Our Brothers and Sisters who serve the Lord under the Advent Christian banner in Malaysia, India, Myanmar and Thailand continue their ministries, often under significant pressures, in a truly dedicated manner. Often there is little of special significance to report, but they just keep on keeping on; trusting the Lord to provide for their needs and those of their families; looking to the LORD to bless their interactions with those to whom they minister; rejoicing as they see the power of God working in the lives of those they share the Gospel with; and sometimes rejoicing further as men and women and young people commit their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
MALAYSIA: Ruth Devairakkam and her husband Wilfred, assisted sometimes by their daughters Joanna and Jerusha whose jobs/studies take them away from home, continue their one-to-one ministry to their neighbours and friends and a growing number of contacts in KLUANG. The Advent Christian church there is now small in number, small enough to meet for Sunday worship in Ruth and Wilfred’s home, but the visitation and counselling and praying with and for their contacts continues. Many of the folk who they minister to are from other countries – China, the Philippines and Portugal are among the homelands of those recently ministered to – and from other faiths – Buddhism and Hinduism – and of course some are from their own country, but Ruth and Wilfred point them all to the Christian Scriptures and encourage and pray with them on the basis of what we know as Gods’ ways and precepts. Meetings are held in other’s homes fortnightly – they have Bible Study and intercessory prayer, followed by a time of fellowship and dinner. They also give Holy Communion at one of the houses monthly. Friends from the neighbourhood join them regularly for the house meetings. Ruth often reports that some of those to whom they minister see the power of God working in their lives and they come back to thank her and seek further counselling and prayer.
Pictured is Ruth (second from left) at a gathering in the home of one of their AC church members. Friends from her neighbourhood were also present at the meeting. Together with Christian friends, they also participated in the Global Day of Prayer on 12 June.
INDIA: Mission Manager Immanuel reports that last week he was blessed to again attend a baptismal service – this time at the Advent Christian Conference church at Kottur Adyar, where seven adult members of the congregation followed their Lord through the waters of baptism. Immanuel was pleased to present each of the candidates with a copy of the Bible.
Please pray for these seven folk and others who have recently been baptised in India. It is not always easy for those in India who are baptised as in some cases they come under severe pressure from their family and peers because of their confession of faith.
Having been able to report on baptisms in India in this and the last newsletter reminds me that while our time and efforts are often taken up with problems and difficulties in India, many – no, most of the Advent Christian Pastors and Bible Women are busy ministering and diligently sharing their faith and the Gospel with their people, and God is blessing their faithful ministry by bringing men and women and young people into the great world-wide family of God.
Please praise the Lord for this and pray for the Pastors and Bible Women of the Advent Christian Conference of India and the Fellowship of Blessed Hope Churches who serve the LORD “in sincerity and in truth”.
A few days after I am writing these words, I leave Auckland to travel to the United States to attend the Triennial Convention of the Advent Christian General Conference in Charlotte North Carolina, and to later travel for nearly four weeks to a number of areas of the United States to share with members of Advent Christian churches some details of what is happening in the countries for which I have responsibility. I would appreciate your prayers for safe travel and for the wisdom and ability to give those to whom I speak the encouragement and the information they need to pray for and support in other ways these Advent Christian ministries in South Asia.
As I prepared a PowerPoint® presentation for those engagements, I used the following information about India to remind myself and those to whom I will speak of the huge task that there is still to be done in India by the Christian Church. Because of the politics of the country, it is a task that these days has to be largely undertaken by Indian Christians – please pray that the LORD will use His people in India to take the message of His love to the Indian people and will bless them with fruit for their labour.
- India is 2.1% of the world’s total land area.
- About 1/6 (16.6%) of the world’s population lives in India.
- The recently completed 2011 census in India puts the total population at 1,210 billion people – 1,210,000,000.
- It is generally accepted by the Indian Christian community that between 3% and 5% of the population are Christians – that means that there are about 60 million Christians in India – we should praise the LORD for them and for the small part that Advent Christian ministries have played for over 130 years in bringing the Gospel to the Indian people
- This means that there are about 1.145 billion – 1,145,000,000 – Indians still in the darkness of sin. Many of these people have never heard the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ their Saviour!
- The official death rate for India in 2010 was 7.53 per 1,000 people per annum.
- This means that there are about 718,000 people in India dying each month without God and without hope for eternity.
This is the challenge that the Christian Church has in regard to India. Please pray regularly for Advent Christians and all Christians who minister in India.
THAILAND: The new academic year has just begun in Thailand and John Middlewood is back in full swing teaching English to young people who come to the Mission facilities at Naratchakwai for tuition and to children in more than 30 elementary and high schools in their area. This is a tremendous task for one man, even though he has developed a very keen and capable team of older young people who very capably assist him with weekend English Camps. He is running himself into the ground!
Is there anyone who feels led by the LORD to go over and help him teach simple and basic English to children and young people – either short term or long term? There are opportunities to be configured in several ways – if you are interested please contact me and I will liaise with John on your behalf.
John recently reported, with great joy and thanks to the Lord that a door that he and Maeo and others have been praying for during the 8 years they have been teaching English to Thai young people has recently opened.
Their English programs have become very popular at the schools and they are booked up for several months in advance. As a direct result of his willingness to teach English and because he makes no secret of the fact that he comes from the Christian Mission Naratchakwai, John has been asked to do a 2 hour session at two separate elementary schools on the history of our Creator God.
