Rom. 16:17 - Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them.

2 Tim. 2:25 - In meekness correcting those who oppose, if perhaps God may give them repentance unto the full knowledge of the truth.

Note 73 - Independent Work Justified

At the end of the 2000 Winter Training in Anaheim, Ezra Ma spoke a word that showed both a clear realization of the need to carry out the Lord's move in one Body to propagate the one ministry in the Lord's recovery and of the Lord's existing move in Europe and Mexico:

Ezra Ma, "Fellowship Given During the Winter Training of 2000 Concerning the Lord's Move in South America," The Ministry Magazine, vol. 5, no. 5, May 2001, p. 135:

Yet in every city, people are open to the ministry. Pray for the saints there. We need to pray for London, for Mexico City, and for Russia. We are in one Body—the Body of Christ. Praise the Lord!

However, Brother Dong and his co-workers have not only carried out independent work, but they have justified their complete neglect of practicing the principles of the Body, particularly the need to maintain fellowship in the work.

Dong Yu Lan, Daily Food: Practicing the Book of 2 Corinthians, Week 24, Tuesday:

When we received the vision of preaching the gospel in Africa, we did not consult with flesh and blood. Some even thought, "Can anything come out of Africa? Are there overcomers in Africa? We don't need to go to Africa. But, praise the Lord, we did not consult with anyone. We received a revelation from the Lord and we went there. The work began and churches were raised up. Christ began to be formed among them that overcomers might rise up from among them. The overcomers from other regions of the earth need to expect that overcomes will rise up in Africa that we may be raptured together. We received this revelation directly from God. If we had gone to consult with others, perhaps we would have been dissuaded.

E-mail from Ezra Ma to Cezar Menegucci, Pedro Dong, Miguel Ma, Salomon Ma, Helcio Almeida, André Dong, Ildeu Rodrigues, Amir Silva, Roderick Wilson, Reinaldo Silva, and Roberto Graner, August 31, 2008:

As Brother Dong made very clear in the fellowship, we are not going to "break up" with them, but we are not going to be concerned for what they think. Let's go forward with the commission that the Holy Spirit has given us, in righteousness, peace, and joy.

E-mail from Ezra Ma to Cezar Menegucci, Pedro Dong, Miguel Ma, Salomon Ma, Helcio Almeida, André Dong, Ildeu Rodrigues, Amir Silva, Roderick Wilson, Reinaldo Silva, and Roberto Graner, September 1, 2008:

I share the same feeling as Brother Dong shared with us in the conference in São Paulo, that now we are free to go anywhere.

E-mail from Salomon Ma to Cezar Menegucci, Pedro Dong, Miguel Ma, Ezra Ma, Helcio Almeida, André Dong, Ildeu Rodrigues, Amir Silva, Roderick Wilson, Reinaldo Silva, and Roberto Graner, September 1, 2008:

I am one with Brother Dong's feeling to advance without restriction, not caring what they speak or do. We follow the direction of the Spirit and advance. I also don't have the stomach to continue touching this matter. Ignore them at once and it is done.

See also notes 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86. The following document excerpts relate to the independent work being carried out in Europe:

In Europe Generally

Joe Davis, letter to Salomon Ma and Joao Antonelli, October 19, 2006:

I was disappointed and saddened that you had traveled extensively in Europe and established churches in Rome, Milan, Lisbon, and other places without having any fellowship with us at all. I was also saddened that you had waited for such a long time to begin fellowship with us.

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Po-Yi Liu and Tim Klimmek, letter, October 30, 2007:

Their work is characterized by ... a lack of fellowship on the part of the Brazilian workers with the co-workers and churches in Europe which were established through much fellowship and were known to the saints in Europe ...

Eventually, both became known. Joao and Solomon Ma came to London in early October, 2006 at the invitation of Joe Davis and others to fellowship about their work. During that fellowship time, the co-workers expressed surprise and concern at the scope and extent of the Brazilian work (in Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal) and the lack of fellowship involved with it. Solomon Ma indicated that he had purposely postponed fellowship with the co-workers in Europe but when challenged about this, offered no compelling reason for his decision.... This lack of fellowship characterizes much of the Brazilian work in Europe and is further illustrated in the incidents below....

