Greetings to our friends, supporters, and prayer partners, and welcome to this seventh and final update for 2020. Once again, 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, with its lockdowns and restrictions and effects on day to day living, continues to significantly affect their activities, the Advent Christian ministries in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India, and the Philippines are continuing to do what they able to do and are continuing to touch lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.
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 some extent or other for much of the year. In many countries, where many workers are paid on a daily basis and because there is no work available during lockdowns, many families are still suffering badly. Because churches are unable to meet, offerings are not being collected and pastors and other paid leaders are in many cases not receiving any income.
Please thank the Lord for some reductions in restrictions and pressure but continue to pray that God’s people will know the peace of His presence and provision for their needs.
INDIA | Yesuway Jeevan Mission
Covid 19 continues to have serious effects in India - on Wednesday 2 December, there were 36,604 new cases reported throughout the country. That is much reduced from the peak of 76,551 on 11 September but is obviously still very worrying. For the entire country there have been 9.53 million cases registered, with 138,501 deaths reported.
Tamil Nadu State, where most of the Advent Christian churches are situated, continues to be badly affected – the state’s statistics as of Wednesday 2 December were a total number of cases recorded as 776,000 with a total of 11,722 deaths. Towards the end of November, the number of new cases in the State had fallen to the 1,400s per day.
We need to continue to pray especially for India as although the track of the graph of new Covid cases daily continues to move downwards, the numbers are still frightening.
Please pray regularly for Yesuway Jeevan Mission’s ministry partners who serve the Lord so well in their particular areas of ministry. Many of them are involved with caring for, educating, and encouraging children, many of them orphans or disadvantaged. Some of them, realising the extra needs that the Covid pandemic has brought to their communities, have used funds YJM has sent them to distribute food and clothing and encouragement to those in need – all in the Name of Jesus Christ. Pray especially for their leaders and the members of their staff and congregations who assist with these ministries:
- Shelter Trust, Chennai - Rev. Solomon Raj
- Addres Centre, Chennai- Pastor Paul Nilivan
- Silver Fern Hostel, Guindy, Chennai – Warden Nelson and his wife Stella.
- ACCI Outreach Team/St Xavier’s High School, Khagaria, Bihar State - Pastor Paul Sundar Raj
- Christ Special High School for the Handicapped and Deaf, Sangkarapuram – Pastor Paul Nilivan
- Adda Rd. Advent Christian Church, Andhra Pradesh State - Rev Paul Gandham and Pastor Victor Abraham
- Balunayak Banjara Tribal Ministries, Mahabubabad, Telengana State - Pastor Balu Nayak
- Emmanuel’s School and Children’s Home, Chandel, Manipur State – Sister Thirumathi Roselle
From left to right above: Pastor Paul Sundar Raj; Pastor Victor Abraham and Pastor Paul Gantham; Pastor Balu Nayak; Sister Roselle; Pastor Paul Nilivan; Warden Nelson.
New Indian government regulations put in place in late September, effective immediately, froze existing FCRA (Foreign Currency) bank accounts and forbade holders from transferring foreign funds received to any other person or organisation. This is another step in the radical, Hindu nationalist government’s program to make life and ministry difficult for Christians and Christian organisations. This will make it very difficult, if not impossible, for YJM to continue to financially assist the above organisations or even the Fellowship of Blessed Hope Churches as they have done for many years. The Indian Home Affairs Department has subsequently advised that the existing accounts may be used until March 31, 2021 but the restrictions and rules in the latest act apply to funds coming into them. YJM will of course apply for a new account and will be looking carefully at how their activities can cope with the new rules. Please pray for Mission Manager Immanuel, and the officers of the International Missions Department at ACGC’s Charlotte office as they grapple with what will be a very difficult, ongoing situation
Pastor Paul Gantham, who with his son Pastor Victor Abraham leads the Advent Christian Church at Adda Road in Andhra Pradesh State, advises that following the lockdowns and other government restrictions caused by Covid-19 being eased, they have started holding services once again, and their members are slowly starting to attend once again.
