Author: Elder Zhixia Wan Compiled by: Jiming Lindal
Elder Zhixia Wan has a Master of Divinity; he is an entrepreneur and preacher of the House of Joy Christian Church in San Dimas, CA. He is also the father of four children and loves to travel with his family yearly and praise the Lord for His creations.
Mr. Wan Zhixia is a successful businessman, preacher, and founder of House of Joy Christian Church in San Dimas, Southern California. This July marks the fourth anniversary of House of Joy Christian Church. And how Mr. Wan established this church and served the Lord with passion in his heart has to start in 2002.
In 2002, as soon as Mr. Wan entered the United States, he was fortunate enough to meet Jane, Brother Chen Ting, and Pastor Lin, the cell leaders of a Christian church. At that time, Mr. Wan was in a challenging situation. He thought the United States was full of gold and could realize his dream of making a fortune. Unexpectedly, Mr. Wan encountered difficulties in all aspects of work, identity, and survival and fell into confusion. Once, he rummaged through his luggage to find a dozen dollars in coins, bought a few pounds of chicken legs, and survived for a week.
His three new friends took him to weekly Christian fellowships, preached the Gospel, and prayed for him. Brother Chen Ting led him to one-on-one Bible study for three months and taught him how to take root in the Lord. Pastor Lin of the church heard that he needed to learn to drive, so he took the initiative to teach Mr. Wan to drive.
God gave Mr. Wan great comfort and encouragement through his church friends. He didn't understand why they loved him so much since he was nearly destitute and desperate, and the three friends got nothing in return from him. After hearing the Gospel, he understood that this love came from God, and because these people love God, they love him, a person they had never known before. This extraordinary love moved Mr. Wan, who wanted to know this great God. So seven months after Mr. Wan arrived in the United States, he was baptized and became a Christian. His heart was full of gratitude: his salvation was led by the Holy Spirit; God had chosen him!
After being baptized, Mr. Wan began to establish a business. After several twists and turns, the business flourished under God's care. At the same time, Mr. Wan was passionate about serving in the Fellowship and had visited various churches. In some church ministries, he went through so much brokenness that for four years, he stopped serving. But the love of Christ kept calling him, and he still had hope in that love, so in 2016, he decided to go to a seminary.
One night when Mr. Wan was in class, his cell phone kept ringing. It was the vice president of his company delivering some shocking news. One of their largest clients had been sued, and Mr. Wan’s business became the object of suspicion as a supplier to this client. Because of this, the company was implicated in a substantial judicial case. While Mr. Wan was sure there was nothing wrong with his business, investigators were less convinced and instantly assumed that every company involved had done something illegal. The next day two FBI agents met with the senior management, informing them they would investigate the company.
Mr. Wan immediately faced a choice and wondered whether he should continue the theological pursuits. In prayer, he received God's gentle guidance. Although the outcome of this crisis was not yet clear, Mr. Wan knew the direction of his studies. He made a promise to God during prayer. If God used this crisis to take away his career, wouldn't he be able to serve God more easily? He asked himself, can he let go of the blessings God had given him over the past ten years and even go back to his hard life when he first came to America and serve God wholeheartedly? He became increasingly aware of God's calling and was willing to obey all of God's will.
Sitting in class with his fellow seminarians, Mr. Wan remembered the state of mind he was in ten years back when he had first become a Christian. At that time, his family was so poor that he couldn’t afford to buy his children toys, but he also did not have to carry the burden fame and fortune had brought him. He thanked the Lord from the bottom of his heart for leading him into seminary classes and allowing him to rethink his relationship with Him.
Vision from God
From 2016 to 2017, the judicial investigation was ongoing; the crisis lasted almost two years. At that time, Mr. Wan felt like a disciple sailing on the Sea of Galilee. His ship suddenly encountered a storm and seemed to capsize. But he knew that God was always with him and was in control of all situations. During this time, God helped Mr. Wan shift the focus of his life to theological studies and church service.
