Greetings to our friends, supporters and prayer partners and welcome to the fifth update for 2022. My thanks for your continued prayers, support and encouragement for those who serve the Lord under the Advent Christian banner in Southeast 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.
The seven-day average of new cases has increased in all countries since late June except New Zealand where there has been a slight reduction. The seven-day average of deaths has risen in all the countries. The 8th August seven-day average in NZ of new-cases was 5,320 (5,576 in late June) and death numbers seven-day average was 18 (12 in June), with our total deaths figure at 1,688.
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 wrote a short time ago… “Please continue to pray for our Pastors, especially in Cagayan de Oro Area as they continue to struggle with finances and food because of the covid crisis.”
Many of our pastors and their families, and the churches, 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.
INDIA | Yesuway Jeevan Mission
Covid-19 case numbers in India have increased significantly recently – on 6th August the seven-day average of new cases was 17,985 (14,206 in late June) and the seven-day average of deaths was higher at 47 (22 in June). India remains at second place in the world behind the USA with total deaths numbering 527,000, which is a little under 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 substantially – with a 6th August seven-day average of 1,266 (36 in June) but still with a seven-day average of zero deaths (zero in June).
Please continue to pray for India and its people.
Pastor Paul Nilivan’s ministry in Chennai - the ADDRES Centre - Alcohol Drug De-addiction Educational Service Centre, one of Yesuway Jeevan Mission’s ministry partners, continues to minister to those involved with drugs and alcohol. The team is also regularly out on the streets in their area, bringing food parcels and other relief to the poor and underprivileged, often those who live on the streets – all in the Name of Jesus.
“…inasmuch as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40
In late June, they were on the streets of their area, Ambattur, supplying food packets to the street wanderers/residents and beggars.
Please pray that the Lord will provide resources to enable this ministry to continue, and that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts of those to whom they minister with Christian care and compassion.
Pastor Denny Moses has sent details of matters for thanksgiving and for prayer for St Xavier’s School and the Advent Christian Conference of India’s Outreach Ministry in Khagaria, in Bihar State.
St Xavier’s English Medium High School
At present the school is licensed to teach and to conduct government examinations to only Standard 8 level, and they have recently applied to the government education authorities to have this licence extended to include Standards 9 and 10.
At present students in Standards 9 and 10 must attend other high schools in the city to sit examinations at standard 9 and 10 levels. Please pray that this application may be favourably treated by the authorities and their licence will be extended accordingly.
Final Standard 10 CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) examinations (written in Hindi or English) are very important for students’ further education and passing these exams and the level of marks attained usually determine what tertiary education the student is able to continue with.
For the Indian academic year ended at the end of April this year, 98 students from St Xavier’s School sat the examinations (at another school in the city) – results are just to hand, and 98 students were successful!! Please thank the Lord for this 100% success rate!
Construction of the new school buildings and campus has continued since our last update, but construction has recently had to be halted because funds are not available. All of the ground-floor classrooms have now been completed, and 6 of the first-floor rooms have also been completed, with a further 9 classrooms and a hall still to be completed on the first floor.
Please pray that the Lord will provide the necessary funds so that the project may be completed.
As reported earlier this year, construction is under way on two new Advent Christian church buildings – at Karvamor and Alloui, and additions are being made at Baliya.
At Karvamor, the roof has just been poured and when this has cured properly, the parsonage will be built above the church
At Alloui, the building is well on the way.
At Baliya, the relatively new building originally had an iron roof on the ground floor sanctuary, but this proved to be too hot for the congregation as they sat for significant periods for worship. The iron roof has been removed and a concrete roof poured. The 1st floor walls, and roof now need to be completed.
Please pray for the safe and speedy completion of these projects and for the witness of the pastors and members of the congregations in these areas.
Pastor Denny Moses asks us to pray for the following three situations in their churches…
“Please pray for 4 years old Tannu Kumari who is unable to sit and walk.”
“Please pray for Sis Nirmala - staff at St Xavier’s School since 1996, and a good strong believer in our Church. She has faced lot of problems to betray Jesus. In year of 2015 in her family continually 3 people died because of witchcraft. Among 3 one was her 18 yrs son. He was also a good Christian youth.
But now she is having 2 blocks in her heart - the doctor has advised her to do the operation soon but it will cost around 2 lakh in INR*. Please kindly uphold her in your valuable prayer. She is from a very poor family background.”
*2 lakhs rupees is 200,000 rupees which is about NZ$4,100 at today’s exchange rate
“Please pray for Sis Sunita Devi who has been beaten by her son Abhishek to try to force her to betray Jesus.”
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
On 7 August, Thailand reported a seven-day average of 2,167 new cases of Covid (2,158 in late June) and a seven-day average of deaths at 32 (16 in June). There have been 31,630 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 they are now considering going into their village to talk with parents to ask them to send their children back to the Mission’s activities again.
