When Dr Sue Wang said a tearful goodbye to her family and friends in China, little did she know she would be the cause of a new exciting movement in New Zealand.
Before she left China, a friend told Dr Sue she should start an Adventist church in New Zealand. She held this thought close to her heart when she arrived in the South Pacific.
The establishment of the church is the fulfilment of Dr Sue’s dream, and evidence of the leading hand of God.
When Dr Sue settled into her new home, she searched around Wellington for a church to attend. However, as her fluency in English was limited, she felt her only option was to join a Sunday Chinese-speaking church. The church she found rented a space on Sundays from the Lower Hutt Seventh-day Adventist church.
The situation, however, didn’t sit well with Dr Sue. After doing some research, she approached the pastor of the Lower Hutt church and told him her story—that she was an Adventist from China who had no choice but to join a Sunday church because of her language difficulties.
Dr Sue also approached the only Chinese-speaking pastor in New Zealand, Pastor Philip Ko. She begged him to come to Wellington from Auckland to meet her friends and share the good news of God’s salvation with them.
Dr Sue’s passion and urgency was due to her deteriorating health. She was terminally ill with lung cancer, and felt she could not leave this world without sharing God’s love with her friends.
In late 2013, Lower Hutt church pastor Roger Lang met Dr Sue to tell her that plans for a new church plant had commenced in Upper Hutt, less than a kilometre from her house. Pastor Lang contacted Juliana Tang-Hickey, one of the leaders of the new church plant, and told her about Dr Sue’s situation.
Juliana had spent more than 30 years living in the United Kingdom, and thus spoke fluent English. It wasn’t long before she was meeting weekly with Dr Sue and her friends for weekly English language classes.
March 8, 2014 was a special day for the Chinese community in Upper Hutt, with Pastor Ko arriving from Auckland to preach and meet Dr Sue’s friends. Sadly, almost two weeks later, Dr Sue passed away, leaving her wish for a new Chinese church plant with her friends.
Members of Upper Hutt’s Chinese community attend the opening ceremony of the Wellington Chinese Seventh-day Adventist church on July 26.
That dream came to fruition on July 26, with the opening of the Wellington Chinese Seventh-day Adventist church. It was a joyful occasion, mixed with a tinge of sadness. More than 40 people attended the opening, which was facilitated by Gavin Chen.
North New Zealand Conference general secretary Pastor Ben Timothy also attended the event, offering a special prayer of dedication and the children’s story. Another highlight of the day was five people responding to Pastor Ko’s alter call to join God’s church.
Wellington’s newest church has a wonderful future ahead. The establishment of the church is the fulfilment of Dr Sue’s dream, and evidence of the leading hand of God.