The seed that planted our church started with God imparting a deep desire in one man’s heart to start a Chinese bible study group in a city where Asians made up less than 10% of the populace. This young man, named Lieu Zuoxiang, was a newlywed and he and his wife, Shao Yuanyuan, both baptized for less than a year, had just moved to Thousand Oaks from the east coast in the summer of 1977. Not long after that, the Holy Spirit stirred a need in their hearts to continue to learn God’s word and to form a bible study group, but being new in town and not knowing a soul, how could this ambitious feat be accomplished?
One day, Mr. Lieu was driving around town and spotted another Asian man driving a car wielding a “Found It” bumper sticker, so he followed him until it finally led him to the parking lot of the nearby McDonalds. Upon exiting his car, Mr. Lieu approached the mystery man, Lu Daling, and several questions later they both quickly realized that they had many things in common, they were both: Chinese, Christian, and looking to organize a Chinese bible study group in Thousand Oaks. Today, both Lieu Zuoxiang and Lu Daling are elders of our church.
The two men placed an ad in the local community newspaper for other Chinese interested in forming a bible study group because, after all, it seemed more efficient than driving around town rounding up other Chinese Christians, but there was no response. The advertisement piqued the interest of the editor of the paper and this led to him asking for and publishing an interview with the pair. This proved to be a success as the article later attracted the attention of 5 others who ended up joining resulting in a group of 9 for the bible study group. This was the spark that they needed.
Eventually, membership grew to more than 40 people and weekly bible study was led by a brother who made the weekly roundtrip drive of about 100 miles between work, bible study, and home to faithfully teach. Soon, God provided a vision of starting their own church but alas how could this ever come to pass? Land across from Los Robles Medical Center suddenly became available for purchase but still there seemed to be so many regulatory, political, and financial hurdles and hindrances to acquiring the land and building a church. The faithful 40 went to prayer and relied on God to establish their steps. Through consistent faithful prayers God revealed His will and each obstacle seemed to melt away in time as God cleared the way. With the power of the Holy Spirit working within the hearts of this group of believers of modest financial means, an unexpected donation of funds was collected and offered to help kick start the building of the church. Architectural services were provided voluntarily through a believer who happened to be unemployed at the time having been just laid off. He did eventually find a new job, but it wasn’t until about a year later, just in time for the completion of the church.
The First Service
From a vision that was handed down from God and the power of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of believers leading to faithful and consistent prayers for His will and selfless sacrifice, groundbreaking finally took place in April 1978 and Chinese Christian Church of Thousand Oaks held its first service on Easter morning, April 15, 1979.
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