Praise the Lord for the faithful ministry of these two brothers and pray that their large congregation may soon be together again.
He also advised that already he has had the joy of baptising one lady, and that another nine people are preparing to be baptised in the near future.
Please pray for these new members of our Christian family, seeking the Lord’s blessing for them as they make their public witness to their faith, and pray that they will grow in grace and in the knowledge of their Saviour.
On Wednesday 2 December, after more than three months of lockdowns and restrictions and the need to stay isolated as much as possible, the pastors of the Fellowship of Blessed Hope Churches and their wives and families, including the families from the churches in the south of Tamil Nadu, gathered together to hold their Annual General Body Meeting (Annual General Meeting) and for fellowship and encouragement. They met in a new Christian Centre near the Chennai port, and enjoyed a meal together, as well as a time of singing and worshipping the Lord. The pastors’ wives and the children and young people also contributed in song.
Because of the new FCRA (Foreign Currency) rules mentioned above it is very difficult to give to others outside the YJM, but programs such as this are permitted.
Unfortunately, the FBHC President, Pastor Jerald, was not able to attend the gathering as he was unwell. He still suffers from heart problems – please pray for him, asking the Lord that he may be completely and quickly healed.
THAILAND | Christian Mission Naratchakwai
Praise the Lord that since our last update, the attendances at Christian Mission's Sunday activities - morning service and Sunday school, a meal together and then English lessons in the afternoon for the children and young people - have continued, with new children and families often coming along. In late October they were able to give their regular, monthly gifts of subsistence food to two new families...
Through November there was communion for the adults and fun and games for the children…
…Pastor Boontaa faithfully taught from the Scriptures, there was always someone who was ready to stand and tell how the Lord had blessed them and the congregation enjoyed worshipping in song.
Ploy has just sent through the November update and prayer requests and the full, very interesting copy can be seen on our website at (link here to item sent to you on 3 Dec please)
Here are some of the matters included in it…
"The church is going very well. We are preparing for Christmas celebrations that will be held on Sunday 27 of December 2020. The children are so excited with their show.
There were two more families came to the service, one is still here but one has gone. Last month was a kid's birthday, his name is Tie. His family wanted to celebrate for him, they wanted to give a wonderful lunch and ice-cream to everyone in CMN and we were all happy with that."
"Boontaa's health is good but his wife and his daughter couldn't come to the church last week because they are sick. Bow can't sit for many hours as she will be in pain and develops sores. But her heart is always at the church every Sunday. She looks very happy when she is in the service and studying the Bible with the children. Boontaa's wife has poor health but she has to take care of her daughter and herself. Please pray for Boontaa to get enough rest and be strong."
"I had asked you to please pray for Maeo after she fell down twice in a month. She is fine now. But sometimes she gets easily tired and unwell. Last week she couldn't come to the service because she felt sick. Thank you God that she is getting better now.
Now about Maeo's brothers. As I had been written earlier about Maeo's brothers that Noi was very sick and Maeo let him stay at CMN. And Maeo has another brother named Moo. He came to stay with Noi to take care of him. Sadly, while Noi was getting better, Moo suddenly got sick on Saturday, he had a bad stomachache and passed away on Sunday night."
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 haven’t heard from Sister Ruth since our last update, but we do know that some of their Covid -19 restrictions have been eased, but they are still being very careful about gathering in large groups.
Please continue to pray for Sister Ruth, Brother Wilfred, their family and members of their small group of faithful, Advent Christian believers who have for some time 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
Two of Pastor Timothy’s church planters in his Advent Christian Church of Myanmar – Pastors Aung Thang and Pastor Kei Sum - are praising the Lord for answered prayer – thank you for praying.
Because of generous donors we were able to send sufficient funds to purchase much needed equipment to assist each of them in their ministries.
Pastor Aung Thang lives and ministers in an area which does not have electricity, and the provision of a solar power system – solar plates and inverter/battery – will be very helpful for their water pump, computer work, reading and studying for their children and the orphans they care for and for other activities in their church.
