Greetings from Shanghai, China
After laboring in Southeast Houston for 15 years, we released that congregation to Pastor Bob and Sister Angie McCullough to go into Shanghai.
We were announced out of the 2017 El Paso Bible Conference and were scheduled to leave at the end of June, but were set back two and a half months when I fell and ruptured the quad tendon in my right knee and fractured my left ankle six days before our departure.
After what can only be described as a miraculous recovery (about a month ahead of schedule, praise God) my wife, Marina, my son Anthony, and I arrived in China on September 15, 2017, and were met by some of the missionary couples who labor in the city.
That was on Friday, we got our phones working on Saturday, and I preached my first sermon in China that Sunday to cover for an evangelist whose plane had been delayed. It was an awesome first weekend in Shanghai.
Waking up quite early on Monday due to the time change, we were quickly acquainted with the vast subway system and the masses of people in Shanghai as we searched for a place to live.
The word we received from Pastor Stephens during our farewell quickly became reality: You have no idea what you have gotten yourself into! But the rest of that message – that we would have God’s favour the moment we set foot in China – also came to pass.
As we searched the city a pattern began to emerge. We wound up settling in the first area we explored, we wound up getting the first apartment we looked at, and we began to see that these were the places God wanted us.
We moved into our apartment ten days after we arrived – a record, according to the other missionaries who averaged at least a month in a hotel. But all the glory goes to God, and of course we would not have been able to get settled as quickly as we did without the help of those other missionaries.
We began to settle in and learn how to function here. We secured a building in December and began to remodel. We were actually ready to begin services by late January 2018, but people were in holiday mode for the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival which dominate almost the entire month of February.
Many folks are still returning back to Shanghai from their hometowns after the holidays, but as of this writing we have conducted three English Corners (the Chinese mode of evangelism to get people into the building) and have had three visitors, and several other good contacts.
We are excited to see what God is going to do in this awesome treasure city!
Thank you, Pastor Stephens, Sister Renee, and the congregations in El Paso and Southeast Houston, for your prayers and support. We are truly grateful and honored to represent the Kingdom of God and all of you in the city of Shanghai and the nation of China.
Pastor Tony Arroyo