To tell the history of how Spring of Water International Ministries was founded, I have to go back to December 12, 2009. I can still vividly recall that it was a Saturday morning and I barely recovered from weeks of stress caused by the rigid requirement of paper writing in various courses and the preparation for my final exams. After all, it was my first quarter at Fuller Theological Seminary School. During my morning devotion when I was starting to read the Scriptures after my morning prayers, suddenly I experienced a voice command coming from above, as if through the ceiling directly to my mind. The voice instructed me, “Susan, get up and continue to produce more multi-media Bible Study videos again!” Through that whole day, my husband and I were quite troubled by this command from the Lord. My husband did not want me to get hurt again; I was afraid of stepping on anyone’s toes, and I especially did not want to be the target of rumors and slanders as had happened to me when I was involved in similar activities in another organization. After a whole day’s discussion with my husband, I decided in my heart that , “I can serve God in many different ways, and if I want to do missionary work in China, there will be so many things to do that I cannot possibly finish them before I see the Lord face to face. Therefore, I am willing to do anything to serve the Lord except producing the multimedia Bible study videos!”
During the Sunday sermon the next day, my pastor commented on how our church, though it seemed impossible to many people, grew from a medium-sized church to our current congregation of more than ten thousand people. In the afternoon at the Stream of Praise (SOP) worship rehearsal, I heard Pastor Sandy shared how SOP was initially regarded by some Taiwan churches as “just a bunch of young people who enjoy singing and playing music”, yet by God’s guidance, have now lead tens of thousands of Christians and non-believers alike every summer to experience God through their worship services. These messages seemed to reveal to me, “God can accomplish all thing immeasurably with His mighty power; don’t you be afraid!” Yet in my heart I still resisted God’s calling!
Then, in the morning of Wednesday, December 16 when I finished reading my daily devotional scriptures, I heard a gentle whisper coming from inside that asked me, “Susan, do you love me?” I was stunned and speechless. I didn’t know how to respond, and I dared not to respond, because I was fully aware that I didn’t want to produce multimedia Bible study videos. However, the voice of the Holy Spirit asked me again, “Susan, do you love me?” Then the Holy Spirit continued, “You sang loudly in your worship! You said earnestly that you wanted to dedicate every breath of your life and every step in your days to me. Do you really love me?” At that moment I realized that all these years I thought I have loved God wholeheartedly, yet when He called me to do the work that might bring tears and hurt to me, I gave myself many seemingly reasonable excuses to walk my own path and run away from this calling. Therefore, when the Holy Spirit asked me three times “Do you love me?”, I felt extremely shameful! I repented with tears and asked for God’s forgiveness. I said, “Lord, you know I love you. Help me love you more! Since this ministry is your calling, I am willing to submit myself and obey your will, but I’m afraid I only have little strength!” It was not an excuse, but a true self-evaluation, for I know how limited I am.
Right next day in my Thursday morning devotion, I happened to be reading Revelation 3:8, in which Jesus said, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Isn’t what Jesus said here “I know that you have little strength” a direct response to my admission to Him the day before? I was shocked; this is unbelievable! Then I cried loudly. God already knew I had little strength, but He also saw that “yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” This phrase showed me God’s tender and compassionate Fatherly love. He showed me He knew me and understood me completely! He didn’t ask much from me, because He knew my strength is limited. What He values are those who “have kept His word and have not denied His name.” In this Bible verse, Jesus gave me a great promise, “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Only then did I realize that Jesus did not care whether I had enough strength, but He cared whether I had a faithful and obedient heart and a firm determination. He had placed before me “an open door” because this ministry is His! Since He can even shake the Heavens and Earth and reveal His glory among the nations, He can certainly gather resources and move and send those people He chose to join the effort in moving this ministry forward. That evening I shared with my husband what had happened in those two days. After he clearly understood how God had a dialogue with me and had corrected me, guided me, and even comforted me, he also responded to God, laid aside his original concerns from human’s perspective, and totally submitted to God’s calling. Thus, he and I became united as one in our response, and we decided to devote ourselves to this ministry that God wanted to raise up.
