The Lord's Recovery and His Move
Today the Lord is working to recover among His people two items central to His heart's desire in order to accomplish His eternal purpose:
- The enjoyment and experience of the riches of Christ
- The practice of the church life in oneness
The word “recover” means to obtain again something that has been lost.
These two items need to be recovered by the Lord because over time they have become lost or damaged. The word “recover” means to obtain again something that has been lost, or to return something to a normal condition. In order for something to be recovered, it must have already been in existence and in a particular condition. When, after it has been lost or damaged, it is returned to its former condition, it is said to be recovered. The noun “recovery” means the restoration or return to a normal condition after damage or loss has been incurred. ...recovery means bringing something back to its original condition.
To say that God is recovering certain matters means that through the course of church history they have been lost, misused, or corrupted and that God is restoring them to their original state or condition. Simply put, in the eyes of God, recovery means bringing something back to its original condition.
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Gospelize, Truthize and Churchize (North) America
A Fresh Burden
With assurance from the Holy Spirit and based on much prayer and fellowship among the co-workers in North America, we are eager to announce a fresh, intensified move of GTCA in 2020 and 2021 to spread the Lord’s recovery across the United States and Canada. The co-workers in North America coordinating for GTCA have released a letter outlining the up-to-date burden for this move of the Lord.
Lord's Move in Canada
Beginnings and Spread
The Lord’s recovery in Canada grew mostly from its beginnings in both Toronto and Vancouver, from a few saints who came directly from the Far East. Their increases came mostly either from migrations from either Vancouver or Toronto, addition of new saints locally, and later with immigration from the Far East and other places.
In late 1965, in a fellowship with a brother concerning that brother’s consideration of moving to Canada, Brother Witness Lee noted that there were no saints yet in the Lord’s recovery in Canada except on the west coast. Shortly afterward, saints began to arrive in the Toronto area.
Brother Lee frequently held conferences in both Toronto and Vancouver, providing a solid basis upon the pure revelation of the Scriptures as accurately taught by both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. He would also give reports to the church in Los Angeles and encouraged the church there to pray. As a result, the churches enjoyed a steady increase in numbers.
Brother Lee consistently mentioned Canada and the USA in the same breath. To him the two were inseparable. He was burdened with Canada in the same way as the USA. Often when he said the USA, it implied Canada as well.
The first saints in the Lord’s recovery in this area was a family from Taiwan who had migrated in December 1965. In 1966, a couple, originally from Taiwan, migrated there from Germany followed by another couple from Hong Kong. Some other students from Hong Kong also arrived.
During 1967 and 1968, a good number of local seeking Christians left traditional Christianity and began to join the meetings in Toronto, chiefly through reading “The Stream” magazine. Some contacted the church life in Los Angeles and even went there.
In 1968, Brother Witness Lee held a conference in Toronto from April 6 to April 8. The ground of the church in Toronto was taken around half a year later on September 1, 1968. It should be noted that in those early years Brother Lee visited Toronto frequently to hold conferences. Aside from the visit in April 1968, he came twice in 1969 (June 12-18 and December 5-7), once in 1970 (June 25-July 2), twice in 1971 (June 21-27 and November 11-17) once in 1972 (June 16-22) and once in 1978 (September 11-14).
During 1969 and 1970, church meetings were held at the YMCA located at 20 Grosvenor Street in downtown Toronto. As the number of saints increased, the Lord’s Day meeting was moved to Silverview Public School in the northern part of the city. In the summer of 1970, Brother Lee along with Benson Philips and a few other brothers held a conference on the Glendon Campus of York University. Saints from Toronto also went to Akron, Ohio to join the conference with Brother Lee there.
In the fall of 1969, a Mennonite sister from southern Ontario was in the Los Angeles area doing volunteer service with the Mennonites. By the summer of 1970 that sister entered fully into the church life during Brother Lee’s conference on “Christ vs. Religion”. A carload of four from this group in southern Ontario came, with “antennas raised”, to see what was happening. The church in Los Angeles prayed fervently for this group in 1970.
In June 1971, Brother Lee visited Toronto and gave a conference entitled God’s Choice – the Church. A group of college-aged saints drove for 25 hours from Texas to attend and support the conference. It was during this conference that more than 20 local seeking Christians from the aforementioned Mennonite group saw the vision of God’s economy, and consecrated themselves to the Lord, and moved to Toronto for the practice of the church life. Brothers’ and sisters’ houses were quickly established. A new meeting place was rented (which required much toil and labor in cleaning and repairing). In November, Brother Lee came again and released messages concerning eating and enjoying Jesus.
From 1971 to 1973, the saints from Toronto did a lot of “churching” in Ohio, New York City, Boston, etc. Locally, there was prevailing gospel preaching. Many were brought to the Lord from the street into the church life. Calling on the name of the Lord could be heard everywhere! Saints really practiced pray-reading the Word for their enjoyment.
