Greetings to you and once again my thanks for your support and encouragement in so many ways, but especially for your prayer support for the workers in Advent Christian ministries in India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. There is much happening for which we can thank the Lord, and there is much that we need to continue to pray about as the forces of evil continue to attack those who are seeking to serve the Lord as He calls them to do.
Since my last newsletter I have had the opportunity to travel to India and Thailand to accompany Rev Jeff Vann as he travelled to those countries for the first time since his and his wife Penny’s appointment as Asia Pacific Area Directors for ACGC’s World Outreach Department. We were able to meet and fellowship with those who serve with Advent Christian organisations in those countries and to get a first-hand view of their ministries and some of those to whom they minister.
One of the most enjoyable occasions on the trip was to be present when Rev Vann commissioned Mission Manager Immanuel as a Missionary of the Advent Christian Denomination. The decision to make this appointment was taken by the Executive Council of the ACGC in recognition of Immanuel’s dedicated service for the Lord and for the AAM/Yesuway Jeevan Mission during the twelve years since he began his employment as a part-time office clerk in 2001. As we acknowledged his reliability and integrity and enthusiasm, we also recognised him as God’s gift to the mission as leader of the team at Guindy through a period when his skills and abilities have been vital as the organisation has transitioned to being an Indian organisation led by an Indian. The commissioning ceremony was held during a meeting with the loyal Pastors and Bible Woman of the Fellowship of Blessed Hope Churches (FBHC) and the announcement of the appointment was greeted with spontaneous applause by those present.
Please continue to pray regularly for Immanuel – the responsibilities of leadership and trying to sell the Guindy land and of dealing with the often-times complex and trying relationships with the Advent Christian Conference of India (ACCI) and the FBHC bring much stress for him. Please also continue to pray that the Lord will bring the buyer of His choice to the point of completing the sale of the Guindy land which is jointly owned by AAM and ACCI – the completion of this sale would bring a much needed measure of financial stability to the ACCI; it would enable YJM to greatly expand its support of our ten existing ministry partners and perhaps expand this group somewhat and would relieve Immanuel of a great deal of pressure as he deals with prospective buyers and their lawyers and land-brokers.
Jeff and I travelled with Immanuel to visit one of YJM’s ministry partners at Sankarapuram, about 240 kilometres south of Chennai. It was long trip, done in a day and part of the night, but well worth it to experience the welcome and fellowship given to us by the staff and about 100 children who live and learn there. The children are either physically and/or intellectually handicapped, or are from single parent homes that have been unable to look after them, and they learn the lessons of life and their school lessons, up to high school level, in an atmosphere of Christian love, care and compassion. If these children were not in a school such as Christ Special (Residential) High School for the Physically Challenged or a similar institution they would be rejected by society and would get virtually no education or medical or any other kind of support. The staff of the school were able to tell us that their students perform with great distinction in external Government examinations and most have gone on to good employment and in some case to begin their own businesses.
Please pray for Mrs Banamathy Sujirtharaj who with her late husband started the school in 1991, and her son Pastor Paul Nilivan who now bears much of the responsibility of leadership. Thank the Lord for their commitment to make life for these children as loving and normal and Christian based as they can. Pastor Nilivan lives and works in Chennai and makes the trip to and from Sankarapuram, by bus, every weekend! The trip by Indian bus is not something I would like to do – ever, let alone every week!
A couple of days later we visited another of YJM’s ministry partners – the Shelter Trust Hostel in a rural suburb of on the edge of Chennai. This hostel presently cares for 32 children and 8 young adults all of whom have lost their parents to Aids and are HIV positive themselves
The founder and manager of the hostel, Rev Solomon, says that the stated and main aim of the team of workers is to provide these children with three things in what are their limited lives – LOVE, LAUGHTER and LIFE.
Since my last visit the building has been completed and provides excellent facilities and care for the children. Because of the lowered immune systems of their children they have a fine treatment room/sick bay in which they seek to treat those who are unwell for as long as possible. They had a list of some small items of medical equipment which they needed for the treatment room – a stethoscope, blood pressure testing equipment and an oxygen cylinder and accessories – and a gift to cover the cost of these was given by a brother in the United States soon after our visit. One of Rev Solomon’s prayer requests was that we pray that they may be able to keep the children well enough that they don’t have to go to hospital – this is much easier now for them to do with a properly equipped treatment room.
