Greetings to our friends, supporters, and prayer partners, and welcome to this second update for 2021. Once again, my thanks for your support and encouragement in many ways.
Thank you especially for praying – God continues to answer your prayers in wonderful ways, and although Covid-19, with its lockdowns and restrictions and effects on day-to-day living, continues to significantly affect their activities, the Advent Christian ministries we support in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India and the Philippines are continuing to do all they are able to do and are continuing to touch lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Covid-19 continues to have effects on most of the ministries that we support, in respect to their fellowship and meetings and other ministry activities and for the members of their congregations. In some of our countries the level of cases in the community remains high and government restrictions still prevent many members from working, and this causes severe economic hardship for families. This of course is reflected in offerings to the churches and many of our pastors and their families and the families of their members still face significant financial hardship.
Please thank the Lord for some reductions in restrictions and pressures but continue to pray that God’s people will know the peace of His presence and His provision for their needs.
INDIA | Yesuway Jeevan Mission
Covid-19 continues to have serious effects in India - on Wednesday 7 April, there were 103,793 new cases reported throughout the country. That is greatly increased from the figure of 11,649 we reported on 16 February and is obviously very worrying. For the entire country there have been 12.93 million cases registered, with 166,892 deaths reported since the beginning of the pandemic! That places them at fourth place in the world for deaths behind the USA, Brazil and Mexico. Some states of India are faring much worse than others.
Tamil Nadu State, where most of the Advent Christian churches are situated, still continues to be affected and new case numbers have increased considerably – the state’s statistics as of Wednesday 7 April were a total number of cases recorded as 911,110 with a total of 12,804 deaths. On 7 April 3,986 new cases were recorded in the state with 1,459 of that number in Chennai.
We need to continue to pray for India as the track of the graph of new Covid cases daily is rising dramatically and the numbers are frightening. The Tamil Nadu State government has extended a complete lockdown across the State until 30 April.
Mission Manager Immanuel advised on 31 March that he had been diagnosed with Covid-19 and was being admitted to hospital. We subsequently learned that his daughter-in-law, her mother and Immanuel’s young grandson had also tested positive but were isolating at home. On Saturday 3 April Immanuel’s son advised that he had spoken to his father and he was recovering – that he was able to eat and “all his organs are working”. He remains in ICU. Immanuel had been told that it will take considerable time to fully recover. Please thank the Lord for recovery thus far and pray for quick and complete recovery for Immanuel.
Please pray regularly for Yesuway Jeevan Mission’s ministry partners who continue to 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, continue to use available funds 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.
Efforts continue to try to open the mandated new foreign currency bank account at the designated government-controlled bank but that task is proving very frustrating and with the deadline of March 31st passed, no further overseas funds will now be able to be received by the Mission. Please continue to pray that an account may be able to be opened, and for wisdom and patience for all concerned with this very important matter - for Immanuel when he returns to work, and local professionals in the financial arena, and the officers of the International Missions Department at ACGC’s Charlotte office as they grapple with what will be the very difficult, ongoing situation of how they can continue to financially assist their ministry partners and the Fellowship of Blessed Hope Churches as they have done for many years.
We were able to send some funds to the Adda Road Advent Christian church in Andhra Pradesh State recently, and Pastor Paul Gantham who with his son Pastor Victor Abraham leads the church, wrote that on Friday 12 March…
…we held a Special Prayer Meeting at Calvary Healing Mountain (Every Month Second Friday). Total 500 members attended for this meeting. Love Feast (food) provided to all.
Please thank the Lord for the ministries of Pastors Paul Gantham and Victor Abraham and pray that their continuing efforts will bring many to faith in Jesus Christ.
We have just heard today that Pastor Paul Gantham had the joy of baptizing three of his congregation on Easter Sunday – praise the Lord for these new members of God’s great, worldwide family!!
We were also able, early in March, to send funds designated for the Advert Christian Conference of India’s outreach and St Xavier’s High School in Khagaria, Bihar State .
Team leader Rev Paul Sundar Raj wrote regarding the funds we sent to assist with the construction of their new school buildings…
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ,
Bihar’s (India – North, Khagaria) ministry and school’s services are blessed by the grace of God.
The school’s construction work is in progress. There are 9 class rooms and 2 washrooms (Girls + Boys) [in use]. In these rooms, students are attending their classes. They are preparing for their CBSE final Exams.
Still, 12 rooms are to be completed to complete the ground floor construction. The rest of the room’s construction should be complete before March end to conduct classes for the junior class students.
Kindly uphold us and our work in your valuable prayers.
M Paul Sundar Raj & Team
He sent these pictures of the present state of construction. There is a second floor of classrooms to be added.
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
Ploy wrote as follows in her March update…
“The church is getting bigger; more children are coming to the church. We have to protect ourselves from Covid-19, we have an infrared thermometer, some hand sanitizers and some masks for using in the church.
Please thank the Lord that their morning services continue to grow and pray that the care that they continue to take to keep their people safe from the Covid-19 virus will be sufficient.
Their ministries continue as normal – morning services, Sunday School for the children, English classes and happy times together on Sunday afternoons and reaching out to the needy, in the Name of Jesus Christ, with their SOUP OF LOVE.
Morning Service 14/03/2021
“Special time - A wonderful moment.”
There are always those who are willing to stand and tell their brothers and sisters in the Lord how God has blessed them in the past week!
They took the SOUP OF LOVE and food parcels for the needy to the people of their own village – Naratchakwai - this month
The leadership meeting of the Christ for All People Church Association was held on April 2, 2021 at the Kusumali Church. This was the Leadership Conference at which new Directors were chosen
You wouldn’t be able to read the contents of these documents even if they were larger – they are all in the Thai language! They tell us that Ploy and Parn, after five years of study, have graduated from Nakhon Phanom University with degrees in teaching English, with GPAs of 3.77 and 3.87 respectively.
