristianFellowship Google: http://plus.google.com/106735878981370178125