Greetings to our friends, supporters and prayer partners and welcome to the second update for 2022. My thanks for your continued prayers, support and encouragement in so many ways, for those who serve the Lord under the Advent Christian banner in Asia - in India, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand.
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 affect and hinder their activities, those we support are continuing to do all they are able to do in ministry and are continuing to touch lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sadly, in all “our” countries, and in New Zealand, Covid-19 continues to be very much in the news. In India and Tamil Nadu State, Myanmar, Malaysia, and the Philippines the published 7-day averages of new cases and deaths have reduced considerably since our last update in February, but the new cases figures and death numbers in Thailand and New Zealand have increased substantially since about mid-February.
However, restrictions and difficulties caused by Covid-19, still affect many of the ministries that we support, in respect to their fellowship and meetings and other ministry activities and their financial situations, and the lives of the members of their congregations also of course. Restrictions still prevent some members from working or working full-time, and this continues to cause economic hardship for families, and 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. We need to continue to pray please 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.
INDIA | Yesuway Jeevan Mission
Covid-19 numbers in India have reduced dramatically – on 5 April the seven-day average of new cases was 1,260 (20,496 in February) and the seven-day average of deaths was 55 (393 in February). They remain at second place in the world behind the USA with total deaths numbering 521,487, which is a little over half the number of deaths in the United States. There are continuing news reports quoting experts who claim that the official statistics for India probably significantly understate the actual figures.
Tamil Nadu State, where most of the Advent Christian churches are situated, continues to be affected but new case numbers have also decreased considerably – with a seven-day average of 29 (1,117 in February) and a seven-day average of zero deaths (6 in February).
We need to continue to pray for India and its people.
Please continue to pray for Mission Manager Dr. Ehzil Christadoss, asking the Lord to give him great wisdom and patience in his leadership of YJM. He and the Mission’s auditor are working at present to try to understand and adjust to the new government regulations concerning the use of funds received from outside the country. The nationalistic, anti-Christian central government has deliberately made the process complex and difficult. Pray especially that he will rely on God’s guidance.
Pray too for the Guindy staff (pictured) and their families who live on the compound at Guindy.
Left to right; Danny, Joseph (both handymen/gardeners), Dr Ehzil Christadoss (seated - Mission Manager), Deveraj (office assistant), Rajan (driver).
One of YJM’s ministry partners, the Adda Road Advent Christian Church in Andhra Pradesh, led by Pastor Paul Gantham (left) and his son Pastor Victor Abraham (right), continues to minister to its substantial congregation which meets at their home base at Adda Road, and to reach out to small groups of believers in villages in the areas around the church.
In mid-March, they conducted their evening, prayer cell meeting at Balaventkatapuram, a small village/hamlet which has a population of about 350 people, in their Ananpatur District.
Pastor Paul Gantham wrote… “People were blessed and enriched with the Word of God.”
With Covid restrictions eased or abolished, they have recommenced their fellowship and healing meetings on the hill in the nearby Kanagiri area which they refer to as Calvary Healing Mountain. After the meetings they provide a meal for those attending and many come, some from long distances, from villages in the area around the hill area.
Please pray regularly for Pastors Paul Gantham and Victor Abraham, their families, and their team of helpers, as they bring the Gospel to their people.
In September last year Rev P. Lawrence, a Fellowship of Blessed Hope pastor, who lives at Mannivakkam, and who had had an itinerant ministry in the Kanchipuram District of Chennai and further to the north on the border with Andhra Pradesh State, found that Covid restrictions meant that that ministry needed to be suspended. Together with a fellow pastor friend he set up the PET Center – Pastors Equipping Training Center - to give some of the local pastors in the rural areas that he had been ministering in, most of whom had had no formal theological training because they had been unable to afford it, some tuition and foundational education in theology and other basic Biblical perspective subjects. They used material from their own B Div. studies as a basis for their teaching.
He recently wrote…
“The PET Center Bible course was successfully completed with prayer in the month of March.
We taught eight subjects in the seven-month duration. Twelve pastors were trained but unfortunately one pastor named Jaipaul died by heart attack in the last month. Therefore, we didn't arrange a graduation.”
Please thank the Lord for the efforts of these two pastors and ask Him to bless the ministries of the eleven pastors who received the tuition, asking that the Lord will bless them with much fruit for their labours.