As Jeff Vann wrote in his blog… “The success can be seen in the smiles of these wonderful kids, and their drive to succeed in whatever they do. These kids are living the miracle of a life with a purpose. They are not letting their problems keep them from enjoying life, and that joy is actually prolonging their lives.”
As with Christ Special High School some of the children were keen to entertain us with dancing and singing, and in one case a young man gave us an amazing exhibition of what, as an oldie, I can only call modern rap dancing.
Please pray for Rev Solomon and his team and those who support the hostel financially – they are doing a wonderful job of showing love, care and compassion in the name of Jesus Christ. Solomon’s wife has a full-time job, to allow Solomon to be full-time at the hostel.
Immanuel had arranged for the leaders of four other of YJM’s ministry partners, including Rev Kirubakaran (the Baby Saver), who we had not been able to visit, to come to the Guindy compound to meet with us and it was a blessing to be able to spend time with these Brothers who are just as dedicated to caring for those to whom they minister, practically and spiritually, as the partners we had been able to visit. I will put news from these partners up on the website in the near future – www.acmissionz.org.nz. We were also able to visit the Grace Helen Schache Memorial Hostel at Guindy which is currently caring for over 100 orphans and disadvantaged children and spend a little time with them. We had arranged for them to have a special meal provided – sadly we were not able to share that with them because of a “plague” of mosquitoes! We did enjoy some of the meal which we were able to eat in the “safety” of the bungalow on the AAM compound next door!
In the few days we had in THAILAND, at Christian Mission Naratchakwai, we were able to spend time chatting to John Middlewood to bring Jeff up to date with the ministries there and to meet some of the girls who were living at the compound – who were in the middle of their end-of-year school examinations.
It was good to see that both John and Maeo had recovered somewhat from their illnesses of recent months, but both are having to ensure that they keep their hours of work to a reasonable level. They have had a great deal of assistance from the girls during these times and are very grateful that the girls have been willing to step up and ac cept responsibility for a lot of the activities and ministries at CMN. Since our visit both John and Maeo have had a bout of cold/flu and again were laid low, but both are now on the way to recovery again.
We were also pleased to be able to meet the Thai couple who John was considering employing as Assistant Pastors and to enjoy fellowship with them over some meals and at a Sunday morning combined service of the churches of the Christ for all People Church Association at the Nong Khon Kaen church. Surachai and his wife Nipon (nicknamed Pon) came highly recommended and both have Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from a well-known seminary.
Since our visit, John and Maeo have appointed Surachai and Pon (at right with Jeff and Maeo and one of their two sons) as Assistant Pastors at Christian Mission Naratchakwai and on 1 April they moved into a brand new, rented house about 700 metres down the road to the Naratchakwai village from the Mission. Maeo and Bee, the oldest of the girls presently living at the compound, will soon begin introducing them to the residents of the village and it is likely that they will have responsibility for visitation and outreach to the village and for running the children’s program and ministries at CMN.
Please pray for John and Maeo and for Surachai and Pon – thank the Lord for the opportunity to reduce the work load that John was coping with and pray that a good team relationship between them all will develop which will allow the ministries of the CMN to develop and grow and touch many more lives for Jesus Christ. Pray too for the girls – with the end of the school year and the summer holidays, most of them have gone back to their homes. John’s latest prayer request for them is as follows…”Pray for children that live here – Bee, Lita and Beem 2 at the moment – that they will remain strong in their faith; children that were living here [and have accepted Christ] but have left – Ploy, Pan, Jeaub, Toom, Bpun – that they will see the error in their choice and return; children that were living here, but have not accepted Christ – Eye, Milk, Beem 1, Tat, and others – that they also will see the error of their ways.”
Our brothers and sisters in MYANMAR (BURMA) continue to serve the Lord with tremendous dedication and enthusiasm and commitment. Pastor K, the present President of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar, reported that there is presently serious unrest in various parts of his country between Muslims and Buddhists. He says that many Muslim “temples” (mosques) have been destroyed by the Buddhists. He asks us to pray for peace in his country.
