The West Virginia Chinese Baptist Church was constituted in a special service Aug. 11 at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Scott Depot, W.Va.
"We are thrilled to have these sweet Christians as part of our fellowship," Terry Harper, the convention's executive director, said. "We have long prayed for and looked forward to this day, and we rejoice to see it come to fruition."
Eddie and Mary Henson had a vision for a Chinese ministry 20 years ago when he was serving as associational missionary for the Huntington Baptist Association and the couple began a Chinese Bible study at Highlawn Baptist Church in Huntington.
Over the years, the group continued to meet, often calling a Southern Baptist Theological Seminary student to preach each week through a translator.
In 2010, the Chinese Bible study group called Sung Chuen (Paul) Noh and his wife YuJin to help lead them. The Nohs are native Koreans but were called to work with the Chinese, and the couple speaks fluent Mandarin.
The Huntington group began talking with a Chinese group meeting in Charleston, and they soon formed as a church plant meeting midway at Good Shepherd Baptist in Scott Depot.
Highlawn Baptist in Huntington hosted a sending service Aug. 11, expressing support for the Chinese members merging with the Charleston congregation, and Good Shepherd Baptist hosted a receiving service.
The Chinese congregation, now an autonomous church meeting at Good Shepherd Baptist, feels indebted to Highlawn Baptist for their sacrifice and diligence to share their facilities for many years, Harper said.
"They are also grateful to the Good Shepherd congregation for now providing facilities in which to meet. They also expressed appreciation to the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists and the North American Mission Board for their financial support during their fledgling years," Harper said.
"In a state that is 95 percent Anglo, we rejoice to have this group join our convention," Harper said. "We currently have one congregation that is predominantly African American, and now to have one Chinese church thrills us beyond measure. Our hope is to involve these folks in the life of our convention."
Based on a report from the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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