ACGC’s International Missions Department was recently able to send some funds to YJM for the purchase of Bibles in the Telegu language, and these were shared between the Adda Road ministry in Andhra Pradesh State and Pastor Balu Nayak’s Balunayak Banjara Tribal Ministries in Telangana State. Pastor Balu Nayak received fifty Bibles and his members were overjoyed to receive a Bible in their own language. He wrote…
“Yesterday I distributed Bibles specially for poor tribes and needy believers. They so happy… Thank you very much for your kind and valuable Bible’s support for our Tribes [Banjara] poor and needy people.”
Pastor Balu Nayak recently sent pictures of an evening Gospel meeting that he held in a small tribal village - Lingya Thanda - in the Warangal District of their state.
Please pray that as the message of salvation in Jesus Christ is preached at this and similar meetings, hearts will be touched by the Holy Spirit, and some, perhaps many, may come to accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.
Pastor Balu Nayak is himself a member of the Banjara people – who are classified as an “unreached people” with the Gospel. There are 6.1 million Banjara people in India, and only four of every thousand are Christians. Pray that the Lord will bless Brother Balu Nayak’s ministry among his own people and will bring many to faith in Jesus Christ.
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
On Tuesday 5 April Thailand reported a seven-day average of 22,398 new cases of Covid (18,819 in February) and a seven-day average of deaths at 80 (31 in February). There have been 25,603 deaths since the pandemic began.
Thank you for praying over recent months for Ploy and Parn, senior members of the Leadership Team at Christian Mission. God has answered our prayers in wonderful ways – please thank Him for those answers!
The final stage of the selection of teachers was an interview on Saturday 12 March – both Ploy and Parn were among the 22 teachers of English who were chosen for Nakhon Phanom! They reported for duty on Monday 28 March – and to choose the school at which they will be teaching for the next four years approximately. They are now government teachers!
“Thank you God. Thank you everyone who were praying for us. ”
We have been praying that they would be allocated to schools which were not too far away, so that they could continue their ministry at Christian Mission – God has answered that prayer too – please thank and praise Him!
Ploy is teaching at a school in the village of Ban Thajumpah, which is 65 kms to the north of Nakhon Phanom and like Nakhon Phanom, is on the western banks of the Mekong River. She has arranged accommodation, together with another lady teacher, at a village 5 km from Ban Thajumpah, which is called Ban Khampok, which is the same name as her home village! She will stay there for Mondays to Fridays and will come home on Friday afternoons/evenings on her motorcycle and will be able to continue her service for the Lord at Christian Mission during the weekends.
Parn is teaching at a school in the village of Ban Coke Cong, which is 16 kms from her home village of Ban Khampok, and she will be able to commute each day from her home in Ban Khampok by motorcycle.
After having been closed for some weeks because of Covid, Christian Mission’s morning service will recommence on Sunday (10 April) but only for adults at this stage. Ploy advised that parents are still wary of sending their children where there are gatherings of people, but when the Covid levels allow, they will re-advertise their activities including English lessons, and are confident that the children will return.
Please continue to pray for Maeo, whose health, although improved, is still a matter of concern – she needs to be very careful in regard to her diet.
Please pray also for Lita, one of the members of the leadership team, who recently contracted Covid – she is recovering well but please pray for quick and complete healing. She recently graduated from Nakhon Phanom University with a degree in English for Business and is now looking for a job. She is considering applying for work in Korea – she wrote…
“I want to apply to work in Korea but it depends on God's plan. Please pray for my future after graduating. Ask God to give me an answer as to what I need to do next. ”
Please continue to pray for the leadership team at Christian Mission - there have been some changes of personnel recently. We don’t have a picture of the new team yet but hope to have one for the next update.
The young lady named Kaopun has left the team and has been replaced by another young lady whose name is Guitar, so there will now be two Guitars! A young man has also been added, named Pea.
Until we can show you a picture, please pray for Maeo, Pastor Boontaa, Ploy, Parn, Lita, Job, Guitar, Gungging, Guitar II and Pea, and Dtee who is the mission driver.
Thank the Lord for the time and effort this group 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 for most of the year schools and the university have been closed while the church has been closed.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
On Tuesday 5 April Malaysia reported a seven-day average of 14,438 new cases (27,182 in February) and a seven-day average of deaths at 36 (36 in February). There have been 35,160 deaths since the pandemic began.
In recent correspondence, Sister Ruth Devairakkam wrote as follows…
“As for us over here, we still do not meet together for worship services on Sundays at my home, but we meet for prayer as a small group, at one of the member’s homes, once a month.
Most of the members are working outstation, and they are back once a month. Whenever they are available, they will call us and we arrange for a prayer meeting. We strictly follow S.O.P. (Social distancing and wearing the mask). We don't stay too long. Some of them request for prayer over the phone, when they are unable to join us for the prayer meeting.
