Greetings to our friends, supporters and prayer partners and welcome to the third update for 2022. My thanks for your continued prayers, support and encouragement 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 as the effects of Covid-19, with its lockdowns and restrictions and effects on ministries and day-to-day living and incomes, are reducing, 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 is still in the news. In India and Tamil Nadu State, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and the Philippines the published 7-day averages of new cases and deaths have reduced considerably since our last update in early April, but the figures in New Zealand have increased substantially since about mid-February – the 17 May 7-day average in NZ of new cases was 8,093 and death numbers 7-day average was 16, with our total deaths figure at 1,022 on 19 May.
Although the day-to-day restrictions and difficulties caused by Covid-19 have significantly diminished in most cases, the stresses that they brought, particularly financially, on churches, pastors and pastoras and their families and the member families, remain and probably will remain pressures of one kind or another for some time. Financial hardships will remain, particularly for those who had to borrow to keep food on the table and pay the electricity bills etc. - catch-up will take time and in some cases may never occur!
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 case numbers in India have increased somewhat recently – on 17 May the seven-day average of new cases was 2,373 (1,260 in April) but the seven-day average of deaths was down at 19 (55 in April). India remains at second place in the world behind the USA with total deaths numbering 524,000, 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 as new case numbers have also increased a little – with a seven-day average of 36 (29 in April) but a seven-day average of zero deaths (zero in April). We need to continue to pray for India and its people.
Please praise and thank the Lord that He is bringing much blessing to the Advent Christian Conference of India’s Outreach in Khagaria in the Bihar State. There are now 20 Advent Christian churches and 165 Prayer Cells in the Khagaria area. The congregations now total 3,000 members over those 20 churches. In 2021 85 new believers were baptized.
Please seek the Lord’s blessing on the 19 pastors: the 31 missionary teachers at St Xavier’s School and the one pastor presently in training, who make up the ministry team.
Pastor Denny Moses, who is responsible for communications for the team has sent pictures of some of the recent baptisms at the Advent Christian Church at Balabazar, Khagaria – 46 new believers were baptized!!
Please thank and praise the Lord for these 46 new brothers and sisters in the great, worldwide family of God, and pray that they may all grow in grace and in the knowledge of their Saviour Jesus Christ.
A new church building is under construction at Alauli; construction is about to start at Karvamor; plans are being prepared for a new building at Karanpur and roof work at Baliya is currently in process. They are looking to buy land at Amni for a church – please pray that they will be able to purchase land soon.
Please pray especially for wisdom and patience for Pastor Paul Sundar Raj, the leader of the Outreach Team and Director of St Xavier’s High School, as he grapples with many difficult decisions and much pressure, and for Pastor Denny Moses, (right picture) who has responsibility for communications.
Please praise the Lord that after nearly two years of restrictions and lockdown because of Covid 19, the St Xavier’s High School was able to re-open on 21 February!
The school is highly regarded by the parents of the one thousand six hundred children who currently attend the school and is a useful bridge into the community for the outreach team. The school is currently operating from rented premises, as has been the case since it was purchased.
Please pray regularly for School Director Pastor Paul Sundar and his team of 55 teaching staff and 15 non-teaching staff. Pray especially for the Principal Santha Kumar (left) and the School Manager Sadhu Sundar Singh (right). Their responsibilities are very great. Many of the teachers are from Advent Christian churches in Chennai and see their positions in the school as missionary teachers.
Progress continues to be made on the new building project for St Xavier’s High School. Fifteen classrooms have been completed, six are presently having final plastering work done and will be completed soon, and there are four more still to be built. Set-up for the science, mathematics and computer labs and a library is under way. All these must be completed before the new complex can be approved by the
government education authorities and the school operations transferred to the new premises.
Please continue to pray for this project – that funds will continue to be available so that the completion is not unduly delayed. Pray too for safety for all those involved with the construction now that they are working on the upper level.
“…six classrooms are presently having final plastering work done and will be completed soon.
This will be the main entrance to the new St Xavier’s High School complex.
One of Yesuway Jeevan Mission’s ministry partners – Emmanuel’s School and Children’s Home in Chandel in Manipur State - needs our prayers.
The school had approximately 450 students in classes ranging from Lower Kindergarten to Standard 10, taught by 18 teachers and the home had approximately 30 full-time residents. As well as getting a good education, all the children were taught daily about the love of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for them.
The school was closed for a considerable time because of Covid-19 and so that the buildings and infrastructure could be upgraded.
The school has not been able to re-open because the buildings and infrastructure have to be replaced – two classrooms have been built but eleven more are needed to allow the school to cater for kindergarten to grade 10. All the students are waiting to come back to school and the 15 teaching staff and 3 non-teaching staff are on hand. The cost to rebuild is around 5 million rupees (NZ$105,000 approx.) and those funds are not available at present. This is of course a very large sum – but our God is a God of miracles!
Please pray for the owners - Sister Roselle and her brother Monsang – as they consider and seek God’s will for the future of the school and the home which houses about 30 needy children. Ask the Lord to give them wisdom and provision so that the school may continue its ministry.
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
On Tuesday 17 May Thailand reported a seven-day average of 6,199 new cases of Covid (25,139 in April) and a seven-day average of deaths at 49 (94 in April). There have been 29,595 deaths since the pandemic began.
After having been closed for some weeks because of Covid, Christian Mission’s morning service recommenced on Sunday 10 April but only for adults and the members of the Leadership Team 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. The meeting on Sunday 15 May was only a small group (picture below) but with sweet fellowship.
