Dear friends, supporters and prayer partners, As I write this update, it is the rainy season in many of the countries in Asia in which our Advent Christian brothers and sisters minister. Over the past two or three weeks we have had news from three of our Conference leaders in Myanmar of flooding in their areas (picture below left); John Middlewood in Thailand has advised that they have had more than six feet!! of rain so far this season (and it’s still raining) and there is flooding in some parts of the country and Pastor Roy Rocha in Manila, Philippines advised that Typhoon Glenda hit their city in mid-July bringing very high winds as well as very heavy rain. Pastor Roy’s church building was not flooded or damaged this time although they lost a big mango tree at the rear of the building (picture below right) but three of his members’ homes lost their roofs and they were all ready to evacuate the area for some time as the river level began to rise until the typhoon passed. In Chennai, India they had their regular “little monsoon” which brings little rain but not enough to cause problems but which reduces the end of summer temperatures just a little and fills the wells a little also. It’s the big one in October/November that often causes problems and damage. In spite of these all-too-frequent occurrences, they all faithfully continue their ministries!
MYANMAR Several years ago, Pastor Kenneth had to close his VERNACULAR BIBLE SCHOOL because of difficulties with unsympathetic, non-Christian neighbours and at that time he could not find suitable alternative buildings to rent to accommodate his School and his family. In mid-June he wrote as follows…
“I also sincerely would like to inform you about our Bible School and my prayer request. In the past two week I was searching a house for Bible School but I could not find it. Therefore, I have a planning to build a house in our campus. I do believe that we can finish within two weeks. After building the house we will start to open Bible School. Please remember in your prayer time for this urgent need. Tomorrow we will start building the house and some of our pastors and students will come and help us. Please do remember us in your prayer time.”
At the end of July he wrote as follows and sent pictures…
“Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am very happy to inform you about our Bible School. Now our house building is completed and we started our Bible School from July the first week and we have 9 students, six boys and three girls. The house which we build is 20 X 16 feet. We divided into two rooms and one is use for boys hostel and another one is for class. The girls stay with our children girls. I send you some pictures of the house and our bible curriculum. All the total cost for the house is ks.1,443,000/. (approx. NZ$1,750) The students are from different area of our mission fields. We are five lecturers.”
Please pray for Pastor Kenneth and his lecturers as they seek to train their students for the Lord’s service – in what is still a difficult country for Christians. Pray too for the 9 students, who are young Christians from other parts of the country where Kenneth’s outreach’s minister, as they fit themselves to answer the Lord’s call to train to take the Gospel to their own people. Pastors David, Joseph and Kenneth have all written in the last two weeks asking for prayer for their people to enable them to cope with flooding they are experiencing on their compounds. As mentioned above this is almost “normal” for this time of the year but the disruption and physical and emotional cost to these folk must be very significant and disappointing.
THAILAND Praise the Lord with John Middlewood, Maeo and their ministry team for the blessing that their recent Mother’s Day service was for them and for their village. John wrote… “Mother’s Day in Thailand is August 12, the Queen’s birthday. Christian Mission celebrated the day on August 10. There were about 50 mothers and grandmothers that came to celebrate with us, and then about 100 children and others. So we thank God for such a great turnout. We ask for your prayers that at least some of the folks will come back. We thank Cheng Yuen High School for the band and dancers. We have been working with this high school for quite a while now and are happy to have them join us. We also had 5 people from Laos for our service today. Treasures were given to 2 of them. We thank and praise God for those who provided them.”
TREASURES are solar powered digital MP4 players with the New Testament and other material ranging from popular Old and New Testament stories, the “Story of Jesus” and ”God’s Story” – an audio panorama of the Bible, recorded in one of over 6,000 available languages which can be used by ministry leaders and church planters to share the Gospel message with those who cannot read or write or who do not have the Bible available to them in their own language. A number of these have recently been distributed by ACGC’s World Outreach Department in Thailand, India and Myanmar as well as several countries in Africa. The early reports from those who have used them has been very encouraging. Comments from John Middlewood at Christian Mission Naratchakwai following early use of them by his team are as follows…
“They are a gift of God and we thank the group that sent them to us. We are learning how to use them now. Dtee is using his for self-improvement and when he goes out to witness. He says it builds his confidence also when he can play it for others to listen. Pastor Boonta received one for his daughter [who is bed-ridden] to listen to. He also wants to use it when witnessing to others. Yai Pah, from the Laobada Church says she and her friends gather at home to listen to it and she is taking it with her when she goes to the rice fields to work. Maeo is using one to improve her Bible knowledge and plans on using hers also in witnessing to spread the Word of God. Plans are now to visit seniors in our village – many who cannot read – to see if they would like to learn about God this way. Again, thank you and praise God.”
Please continue to pray that the Lord will lead John to a suitable Thai pastor to join their team at Naratchakwai. This is an important, even vital need for several reasons – to ensure succession of leadership for the ministry; to relieve John of some of the preaching and leadership responsibilities and to present a Thai face to the ministry to counter the excuse given by many that Christianity is a “foreign religion”. A TREASURE in the Hindi language was sent to Pastor Paul Sunder Raj’s outreach team in Bihar in India and their initial use indicated that they would be ideal for ministry to the many illiterate or semi illiterate folk they minister to there in Khagaria.Pastor Paul has asked if he can have a further 10 so that he can give one to each of his pastors to assist them in their ministries. The cost of a TREASURE is US$50 (NZ$59 at present). If anyone or any church or group would like to assist with the provision of these useful gadgets, please contact our ACMissioNZ treasurer at firstname.lastname@example.org me at email@example.com.
