With her husband, Steve, Lyn has been serving with in Macau with tranzsend for a number of years. They have been involved in establishing Oasis International Church.
One of the core values of Oasis International Church in Macau is to be a church where people not only look after each other, but also impact the community beyond work that our medical team are involved in.
With this in mind, the church prays for and gives financially to several missional organisations, and people are involved as volunteers wherever possible.
Our three main focus groups have been Bible distribution, hospital chaplaincy and prison ministry. At a recent children’s ministry team meeting, one of the teachers said that we should also involve the children.
Through a contact of ours we were put in touch with a unique foster home. This home takes babies from orphanages who have too many health problems to ever be considered for adoption. Then they provide advanced medical care, usually corrective surgery, and continue to care for the children until they are either adopted or fostered long term in the community.
We agreed to sponsor a child, so the children now bring part of their pocket money each week to give and have been praying for this home.
As last Christmas approached, we decided to do special Christmas boxes for the seven children. Our children’s group threw themselves into the project and were thrilled at the opportunity to visit and deliver the boxes. This was an incredible blessing to us, to the family running the home, and to our young friends there.
Let me share two stories:
Hannah, 10, when asked what she wanted for Christmas, said, “I want to go and play with the babies at ND.” She had a great time!
Jamie’s Mum told me that Jamie, 12, wanted to go visit the home. I was a little concerned about taking her because she is very quiet and I seldom hear her speak or see her smile.
On arrival at the home I had a bag of lollies in a Christmas bag. I gave it to Jamie and told her this was especially for Sarah, the daughter of the family running the home. Jamie gave it to Sarah who immediately hugged her and said, “Thank you so much, these are all my favourites.”
There was an immediate bond between these two young girls. It turns out that Sarah has very few friends in the area and this trip with three young girls was very special to her. They all parted firm friends.
The story didn’t end there. In Sunday school the next day, the teacher asked, “Who would like to pray for the foster home?” For some reason the usual eager hands didn’t go up. It was Jamie who offered, and prayed a very moving prayer for the babies and for Sarah.
Let me share the remarks of an English couple who came to the Oasis Sunday service yesterday: “We arrived in a crowded bus, got off and walked through a small car park, into a factory building. We went up a large, commercial-grade shipping lift, and got off at the second floor – to be greeted by a bar! Inside the bar, we found the Oasis worship service amazing!”
Throughout the world, the Church of Jesus Christ comes in all manner of shapes and sizes. Oasis, an international church, is a part of that creative local expression in the midst of a gaming city that now earns five times more than Las Vegas and is currently the fastest growing economy in the world.
We began the church a few years ago, and it now numbers around 80 adults and 20+ kids as part of the Sunday gathering. It’s time for Oasis to have a Bar Mitzvah. That’s when, in the Jewish faith, a boy becomes a man in the sight of God, shifting the responsibility of their soul from the parents to the child.
In a similar vein, it’s time for Oasis to take responsibility for itself. No longer can it exist as a church plant; it’s time to move on and grow as a mature expression of the body of Christ in Macau.
We plan to adopt the Three-Self model – not by joining the Three-Self Government church in Mainland China but by growing in the three critical areas of a mature church: self-reproducing, self-governing, and self-sustaining. The key challenge for us is this: How do we prepare and ensure Oasis has missional pastoral leadership for the next five to eight years?
One vital step is to find an appropriate pastor, one who we can mentor and transition into the Senior Pastor role. There is no doubt that the church needs a full time pastor who can minister within an incredibly diverse and complex urban environment, someone whose model of ministry is not simply to be a shepherd of the existing community but is missional in theology and practice. We now have the finances and the institutional credibility to obtain a work visa, so this is a very real possibility.
Oasis practices a democratic form of church government. Although non-denominational, it is baptistic in theology and practice. We keep our administration systems simple, transparent, and minimise the time required to keep things moving so that relational time is maximised. Leadership is expressed in a high-trust environment. Cultivating and pastoring this church community has been one of the highlights of our 31+ years of ministry.
Please continue to pray for the Oasis church as we take our next steps. And don’t forget to pray that, as a missional church, we would see men and women come to Christ.
So what is next for Steve and Lyn? There are a few things that are on our horizon. We will still be onsite here to ensure a healthy and strong transition in pastoral leadership. We look forward to networking with other like-minded International Pastors at the Missional International Church Conference (MICN) in April.
We are also seeking to cultivate appropriate sister church relationships for Oasis to tap into. Another focus is reproduction. (No, not us!) We’ll be exploring the opportunity, supported by both tranzsend and Oasis, to plant an international church in the Mainland.
Once again, we value your support, which has enabled so much to happen here in Macau. We welcome your prayers in a time of transition and exploration.