"To prepare an army of forerunners who have a burning passion for, and are willing to share the burden of prayer with Christ, who reign this world by holiness in the end-time." This is the vision of FRCC. In May of 2002, through God's guidance, we purchased a 10.4-acre school campus in Fremont, California. God revealed that His purpose for this campus is for it to be used as a "Revival Base", which now consists of a sanctuary/training center building with prayer and ministry rooms, classroom buildings, and student housing.
Two years ago, God instructed us to start planning for a new church building. During the two years, we have visited quite a few promising places for sale. However, we did not receive approval from God for any of these properties. In March of 2002, the Noll Adult School in Fremont, CA came on the real estate market. When we knew about it we sought the will of the Lord for this 10.4-acre land. Shortly afterwards, I traveled to Argentina and Brazil for several weeks to preach at conferences. In that period of time, God revealed it was His will for us to acquire this piece of land. I asked for more confirmations from the Lord and He immediately and positively responded. God even confirmed it as frequent as three times a day during my regular quiet time. Before returning to San Jose, God gave me His promise via Deuteronomy 10:11 "Then the Lord said to me, Get up and go on your journey before the people, so that they may go in and take the land which I said in my oath to their fathers that I would give them." When I got back, God spoke again through Deuteronomy 31:7-8, "When Moses sent for Joshua, and before the eyes of all Israel said to him, Be strong and take heart: for you are to go with this people into the land which the Lord, by His oath to their fathers, has given them; by your help they will take it for their heritage. It is the Lord who goes before you; He will be with you, He will not take away His help from you or give you up: so have no fear."
For developers, it is extremely profitable to build a new residential community due to the excellent location, the large size of this land, and the tight housing market in the bay area. Thus, ten companies, including the largest real estate development firm in the United States and the largest construction company in the Bay Area were attracted to bid on this property. Many analysts said there was no way for us to win the bid against such formidable competitors. However, the Lord reconfirmed His promise with Joshua 1:6, "Take heart and be strong; for you will give to this people for their heritage the land which I gave by an oath to their fathers."
Despite the Lord's encouragement to me to take heart and be strong, this is, after all for me, a difficult decision. It occurred to me that there are many earthquake fault lines in the city of Fremont. Therefore, I prayed to the Lord that if there is any fault lines running through the property, it would be an indication that it was not God's will for us to purchase it. Upon investigation by a knowledgeable real estate broker, it was confirmed that there are no earthquake fault lines within the property boundary. That was the second confirmation from the Lord. Thus, knowing it was His will, we were willing to obey and joined in the bidding. I then asked for the third confirmation from the Lord: "If this is Your will Lord, let us win the bid!"
The auction was scheduled for 10:00am on Wednesday, May 15, 2002. Before we went, I said to my co-workers we are going in the name of the LORD of Hosts. Upon entering the auction place, we noticed much fanfare. The TV media was there with their cameras ready and all the representatives of each company were formally dressed for the occasion. Even the president and vice president of one of the bidding companies were present. All of them looked very confident that they would be the final winner. In contrast, we wore casual clothing which seemed out of place for this event. I reminded my coworkers to pray silently and seek the Lord's guidance as to when to bid and when not to bid. Then we waited quietly upon the Lord.
The auction began with a starting bid of $15.3 million. The rule was new bids should be at least 5% above the current bid. In other words, the next bid should be $16,087,050 or more. The Lord instructed us to bid. We raised our bidder's number and was acknowledged by the auctioneer. The auctioneer next called for $16.1 million, "Anyone for $16.1 million?" We continued to pray earnestly and asked the Lord to make the other bidders give up. Our prayers were answered. The auctioneer called out 3 times and met with no response. As mentioned before, one very large development company was represented by their president and vice president. They could easily match the bid with just a little over 10 thousand dollars. However, they didn't. It was as though God held down their hands. It was as simple as that. The auction was over! We won with just one bid! During our trip back, a familiar hymn came to my mind: "Hallelujah! He has risen! Hallelujah! He is victorious! He is the King of kings over all heaven and earth! He is the Almighty Living God!
The auction was the headline on the evening local news. They showed the Noll Adult School, our current church building, and parts of the interview they did with me after the auction. The narrator said, "Who beat the largest construction company in the Bay Area? Who beat the largest real estate developer in the United States? Who beat two publicly traded companies? Zion Church of Praise!" Indeed, these companies were assumed most likely to win because of their vast financial resources and development experiences in Fremont area. But, we went in the name of the Lord of Hosts. And God said, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts (Zech 4:6)." Amen!
The following day, a sister from our church said to me that at 8:30am on Wednesday, she and her two children were worshiping the Lord at home. During their worship, her 8-year-old son, a little prayer warrior in our church, saw a vision. He saw the city of Jericho fall down and cabinet-sized rocks rolled down with it. "Scary! Scary! The rocks were huge!" the child commented afterwards. He said, "After the downfall of Jericho, I saw the word 'FAITH' Then I saw a new church building." How wonderful is God! I just happened to read about the downfall of Jericho on Tuesday. This little prayer warrior was shown this vision from our Lord. Indeed, we are facing the challenge of going against the city of Jericho as of old, not only in the bidding process, but also in the steps going forward.
