Pastor Andy Chao, Logos Bible Church
Ordination Ceremony June 28, 2008 - Reflection of his life.
Pastor David Mitchell (far left) participated in Rev. Chao's ordination, along with several other ministers of the Gospel. Andy (center front) and his wife Amy (directly behind him).
“A God Who Pursues, Calls & Enables” Personal Testimony of Andy Chao
Jesus once said that it’s not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. That was my condition prior to knowing the saving Grace of God. I was someone who suffered a terrible spiritual disease and did not realize it.
After immigrating to the States in 1977, I began an import/export company in 1984. I thought I could do it all. Surely there was nothing that my determination and hard work couldn’t handle. Yet in His mercy, God allowed me to come to a dead end in my life, which caused me to surrender to Him for my own salvation and blessing. Looking back, I realize that God has always been pursuing me through the many trials that have occurred in my life. His never-ending faithfulness is evident, even up till this very day.
ABANDONMENT, REJECTION, AND ANGER
As a young child I had been exposed to the Word through attending church. Yet I was angry at God and His people. I blamed God for losing my father at age 5; I blamed His people for their weaknesses that were so evident at times. Hence, I spent the first 40 years of my life running away from God and from His People.
The beauty of it all is that He never gave up on me. He pursued me with His relentless love through faithful Christians who endured my anger towards God and towards them. I debated in my heart against God for one year, testing Him time after time. I was looking for evidence of His power and grace. And although He was revealing Himself time and time again --- still, I resisted surrendering to His Lordship. I still wanted control of my life.
CRISIS AT THE GREAT WALL
In 1990, I was in China for business, after a series of disasters and betrayals by business partners and clients. One day I found myself climbing the Great Wall. It was there that God chose to give me an opportunity to respond to who He had shown Himself to be. I had already experienced so much of God’s providence, that if I were ever to respond to Him, it was then or never.
Halfway up the Great Wall, I felt a shortness of breath that I had never experienced. I thought to myself, “I’m in the prime of my years and have always been an athlete—so I shouldn’t be out-done by these old folks conquering the steps ahead of me.” Yet when I reached the top of the wall, I began to collapse. I found myself struggling for breath as my entire body collapsed on the ground, attracting quite a crowd of on-lookers. I was facing a crisis of life and faith as it became so evident at that moment that I was never in control of my life. I cried out to God, “Lord, if you return my next breath, I will be yours.” In a matter of seconds, I was back up on my feet, as if nothing ever happened.
It was then I began to sense an intense need for God and His control over my life.
NO LONGER MY OWN: Serving a Great & Worthy God
Not long after the incident on the Great Wall, I returned to America and took my family to a church. I came to understand that my desire to control my life resulted in sin and made me an enemy of God. In His grace, He sent His perfect Son Jesus Christ to die on my behalf. I repented of my sins and trusted in Him as Lord through faith. My wife and I were baptized in September of 1990. What happened after I accepted Christ into my life is one long story of forgiveness, reconciliation, and renewal with God in control this time around. He said, “Son, sit back and watch me at work. I can do things you can’t even imagine, let alone accomplish.” And He did. He called me to a new way of life, new values, and new ways to think about business. He brought people into our lives that were good for us. No longer did I shoulder all the weight upon myself. I learned how to lady who was so down in life that she showed no joy. I saw the old me in her, without hope or happiness. “She needs to hear of this Good News,” I thought. Not long after I returned home I began serving in the area of World Missions.
In 1993, some missionaries from China visited and told us about the great work of the gospel there, and the need for Bibles. It struck me that I could help by bringing Bibles in during my business trips. I went to see for myself, and I was moved by their faith and fervency in Christ.
Missions and Beyond
In the years that followed, we’ve gone over to China on an annual basis and participated in Kingdom works there. I saw that only Christ alone can grant people true freedom. Only God’s Word and Spirit can truly change lives and set people free from bondage to sin. I wanted to be instrumental in people’s lives by being trained in His Word. So I enrolled in seminary from 1993-2002, receiving MCS.
In 1995, when my term in Missions came to an end, I inquired of the Lord, “What’s next?” He began to lead me in thinking about what it meant to be an Elder in the church. I wondered if it was from the Lord, since OCCEC had no Elders at that time. A week later, Pastor Cheng asked me, “Have you thought of becoming an Elder?” I was floored and a bit frightened; It is a weighty thing to be an Elder of a church. Yet one morning, God’s word came to me clearly through Isaiah 41: 10 “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” With that, I was appointed as an elder in 1996. Indeed, throughout that term, He has proven Himself to be faithful and a shield before the enemies.
Sharpening the Blade
Through the encouragement of Rev. Jonathan and Margaret Cheng, as well as affirmations of other brothers and sisters in the church, I now find myself being ordained as a Pastor. Pastor and Mrs. Cheng said to me, “Every church should be given the gift of Biblical leadership in a Pastor. Public recognition by ordination for you is the next natural step, since you’re already doing the work of a Pastor.” Indeed, God has used Pastor Cheng to nurture and groom me in my first 10 years of spiritual life and service. God has appeared at critical intersections to guide me into the next step. This phase was also of no exception. He has also affirmed these things through other brothers and sisters through prayer.
