Greetings to our friends, supporters, and prayer partners, and welcome to this fifth 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 ministries and day-to-day living and incomes, 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 in ministry and are continuing to touch lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sadly, Covid-19 continues to have significant 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 also of course. Unfortunately, with the exception of India where new cases on 2 August were only about 8% of the new cases on 8 May, there has been a significant resurgence of cases of the virus, mainly the Delta variant, in all our countries. In most of our countries the level of cases in the community remains high and government restrictions, some of which include nationwide or local lockdowns and the associated banning of gathering in large groups, still prevent many members from working, and this continues to cause 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 continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ – those who are part of AC ministries and in fact all who honour and serve our Lord in sincerity and truth.
In India, there has been the death from Covid of a child in the care of one of YJM’s ministry partners; in Myanmar, 22 of the 97 orphan children cared for by one of the AC Conference leaders recently tested positive for Covid, and because the rainy season has set in there, there are also many cases of seasonal flu to contend with; in the Philippines, news items show pictures of ambulances lining up outside hospital Emergency Departments which are full and have been for many days – see picture at right.
INDIA | Yesuway Jeevan Mission
Covid-19 continues to have serious effects in India – new cases reported on 2 August numbered 30,549 with 422 deaths that day. That new cases figure is only about 8% of the new cases on Saturday 8 May but is obviously still very concerning. For the entire country there have been 31.7 million cases registered, with 425,000 deaths reported since the beginning of the pandemic. That places them at second place in the world for deaths behind the USA. 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 seriously affected but new case numbers have decreased considerably – the state’s statistics as of Monday 2 August were a total number of cases recorded since the pandemic began as 2.563 million with a total of 34,159 deaths. On 2 August 1,908 new cases were recorded in the state. The Tamil Nadu State government’s lockdown across the State has been lifted. There are still news reports quoting experts who claim that the official statistics for India are probably significantly understating the actual figures.
We need to continue to pray for India as the track of the graph of new Covid cases daily, although much reduced, is still high.
Please pray for Mission Manager Dr. Ehzil Christadoss, asking the Lord to give him great wisdom and patience as he has taken over the responsibility for the leadership of YJM under very difficult circumstances.
Thank the Lord that he was able to locate all the documents required for an application for a new FCRA - foreign currency - bank account, as mandated by the Indian government, which will enable the mission to receive funds from overseas sources. On 30 June, the last day for applications, the manager at the local branch of the government bank accepted the application, signed all the papers and sent them to the New Delhi branch for processing. No word has yet been received that the account has been opened – please continue to pray that this will be received soon.
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. The effects of the Covid virus and particularly the lockdowns are making normal activities and ministry very difficult. Some of them, realising the extra needs that the Covid pandemic has brought to members of 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. Particularly remember the staff and children and young people at the Shelter Trust, where one child recently died from Covid.
Pastor Denny Moses has sent further pictures and information giving progress on the building project of the new school complex for St Xavier’s School in Khagaria, Bihar State. The project is progressing well - 15 classrooms have been completed… picture below.
In a recent letter from Brother Paul Sundar Raj, leader of the Bihar team, he wrote as follows concerning the near and more distant future of the school…
“We are to apply for CBSC board affiliation. In this emergency we have to fill the needs of building cum infrastructure to get NOC from Bihar government. As per the government’s requirement we could built only 15 classrooms, still we have to build at least 10 classrooms more along with science lab, maths lab, computer lab and library. There are 60 classrooms to be built in the proposed whole school building.”
(CBSC Board is Central Board of Secondary Education; NOC is No Objection Certificate)
He also sent an artist’s impression picture of what the ultimate, finished building, which will contain 60 classrooms, will look like.
As Brother Paul Sundar Raj wrote, to obtain the NOC for the new buildings to be used, they still need to build at least another 10 classrooms, along with a science lab, maths lab, computer lab and library. The cost of these will be 59 lakhs rupees. A lakh is 100,000 rupees, so the total funds required to obtain the NOC is 5.9 million rupees – at today’s exchange rate that is approximately NZ$116,000. His letter continued…
“We pray to God for he is the only source of our ministry. We asked you to pray for our needs and you were praying and supporting in the beginning of the school construction. Because of your prayers now 15 rooms have been completed. Again we look unto God for the further work completion who is so generous to his children. Kindly uphold us in your valuable prayers. We hope that God will make a way according to his will.”
