By David Michel
Over 75 people met to form a new Chinese congregation in Hattiesburg on Sunday, January 22, 2012. Rather than celebrating the “Year of the Dragon”, which began the same day, Dawson Zuang and his new church will celebrate the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Hattiesburg Chinese Christian Church is the most recent addition to Mississippi life. Funding from the Margaret Lackey State Mission Offering and training from Peter Liu, pastor of the First Baptist Chinese Church in Jackson, combined to make a good start for the new congregation. Johnny Ervin, church planting director for Mississippi Baptists, extended greetings from 2,000 churches across the state. The church will meet at the location of Hardy Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg. Dr. David O’Dell is pastor of the host church and is excited about the new partnership. George Berger, director of missions in Lebanon Association, welcomed the new congregation to the Baptist family.
The church will focus on evangelism and ministry among the Chinese population in the Hub City and on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Lloyd Lunceford, long-time BSU Director at USM, has helped nurture an outreach ministry to international students for many years. He was also present for the new church dedication and rejoiced to see campus ministry taking shape as a permanent congregation.
Representatives from nearby cities joined the celebration as well. Supporting groups from Chinese congregations in Jackson, Mobile and Slidell offered prayers and encouragement. Jeremy Sin, ethnic church planting leader at the North American Mission Board was present, and Peter Tuck-Soon Leong, president of the North American Chinese Baptist Fellowship and long-time pastor in Houston, Texas brought an inspiration challenge.
As Mississippi becomes ever more multi-cultural, our prayer should be for God to provide laborers like Dawson Zuang who can share the gospel in every language and culture group. Yours prayers and gifts sustain and embolden his witness.