Greetings to our friends, supporters and prayer partners and welcome to the fourth 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 Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia the published 7-day averages of new cases and deaths have reduced somewhat since our last update in mid-May, but the new-cases figures in New Zealand, India, Tamil Nadu and the Philippines have increased since May, but the 7-day average number of deaths has reduced in all countries except the Philippines – the 27 June 7-day average in NZ of new-cases was 5,576 (8,093 in mid-May) and death numbers 7-day average was 12 (16 in May), with our total deaths figure at 1,437 on 27 June.
Although the day-to-day restrictions and difficulties caused by Covid-19 have significantly diminished in many cases, and ministries are getting back to what is perhaps a new “normal”, the stresses that the pandemic 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!
A pastor in the Philippines recently wrote… “Please continue to pray for our Pastors…as they continue to struggle with finances and food because of the covid crisis. We just had a meeting last week and It is really my utmost prayer and desire to help in small ways I know possible.”
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 27 June the seven-day average of new cases was 14,206 (2,373 in May) and the seven-day average of deaths was slightly higher at 22 (19 in May). India remains at second place in the world behind the USA with total deaths numbering 525,000, 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 and new case numbers have also increased a little – with a seven-day average of 36 (29 in May) but a seven-day average of zero deaths (zero in April). We need to continue to pray for India and its people please.
Pastor Paul D. Ebenezer, the Pastor of the Fellowship of Blessed Hope Church at Madurai, (pictured with his family) has sent details of one of his elderly church members together with videos of her giving her testimony (in the Tamil language of course) at a recent Sunday morning church service. She followed her testimony by singing and it was lovely to hear her singing interspersed with “Hallelujahs.
As I listened to the videos, I was struck by the very positive and happy nature of Sister Naachiyaar’s face and expressions and voice, considering her age and what she has been through in recent times.
Pastor Paul wrote as he translated the main points of the lady’s testimony for me.
“She is Grandmaa Naachiyaar. I met her in my hospital ministry 2 years ago.
At that time she was in a very bad condition.
The Lord gave me an opportunity of preaching the gospel to the 92 year old Grandmaa in hospital for three months.
By grace of God and praying and special free treatment from a good Christian doctor she is fine now.
She was abandoned by her families and forced to beg.
Yet she was baptized by me in hospital and she is living in Christ.
Now she is good believer of Holy Spirit.
Last week she came to our Church and shared the testimony.
She told ‘There is no one for me without Jesus and we should remember him at all times. God will help us.’
And she told us ‘I prayed to God and he revealed to me two times so Jesus is real God.’
She is very strong in Christ.”
Thank the Lord that this dear Sister is part of God’s great, worldwide Christian family, and pray that her witness may be helpful and fruitful in the lives of others.
Pastor Paul Ebenezer also advised that they held their Vacation Bible School from the 23rd of May to the 29th with 40 children and 12 young people attending. They gave a copy of the New Testament to all who attended, and these were enthusiastically received.
Please pray for these children and for all the children who attended Vacation Bible Schools during May, asking that the messages they heard may encourage them to seek to learn more about Jesus Christ. Thank the Lord too for Pastor Paul Ebenezer’s ministry in Madurai for his Lord.
Pastor Paul Gandham, from the Adda Road Advent Christian Church in Andhra Pradesh State, wrote in early June…
“*PRAISE THE LORD*
In our Advent Christian Church 08-05-2022
Today Three New Souls Added into the Kingdom of God. They are totally from Hindu Background (Reddy's Family)
This is absolute work of the Holy Spirit, Glory be to God for his wonderful Presence in our Midst.
*Glory and Honour be to God Alone*
IN CHRIST “
Please pray especially for these three new members of God’s great, worldwide family, asking that they may grow in grace and in the knowledge of their Saviour.
Pastor Paul Gandham’s son and co-pastor, Pastor Victor Abraham also wrote…
“Greetings to you in the Precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Last Saturday 14-05-2022 we went to a village called Inimerla and presented the Gospel through projection - Christian Gospel Short Films, Testimonies etc. They were all saved people but living as a nominal Christians.
This Outreach Gospel Meeting changed their lives and great revival took place.
*Glory be to God Alone* “
Mission Manager Dr Ezhil Christados last week visited Yesuway Jeevan Mission’s ministry partner - Emmanuel’s School and Children’s Home in Chandel in Manipur State, which caters to middle class and poor students of Chandel and neighbouring towns.
The school, which had approximately 450 students in classes ranging from Lower Kindergarten to Standard 10, taught by 18 teachers and the home/hostel for disadvantaged children had approximately 30 full-time residents, was closed for a considerable time because of Covid-19 and so that that the buildings and infrastructure could be upgraded.
The school has not been able to re-open for physical classes because the buildings and infrastructure have to be replaced, but for the last six months on-line classes have been conducted for the higher grades and this will continue.
They are in a crisis situation since they are not able to collect fees from students and not able to pay salary for teachers due to Covid. They have had to sell a portion of the school campus land to repay loans that they had taken to pay teachers and non-teaching staff over recent times.
In 2011 they started to build a building with ten classrooms (five on the ground floor and five above) but were only able to complete two before running out of funds. They have a quotation from a local builder to complete those ten classrooms, repair three other rooms in a wooden block, provide new toilets and refurbish the kitchen and the boys’ and girls’ hostel buildings - totalling 7.7million rupees. At today’s exchange rates this is about NZ$161,000 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 with 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. Please also pray for Yesuway Jeevan Mission as they consider if and how they can assist this ministry.
