Beginning on 30 July Cyclone Komen swept from the south to the north of Western Myanmar causing extensive damage in the region and continued bringing torrential rain and flooding for about a week, hampering assessment and relief efforts. On 4 August the Myanmar Government reported that 39 people had lost their lives over the past week and over 200,000 people had been affected by heavy monsoon rains and flooding across the country. They indicated that those figures were likely to rise as more areas became accessible. On the same date the Myanmar authorities formally requested international assistance, although the UN and international humanitarian organizations had been working closely with the Myanmar authorities and supporting the humanitarian response since the beginning of the flooding on 30 July.
The leaders of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar (ACCM) advised us that the flooding had affected Yangon where they are based and had badly affected the western States and divisions of the country where they have branch churches and outreach ministries. On 31 July Pastor Timothy reported…
[Ks stands for kyats, the unit of currency in Myanmar. The exchange rate is presently about 760 kyats to NZ$1 and about 1,170 kyats to US$1. Thus the cost of one bag of rice in Yangon is about NZ$21 or US$14, but in the area most affected by the storm is about NZ$65 or US$43.]
“The storm is more than one week now and stronger. The damage is also more and more. Now the storm is in Rakhine State and in Chin state. Hakha [Timothy’s wife’s home village] is the worst place. More than 60 houses were fallen down. Many houses were affected now. I am very worried for 3 houses of our Church [members], these 3 houses were affected. If storm continue their houses will fall dawn. Two houses are 3 floors each and another one is four floors. My home church sent 200000 ks for rice for poor Church [members]. In Yangon one bag is only 16000 ks but in Hakha one bag is 50000 ks now.”
Pastor David also reported as follows in regard to the situation in Yangon, where his church, Bible College and the 96 orphans they care for are based…
“Greetings and this is our prayer request for our country. Heavy rain over one week and now everywhere in Yangon and around our country is water flooded. Pray for us as many people become sick now. I am also very sick, some of children are sick, Bible School students are sick. Please remember in your prayer for us. Thanks.”
On 3 August Pastor Timothy advised:
“The storm and flood affected 11 States and Divisions. But the President’s office declared disaster places (Chin State, Rakhine State, Sagaing Division and Magway Division). All are our mission fields. I am sending you some flood pictures in Hakha City – the people see rainbow and they are very happy, they praise God (see in picture).
But Rung Mountain has had a severe landslide. Hakha is under Rung Mountain so the Government advised them
that 2/3 area need to move to other safe places. New Hakha is one safe place so now in New Hakha there are more than 7,000 people taking refuge. In New Hakha my Church is very small number but they are very busy in relief work. By the grace of God only one of church member’s house has collapsed. They are 5 members.“
Both ACMissioNZ and ACGC have been able to send funds to enable our ACCM folk to assist with relief for the many who have been affected. Some of the funds have been used in and around Yangon and some has been sent to the western States and Divisions where the ACCM have ministries and personnel.
Please pray for all who have been affected by the flooding and especially for ACCM members as they seek to deal with both the effects on their own homes and lives and as they seek to show Christian love, care and compassion as they assist others to meet their needs and deal with their situations.
There are many more pictures from Myanmar on the ACMissioNZ website (www.acmissionz.org.nz).
We are able to get funds to ACCM very quickly – if you would like to assist please contact me or our treasurer.
Mission Manager Immanuel was once again invited to attend a baptismal service recently – at an Advent Christian Conference of India church in suburban Chennai with an interesting connection to ACGC.
The church is at Palavakkam and is pastored by Rev. Gnanaprasad (pictured below baptising a candidate), and presently has 82 families or about 350 people in membership. Seven persons were baptised on 2 August and were received into membership and received their first communion. Immanuel presented each of them with a new Bible as recognition of their baptisms and as an encouragement from the Mission.
The church was started in the early 1970s when a small “shed” was built and a small number of believers began worshipping there. Toward the end of the 1970s a team of young people, both men and women, travelled from the United States under the auspices of Teen Missions, with Brother David Vignali as part of the leadership of the team.
The team built a new church building in permanent materials for the congregation and it was dedicated, on 14 August 1977, by Rev Roland Griswold who, according to the dedicatory plaque, was then Director for Youth Ministry for the Advent Christian General Conference. All that remains of that building now is the frontage, seen in the picture below, as the size of the congregation is such that a much larger building is partially built – the congregation is currently meeting in the unfinished ground floor, which will ultimately be used for parking. When the building is complete the first floor will be used as the church sanctuary and the top floor will be accommodation. Provision has been made for the installation of a lift at a later stage. The total budget for the project is 20 crores (20 million) rupees – approximately NZ$467,000 or US$310,000.
Please praise the Lord for the growth of that ministry and pray for the Lord’s blessing on the continuing proclamation of the Gospel by Advent Christian churches in the Palavakkam area and many other areas of the huge city of Chennai.
Please continue to pray for the renewal of the Mission’s FCRA (Foreign Currency Registration Act) registration certificate which allows us to receive funds from foreign countries through the banking system.
The Indian government is presently requiring all organisations which hold a registration certificate to go through a lengthy and complicated renewal process.
Our application was submitted in late June to the relevant government department in New Delhi, where a bureaucrat will ultimately make the decision whether or not our FCRA certificate is renewed.
This registration is vitally important for the ongoing ministries of the Mission. Please pray that our application will be successful.
Ministries and services continue at Christian Mission Naratchakwai – the fellowship is sweet and the Lord is blessing the leadership team with slightly increasing attendances.
Sunday 9 August was the day that Mothers’ Day is celebrated in Thailand, and as they have done for many years, CMN celebrated with a special service to which Mothers from the village were invited. There were at least 21 Mothers present. Ploy wrote on Facebook as she reported on the morning’s activities……
“Happy Mother’s Day of Thailand.
We had a Mother’s Day activity in our church on Sunday.
The children and their mothers were very cute. They are happy and we are happy too.
Thanks God that you give the best things to us every day.
We will serve your love to the other people and we will love them as our neighbors.”
Please pray regularly for the leadership team at CMN who continue to do wonderful service for the Lord and keep the ministries to the adults and children from the village of Naratchakwai and surrounding villages functioning.
Two of Ploy’s school friends are now attending regularly and have joined the team and are assisting the girls with the activities, particularly those for the children. Please pray for those two new girls – Kaew and EubEib – that the Lord may speak to their hearts of their need of a personal Saviour. Pastor Boontaa continues to preach and teach and do visitation in the villages, especially to parents of the children who attend at CMN.
Please continue to pray for the little group of Advent Christians in Kluang who meet for worship each Sunday in Ruth and Wilfred’s home and meet for prayer meetings with the sharing of God’s Word twice a month. Pray especially for Sister Ruth and Brother Wilfred and their family and for the one-on-one ministry which they are so constant with, in assisting those in their community who have practical and spiritual needs of many kinds. Pray too for their outreach ministry as they continue to reach out to and share the Christian message with their family, friends and neighbours both in Kluang and further afield.
Once again, my sincere thanks for your partnership in the Lord’s ministries in South East Asia. I thank you for your prayers and encouragement and financial support for our brothers and sisters in the LORD in the past, and I ask for your continued prayers for them and for their ministries.
God bless you as you serve Him in Missions in this way.