Around this time, some from Toronto migrated to other cities in Canada including St. Catharines, London, and Vancouver.
By 1974 and 1975 Brother Lee began to release the Life-Study of the books of the Bible, particularly Genesis. On Friday nights in Toronto, seeking Christians and saints alike were drawn to this ministry. Whether rain, snow, or sunshine, many attended the re-speaking of the Life-Study messages as their top enjoyment in those days.
Toward the end of 1977, the first meeting hall in the church in Toronto was built, mainly by the saints themselves. In September of 1978, Brother Lee came to Toronto to give a conference; at the same time, he came to see what kind of a meeting hall the saints had built. He was quite happy with the very simple rectangular building that the saints built, in meeting their needs.
Over the years, Brother Lee continued to take a great deal of interest in the growth of the church in Toronto and all the churches in Canada.
Today, the church in Toronto meets in a newly built facility at 108 Carnforth Road, Toronto.
Meetings in Vancouver began in 1965 in the homes of two brothers who came from the church in Hong Kong. By the late 1960s, there were approximately 50 saints meeting in an upstairs room on 821 East Hastings Street. The majority of these saints were from Hong Kong.
Brother Lee visited the church in Vancouver at least five times prior to 1973. The following is a report he gave to the church in Los Angeles sometime during the period of September 27 to December 30, 1967:
The brothers in Vancouver encouraged me to come see them. They said to me, “Vancouver is the Los Angeles of Canada. Come and see. The first time you come, you have to stay at least six months.” I told them that while I would be glad to come, I could not make it. I said, “You just have to go on.” There is a real need for leadership and for the proper and capable care for the local people. The doors there are really open.
There are a good number meeting in Vancouver. We should pray for them. There is an urgent need among them for leadership. There are a number of brothers, but there is a lack of leadership. A situation like this needs a co-worker to go there to build up the meetings until there is some leadership built up. Pray for this, and I believe something will be worked out by the Lord along this line.
Some other believers contacted us and gave a very good impression. Two young sisters came to stay for the summer training and then went back to Vancouver. Their parents are part of a Plymouth Brethren meeting, and the father is an elder of this so-called church. They heard something about us from a lady missionary who had returned from Formosa (Taiwan). The parents became fearful because of the awful things this missionary told them. That very night the mother told her daughters they had to leave because they had joined a heretical group. The father told them that they were not allowed to take anything, so the sisters left home and came back to stay in Los Angeles. The other two elders in that group were very concerned about the family. One of them, a man of about fifty years of age, came with his wife to listen to me because he felt he had to come to observe the situation. They then brought news back to the parents. They also went to the lady missionary and asked her for the basis of her report. She admitted that it was based on hearsay. This elder brother said to her, “I went to this group. I found that there is nothing wrong and that they very much love the Lord.” He then told her that she should not pass on a report about things which she has never seen. He said, “It is not right for us as children of God to bring a report in this way. I have been with them.” This brother came again this time from Vancouver, and he enjoyed the meetings very much. Pray for him. We expect that the Lord will bring him in.
Source: The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1967, Volume 2, p. 478
In 1973, a group of saints was burdened and migrated from Toronto to join the saints who were already meeting in Vancouver. The meetings were moved to a rented office that was previously occupied by a bank located on 433 West Broadway. In the years between 1973 to 1976, the Lord marvelously brought in the increase mostly with the addition of many local people of all ages from different parts of the province through the riches of Brother Lee’s ministry. In almost every church meeting including prayer meetings, new ones would stand up and declare, “I’m home!” At that time it was as if the animals were mysteriously gathering unto the ark of Noah. Brother Lee visited the church in Vancouver again in November 1978. By 1983 the church had outgrown the rented facilities and eventually purchased a meeting hall at 2255 Quebec Street. Brother Lee visited the church there once more in March 1988.
During the 1980s, members of the church in Vancouver migrated to Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg to strengthen the Lord’s testimony in those localities. Saints also began meeting as the churches in Burnaby and Surrey when some had moved from Vancouver to these neighboring municipalities in the Metro Vancouver area. With a continuing increase, an expansion to the hall at 2255 Quebec Street was needed; it was completed in 1991.
In 1998, the church purchased a second meeting hall at 105 East 50th Avenue while retaining its existing hall at 2255 Quebec Street (now with the address 77 East 7th Avenue). In the same year, church members living in the neighboring city of Richmond were formally established as the church in Richmond.
In 2011, church members living in the Tri-Cities area (namely Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody) were formally established as the church in Coquitlam.
As an assembly meeting on the ground of oneness, the church in Vancouver is continuing steadfastly in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles as did the early church in the New Testament (Acts 2:42) and the church is enjoying the rich blessing of the New Testament ministry that gave birth to it.
Brother Lee & Sister Lee at Queen Elizabeth Park
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