Our congratulations to them and our sincere thanks for their wonderful service for the Lord at Christian Mission while they have studied.
Please pray that they will receive positions within the teaching profession and that they will be relatively close to Nakhon Phanom, which will allow them to continue their service for the Lord at Christian Mission.
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.
Please pray regularly for the ministry team at Christian Mission Naratchakwai, that the Lord will use their enthusiastic service for Him to bring many in their area to faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour. 22 million Isan people live in Northeast Thailand. The Isan region has the fewest missionaries in Thailand. Only four of every 1,000 Isan are Christians – the rest are Buddhists. They are an unreached people group, and Christian Mission and the other six churches of the Christ for All People Church Association are doing what they can, in the Lord’s strength, to reach out to them with the Gospel.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
We have not heard recently from Sister Ruth, but please continue to pray for her, Brother Wilfred, their family and the members of their small group of faithful, Advent Christian believers who because of Covid 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. They keep in touch with each other regularly in various ways. Christian ministry is not easy or without danger in Malaysia, but Ruth and Wilfred faithfully continue, where they can within the Covid regulations, their one-on-one ministries of friendship, practical assistance and counsel to friends,
MYANMAR | Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar
As you will probably be aware, in early February the army in Myanmar overthrew the democratically elected government after just two five-year terms and three elections, and the country is under martial law at present, with a statement from the army that they will hold democratic elections in a year. Recent news items indicate that there is still a strong military presence throughout the major cities, including the capital Naypyitaw, in Mandalay, and in Yangon where all the ministries of the ACCM are based.
The areas of Yangon City in which two of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar’s ministries are based are presently under strict martial law, and this is causing further stress and inconvenience for them. One of the ACCM leaders wrote this week that all regular ministry activities of his organization have come to a halt because of the military coup. He indicated that the military has killed hundreds and arrested thousands of others throughout the country who are protesting. Church members are without jobs and income, even as many banks remain closed, and the internet is mostly cut off. His final words: “We need your prayer and support. God bless you all.”
Food prices have already jumped by at least 10 percent since the military takeover. This is especially difficult in an economy already hit hard by the COVID pandemic. This will be a substantial burden for the four leader pastors of the conference, who between them are caring for 282 orphan and underprivileged children.
One of the ACCM leaders this week confirmed that they hear absolutely nothing about the COVID-19 virus or the effects it is having in the country. Most offices and banks are still closed, broadband and wireless data services have been suspended and this of course means that access to the internet is not possible most of the time.
Yesterday, 7 April, the Washington Post’s newsletter – Today’s World View - stated, under a headline of
"Myanmar teeters toward state collapse and civil war”
“At least 570 people, including more than 40 children, have been killed in two months of unrest. More than 2,720 politicians, activists and civil society figures have been detained by authorities. At least 25 journalists are in detention, while others covering protests have been brutalized by state forces. On Tuesday, police and soldiers in Yangon carted off Zarganar, the country’s most well-known comedian, in an army vehicle on unspecified charges. In the past week, authorities issued arrest warrants for at least 60 artists, writers, thespians and other cultural celebrities accused of spreading information that supposedly endangered national stability.”
One of the ACCM leaders wrote this week…
“This is my sincere and humble prayer request. It is for three of my co-workers. One is Pastor H T who is in T Town. The other two are Pastor K S and Pastor N A who are working with me in I Church. Since 2020 no work. No Church service. They are very difficult for their daily food. Some of our church members are also the same condition for their daily food. We need your prayer.”
But praise the Lord that he also wrote…
“Tomorrow we will have Bible training with some members. I prepared to teach them about Rapture and we are praying to be able to have Salvation Camp from 13 to 17 April at our Church. Please continue praying for Myanmar and all those plans. Thank you. “
Please pray for the country and its people, and especially for the Christians - Open Doors indicate that there are about 4.3 million Christians in the country, about 8% of the population. Pray especially for the leaders, families and members of the ACCM and the orphans and underprivileged children who they care for. Please pray for God’s miraculous intervention
PHILIPPINES |Advent Christian Movement | Manila
Pastor Roy Rocha wrote last week…
“Covid is getting worse. Cases each day rise to 10k+ so we are on lockdown.
It's just really sad for many folks are not obeying. They just play hide and seek from the authorities. Additional to this Covid thing [we] didn't have water supply for 3 days. Good thing that the water pipe line in the church was not affected so we were able to have water and share to others in the community. Many people waited for the firetrucks for water supply. But now water has been resumed since last night.
Then on Saturday 3/4 he wrote…
“Our fight against Covid seems not effective. Yesterday recorded cases was the highest of 15k+. Total lockdown is being recommended again. Many workers again will be affected. Just today, my daughter was told to look for 'service' or any private transport so she will not be on public transport to at least avoid meeting different people. Jojo cannot be home for the Army has its own lockdown since many were positive. Prayers are very much appreciated. Thank you!”
The same situation that Roy describes in regard to COVID appears to apply throughout the Philippines. Our contacts in Cagayan de Oro indicate that they are still under strict lock-down conditions and life is exceedingly difficult for many, with the general situation being “no work, no pay”. There has been a spike in new cases this week with 6,414 throughout the country on Thursday 8 April. Cases for the country at 8/4 total 828,366, with 14,119 deaths.
Please pray for the pastors and members of the churches of the Philippine Advent Christian Conference – most of them are facing significant financial hardship.
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. If you feel the Lord’s leading to help our brothers and sisters financially in any of our countries, please contact our treasurer – we can get funds to most places, albeit much more slowly than usual in some cases.
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.
In His love and service with you,