next page

The History and Development of Our Church

by former Pastor Y. C. Kuo

After praying fervently with my family and with several groups of people I closely associated with in the light of seeking God's will and guidance, I accepted God's calling in 1988 and was commissioned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America to move from Dallas, Texas to Portland, Oregon for pioneering Christian ministry among the Asians.

Mrs. Kuo and I started driving on September 1988. We left St. Luke's Lutheran Church where I used to pastor for more than 5 years, passed through southern California to visit some relatives and friends, and we finally arrived to Portland on October 1, as planned. From that day on I started this new Christian ministry, within Taiwanese population.

When I first started our church we had zero member. Thinking back, the autumn rain that year seemed to come particularly early. Perhaps it was due to our new move, or the climate being very different from where we came from, Mrs. Kuo and I felt very lonely. Later, one Lutheran pastor gave me the telephone number of Dr. & Mrs. Sian-Ming Hung who were baptized at the Lutheran church right here in Portland. Thereafter, we began to know each other better and they became the first members of our church. In addition, through the introduction from other Taiwanese colleagues of Dr. Sian-Ming Hung's family, and with God's leading and arrangement, we came to know Mrs. Pearl Chi and Mrs. Grace Chao. Getting to know these people is truly a great blessing from God who answers prayers. We also discovered that St. Mark Lutheran Church, located in southeast Portland, had been praying for evangelistic ministries among Asians for three years. Gracefully, Mrs. Pearl Chi had also prayed for a Taiwanese church for several years by then.

St. Mark Lutheran Church, 1989-1990
St. Mark Lutheran Church, 1989-1990

After about five months of frequent small group bible studies and prayer meetings, we all agreed to meet at St. Mark Lutheran Church. Our first Sunday service took place on Easter Sunday March the 26th of 1989. Thirty-five people showed up that day. Among them were those who are still constantly caring our church today include the families of Dr. & Mrs. Sian-Ming Hung, Mrs. Pearl Chi, Mrs. Grace Chao, Dr. & Mrs. Yii-Chiang Khan, Mrs. Hwie Chang, and Pastor & Mrs. Kuo. The Oregon Synod Bishop also came to attend the first Sunday service. Since the first Sunday service until now, there are eight people who have moved away from Portland area and others left due to language differences. That same year, our church council was established. Since then, ministry's decisions had been steering by our church council.

Starting on October 8, 1990, our meeting place moved to St. Luke Lutheran Church in southwest Portland. We met at their Shalom Center. We made the decision to move to St. Luke Lutheran Church was for the convenience of congregation members and partly due to the fact that most of our members live in that general vicinity. However, this move was somehow unpleasant for the members of the St. Mark Lutheran Church. After all, they had prayed fervently for three years before they began to see the development of this ministry, (next page)