SANTA CLARA -- Over 1,800 people nationwide convened, Thursday, at the River of Life (Ling Leung) church, about 40 miles south of San Francisco.
Top leaders representing different branches of the church urged the faithful to seek spiritual revival and healing from the Holy Spirit.
“Many of us believe that revivals are only in the Bible, and cannot take place in our time,” said Rev. Liu Tong, ‘Ling Leung’ senior pastor in Santa Clara.
“Actually, revival is like an ocean wave. One wave catches another wave, and the wave grows larger and stronger. No one can stop God’s work.”
Rev. Tong added that God always gave revival to the church, but believers were blind to it because they did not long for revival.
“We always think we can accomplish things by ourselves,” Rev. Tong explained. “Everyone should come before the Lord humbly, and say we need you.”
The senior pastor also harshly criticized Chinese Christians for being unwilling to display their faith in public for fear of “losing face.”
“The Chinese [Christians] do not pray openly. Koreans pray crying aloud with tears,” Rev. Tong said. “That is why God blessed Korea.”
“Before the death of Jesus, the disciples were afraid to testify of the Lord’s coming. Only at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came into the believers did they testify with courage.”
The event came complete with workshop and seminars, gift and book shops, musical performances, faith-healing sessions and public displays from ministries and Christian businesses.
Jumping and singing alongside Chinese followers included a delegation of African and Mongolian representatives.
Later in the evening, Maurice Sklar, a Jewish-Christian clad in a traditional Chinese-robe, played the violin on stage in a performance that left the audience cheering.
The conference ended with Rev. Tong calling the sick to come forward for a faith-healing session. Hundreds of people collapsed as Rev. Tong place his hand on them one-by-one, calling for healing from the Holy Spirit.
This year marks the tenth conference held by the church, which has branch churches in Taiwan, Mongolia, United States, Canada, Mexico and Africa.
In Africa, many of its followers are not Chinese but local African believers.
Founded in Taiwan, the church often holds local-outreach. The church actively supports prayer-in-tongue, faith-healing, ordaining women ministers and the use of contemporary Christian music – all of which remains a subject of contention in the more traditional Chinese Christian community.
Despite its origins, the church has gained a wide following amongst new immigrant families and international students from China’s mainland, Hong Kong and Macau.
In a recent move to address its growing diversity, the church added English tracks and translations to its services for non-Chinese speaker, many of whom include second-generation Chinese Americans and spouses from mixed Chinese-Caucasian marriages.