Greetings to our friends, supporters and prayer partners, and welcome to this fifth update for 2020. Once again, my thanks for your support and encouragement in so many ways. Thank you especially for praying – God continues to answer your prayers in wonderful ways, and although the presence of Covid-19 has significantly affected their activities, we see the Advent Christian ministries in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India and the Philippines continuing to touch lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.
I suspect that wherever you are as you read this your life will still be affected in some way/s by Covid 19! Since our last update, because of the appearance of a “cluster” of cases in the community which has grown and is still growing, the greater Auckland area was placed into Level 3 lockdown for about two weeks, with the rest of the country at Level 2. The Level 3 was lowered to and remains at Level 2.5, with the rest of the country remaining at Level 2, both of which bring limitations on numbers able to gather, and therefore brings limitations on worship and ministry opportunities. Our border remains closed to everyone but New Zealand citizens or those who have NZ residency and a very few who receive exemptions, and all who arrive go directly to 14 days minimum of government-managed isolation. They are tested at 3 days and 12 days and if they test positive for Covid-19 on arrival or when tested later they go into quarantine where they remain until they are deemed to be free of the virus.
Sadly, many of the activities of the churches in the countries in Asia which we normally report on continue to be affected one way or another by their governments’ regulations, many of which involve lockdowns of the communities, and their ministries have been curtailed to a large extent. In many countries, many workers are paid on a daily basis and so because there is no work available during lockdowns, many families are suffering badly. Because churches are unable to meet, offerings are not being collected and pastors and other paid leaders are not receiving any income. Please make these situations a matter of regular prayer.
A similar situation applies in many parts of the United States, and the International Missions Department of the Advent Christian General Conference advises that for their annual Penny Crusade budget, which provides core funding support for our missionaries and ministry partners around the world, giving is down by 50% at this time. Please make this situation a matter of regular prayer – pray for God’s provision and for wisdom, as reduced funding will likely mean wrestling with difficult questions.
INDIA | YESUWAY JEEVAN MISSION
Thank you for praying for Brother Srilal in Bihar – prayer item dated August 10. Pastor Denny Moses wrote on 1 September…
By the grace of God, he is recovering day by day, last week he was discharged from the hospital and continually has to take the medicine for two months. Please pray for him.
Please thank the Lord for His answers to our prayers and continue to pray for quick and complete healing.
As he wrote with this good news, Pastor Denny Moses also asked prayer for another of their faithful members…
Sis. Manju Devi one of our branch church (Advent Church in Sannha) believers is suffering from cancer (cancer in uterus) disease stage 3. The doctor has suggested to do the operation as early as possible, but she is from a very poor background. She has accepted Jesus. Please pray for her healing – may God Almighty do the miracle in her so that many will accept Jesus in her village.
Please pray for this lady, asking that our God’s faithfulness in answering prayer may be seen again in Khagaria, Bihar.
Covid 19 continues to have serious effects in India – on Wednesday 9 September, 89,706 new cases were reported for the day bringing the total so far for the country to 4.463 million, with more than 75,000 deaths. Tamil Nadu State, where most of the Advent Christian churches are situated, continues to be badly affected – Tamil Nadu’s statistics as at Wednesday were a total number of cases recorded as 234,114 with 49,200 active cases at that date, and a total of 8,093 deaths. Metro Chennai had 1,084 new cases on Tuesday 3 September with a total of 2,770 deaths so far. Some folk are returning to hospitals having recovered previously but becoming re-infected. We need to pray especially for India as the track of the graph of new Covid cases daily continues to rise steeply.
Yesuway Jeevan Mission’s ministry partners are continuing to reach out, when they are able, to those in their communities, showing Christian love and compassion to the poor, the needy, orphans and those who are struggling with everyday life because of Covid 19. None of these organisations is financially well-off but they continue to share what they have and what they are given with those less fortunate than themselves.
Since our last update in July, Pastor Paul Nilivan and his team from ADDRES Centre/ Stepping Stone Innovation in Chennai distributed water and food parcels to 30 people on the streets in the Redhills and Perambur areas of the city. They received funds from ACGC’s the Bread of Life project.