He recently asked us to pray for the “Salvation Camp” which he was planning to hold from 12 April to 20 April. He was expecting about 100 to gather for that camp, including workers and members from three of his branch mission fields. Because of difficulties caused by the unrest between Muslims and Buddhists he feels it unwise to proceed with his camp unless the situation improves greatly. Please pray that the situation will moderate quickly to allow the Salvation Camp to proceed.
He also asks us to pray that the Lord will make it possible for his organisation – Gospel for Myanmar – to buy 10 acres of paddy fields in a nearby area in which they have been reaching out with the Gospel for some time. The cost is 2 million kyats or about NZ$2,950. He explained that his organisation which has been ministering to Buddhist people since 1998 has a major difficulty in that it has no permanent home (base) and no regular income. He sees the possibility of purchasing this paddy field which is located in a very suitable position, as a way of enabling them to grow rice both for their own families and to sell to provide income to ensure that their ministries continue.
In December I also told you about a need in a distant village where one of Pastor T’s pastors ministers, where about eighty percent of the people in his village suffer from malaria! In answer to our questioning he told us that the best way to tackle this problem would be the use of mosquito nets by his people. He told us that nets are available from a nearby city and that a two person net costs about NZ$6.25 and four person nets cost about NZ$12.50. Thank you to those who have given – we have so far been able to send enough funds to purchase 170 two person nets. These will go some way to supplying nets to all the residents of the village – Christians and non-Christians – but there is still a way to go. Please pray that this need may be met in full and that the gifts will turn the hearts and minds of some of the recipients to the givers’ faith in Jesus Christ. Our treasurer would be pleased to receive and send your gift to Myanmar.
Pastor J has recently returned from an outreach trip lasting four weeks to villages and peoples in the north of the country – where he visited about the same time last year. Part of his report reads as follows – the entire report will be on our website soon…
“We go to (name withheld for security) by bus in one day and one night. After then we went to (name withheld) by small jeep car in a whole day till night. And then we go to (name withheld) land and (name withheld) land by motorcycle in one day where car cannot go there. And then we walk by foot for 4 days until we reach (name withheld) and (name withheld) villages. We cross rivers, stream, brook, hills, mountain rage, mountain pass, and valley so on and preached the redemption of Jesus to village people whether we have time or not. Sometime we slept near river and hill. No transportation, no road, no school, no churches, no clinic. Some time we walk through the stream to reach another village. It is hard to go there. Nothing but for the sake of the truth. The people in the village were very grateful for our visit but some of them were not happy with us and ready to stop us to preach the Word of God.
We do outreach from village to village and preach the Word of God house to house and after person to person. Even we tell about the salvation of Jesus to village people throughout the way and at the field where they are working. And we had Bible studies at night.
During the mission trip of February and March 2013, we distributed over 2000 gospel tracts, doing seminar at two places, and reached 3 village of (name withheld) and 4 villages of (name withheld). By God’s power we reached 70 people for the Lord. We were very blessed with the hunger and thirst of these (name withheld) and (name withheld) people for the Word of God. What a joy it was to teach on the repentance and remission of sins and see them very eagerly receiving it. I will never forget the one old man that been a believing in demonism for 72 years and has never heard anything like this before. He has get salvation today.
Praise the Lord with us.
a. We did two seminar at (name withheld) village and (name withheld) village.
b. There are 29 (name withheld) people and 31 (name withheld) people has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior – some people converted in stream, some are in their field, some are converted in mountain and most people
converted at seminars which we did. And 5 people has baptized by me. 8 people get healing by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
One more portion of his report…
“This old man (82 year old) received Jesus as his personal Savior and ready to be baptized by me and we carry him for 1 hours to stream and baptized him there…
This woman received Jesus as her personal Savior and baptized her by me. She is 78 year old. But her eye can see small thing yet…Thank you for supporting for the Lord.”
The Advent Christian group in Kluang, MALAYSIA, led by Ruth and Wilfred, continues to meet for fellowship and reaches out on a one to one basis to share the blessings of their faith with friends, neighbours and those they meet. Please continue to pray for the members of this small group whose contacts are numerous and very diverse.
Many thanks once again for your prayers and your partnership with us in Advent Christian ministries in south-east Asia. God bless you as you serve Him in this way.