Looking Back on KL2020: Confidently Waiting, Come What May


KL2020, a gospel conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was the last major Christian conference to be held before the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, we look back and reflect with one participant on how God used the conference to prepare him for the events of the last year.

CP: One year later, how did God use the KL2020 conference to personally equip and prepare you for all that 2020 brought?

I feel like I have an enriched understanding, view, and acceptance of suffering and the way of the cross. I think the way of the cross, or cross-bearing, is such a threat to Western-oriented people. We don’t want suffering. We want to go past it or around it, and also pray that it does not come. But there is joy in the cross, there is a connection with Christ that can and should occur when we bear the cross. 

This understanding was cemented in my mind and heart by experiencing true gospel brotherhood during the second to last night in Kuala Lumpur. Tim Keller was about to deliver his third talk, and I stood in the front row next to a Chinese pastor and his wife who have become dear friends in the past several years. They and their congregation are continually facing persecution and trials of many kinds, and the husband will likely be in prison in the near future. As we stood next to each other singing, we came to a Dietrich Bonhoeffer hymn called “By Gracious Powers So Wonderfully Sheltered,” which several of us had come to call the anthem and rallying cry of KL2020. Knowing that Bonhoeffer wrote it four months before his death puts this song into a glorious context of suffering for the Lord. This pastor and I put our arms around each other as we sang and cried together. I later found out that several others were also crying during this song. It is a fitting song because of both the continual persecution that Chinese churches have been experiencing since the conference, but also the collective global suffering brought on by COVID-19.

Here are some of the lyrics I find particularly awe-inspiring: 

Never miss a story

Sign up to receive our weekly email with our original articles.

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered, 
And confidently waiting come what may,
We know that God is with us night and morning
And never fails to greet us each new day. 

 And when this cup you give is filled to brimming 
With bitter suffering, hard to understand,
We take it thankfully and without trembling,
Out of so good, and so beloved, a hand. 

 Yet when again, in this same world, you give us
The joy we had, the brightness of your sun,
We shall remember all the days we lived through, 
And our whole life shall then be yours alone. 

Christ is with us. Christ is for us. And Christ will never leave his bride alone. When we face the darkness of the night and trials of the day, we have a great high priest who understands the pain and sorrow found in this world. If we allow him to, he can and will fix our eyes on him and comfort us with his presence. With this I can say that I am “confidently waiting come what may.” 

CP: Were there any special experiences to share of your travels to and from conference?

Coming back from Kuala Lumpur was nerve-wracking. Since it was known that COVID-19 could spread through asymptomatic people, and that incubation can take ten to fourteen days, there was a waiting period to know if anyone had contracted the virus at the conference. There was much prayer and waiting during those two weeks. I even quarantined at a hotel right after returning to New York City as we awaited word on a person who had started to show symptoms, to then find out that person was negative.

I am saddened to see how the virus has spread throughout the world. I remember telling some people in March how my worst fears were starting to come true with the virus taking off in NYC. It is extremely sad to see how much suffering so many people have had to endure this past year and will continue to experience in 2021 due to COVID-19. May the God of all comfort be with his people, and may God open the ears of people around us to hear the call of the Good Shepherd, calling his sheep to return to and find life in him. 

Share This Story

Further Reading

Nanjing: Love Under Pressure
Read More
Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
Read More
Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
Read More


With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.


  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church



About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.


Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.


Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.


Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.


Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.


Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.


Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.


Stories from Guangzhou

About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.


Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.


Stories from Shenzhen

About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 


Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.


Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.


Stories from Shanghai


A short message about partnering with us.