On Friday, two days after we won the bid, we received notification from the city of Fremont informing us that due to the building code restrictions applied to non-major traffic areas, we are only allowed to build a church with seating maximum of 150 persons. A discussion meeting was arranged for the following Monday. I had this sudden chill down my spine and wondered if I had misunderstood God's will. The following morning while I was contemplating if I should make the announcement concerning this, the Lord clearly gave me His answer: "Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD (Hag 1:8)." Sunday morning came and I still had the same concern of whether I should make the announcement at our services. The Lord gave me another confirmation: "Give the price and get for yourself my property in Anathoth: for you have the right of the nearest relation (Jer 32:7)." With this reconfirmation, I was assured this is the will of God. I made the announcement that Sunday and asked the entire congregation to earnestly intercede with the Lord for this meeting with Fremont city government officials.
On the morning of the meeting on Monday, one of our co-workers who was going to the meeting was given these verses: "Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee (Ps 68:28,29)." These verses resolved two problems. First, since God has led us to win the bid in one shot, He will strengthen and accomplish His plan in spite of multiple restrictions stemming from government rules and regulations. Secondly, "kings bring presents unto thee" implied that God will supply our financial needs as well.
However, the outcome of the Monday meeting was not encouraging. There was an exception to the regulations which allows for a congregation greater than 150 if the property is between 2 to 3 acres. This means ALL land usage which include the main church building, the classrooms, and the parking lot, etc. must fit in 3 acres. In other words, although the restrictions were partially lifted, it was very difficult for us to comply. At first, we thought we could use half the land for our church building and the other half can be sold to our church members to build their own houses. Upon further analysis, we concluded the costs would be prohibitively high for our brothers and sisters. We then thought we could sub-divide the property and sell off half the land in order to reduce the financial burden. However, when we sought the Lord, He would not allow it. He wants the entire land for Himself.
God has revealed His will to us through various ways, means, and visions regarding this property. Shortly after we won the bid, God called upon one of our prayer warriors to fast for 21 days. Our sister honestly replied to the Lord that she could not fast for such a long period of time. God said to her, "Do you know my plan for this property? It shall become a staging ground for Revival. It shall be another "Kansas City", and will be a blessing to the Chinese people.? Immediately, this sister cried before the Lord and she started a 21-day fast. On the 21st day, God said to her: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).? In addition, our Minister, Rebecca Lu, was moved by the Holy Spirit to pray not only for the 'building' but also for 'revival'. Two other faithful servants of the Lord who do not live in the bay area were given the similar visions and communicated them to me. One saw the fire of Revival burning in the city of Fremont. The other was told by God that there will be 4 Staging Grounds of Revival in the North America and the city of Fremont is one of them.
Next, we submitted our blueprint to the city government and a meeting was arranged for August 19th. This was the day we would be informed of the decisions by the various government departments. They would have examined our plans and blueprint with regard to their specific department regulations. In other words, this would be the official verdict from the city government concerning our plans. So we entreated the Lord in our prayer meetings and in the Harp and Bowl worship services that He would cause the blueprint to be pleasing to the auditors, so that we could pass the regulations audit without any difficulty. Only when we pass the audit would we be allowed to prepare for the next phases: neighborhood meetings, official public hearings, hiring an architect and a building contractor. Past experiences of other applicants say this meeting would usually result in 3 scenarios: (1) Back to the drawing board: Total denial of our plans; (2) Re-plan within the 3-acre area; (3) This is the most troublesome: Stalled with no definite answer.
Our Minister Martina sighed and asked: "Why is every step a struggle?" I replied, "God uses every difficulty to build up our spiritual nature in order to bring Revival." Every step we take must adhere closely to the Lord's will. The Lord continued to confirm His will to us by His word. For example, while on a ministry trip to Los Angeles, Martina called us on August 17th. She said we should not worry about the meeting on the 19th because God told her: "All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skillful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment (1Ch 28:19-21)."
What a marvelous day August 19th was! First, ALL departments completed their auditing. None of them were delayed. Second, only one city official was present and she represented all the departments. This streamlined the process tremendously. Third, ALL departments approved our blueprint completely. Their only recommen- dation was that we pay attention to fire safety, meaning providing easy access to fire engines. Finally, this official said that we need not be restricted to the 3-acre requirement and we are allowed to freely use this 10.4-acre land as we saw fit. Just as the bid was won in one shot on May 15th, God has given us another total victory on August 19th. This far exceeds what we have asked for. The three coworkers who attended the Aug 19th meeting were so astonished that their jaws almost dropped to the ground! Jehovah our God has indeed done a great deed for us!
Recalling that day when I was first moved to pray for the 8/19 meeting, I said, "Our God! Show forth Thy glory and change the government regulations for the sake of Thy temple.? Upon finishing the prayer, I couldn't stop crying knowing that God was pleased with this kind of request. A couple days ago, we received two offerings for the church building fund from saints who are not members of our church. I knew they were not rich, but they were willing to give their all for God's Kingdom. There will be more challenges ahead of us: two public hearings, building funds, and the building process itself. I call for your support in prayer and intercession so that you will divide the spoils with us. Foremost, do not complain! Follow the Lord with all your heart as Caleb did. Remember God's promises and His ways. Continue to eat the heavenly manna. Have absolute faith in the Lord's Love. Even though Caleb wandered with the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years, he did not complain even once. Finally, he was able to enter into the Promised Land and received his abundant reward as the Lord said he would.
Thanks be to the Lord! Just as He promised in His word, "Your God has commanded your strength; Strengthen, O God, what You have done for us. Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, Kings will bring presents to You. (Ps 68:28,29)," so shall it be done! God's words shall not return unto Him empty. He shall accomplish great things for His people and all the land shall be filled with the Glory of God!
The International House of Prayer is located in Kansas City, Missouri. Their daily 24-hour worship, praises, intercession, and prayers for many countries and cities started in September 19th, 1999. The URL for the International House of Prayer is at the Friends Of The Bridegroom website: http://www.fotb.com