The Brazilian workers have publicly expressed their intention to spread their independent work throughout Europe. They have stated that they plan to travel from city to city in Europe to do this. They also said that they intend to make Stuttgart the center of their work in the German-speaking parts of Europe. By their words and by their actions, they intend to do this without the fellowship of the existing churches in Europe or the existing co-workers.

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Salomon Ma, letter posted on the Estância Árvore da Vida website, October 22, 2008:

In the name of all the saints who serve in the European countries, first of all we like to deeply to thank you for the prayers and offerings during these 3 years that the Gospel of the Kingdom has been spread in various countries in Europe, in the places where various saints immigrated in order to cooperate directly in the burden.

Different churches were raised, local people has been gained, and today they meet normally in the churches. We have seen and proven the progress of the Gospel in these countries—Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal—and others that are gradually opening up with the Macedonian call.

Note that Salomon Ma's clear meaning in referring to "all the saints who serve in the European countries" is actually "all the saints who serve in Brother Dong's work in the European countries." His fellowship completely discounts the presence of all of the co-workers sent to Europe by Brother Lee, as well as those who came later to labor under the same charge.

Salomon Ma, speaking at Brother Dong's International Conference at Estância Árvore da Vida, September 9, 2007:

Unfortunately, we do not have maps of Switzerland, of Germany, and of Italy, but the Lord has also been advancing there. In Italy we have four cities breaking the bread and some other cities that are in contact. In Switzerland also we are advancing, and in Germany the Lord is consolidating two very strong churches there. And we have gained this, that in all these places the Lord is adding the native people, because the Lord's interest is not only that the migrating ones are part of the churches in these places but they may be the channel in order for the Lord to gain local people—Portuguese people, Spaniards, Italians, Swiss, Germans. Also in France the Lord is opening the way.

Praise the Lord! All this is not the work of man, not because we are doing something, but the Lord is showing us where we should go. There is Belgium, Holland, Estonia. In all these places people are calling. There's a call from all these countries for the organic ministry to go into these countries and the Lord may establish His kingdom in these places.

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Salomon Ma's speaking contains no hint of a desire to co-labor with all of the co-workers for the building up of the Body of Christ in the common fellowship of all of the churches. Instead it speaks of propagating Brother Dong's "organic ministry" in rivalry with the work already established in Europe.

In Spain

Nelson Matos, "Spreading to Spain," April 4, 2007:

We can testify that after the Organic Study of the writings of John, life is spreading also into other Continents (Africa, Europe, and North America) in a prevailing way.

I believe it would be good for you all to know that today (April 4) a group of 14 full-timers departed to Spain, from Brazil, in order to raise up 25 churches in that country in a period of 6 months.

Letter of warning to the saints in the churches throughout Spain, February 8, 2009:

We learned that Fernando and Dong Yu Lan's other co-workers were endeavouring to establish a training centre for their work, to acquire a van for distribution of Dong Yu Lan's publications, and to set up a conference schedule. All of this was being done without fellowship with any of the churches and workers who have been standing for and labouring together in one accord to carry out the Lord's recovery in Spain.

When confronted about his independent work by the brothers in Madrid on February 14, 2007, Fernando claimed that Solomon Ma, a co-worker of Brother Dong who has been extensively involved in their European work, had talked with Joe Davis about what Brother Dong's workers were doing in Europe and that Joe Davis had approved of it. This was not true. In fact, Joe Davis had written a letter the year before to Solomon and Joao Antonelli, another of Brother Dong's workers in Europe, expressing his surprise and alarm when he learned of the independent activities of Brother Dong's workers in Europe and of the spreading of Brother Dong's publications, both of which were done without any fellowship with the brothers who had been labouring in Europe following Brother Witness Lee's pattern and direction. When the brothers in Madrid mentioned this letter and its contents to Fernando, he admitted that he was familiar with it. He then changed his approach by launching into a litany of virulent criticisms against the European co-workers, LSM, the churches in Spain, Brother Lee, and the co- workers in general....

Teams of workers have been sent by Brother Dong's work to travel throughout Spain to assist Fernando in disseminating Brother Dong's literature and starting "churches" with "table" meetings. This work likewise has been carried out independently of the churches and saints in Spain and the co-workers in Europe.