Please join Brother Paul Sundar Raj as he and his team pray that the Lord will provide what is needed for the project to continue. The Lord has already graciously provided the 5.25 million rupees (NZ$103,000 approx) that allowed them to build the first 15 classrooms and Brother Paul is convinced that “God will make a way.” St Xavier’s High School is a truly valuable “bridge into the community” in Khagaria and has been the means of bringing significant standing and support to the outreach ministry of the organisation and its 15 growing churches in the Khagaria area.
Pastor Victor Abraham, at Adda Road Advent Christian Church in Andhra Pradesh State, has sent a report about the recent ministry of his church and its members. He wrote…
”This Sunday Feeding the poor was held by Addaroad Advent Christian Church through JESUWAY JEEVAN MISSION, by Dr. E.Christadoss Ayya ( Mission Manager) Chennai.
Digging borewell prayer by Pastor Paul Gandham on last week, R.Sudhakar from village called Krishnapuram, from our AC Church to his village distance was 25 kilometers. He dug two borewell holes, no water was found. On last Sunday, he came to our church and requested prayer. After the day, Monday we went and prayed in favoured place by faith. Miraculously God heard our prayers and within 140 feet, water overflows in his agriculture land for cultivation. All glory be to God alone.
We distributed few bed sheets to needy poor and old aged widows of our church members
We have visited some rural tribal remote village areas and conducted prayers
Six new members were baptized.”
And he sent pictures of the baptisms of those six members.
Please thank the Lord for these activities and pray that hearts and lives may continue to be touched by their sharing of the Gospel in their area. Pray for the six new members of the great, worldwide church of God, asking that they may grow in grace and the knowledge of their Lord and Saviour.
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
On Tuesday 2 August Thailand had 17,970 (4,059 on 22/6) new cases of Covid-19 and 178 deaths (35 on 22/6) and have had a total of 652,000 cases (225,000 as of 22/6) and 5,315 deaths (1,693 as of 22/6) since the pandemic began. Their figures have risen very sharply since our last update on 22 June.
In our June Update, Ploy indicated that the church was to have their re-opening meeting on Sunday 20 June, after a lockdown from early May.
The CMN Facebook page said…
“The first Sunday of worshiping after lockdown for a few months. Thank you God that we have met each other again. During the lock down we met and prayed online.”
Sadly, that was the only service before a further lockdown began, and there have been no services or activities at the church since.
On 2 July Ploy wrote… “Covid-19 situation is getting worse here. The churches and schools have to be closed one more month. Please pray for us. We are praying online every Sunday.”
On 22 June CMN put up on their Facebook page videos of their leadership group singing two hymns, in their lovely, sweet tones, accompanied by music from Maeo’s two brothers. Instead of reading news about their activities, please take time to use the following link to listen to the group singing “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow” in their language, and sing along with them!
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, although at the moment schools and the university are closed.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
The National State of Emergency that Malaysia had been under since January, ended on 1 August and was not renewed. The country has been subject to various Movement Control Orders (MCOs) throughout that period. On Monday 2 August they recorded 15,764 new cases and 379 deaths – so there has been a substantial increase since the last time we reported for 22 June (4,743 new cases and 77 deaths). Since the pandemic began, they have had 1.15 million cases with 9,493 deaths - a significant increase on the figures of 706,000 and 4,554 on 22 June!
Because of the pandemic, Sister Ruth, Brother Wilfred, their family and the members of their small group of faithful, Advent Christian believers still cannot gather together weekly on Sundays for worship in Ruth and Wilfred’s home or in members’ homes for Bible study and communion during the week. They keep in touch with each other regularly in various ways.
We were recently able to send some funds to them, and Sister Ruth advised that they had been used “for transport for our ministry trips and also for contributing food and clothing for the needy during this global pandemic.”
Please continue to pray for Sister Ruth and Brother Wilfred and the members of their group as they faithfully continue, as much as they can within the Covid regulations, their one-on-one ministries of friendship, practical assistance and counsel to friends, neighbours and other contacts.