John asks for prayer that God will give him the wisdom to use the opportunity to His best advantage and that many more schools will want to have the same session.
As was the case last year John and Maeo have again taken a group of seven students into their home and are assisting them to study in English Medium programs in their high schools and in one case at university. John and Maeo and the Christian Mission Naratchakwai meet the cost of their tuition and living expenses and give them encouragement and many hours each week of extra tutoring in English and in the other subjects. Their aim is to make it possible for these young ladies to get better qualifications and therefore better jobs when they join the workforce. At the same time they get to live in a home where Christ is the Head and where they learn of the LORD’s ways and precepts and they also have the opportunity to assist John with English Camps and to participate in the ministries of CMN.
Please pray for John and Maeo and for these girls pictured…
Please continue to pray for the two Bible College interns who are assisting at CMN until February 2012 – Wah and Bpaw. Thank the Lord for what they are able to do in ministry to both learn and to relieve John of a little of the responsibility for some ministries. Pray especially for their visitation program in the villages.
Praise the Lord with John and Maeo that Bpaw’s wife Mon spoke to John early last week and told him that she is ready to accept Christ as her Saviour and wants to be baptised. John counts this decision as a real blessing and we give God the glory of course, as only His Holy
Spirit can make that change in a life, but it is my belief that one of the factors that has brought Mon to make this decision is the experience of living in John and Maeo’s home, where the LORD is honoured in all things. Please pray for John as he counsels Mon and later baptises her.
Pictured left are Bpaw and Mon and son Fud
MYANMAR: The leaders of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar and their co-workers continue to faithfully serve in a country which not only presents severe pressure from a ruling junta which is violently opposed to the Christian faith, but which because of the more than 50 years of cruel and inhuman rule is impoverished with terribly low and ever decreasing standards of living for the majority of its people. In spite of the difficulties the LORD is blessing their (and other Christian’s) service to their fellow Burmese and their ministry, and the Church is growing.
A third of our four leaders has this academic year begun a Bible School. Pastor D writes…
“God has given a vision to start training school in Yangon last long time ago. We had prayed to God for opening Bible College for 4 years. When we talked about this to ministers or missionaries or pastors or youths, they are much interested in it and encouraged and prayed us to initiate it so that many ministers for His kingdom extension will be produced in future. Still then, we always face problem for renting house cost, providing food and teachers’ salary. Finally, God opens the door for us to open a Bible College in this year of May 26, 2011 by faith. We thank God that God sends 20 students who are committed to serving the Lord after graduating. Its aim is to equip students to equip others again for His kingdom increase here in Myanmar. When two pastors heard about MBC’s purpose, they said, “We want to send our youths this kind of Bible College, and would like to request you to grant them aids for lodging and food.” When reading their request for helping them, we are touched to make them study the Word of God freely. Therefore, Mr. KH who passes Matrix Examination with two distinctions said, ” I decide to follow Jesus’ Great Commission and I prayed to God to get scholarship at MBC three months ago, now, I thank God for answering my prayer and for granting me to attend this college.” Adding, ” I enjoy learning God’s Word here with friends. Many young men and women hunger to study the word of God in our country.”
For security reasons I cannot show you a picture of the 20 commencing students and the 6 faculty members, but Pastor D later wrote…
“As you know we just start Bible school for training new believers and making disciples in Myanmar. We need 20 Myanmar Bible and 20 English Bible for new students in our school. Thank you so much for your kind consider and helping with in your prayer for to have 40 Bible in our ministry.”
But with the blessings come difficulties – one after another it seems in Myanmar! Two of our Pastors breed pigs which they sell to raise funds to meet the costs of their ministries. Both Pastor D and Pastor T advised a few weeks ago that their pigs and the pigs of virtually everyone who kept them had been struck by a climate related viral disease which they called “Pig Flu – blue eye”. A recent report from Pastor D advised that he lost 25 of his 29 pigs to the disease, and Pastor T advised as follows this week…
“Yes I lost 25 pigs (not including babies pigs) and I have one pig now. Pig flu is every places in Myanmar. No medicine till today so countless of pigs were death in Myanmar I think the end of pig flu will come after June or July because very few pigs in Myanmar and we are getting good weather (many rain) today. I will start pig farm again after 15 July if you can support me. If you cannot support me I will need to take long time to recover.
Last year Hand of Compassion stopped to support 4 orphanages and now they stopped 4 orphanages again (from May including me) so my income is very few now. But I am not fear for Children home, I know Who we trust is. Jesus is so good and so faithful all the times for us. God bless you richly.”
Please pray that the LORD will provide for our brothers and their ministries in Myanmar, as further difficulties are upon them. Pastor T and a co-worker care for 18 orphans as well as his own 5 children and the loss of the funding from Hand of Compassion will be a major blow to them. Yet his strong trust and faith in the LORD as he says
“…so my income is very few now. But I am not fear for Children home, I know Who we trust is. Jesus is so good and so faithful all the times for us.” is so common in the lives of our workers in Myanmar. It is very humbling for me!
Praise the Lord with us that we have already been able to send funds to Myanmar for 14 sets of bunks and mosquito nets for the orphans and their own children that our AC leaders are caring for. Please continue to pray that the Lord will provide to help us meet this need in full. (see www.acmissionz.org.nz/category/fundraising-projects/)
My sincere thanks to you for your prayers and partnership with those in SSE Asia who serve the Lord under the Advent Christian banner and of course to the Lord for hearing and answering those prayers in wonderful ways.