INDIA Thank you to those who prayed for the situation I outlined in my last update concerning the Mission’s bank account in Chennai. To meet government imposed regulations the bank had been demanding copies of certain original registration documents for the Mission, which we could not produce for them as they have been lost over the many years of the Mission’s ministry in India. The bank had advised us that if we could not meet their demands by 24 July they would close our account. Although we have another bank account this is the only one through which we are able to receive funds from outside of India, so the closure of the account would have had the potential to seriously impact our ongoing ministries.
At the suggestion of a helpful (one of very few) bank officer we were able to obtain an identity card (PAN Card) from the Income Tax Department which appears to have satisfied the bank in that our account was not closed on 24 July; we have been advised verbally by officers at a relatively low level in the bank that what we have supplied has satisfied the banks’ requirement and a remittance has been sent from the United States and credited to the account. We look on the receipt of the PAN card as an answer to prayer, because when Immanuel went to the relevant office to apply for it, he was asked for the very same documents that the bank had asked for – which we were unable to produce and for which we were unable to get copies from the relevant Government Department as “they do not keep records back to the date of registration” – the 1920s!! However The Income Tax Dept. staff member was willing to listen to Immanuel’s story and ultimately accepted other documents which proved to their satisfaction who we were and how long we have been ministering in India.
Please praise the Lord with us for His answer to our and your prayers and continue to pray for the ongoing situation. We are concerned that the bank has not formally advised us that what we have produced has satisfied their requirements nor have they formally withdrawn their threat to close the account. Please continue to pray that the account will remain open regardless of the bank’s inability or unwillingness to act in a sensible, business-like way.
Pastor Kirubakaran, the baby saver, (pictured below with his wife Vasantha and some of the 28 children he cares for in their NEW Life Hostel) continues his ministry in the Kolli Hills area of Tamil Nadu. In recent months he has relocated to a new, rented property in the town of Kalanaickenpatti which is in the foothills of the Kolli Hills. As well as caring for and educating the 28 children (22 boys and 6 girls) in the hostel he continues his Gospel ministry in the hills, taking several services at different places each Sunday and visits in the hills during the week also.
His ministry in the villages of the Kolli Hills continues to bring him into contact with the cruel practice of child sacrifice to a Hindu god and although it has become much more difficult to save babies, because of government rules and restrictions, he continues to do this whenever possible and necessary. He has now saved 189 babies and they have been found good, stable, loving homes.
His latest move to Kalanaickenpatti was to a better quality and slightly larger property but over recent years he has had to move several times because Hindu landlords have not approved of his activities, particularly in respect to saving babies from being sacrificed.
Please pray for Pastor Kirubakaran and his ministries; for his wife Vasantha and son David and others who assist him, and for the young lives which they are caring for so well.
After discussions with Pastor Kirubakaran we believe that in the long term it would be desirable to have the New Life Hostel, which is a ministry partner of Yesuway Jeevan Mission, operating from a hostel built on their own land. Ownership of the property is now a government requirement for full registration of a hostel which cares for orphaned or underprivileged children and of course it is desirable that the New Life Hostel should be operating within the regulations as soon as possible.
The cost to purchase a suitable area of land close to the town of Kalanaickenpatti – 10 cents or approximately 1/10 of an acre – would be approximately 10 lakhs rupees (1,000,000 rupees) or approximately NZ$19,500. We already have had a generous donation of NZ$5,000 towards this land purchase. Having purchased the land a building of approximately 1,800 square feet (167 sq. metres) would cost approximately 20 lakhs. Obviously this is a long term project but one which we believe highly desirable – please pray that the Lord may confirm whether this is within His will for this ministry and pray that He will provide the necessary resources.
MALAYSIA Please continue to pray for the small group of faithful Advent Christian believers who gather weekly for worship in the home of Sister Ruth Devairakkam and Brother Wilfred in Kluang and who gather in members’ homes for Bible study and communion during the week. Thank the Lord for their one-on-one ministry of assistance in many practical ways and for their spiritual ministry to their neighbours, friends and other contacts. Thank the Lord for the answers to our prayers in the lives of those to whom they minister. Ruth has recently reported as follows…
“PRAISES TO THE LORD Thank you for interceding along with us.
- Our friends who were jobless for some time, Christians and non-Christians, have found jobs, and are already working in Kluang and out-station.
- Our believers and friends are experiencing an increase of God’s presence and victories in their situations.
- A non-Christian single mother who calls us for advice and encouragement, told us that her daughter studied well and obtained good results in her examination, and got a place in an elite school. We are sharing Jesus with them.
PRAYER REQUEST Pray for the people in our neighborhood who are facing stress in their workplace. We have shared Jesus to some of them. Pray that there will be a spiritual breakthrough in their lives, so that they can overcome this problem.”
Thank you very much for your prayers and support for our brothers and sisters in South East Asia who serve the Lord under the Advent Christian banner and for your partnership with us.God bless you as you serve Him in this way.