Pastor Paul Gantham from the Adda Road Advent Christian Church in Andhra Pradesh State reported that he had used the funds he received from the Bread of Life Project to give food to 60 children/family members in the nearby village of Balavenkatapuram
Pastor Paul Sundar Raj and his team in Khagaria, Bihar State also distributed food to the needy.
As he thanked Yesuway Jeevan Mission for the Bread of Life funds he wrote…
You are the righteous in the sight of God and these poor ones they are absolutely in suffering for food, in this unfortunate lock-down duration. God has set up you, His loving generation to feed them. The worth of your contribution is still alive in their bodies. We pray that according to Proverbs 11:25, God will bless you and send prosperity. As Psalm 112:8 says, you have given your gift of food to these poor background people. Your great help will add more strength to these people to follow the way of Jesus Christ strongly in future.
Please thank the Lord that progress is being made on completing some of the classrooms for the new St Xavier’s school in Khagaria – interior plastering work and other work is underway. The owner of the existing, rented school has asked the school to vacate the property so work is being concentrated on completing some of the rooms, rather than the entire project.
Please pray that funds will be available as they are needed to enable the school to meet the owner’s requirements and meet the completion deadline placed on them by the education authorities.
THAILAND CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
When they resumed their Sunday morning activities in early July, the leadership team at CMN were concerned that the period of shut-down may have affected the children and people who had been coming prior to the Covid-19 shut-down. Praise the Lord that they have been encouraged and blessed by what has actually happened.
Ploy recently wrote…
Thank you, God, for everything that is very good. Many people come to Christian Mission, worship and study about the Bible. Children come to the church and they are very happy. They study the Bible and English, they meet new friends and play together. Thank you, God for everything that is going very well. There are a lot of new people here. Some come here with the whole family, some are little children who follow their friends here, some are teenagers who would like to study English and would like to know about God.
This video is a good indication of what Ploy wrote – it is worth watching and listening to! You won’t be able to understand their Isaan language, but you will see their happy faces as they sing to the Lord and the congregation!
On Sunday 16 August, they held their Mothers’ Day celebration, which is normally held earlier in the year. It is great to see such a large congregation, including Mothers and other family members.
On 30 August they distributed the Soup of Love to their own village – Naratchakwai – for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown, and they did it differently! They sent bags of soup home with the children – yes, that’s right – BAGS of soup, to “take God’s love back to their family”!! The same day they took Soup of Love and food parcels, or “survival bags” as they called them, to some of the sick and elderly in the village.
Ploy asks us to pray for the following matters…
1. Please pray for Maeo after she fell down twice in a month. The first time that she fell down was in front of her house while she was going to feed her dog and second time was in the kitchen. She got pain on her legs and now she also got pain on her hands and feet where they touch the floor. Please pray for her to get well soon.
2. Please pray for Maeo’s brother. His name is Noi, he is very sick now. He doesn’t have a family and now he doesn’t have a house also. He is very sick so Maeo let him stay in the church where the children’s classroom is. Thank you, may God help him. He comes back to God’s place and we hope he will open his heart to God and get well soon. Maeo has another brother named Moo. He comes to stay with Noi to take care of him. We hope Moo will open his heart to God too.
3. The leadership meeting of the Christ for All People Church Association is held every 2 months, thank you God that we can hold the meeting and meet with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray for Kudsakoi church that is building a new worship building because the old one was crashed and it could not be used. Please pray for them about the funds to finish the building.
4. Please pray for Parn’s mom. She had a piece of something under her skin in the neck area. She had surgery on Monday and took all of it out. Now she is waiting for the result that can tell what it is. Please pray for her.
5. Please pray for the girl’s bedding sets at CMN. They are not enough and too old because they have been used for many years. Please pray for the new bedding sets for 7 ladies that are good quality and good price.”
Please continue to pray for the team at Christian
Mission – Rear row from left – Ploy, Pastor Boontaa, Dtee (driver), Maeo and Parn. Front row from left – Lita, Kaopun, Job, Guitar and GungGing. Pray especially for Ploy who leads the team of young ladies.