MYANMAR | Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar
A recent statement from a group of 16 international aid agencies, including World Vision and Save the Children, included the following…
“Six months since the military’s seizure of power, aid agencies are warning of a spiralling humanitarian catastrophe in Myanmar triggered by skyrocketing Covid-19 cases and widespread violence in the country. Over 60 per cent of reported deaths from Covid-19 in Myanmar have occurred in the past month alone, with the number of confirmed cases doubling in the last two months.
While the country is still reeling from the shockwaves of the military takeover, communities in Kayah State and the eastern Bago region – which have witnessed mass displacement in recent months – must now contend with hundreds of Covid-19 cases a day. Healthcare facilities from Kachin to Mandalay to Yangon remain shuttered as healthcare workers face violence and threats. More than 400 doctors and 180 nurses have been given arrest warrants since the military takeover in February 2021.
“The communities we work with are desperate and dying. A third wave of Covid-19 is crashing down on Myanmar, unleashing yet another trauma for its people. The population needs safe and fair access to humanitarian aid and healthcare now,” said Laura Marshall, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Myanmar.”
Information on an international organisation’s (Worldometer) website shows Myanmar, on 2 August, as having had a total of 311,067 cases (149,927 on 23 June) with 10,373 deaths (3,269 on 23 June), but there are virtually no detailed statistics for the period from mid-February, when the army took control of the country, until mid-June. It is therefore likely that these figures are not accurate but they have sharply increased since June.
ACCM leaders advise that many offices and some banks are now open but broadband and wireless data services are often suspended and this of course means that access to the internet is not possible for them at all times.
One leader recently wrote…
“Myanmar situation is very worse concerning covid-19
Everyday many people have died. Some of our friends near by us also die. Please remember us in your prayer time as you did before. Only God can save us from this pandemic.”
He also indicated that he was very concerned that because his church was not meeting for church services, there was no income from offerings, and they were unable to pay six months’ rent on the property they occupy which was due at the end of June. Please pray for Pastor K and his organisation in this situation.
Please pray for the four leaders of the ACCM - Pastors T, K, J and D and for their 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 their families and members of the ACCM and the 304 orphans and underprivileged children who they presently care for, in particular asking that they are able to provide sufficient food for the children. Please pray for God’s miraculous intervention in the situation the country is in with the army in control.
PHILIPPINES |Advent Christian Movement | Manila
To 2 August the Philippines has had 1.61 million cases of Covid since the beginning of the pandemic (1.37 million on 22 June) with 28,093 deaths (23,928 on 22 June). There is no national lockdown in the Philippines although there continues to be lockdowns of varying severity in many cities, towns and provinces.
Pastor Roy Rocha in Manila recently wrote…
“Entire metro Manila will be subject to LOCKDOWN again for the 3rd time due to the increase of infected with COVID 19 - Delta Variant. Mass gathering (includes worship services) already took effect last Sunday, August 2. So we did had ONLINE/fb Live again. The lockdown or what is commonly called ECQ which is ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTINE will officially start August 6, till August 20. Hoping it will not be extended. It will rough time for all of us these coming days. Please include us in prayers.”
Brother Roy also asks us to pray for his wife Llerma who is very unwell and needs surgery for serious, life-threatening, gynaecological problems. Treatment has been delayed for over a year because of Covid lockdowns in their city, and as hospitals have been and still are, full of Covid sufferers and the only treatment available is in very expensive private hospitals. Please pray that the Lord will lead and provide in this situation.
Cagayan de Oro is also under the most serious government classification – Enhanced Community Quarantine - and there are very strict restrictions on movement and gatherings in force, with police and military personnel strictly controlling the movement of the people. Please pray especially for the Pastors who are in Cagayan de Oro and Claveria areas, who are in great need of food at the moment as quarantine continues and their churches are not meeting and there are no offerings.
Please pray for the Pastors and Pastoras of the Philippines Advent Christian Conference, and Christian workers throughout the Philippines and in fact in all “our” countries, who under significant pressures from Covid 19. As you pray please also pray for the members of the churches - under strict lock-down conditions life is exceedingly difficult for everyone, especially financially, with the general situation being “no work, no pay”.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org - we can get funds to most places, except India at this time, albeit much more slowly than usual in some cases.
In His love and service with you,