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In Germany, Italy, and Switzerland

Letter of warning to the saints and churches in the Lord's recovery in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, April 2, 2009:

In 2001, at an international co-workers' fellowship at Engedi Camp and Conference Center in California, Miguel Ma, a co-worker of Brother Dong, and others involved in that work agreed that their work would withdraw from Europe. However, in 2002, Joao Antonelli, another of Brother Dong's co-workers, moved to Italy and began to promote Dong Yu Lan's work there despite the fact that there was already an ongoing work there in coordination with the European co-workers. None of the co-workers in Europe were aware of Joao's presence or work for some time. Joao has since been joined by his brother Cesar Antonelli. They, with Solomon Ma and others, have spread Dong Yu Lan's work to several localities in Italy. In some of these localities there were and still are groups of saints in the Lord's recovery gathering for home meetings and prayer meetings.

In May 2005, five brothers traveled to Mantova, Italy, to meet with Joao, to open to him a door of fellowship, and to invite him to participate in the existing conferences and gatherings in Italy. The brothers invited him to fellowship with the co-workers in Europe and to take the blended way of working. Joao did not accept these invitations. Instead, that year he and others with him held the first summer conference of their work in Sirmione, Italy.

The work of Dong Yu Lan has held additional conferences at Sirmione, a March 2007 conference in Rome with Solomon, Joao, and Cesar, a December 2007 CEAPE training in Mantova, and a late December 2007 conference in Milano. They also held an international conference in Italy in the summer of 2008 with additional co-workers of Brother Dong. They continue to hold other events until the present time. Despite being repeatedly invited to participate in conferences in coordination with the work in Europe, especially in Italy, Joao has chosen not to attend any conferences other than those of Dong Yu Lan's work.

The work of Dong Yu Lan in Italy has been carried out in an independent and concealed way. The result has been to cause confusion among the saints in Italy who are genuinely taking the way of the Lord's recovery.

A Purposely Hidden and Independent Work
In October 2006, after working several years in Italy and Germany, Solomon Ma and Joao Antonelli traveled to London to fellowship with Joe Davis, Tim Klimmek, Po-Yi Liu, and some of the other European co-workers. In that fellowship, Solomon told the brothers that he had intentionally postponed fellowship with them although he admitted that he had no reason to do so. Joe Davis and the other brothers expressed surprise at the independence and extent of Dong Yu Lan's work in Europe. Initially Solomon assured them that Benson Phillips was aware of Brother Dong's work there. However, later in the same fellowship, Solomon admitted that they had not told Benson that they were forming groups in Italy and other countries in Europe which were separate from the general fellowship of the recovery. Solomon criticized certain South American brothers who did not participate in Brother Dong's work. He also criticized the co-workers' stand for one publication work in the Lord's recovery and defended the dissemination of Dong Yu Lan's literature.

Despite the several invitations to participate in the blended work in Europe – by the five brothers who visited Joao in Italy; by Joe Davis, Tim Klimmek, Po-Yi Liu and others in the 2006 London meeting; by Joe Davis in a letter to Solomon and Joao dated October 19, 2006; and by other brothers at various times – Solomon and Joao continue to carry out their independent and divisive work. Wherever this work has gained a foothold – in various cities in Germany, Italy and Switzerland – the result has been isolation from the circulation of life in the Body of Christ.

"According to the truth of the Body, the Body is universally one. For this reason, the local churches should not be isolated from one another. Isolation is contrary to the truth concerning the oneness of the Body. Because each local church is part of the Body universally, no local church should be isolated from the others...How wrong it is for a church to try to be independent!...If we isolate ourselves from the other churches, we cut ourselves off both from the transfusion and from the circulation of life in the Body. Such a thing violates the law of the Body." (Witness Lee, Life-study of Ephesians , p. 739)

Despite the many times the co-workers and churches in Europe have invited those involved in Brother Dong's work to join in the blending work, they have chosen to go their own way. The result has consistently been confusion, isolation and division. The damage done to the churches and the saints in Germany, Italy and Switzerland clearly indicates that Dong Yu Lan's work is an independent and divisive work.