Pastor Kei Sum ministers in a very populous area of Yangon City. He has a home-based church congregation with 38 members at present and he and his members are seeking to further grow that group with personal evangelism including door to door visitation. Pastor Kei Sum covers a lot of distance in his visitation and had been praying that the Lord would provide an e-bicycle to assist him with his travel.”
Pastor Kenneth, leader of Gospel for Myanmar, wrote in our last update… “Since after Covid-19 we cannot have church worship service as well as no offerings and no tithes. Therefore, all our workers are very difficult for their daily food. They cannot have outside regular work. Please continue praying for us.”
He advised us just yesterday that lockdown (“stay-at-home” he called it) ends for them on Saturday 5 December and they hope to be able to gather to worship on Sunday 6th. Please pray that that will be the case for Pastor Kenneth and of course for the other three leaders of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar - Pastors Timothy, Joseph and David and their workers and church planters and families, including the large number of orphans and underprivileged children they care for between them.
The same kinds of pressures also apply of course to pastors and workers in all of “our” countries. Please pray regularly for them all and for their believers.
Pastor Kenneth also asks that we pray for the following matters…
- His whole family (including about 12 orphans) have had a fever for about a week – “not COVID, just a simple fever.” Please pray for quick and complete healing for them all.
- At the end of December he needs to pay the rent for their rented property for the whole year ahead. Please pray that they will be able to continue to rent the property.
He asks that we also thank the Lord that his wife Eunice’s health (gall stones) is improving with medication and that one of his orphan children, who became paralysed about a month ago, is improving, although he cannot walk properly yet. Please also pray that both of these folks’ health will continue to improve.
PHILIPPINES |Advent Christian Movement | Manila
Pastor Roy Rocha wrote just yesterday…
“THANK YOU 2020
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalms 136:1 NIV
2017-2020 these years were difficult for me and my family. It was trying times of our lives. Many different types of problems here and there: personal, family, ministry, financial and physical. I got sick and was hospitalized. There was a moment that I thought "I die", then my youngest son broke his right wrist, then there this constant experience of flooding, and then the effect of this COVID-19 paralyzed most of our ministry functions.
It brought us fears, worries, stress and the feeling of being useless for I cannot respond to the needs of ministry. The lockdown affects greatly on my family's needs and finances. Bills are filling up. It was all faith stretching times. It was TOUGH TIMES for ALL of US including my church family. But God who is as we know "a Miracle worker" even I don’t see He is working".
I realized there are so many reasons to THANK HIM - as song says, "10 thousand reasons".
So, before this year ends I would like to express my warmest and joyous THANKSGIVING to GOD.
I THANK GOD for my FAMILY.
I THANK GOD for my Wife.
I THANK GOD for my Kids.
I THANK GOD for ACMNZ board.
I THANK GOD for ERNIE.
I THANK GOD for GRANT.
I THANK GOD for Heather.
I THANK GOD for HEALING me.
I THANK GOD for food on our table daily.
I THANK GOD for OUR HOUSE that we can call our HOME.
I THANK GOD for OBC for preparing to ministry.
I THANK GOD for meeting our needs even our unspoken needs.
I THANK GOD for all my friends, personal and fb.
I THANK GOD for my FAMILY at NLCM.
I THANK GOD for ALL the PRAYERS whispered to us.
I STILL THANK GOD for 2020.
- Pray as we start to open this Sunday December 6, 2020 for the 1st time our congregational worships since March. 2. Pray for protection from COVID as my daughter commutes by bus every day.
- Pray for my son as he is having a casual work at Camp Fort Bonifacio as IT. He is on 3 months contract and he is requesting for prayer that he will have this work permanently.
- For our finances as the church still recovering.
- Llerma is praying for an electric sewing machine so she can enhance her skill in sewing, then do doormats for additional income.”
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.
My prayer is that you will enjoy a very special time of blessing as you celebrate the First Advent of our Saviour Jesus Christ with family and friends and that you will know the wonderful peace and power that comes with the presence of God as we wait through the New Year for Christ’s Second Coming.