In February 2018, Mr. Wan planned a Caribbean cruise for a family vacation. Before they made the deposit, Mr. Wan received a phone call informing him that the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship International was to be established in Belize. They invited him to speak at the opening ceremony! The spirit of God touched Mr. Wan. When he learned Belize was in the Caribbean Sea, he excitedly encouraged his wife to change vacation plans. He took his family to Belize, where he saw an opportunity to speak and preach the Gospel.
During his stay in Belize, God showed Mr. Wan and his wife the local area's poverty, the local believers' thirst for God’s words, the peaceful and hard life of the preachers there, and their faithfulness in serving God. These experiences deeply moved Mr. and Mrs. Wan and inspired them to leave the church's ministry they were serving at that time.
The Wans spent nearly three weeks discerning whether the decision to leave was in line with the Lord's will. God gave him and his wife unexpected peace on the day before Easter. They confirmed that this was the guidance of God, and they were willing to obey God. But they had no concrete ideas about the future of their ministry.
On Easter morning, the Wan family went to the mountain to worship. After returning from worship, Mr. Wan came up with the idea of building a church. Since the conflicts in a church he formerly attended originated from the lack of a building, he hoped to buy one and then build a church. He pleaded, " God if you give me a church building, I will dare to start a church."
Just thinking about this, Mr. Wan habitually opened a commercial real estate application on his mobile phone. More than 100 red dots appeared on the screen as commercial real estate. He randomly clicked one, and a medical center appeared; he clicked again and saw two English words: religious places! He was startled, double-clicked to open it, and saw a church building for sale, and it had just been listed for two days, with 180 seats. Wow! He blushed in surprise. Was this just a coincidence, or was this the church God wanted to give him? He looked at the listing price, $1.4 million, which was within the two million he had prepared.
Mr. Wan offered $1.25 million to buy the property, and the seller counter-offered $1.35. The seller’s party consisted of two persons. One had already signed the contract, and owning a beautiful church was just around the corner! However, the seller’s partner kept delaying his signature. Two days later, the sellers notified Mr. Wan they had changed their minds and sold the property to another group. Mr. Wan's hopes were dashed.
Mr. Wan asked God in his heart: "Lord, wasn't your intention to let me see this church in such a wonderful way? We were so close to buying it, only needing the signature of one more person. Why did we end up like this? "However, Mr. Wan heard the Lord's voice: "If there is no physical building, would you dare to build a church?" "
Just three days before, Mr. Wan had studied ecclesiology at the seminary and realized that a true church is not only a building or an organization; although both are necessary, a church is also a group of people called to by God. The church is a community of faith; each member has its function; they connect and rely on each other and glorify the Lord. Mr. Wan decided to obey God and build a church without a building.
He began to teach a lesson in discipleship at home. Unexpectedly, God led twenty-six people to his house for discipleship training in the first week. A month later, the enthusiasm of these brothers and sisters did not diminish, so Mr. Wan established a church and decided on the name of the church: House of Joy Christian Church.
The new church continued to meet weekly at Mr. Wan's house. Eventually, they rented an actual building and started meeting there. Mr. Wan still had the two million dollars and wanted to repurpose the money to buy a commercial or vacation home and get some return on that investment.
One day, he was looking at a vacation home in an area and found something he liked when he suddenly heard the voice of God: "How long has it been since you searched for a church building?"
Mr. Wan once again obeyed God and started looking for a church building. Two months later, he found one, but the transaction fell through again. But Mr. Wan was not discouraged and continued to search. A month later, he found another church building built by the first Puritans who came to America on the Mayflower. It was all Mr. Wan needed, and he was delighted with it. However, the property price was nearly three million dollars, much higher than his budget of two million dollars.
Mr. Wan and his wife prayed decided to put up their two million dollars and asked to obtain the remaining amount from a loan. The seller quickly provided that loan and the purchase went smoothly, closing within three days. They finally had a church structure where they could worship, provide Sunday school, and youth and children’s ministry!
San Dimas, where the church is located, is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community that inspired Mr. Wan to start a cross-ethnic, cross-cultural ministry, which is truly God's will!
Mr. Wan is the founder and elder of the House of Joy Christian Church, preaching on Sundays and in charge of the development of various ministries. There are still many challenges ahead, but Elder Wan will continue to walk further and broader on the road to obeying God.