In the run up to the first ever restaurant gospel ministry conference that centered at grassroots evangelism, Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism (CCCOWE) U.S.A. is raising funds to support Chinese Christians from overseas to attend the conference.
To be held on March 21-29 in the Peru capital Lima, CCCOWE USA organized the Peru Evangelistic Conference for Chinese Restaurant Gospel Ministry in collaboration with restaurant gospel ministries across the world, including Chinese Christian Herald Crusades (CHCC) Restaurant Gospel Ministry in North America, Hong Kong Catering Evangelistic Fellowship and Europe Restaurant Gospel Ministry Association.
Entitled "Delicious Life," around 60 leaders and members of restaurant gospel ministry across the world will join the meeting, 25 of them are from Europe and 2 from Hong Kong and others from North America. Since most of the workers in the restaurant ministry are not financially strong, CCCOWE will raise a fund of around USD$25,000 to sponsor their travel and accommodation fee.
The Conference will be the biggest of its kind in the global restaurant gospel ministry movement, which has actually started in Europe 30 years ago, the director of CCCOWE USA Rev. David Chi said. Chi explained the significance of this Conference in relation to the CCCOWE’s overall vision, especially as the 7th Chinese Congress on World Evangelization (CCOWE) will commence in Macau in July.
"CCCOWE movement is basically an evangelistic coordination that preaches the holistic gospel of Christ to all nations. CCCOWE has been dedicated to grassroots evangelism, therefore the need to serve the restaurant workers with the gospel cannot be delayed anymore," Chi said.
"Through promoting restaurant gospel ministry, we can achieve the goal of reaching all nations. Wherever there are Chinese, there will be restaurants. Wherever there are restaurants, there will be gospel. Not only the gospel has to enter restaurants, but the gospel should also be spread to all nations from restaurants," Chi continued.
The special need of restaurant workers are often overlooked by churches, Chi shared his experience. He suggested that those working in the restaurants will be the best ones to take up the commission to fulfill the spiritual needs of their fellow workers.
"The working hours of restaurant workers are very unique and it is hard for them to join the activities of churches at the right time even on holidays. Everyday, usually they have a break during the day from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and they do not stop working until 10:30 p.m. Also, as their jobs are very boring, many of them are easily drawn to entertainment. Some unhealthy habits such as watching pornography movies and gambling are very common among the Chinese restaurant workers," Chi reflected the challenges faced by restaurant gospel ministry.
Chi wishes to see people from catering business to show their commitment and willingness to sacrifice themselves for the evangelization of their fellow workers. Besides, some other services such as application of visas, access to medical care and job searching are in huge demand among Chinese immigrants.
At the Peru Evangelistic Conference for Chinese Restaurant Gospel Ministry this time, CCCOWE USA plays the role of enabling communication between restaurant gospel ministry groups worldwide and provides them a platform to share their experience with each other, according to Chi.
The Conference will involve short term mission to local restaurants in Peru and training for local leaders. In the evening, there will be time for restaurant workers to exchange their skills in cooking in a banquet, through which the evangelistic message of serving can be conveyed.
Lima, the city where the Conference will be held, has the first group of Chinese people settled down for trading and businesses 150 year ago. Today there are over 300,000 Chinese and over 5,000 Chinese restaurants. Almost all Chinese come to Peru will start a restaurant immediately.