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
On Monday 27 June Thailand reported a seven-day average of 2,158 new cases of Covid (6,199 in May) and a seven-day average of deaths at 16 (49 in May). There have been 30,620 deaths since the pandemic began.
As has been the case since mid-April, Christian Mission’s morning service is still only for adults and the members of the Leadership Team at this stage. Ploy advises 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.
On Sunday 12 June, the number present was small, but the fellowship was warm, and the Lord brought a special blessing – their Facebook page said “Today is a very good day. Thank God for the new believer. God blessed us lots.”
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.
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 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 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 Monday 27 June Malaysia reported a seven-day average of 2,265 new cases (2,505 in April) and a seven-day average of deaths at 3 (5 in May). There have been 35,754 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 27 June, as having a seven-day average of 11 new cases (15 in May) with a seven-day average of zero (zero in May) deaths. It still 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, and perhaps all of them, are not accurate.
Pastor K, leader of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar, wrote early this week…
“Many people are getting dengue fever in Myanmar. I and four of my children and some of our church members also getting fever. Please continue praying for Myanmar. This kind of fever every year happens in Myanmar in this season. But this year is worse than the other year. However, we need your prayers.”
Then on Thursday he wrote…
“Since yesterday I am getting sick, this evening I will go to the clinic. Please continue praying for us.”
Pastor K has also sent details of some of his organisation’s (Gospel for Myanmar) recent activities and blessings. Although life in Myanmar, under the rule of the army, is difficult in many ways, they are faithfully continuing their ministry to share the message of the Gospel with their people, and God is honouring their efforts and they have recently had the joy of seeing some of their contacts accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
On 24th and 25th May they held Youth Bible Training sessions – picture below left.
On 29th Pastor K wrote…
“Praise the Lord!!! Through our Youth Bible training these three of them accepted Jesus Christ as their own personal Lord and Savior. Now we preparing to teach them about water baptism and when it will be done they will take water baptism. Therefore, please continue praying for these new young men converts. They are from Buddhist background. Thank you” – picture below right.
On Friday 10th June Pastor K wrote…
“I have two guys whom I am teaching them about salvation. One is from Buddhist background and another one is from Muslim background. Today is the last day of our teaching. I praise God for His Great salvation upon these two guys. Today at the last minute they confess that they accepted Jesus Christ as their own personal Lord and Savior. On Sunday morning they will take water baptism in the name of Jesus.”
On Sunday 12th Pastor K wrote…
“This morning I gave water baptism to our two new converts and one of them took membership at our Church. We praise God for adding two new converts to His Church
Pastor K also advised that he and his wife have agreed to take care of four girls who are refugees from the Chin State, where the army’s activities against Christians are very harsh and severe. One of them is going to study at grade 9 level and the other three are studying at grade 7. They started school late in June.
Please pray for the girls and for Pastor K and his wife, asking that the Lord will provide for the extra costs of giving them the blessing of a Christian home and loving care and relative security.
Please pray regularly for this ministry and for their leaders and members and pray especially that those who have been recently baptised or have committed their lives to Jesus, will grow in grace and the knowledge of their Saviour. Pray that the Lord will keep them all safe in the present difficult situation in their country.
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. The electricity system has become very unreliable and there are long periods when there is no supply.
Life is becoming more and more difficult for them all as it seems the infrastructure of the country is deteriorating under military rule.
Open Doors recently published the following article.
“Myanmar | Church Set On Fire
In the midst of continuous fighting in Myanmar, a Baptist church in Chin State was burned to the ground on Friday 9 June. Despite there being no casualties, the incident has shattered the hearts of local believers.
Since the military coup, more than 1,200 homes and 11 churches have been set on fire in their town alone. Many local Christians have been forced to flee.
One said, “We have worked hard, we contributed money, we worked and built the church with our own hands, our church is precious to us. When we see it being destroyed and burned, it hurts us right in our hearts. It’s painful. If your church was burnt, will you not feel the same?”
Please join us in praying over the situation.
- Pray that believers will not be disheartened by the destruction.
- As monsoon season approaches, pray that displaced believers will have reliable shelters.
- Pray that God will bring an end to the conflict in Myanmar.”
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 27 June the Philippines had a seven-day average of 707 new cases (151 in May) and a seven-day average of 7 deaths (zero in May). They have had a total of 69,452 deaths since the pandemic began. There is now no national lockdown in the Philippines.
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.
Oro Bible College has been teaching students on-line for most of the last two academic years because of Covid. During those two years a total of eight fourth-year students (six in 2020 and two in 2021) completed their studies but did not enjoy graduation ceremonies. There were no graduates for the 2022 year because of national changes made in the education system three years ago. Yesterday, 30 June, the college was able to hold a graduation ceremony for those students.
Please pray for these young brothers and sisters as they look to serve their Lord in various ministries.
Oro Bible College’s faculty and staff are currently preparing an application to the government to return to face-to-face classes when the school year starts in August. They are also working on Department of Education requirements for reopening their preschool. Please pray for a successful application for face-to-face classes and for compliance with the requirements to reopen the preschool.
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,