Storm prayer transformed life of Norwich pastor
A desperate prayer in a torrential thunderstorm was a life-transforming moment for the son of a Hong Kong taxi driver who is now leader of a Chinese church in Norwich. Mike Wiltshire reports.
Edmond Tsui (pronounced "Shwee") became a director of a successful financial company before turning his attention to helping set up a network of 12 Chinese churches, plus fellowship groups, across the UK.
Over more than 20 years, Norwich-based Pastor Edmond has clocked up over 500,000 miles pursuing a vision to encourage lonely overseas Chinese people to find a 'church home' where language and culture are not hindrances to growth. In East Anglia, there are several thousand Chinese, many of them students.
In Norwich, Pastor Edmond leads the vibrant Chinese congregation at Bowthorpe Road Methodist Church where services for all ages are held in Cantonese and Mandarin plus monthly Sunday meetings in English.
Born in Hong Kong, Edmond's story is an unusual journey to faith because he finished his education, stubbornly resisting the Christian message at a secondary school where many students and staff were believers.
In 1973, just before graduation, he was camping in the New Territories of Hong Kong with friends when they were flooded out in a torrential thunderstorm. Amidst their disappointment, Edmond heard himself pray: "God, I don't believe in you, but if you're real, you can stop this thunderstorm."
Within 15 minutes, the rain stopped. Edmond was so impressed by this personal "miracle" that he told his astonished student friends: "I'm trusting my life to Jesus Christ!"
Today, Edmond admits that, theologically, that is a weak argument for faith, but he says: "it reveals God's mercy long ago to a young, proud heart."
He went to church on the Sunday after the storm - and has gone on believing for 42 years, pioneering in church-planting projects in many places, often working with Rev David Foo, a well-known Chinese Malaysian minister.
Edmond was born into a non-Christian home, but recalls with joy the fact that both his parents became believers in Christ.
In response to what was "a clear call from God," Edmond and his wife, Amy, sold their home in the Hong Kong and moved to the UK with their three sons in 1994. Edmond helped set up a Chinese church in Epsom - and, from there, a network of 12 churches has spread across the UK.
In all his many ministry trips, Edmond "wore out six cars - and now I'm on my seventh." The Norwich area became base for the fifth church in the chain, 17 years ago. Members met for many years at Wroxham Road Methodist Church, but with expansion they moved to Bowthorpe Road Church a year ago.
It is the only Chinese church in Norfolk and Edmond's vision is to see it grow as a community church for everyone, not just Chinese-speaking members, networking with other churches. As a pastor, Edmond says he is "moved to tears to see lives transformed by the message of Jesus" - and seeing people set free from serious issues.
For details of services: contact Pastor Edmond on 07957 573 098 or Ms Kit Holland on 07880 745 065.
Pictured top are members of the Norwich Chinese church with Pastor Edmond Tsui (on left).