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In Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean

In the mid-1990s, the co-workers from North America invited Pedro Dong and Solomon Ma to co-labor with them in elders' trainings in Tegulcigalpa, Honduras. The North American co-workers also welcomed Pedro Dong and Helcio Almeida at conferences held in Central America. After they had joined in the work for about two years in this way, Ezra Ma told Gary Kaiser that Brother Dong said that his co-workers did not have time to continue to come (Interview with Gary Kaiser, January 30, 2009). It was during this time period that Brother Dong's co-workers attempted to spread his literature in Central America. When the churches in the Central America asked them not to do this, Brother Dong and his co-workers wrote a letter full of false accusations against the North American co-workers (see page 2 of the letter of warning issued to the saints and churches throughout Central America and the Caribbean, March 15, 2009). After that time, Brother Dong's work was carried out in an independent fashion apart from the common fellowship of the co-workers in the Lords' recovery.

Letter of warning to the saints throughout Central America and the Caribbean, March 15, 2009, p. 3:

Since the middle of 2007 it has become increasingly evident that Brother Dong's work is seeking to make fresh inroads into Central America and the Caribbean. Co-workers of Brother Dong from London, Canada, began to visit Nicaragua. Later they expanded their visitation to El Salvador and Honduras. Saints meeting with local churches in the Lord's recovery have been drawn away to meet apart from those churches. Late last year workers who follow Brother Dong's ministry went to Cuba, where they claim to have established a meeting. All of this work in Cuba and Central America was done with no fellowship whatsoever with the existing churches or with the co-workers involved in the work in those countries.

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Letter of warning to the saints throughout Central America and the Caribbean, March 15, 2009, p. 4:

On November 16, 2008, in a report to the church in São Paulo concerning the northward expansion of Brother Dong's work, a co-worker of Brother Dong from Chile said, "I want to encourage you, not only for Chile, but to encourage all the churches in South America to go to Central America and Mexico." Such statements demonstrate their definite intent to carry out a work in this part of the earth apart from and even contrary to the fellowship of the churches here.

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In Africa Generally

Helcio Almeida, Speaking in Piracicaba, September 19, 2008:

2005 was a very important year for the gospel in Africa. In October of 2005 there was a separation between Philadelphia and Laodicea. Who is Laodicea stayed there! And who is Philadelphia stayed here! If you want to do something, you can do whatever you want to do. If you are on this side of the street, we are going to be on the other side! But Laodicea is one thing! And Philadelphia is another!

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In South Africa

Letter of warning to all the churches and saints in South Africa, May 10, 2009:

It is clear that without regard for the churches that have been here for years and without fellowship with the leading ones or co-workers labouring in this area, Dong Yu Lan and his workers are actively pursuing the expansion of their work in South Africa and the spread of that work elsewhere in this region. Brother Dong's workers have held conferences and established a "permanent" Gospel Propagation Preparation (GPP) training in Johannesburg. They have also conducted GPP trainings in Lusaka, Zambia. Their complete disregard of the churches that are standing for the oneness of the Body in South Africa and the surrounding region is damaging to the testimony of oneness and reveals the sectarian nature of that work.

Helcio Almeida has been referred to as the "Coordina la Obra en Africa" (Coordinator of the Work in Africa). If Helcio is indeed coordinating anything in Africa, the saints can be assured that he is not coordinating it with any of the co-workers or churches in South Africa. In 2006 Helcio reported that Brother Dong's work was active in Soweto, Cape Town, Durban, and Nellspruit. In November 2008 he talked of visiting four countries— South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Angola— and of holding GPP's in three of them. He also said that the most recent GPP in South Africa had participants from ten nearby countries. These same reports show that work has spread to several other surrounding countries, including Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. All of this work has been carried out independently with no coordination whatsoever with the churches or the co-workers serving here. This work has also brought division and confusion to many other places.

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In Canada

Letter of warning to the saints in the churches in the Lord's recovery in Canada, March 17, 2009:

A little over three years ago, David Wang established a GPP training center, modeled on Brother Dong's trainings in South America. Young people are encouraged to participate in the GPP rather than the full-time training in Anaheim, and the GPP training is conducted with complete disregard for and apart from the fellowship of the other churches in the area...

The GPP based in London has carried out activities to spread Brother Dong's work in Stratford, Strathroy, Woodstock, Hollyrood, Lucknow, and Kincardine without fellowship with other churches in the area.

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