Thank the Lord for the time and effort they put into planning and supervising every aspect of the ministry, including the English lessons.
Ask the Lord to help the girls balance their service for Him with their studies at High School and University.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
We have not heard from Sister Ruth recently but we know that their country and their lives and ministry are being affected by Covid 19 in similar ways as ours are.
Please continue to pray for Sister Ruth, Brother Wilfred, their family and their small group of faithful, Advent Christian believers who have recently been unable to gather together weekly on Sundays for worship in Ruth and Wilfred’s home in Kluang or in members’ homes for Bible study and communion during the week. Christian ministry is not easy or without danger in Malaysia, but Ruth and Wilfred faithfully continue, where they can within the regulations, their one-on-one ministries of friendship, practical assistance and counsel to friends, neighbours and other contacts.
MYANMAR | Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar
Our brothers and sisters in Myanmar are also struggling with the restrictions placed on them because of Covid-19, particularly those which prevent groups meeting together.
Pastor Kenneth, the leader of Gospel for Myanmar, advised that because of government regulations caused by Covid-19, their very successful clothing factory, which they started last year to provide funds for their ministries, is still closed. They have no idea at this stage when they will be able to re-open the factory.
With his usual enthusiasm for ministry and ingenuity, Pastor Kenneth has set up a fish farm at their premises. They are hoping to raise catfish for sale, and plan to have 12,000 fish once they have built new ponds. Please pray that this undertaking may be successful and will provide funds to enable them to continue to develop their ministries.
He also advised that Gospel for Myanmar’s Bible college – Salem Theological School – re-opened for their new academic year on 11 August with 8 students – 5 boys and 3 girls. On that day they had their orientation and welcome to freshers, and classes started the next day.
Please pray for Pastor Kenneth and the other tutors and for the students, who come from many parts of their country, as they study to fit themselves for service for the Lord.
Pastor Kenneth also asks for continuing prayer for the provision of funds to construct a small dormitory building for the girl students – he feels that this is essential for their welfare. For details see MYANMAR | Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar | Pastor Kenneth.
Praise the Lord! Progress has been made on Pastor Joseph’s new building project!
Pastor Joseph told us in April 2020 that since 2018 “Our orphan children are every day and every time praying for their home. Orphan children’s prayer is so powerful.” Thank you to those of you who have joined the children and Joseph and his family and team in praying. God continues to hear and answer their and our prayers!
The foundations have been filled, the floor concreted and a significant amount of the steel for the building’s framework has been purchased and is on site, and erection of the steel columns has begun. Please thank the Lord for these answers to prayer!
The Lord has provided for about 50% of the original estimated cost of NZ$115,380 but we need to continue to pray please, for the provision of funds for the materials and labour to complete the building.
About NZ$58,500 is still needed to cover the cost of roofing material, bricks for the exterior walls, cement, sand, ceilings, windows and gates, steel for framing, floor coverings and workers’ labour costs.
The first floor of the new building will contain dormitories for the boys, (a modern building for the girls was built some time ago) the chapel, prayer room, classrooms, and a study room. Once this floor is completed, the second floor will be constructed which will be the home for Pastor Joseph and his family (pictured), including kitchen, bathroom, toilets, sitting room, dining room, a prayer room, and a library.
The WORD Mission presently cares for 60 orphans and underprivileged children, 28 of whom have recently accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and have been baptised.
These children are educated at schools in the local area, and of course are taught God’s ways and precepts in their daily devotions. Please pray regularly for Pastor Joseph, his wife Esther and their team as they care for and nurture these children.
Once again, my sincere thanks for your partnership in the Lord’s ministries in South East Asia. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement to and financial support for our brothers and sisters in the LORD. Please continue to pray for the leaders and members of the Advent Christian ministries we support in India, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and the Philippines – pray that they will know the leading, guiding and blessing of the Holy Spirit as they present the message of God’s love for their people and His plan of salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.