We praise and thank the Lord as all our members are safe during this global pandemic. Pray that God's protection will be there for all of us always. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers”
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
Information on an international organisation’s (Worldometer) website shows Myanmar, on 22 February, as having a seven-day average of 101 new cases (3,443 in February) with a seven-day average of zero (4 in February) deaths. It shows 19,423 deaths since the pandemic began, but there are virtually no detailed statistics shown for the period from mid-February 2021, when the army took control of the country, until mid-June 2021. It is therefore fairly likely that this deaths figure is not accurate.
Pastor K, who is presently President of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar, has recently written to ask us to rejoice with him and his family and his co-workers, as a graduation ceremony was held on 5 March for three graduands of Gospel for Myanmar’s Bible College - Salem Theological School – who had successfully completed the Bachelor of Ministry course. Please pray for these three young men, as they now go to various parts of the country, as God has called them, to share the Gospel with their fellow citizens. Pray especially that the Lord will meet their daily, practical needs, that He will keep them safe and give them great joy in service for Him.
This graduation ceremony was a particular blessing for Pastor K and his wife E, as one of the graduates was a young man who is, as he wrote, “one of our children” – one of the orphan children who he and his family have cared for and raised since soon after Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy Delta in the south of Myanmar in May 2008.
Later in the month, Pastor K wrote as follows…
“Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you are doing well. We the ACCM and we the Gospel for Myanmar Mission also doing well.
This is our prayer request for our Church. Since March the whole country facing difficulty concerning about electricity. Now our electricity is rotation system. This morning our Sunday morning worship service also doing without electricity. Therefore, please remember us in your prayers. We really need to be able to have generator for our worship service. Thank you very much for your love and prayers.”
Because of a generous gift from a supporter, we were recently able to send funds to Pastor D, to purchase two laptop computers to replace two which were “very old and not good working most of the time” for the staff of his organisation’s Bible college – Myanmar Bible College. He wrote…
“Thank you so much for your praying and helping for ministry.
Today we purchased 2 laptop computers for our Bible College.
Praise the Lord and thank you brother. We thank God for his faithfulness and answer our prayer.
All of our staffs are happy for that. Send our thank words to donors.
Continue praying for our ministry here in Myanmar.”
Please pray regularly 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 the leaders’ families and members of the ACCM churches and the 304 orphans and underprivileged children who they presently care for, in particular asking that they can continue to provide sufficient food for the children – prices for food have been and continue to increase substantially.
Please pray for God’s miraculous intervention in the situation the country is in with the army in control.
On 5 April the Philippines had a seven-day average of 338 new cases (1,587 in February) and a seven-day average of 5 deaths (108 in February). They have had a total of 59,370 deaths since the pandemic began. There is now no national lockdown in the Philippines although there continues to be lockdowns of varying severity in some cities, towns and provinces.
Pastor Roy Rocha who leads New Life in Christ ministry in Novaliches, Manila recently sent the following report…
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for all your prayers and support. Thank you for standing with us especially during difficult moments of my life, family, and ministry.
Life here in Manila is almost normal except the use of facemasks, and vaccine cards are checked to enter restaurants and other establishments. All of our adult members are vaccinated and 5 to 16 years old are ongoing vaccination. Kinder students are back to face to classes as well as some grade levels in elementary are back.
Since level 1 was announced middle of February, we open our church to all members for worship. Midweek prayer meeting is back and dawn watch prayer every Saturday is being held.
Our major activity in which we are busy preparing and praying is the upcoming youth camp this April 14 -16, 2022. This is to stir up and ignite the cold hearts of our youth due to the 2 years of inactivity. Our theme is REST-BACK (Rest, Restore, Revive).
Our PRAYER REQUESTS
- Good health for my family and church members.
- Safety for the campers
- Good weather during the camp
- That God will stir and ignite the youth and salvation for the unbelievers who are attending.
- We will be able to raise the amount needed. Php. 70,000 pesos needs to be raised for 40-50 young people including staff. As of now we are able to raise Php. 32,000 pesos. We are praying for 38,000 pesos more.
Again, thank you very much for ALL the prayers and support!”
1st worship service when level 1 was announced
2nd service level 1. Many came and in full capacity. People are thirsty for worship.
Midweek prayer meeting
Dawn Watch prayer meeting
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 for the leaders, please also pray for the members of the churches - under lock-down conditions life is difficult for everyone, especially financially, with the general situation in Asia being “no work, no pay”.
Please continue to pray for the leaders and members of all 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.
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 – email@example.com - we can get funds to all our countries now, albeit a little more slowly than usual in some cases.
In His love and service with you,