Looking back, I didn’t actively seek the roles in church, that I was given. My journey has been one of responding to God’s initiation, direction and affirmation. God is the one who calls, affirms, enables and provides. No doubt, I face some fears as I enter this next stage, but He comes back to me yet again: “Fear not, for I am with you.”
To the demands and challenges that await me, He says, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” (Jer. 12:5) I am to trust in God alone, and not upon my own strength or wisdom.
Looking back on the past 18 years, He has never failed me. He is faithful when I have been faithless.
Aside from giving the glory and praise to the Lord, I also thank the brothers and sisters who stand with me in service, join me in fellowship and support me through prayers. May the Lord continue to bless and reward you according to your faithfulness in Him! June 8, 2008
The Chao family
(Rear) Sabrina, Jennifer, Brent and Beverly
(Front) Amy, Andy and Gabriela
History of Logos Bible Church
In August 2004, Logos Bible Church started services at an industrial site in Orange. Since then the church has grown from four (Vincent Chan and Andy Chao, elders of the newly formed church and their wives) to over 60 adults. Evangelistic in their approach, a special invitation Barbeque in the park attracted unbelievers, who came to Christ after hearing the Good News shared. About half of those attending are new believers and are excited about reaching out to others with their new found faith.
A desire to expand Mandarin language services to the north county area, was important in Vincent and Andy's decision to form a new church. As the church has grown, the desire for a place where their children can take part (in English services) and that is better equipped to accommodate the expected new attendees, has become very important.
In early 2005, the Logos Bible Church approached Calvary with the possibility of meeting here for their Mandarin speaking services. We are excited to have them be a part of our overall Sunday morning activities on campus beginning. They have an Adult Bible Fellowship class meeting at 8:45 in FC201 with their Worship service in the GYM at 10:45. They also have Bible study classes on Friday evenings at 7:00 in Northside 2. They love to gather together following their Sunday morning Worship times for lunch and so plan to have that meal together in the GYM each week.
Although their services are in Mandarin, most of those attending speak and understand English. They welcome you to come and visit their services and bring a Mandarin speaking friend with you.
For more information at this time, contact Calvary missions at (714) 973-4800 (ext. 341).
The American Friendship Partner Program reaching out to international students at UCI:
"When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34
There are over 600,000 international students enrolled at U.S. colleges today. The U.S. enrolls the largest number of international students of any country in the world. Nine of the ten largest sending nations of international students are Asian. California ranks the #1 state hosting the most international students. UC-Irvine international students are from all over the world, with a majority from Asian countries.
THIS program STRIVES TO…Promote friendships between international students and American Christians Help international students adjust to and enjoy the American culture through a variety of activities. Seek to help international students with their basic needs, particularly upon arrival. Encourage and Train volunteers how to develop friendship evangelism with international students.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
You can become a Friendship Partner to an international student. Interested students are “matched” with a friendship partner once we receive complete application forms from both the student and you. Friendship partners are simply asked to meet with their student at least once a month, and call at least twice a month.
Students need friends almost year round but the most crucial time is upon arrival to the United States, which is busiest during the fall quarter of school.
Join us, and see how your own life will be changed as a result of making a difference for someone else!
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Every Sunday morning, and throughout the week, the Hispano Ministerio meets for worship and the study of God's word for Spanish speaking people. As they began meeting here in 2001, they desired to become a ministry of Calvary Church, which has happened with more than half of those attending, going through the Calvary membership class (covering the same materials only in Spanish). Pastor Armando Reyes, licensed and hired by Calvary Church, preaches each Sunday and is very involved in all aspects of ministry. As a staff member of Calvary Church, Armando attends the weekly Calvary Pastor/Director meetings to stay connected with all the ministries of Calvary Church. Armando and his wife, Rocio are proud parents of a new baby boy, Nehemias. The Hispanic ministry also has Mesa Directiva (Elders), one of whom (Edwin Benavente) was elected in May 2004 to serve on Calvary's Elder Board to insure a vital connection with the English speaking church.
The Hispano Ministerio holds their Worship Service (in Spanish) on Sunday mornings at 10:45 in Samsvick Chapel. They also have an Adult Bible Fellowship that meets at 8:45 in the same location. Children attend the regular English speaking Calvary Sunday school classes on Sunday mornings. In addition to the Sunday worship service, they also have a Saturday prayer and outreach time and separate Women's, Men's and Youth Bible studies throughout the week. Currently their Sunday morning worship attendance averages almost 200. They are very active in outreach to the neighborhood and now have an Awana ministry on Friday nights specifically planned to reach unchurched Hispanic children.
Our Hispanic brothers and sisters are excited to be a part of Calvary Church and are very involved. They would love for you to visit their ministries and invite any of your Spanish speaking friends to come with you.
For more information on Hispano Ministerio, please send an email to email@example.com or call Ileana at 550-2270.