Please continue to pray for the leadership team at Christian Mission - there have been some changes of personnel recently - they are doing a very good job of ensuring succession within the team. We still don’t have a picture of the entire new team but hope to have one for the next update. The picture below is seven of the now nine members of the team, taken on Sunday 15 May. Ploy was not able to be present on that day, as she needed to be at her school, and one of the new members of the team, Guitar 2, was unwell.
Left to right: Pea, Gung Ging, Guitar, Annie, Job, Lita, Parn.
Please pray for them, and pray also for Maeo, Pastor Boontaa and his family, Dtee the Mission’s driver and one of the musicians, Noi the other musician, and of course Ploy.
Please pray regularly for Ploy and Parn as their new teaching positions are not close to their home in Ban Khampok. Parn will commute daily 16 kilometers each way from home to Ban Coke Cong and back by motorcycle, and Ploy’s school at Ban Thajumpah is 65 kilometers away so she will travel there by motorcycle at the beginning of the week and stay at a nearby village during the week and return to Ban Khampok on Friday evening. Please pray for safety for them both as they travel.
Thank the Lord for the time and effort this group puts into planning and supervising every aspect of the ministry, including the English lessons. Ask the Lord to help the girls and Pea balance their service for Him with their studies at High School and University, as these get underway once again.
Please thank the Lord that the Yoon family – Russell and Pohn and daughter Anda - are now fully prepared, in that they all now have United States citizenship, which will make it easy for them to re-enter the United States when they return for furloughs etc. Pray for the further, necessary arrangements that now need to be made to enable them to move to Ban Naratchakwai to live and become involved in the ministry.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
On Tuesday 17 May Malaysia reported a seven-day average of 2,505 new cases (14,438 in April) and a seven-day average of deaths at 5 (36 in April). There have been 35,623 deaths since the pandemic began.
In her most 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, their family 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 17 May, as having a seven-day average of 15 new cases (67 in April) with a seven-day average of zero (zero in April) deaths. It shows 19,434 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, (Full names withheld for security – the Lord knows them all well!) the president of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar and the leader of Gospel for Myanmar has had cause to thank the Lord as his church and one of its church outreaches had the joy of witnessing new converts coming to faith in Jesus Christ and being willing to publicly acknowledge their new-found faith in the waters of baptism.
At their home church in Yangon, Pastor K conducted a “Salvation Camp” from 11 to 17 April…
On Easter Sunday morning he had the joy of baptising two of those who attended who had accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Please pray for these two young brothers as they begin their walk with Jesus as Saviour and Lord, asking that they may grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him
In April he also sent pictures from their outreach church in O village, which is about two hours bus ride away from Yangon City in the Yangon Division. Pastor H T, the pastor of that church had had the joy of baptising six young people from his congregation – please pray for Pastor H T and the members of his group. Please pray for these young people too, asking that they may grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ their Saviour.
Pastor T, leader of the Advent Christian Church of Myanmar, wrote to tell us that his wife, H, had had the Omicron Covid virus in late March and was unwell as they celebrated her birthday.
He also wrote …
“March is wonderful month for my family. 7 children were born in March so we celebrated their birthdays some days ago. So including H, 8 persons’ birthday in March.”
The seven children he refers to are seven of the thirty orphan children that he and his wife care for at their home.
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 continue to increase substantially.
Life is becoming more and more difficult for them all as it seems the infrastructure of the country is deteriorating under military rule. Pastor T recently wrote…“My family is cooking food by wood because military coup cannot supply electricity well. We are getting it only a few hours a day and it also not normal. I am praying for gas system soon. “
Pastor K wrote…“Therefore, everything becoming higher priced. Even eggs, one thousand kyat can buy 10 eggs before military coup. But now one thousand kyat can buy only four eggs in our area.”
(1,000 Myanmar kyats are worth about 85 cents in New Zealand currency or 54 US cents, but the point is of course that the price has increased by 250%!)
Pastor K also advised that they have been unable to re-open their children’s clothing manufacturing business, which had been, before Covid, a significant source of funds for their ministries. He wrote… “Clothes also cannot do anymore. We cannot get the material after military coup.”
Please pray for God’s miraculous intervention in the situation the country is in with the army in control.
PHILIPPINES |Advent Christian Movement | Manila
On 17 May the Philippines had a seven-day average of 151 new cases (315 in April) and a seven-day average of zero deaths (5 in April). They have had a total of 69,452 deaths since the pandemic began. There is now no national lockdown in the Philippines.
In our last update, Pastor Roy Rocha who leads New Life in Christ ministry in Novaliches, Manila asked us to pray for a camp they were planning for their young people over the Easter weekend.
He wrote at the time… “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). “
Following the camp he wrote …
“Thank you for all your prayers! God is really God!
Even though there was a great need in order to push through our camp, the Lord provided all we need. Members of our church shared kilos of rice, trays of eggs, noodles, cans of corned beef, hotdogs...
I am continually amazed by God's amazing move. Truly, God answers prayers.
We had a total of 46 campers. Most of the young people renewed their commitment to the Lord. 2 LGBT underwent counseling which is tough, others prayed to receive Christ and underwent special class session.
The weather was good during daytime, but night-time heavy pour-out of rain that affects our bonfire which was the highlight to end our camp. It all went well; all are safe and healthy.
Following Sunday in our church was the awarding for team efforts, and individual awards like best campers, best in memory verse.
Thank you all for praying with us! To God be all the glory!”
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 are still under some pressures from Covid 19. As you pray for the leaders, please also pray for the members of the churches – recovery to what was “normal” before Covid, especially financially, could take a long time.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org - we can get funds to all our countries now, albeit a little more slowly than usual in some cases. Details of our bank account are on our website -www.acmissionz.org.nz.
In His love and service with you,