After my husband and I decided to submit to the Lord, I asked God what I should name this new organization. The Holy Spirit told me to read John 4:14. From the passage I saw that Jesus Christ gives the living water, and those who drink it will never thirst. Furthermore, this living water Jesus gives will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. That was when I understood that God wanted to give this ministry the name “Spring of Water”, because God wanted to refresh and bring life to this dark and oppressed world. Then I told the Lord, “I’m a Chinese, please give me a Chinese name!” The Holy Spirit said, “What do you see as the initials of Spring of Water?” I saw S.O.W., which is to SOW! Then I realized that God’s will is for us to sow the seeds of God’s Word using the multimedia format to the ends of the earth. This name that the Holy Spirit gave us is wondrous! Therefore we need to go forth and sow the seeds! When people receive God’s Word, they not only eat the spiritual food but also drink the living water from Jesus! Then their lives will be blessed and become Spring of Water that well up to eternal life, for Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
God’s timing and amazing plan surprised me! In December 2009, God brought two professional videomakers, William Chan and Helen Poon Chan, from Hong Kong. Although they lost their jobs after they finished the production of the Minor Prophets Bible study videos at another organization and had been jobless in Hong Kong for quite a while, they continued to wait upon the Lord faithfully for another opportunity to serve Him. In December 2009 they came to the U.S. to spend Christmas with their child. They called me and we chatted briefly. After Christmas, we had the opportunity to meet on December 27. From their sharing, I learned that back in June 2009 God had already moved them to look for materials to make multimedia Bible study videos. Through a pastor’s introduction, they received the lecture notes on the Book of Esther and Book of Ruth by Professor Vincent Shen, who is also a founding elder of the Hong Kong Mandarin Bible Church. Based on such lecture notes Sister Ching Chung volunteered to write the scripts for the Bible Study videos of these two books. Their sharing surprised me, because prior to submitting to the Lord on December 17, I had no idea that six months ago God had already spoken to these two professional videomakers and that Elder Shen and Sister Chung were both touched and led by God as well! That day we prayed together and then sought and confirmed God’s calling. Days later, these two professional videomakers became SOW International Ministries’ first two (and currently the only) full-time coworkers in January 2010, and we started making multimedia Bible study videos.
Since then we have been walking faithfully, one step at a time, on the path the Lord called us to take. The Bible verse that God confirmed His calling to me three years ago – Revelation 3:8 – still continues to help me better understand how our Heavenly Father is pleased to be with His children, because His heart takes joy when He works with us. We cannot add anything to God or help Him with anything, but because He loves us, He will not take lightly our earnest desire to serve Him. Furthermore, He will talk to us and call us who are His children to not only be coworkers with Him and experience first-hand His amazing and wonderful deeds, but also be co-heirs in His Kingdom, being able to see His glory and receive the best blessings He will give us from Heaven. Only God who loves us so dearly will give us such wonderful grace without any reservation. Because of all these, I firmly believe that Spring of Water International Ministries is what God want every Christian who “have kept His word and have not denied His name” to have an opportunity to take part in, because He takes pleasure in giving grace and blessings to every one of His children who belongs to Him.
It has been three years since SOW was founded. In these 3 years God has been moving and bringing those people He chose to SOW to help out with our ministries. So far we have completed the multimedia Bible teaching sets for Book of Esther and Book of Ruth. Each teaching set consists of a multimedia Bible study DVD (that was filmed on the site where the story of that particular Bible book took place), a study guide, and a corresponding teacher’s manual. In addition, SOW held teacher’s training workshops in different regions of the world to equip church small group leaders and Sunday school teachers to use SOW multimedia Bible teaching sets to help brothers and sisters learn Bible in a lively and effective manner. By now the multimedia Bible study videos published by SOW have been used in five different continents: North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and even Africa. Separately, every year we recruit, train, and send a summer short-term mission team to Taiwan, and so far our mission teams have led over 300 students (elementary through high school) to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and become Christians. This year we also established SOW Hong Kong branch to serve churches in Asia more efficiently and to equip missionary coworkers there. Now as I reflect on God’s grace and mighty support in the last three years, I have very deep feelings. To be able to walk on this path to serve this everlasting God who is full of mercy, love, honor, and power is the biggest thanksgiving in my life!
Founder and lifetime volunteer, Spring of Water International Ministries
Written in Irvine, California, USA, on December 29, 2012