They would have to ask the parents to bring their children and pick them up after the activities at this time, as the Mission presently does not have a vehicle to do that. The vehicle they had was costing a great deal to keep running and has been sold, and they are having difficulty finding a suitable replacement vehicle – please pray that this problem may be overcome quickly.
On Sunday 7 August, the number present was small, but the fellowship was warm. Ploy led the service.
Some of the members of the Leadership Team - Ploy, Lita, Job, GungGing, Guitar and Annie had the opportunity during a long week-end Thailand public holiday, from 14 to 19 July, to attend an English Bible Camp to act as translators. Parn, Job and Pea stayed at home to conduct the Sunday service at Christian Mission, but Job joined the team after the service and Ploy had to leave early to go back to her school.
One of Christian Mission’s members – Brother Sattawat - who used to teach English at the university, has a connection with a Korean missionary, based in California, who for the last seven years has brought a group of California based, Korean, Christian, young people to hold English Teaching Camps in Nakhon Phanom and nearby areas. The camp was for local Thai children to learn some English and they took opportunities to use Bible stories to share with the children, with singing and dancing and playing games and sharing the Gospel.
The campers spent time staying first in a Christian church in Nakhon Phanom City, then travelled south to the Nakae District, at the southern end of the Nakhon Phanom Province, where they stayed in a church in the town and then in a school in the same city. Whilst in Nakae they travelled to the nearby Wat (temple)
Pratat Phanom which is the most important Buddhist site in the province, with a huge temple building and surrounding complex, which is in turn surrounded by a very extensive and very popular market.
The California team members visited a newly built Christian church which has been built right next door to the temple and also went into the market and ministered with singing and dancing and sharing the Gospel with the people there.
This was a great opportunity for the Christian Mission girls to improve their English skills, to speak English with foreigners and to be involved in Christian witness and sharing the Gospel.
Please thank the Lord for the opportunity our girls had and pray that seeds that may have been planted in the hearts of some of the children they ministered to, may one day bring forth fruit.
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, GungGing, 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 and services, 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 are 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 Thailand to live and become involved in the ministry. Present plans are for them to move to live in Ban Naratchakwai next year.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
On 7 August, Malaysia reported a seven-day average of 4,071 new cases (2,265 in late June) and a seven-day average of deaths at 8 (3 in June). There have been 36,026 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 probably all of them, are not accurate.
This “Deaths” figure on Worldometer has not changed since April but recent news items indicate a surge in the number of new cases over recent weeks including the appearance of the Omicron variant of the virus. The international organization Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Frontiers) which is working in Myanmar recently stated in a news item “Myanmar lacks an adequate number of treatment centres and medical supplies to treat COVID-19. There is also a lack of accessible information for the community regarding COVID-19 prevention.”
Some of the leaders of organisations within the ACCM have sent us details of ministries they are involved in or are considering and have asked for our prayers for the Lord’s leading and provision and protection.
Pastor K, leader of Gospel for Myanmar advised that they are looking to the Lord for guidance and provision for the building of a new house, on land that they own which is about 30 minutes’ drive from the rented premises they are presently based in. This project is to house the thirteen orphan children and young people who he and his wife care for.
Please pray with them that the Lord’s Will will be clear and that He will provide the necessary funds for the project.
Their Bible college – Salem Theological School – presently has five students from various parts of the country, and they are beginning planning for the students’ annual evangelism trip to another part of the country, to give the students practical experience in sharing the Gospel with their people. This year they are planning to travel to a town called Padang, which is in the Magway Division to the north of Yangon during October. Please pray with them that the Lord’s guidance will be clear and that He will provide the necessary funds for this ministry.
One of Gospel for Myanmar’s church planters is Pastor H T. He has been ministering for some years in a town called Okshitgone which is about two hours’ bus ride from Yangon and has gathered a group of believers which have met in his home. About a year ago they began an outreach ministry in a nearby town named Taikyi and in February this year they laid the foundations for a church building in that town.
Construction of the building has progressed since February and the building is now a little more than half completed. The believers from both Okshitgone and Taikyi have been meeting together for their services in the building since June but work still to be completed includes tiling the floor, installing electricity, ceiling, chairs, pulpit and the decoration of the interior. Progress has been halted as funds are not available – Pastor H T estimates that the amount needed to complete the building is 7 million Myanmar kyats – which is about NZ$5,900. Please pray that the Lord will provide what is needed.
Please praise the Lord that the combined membership of the group is now about 50 and the average, regular attendance at worship services is 35. During the past two years Pastor H T has had the joy of baptising more than 20 new converts!!
Pastor D is the leader of Fellowship Bible Ministries, which cares for 97 orphan or disadvantaged children in several locations in Yangon and is in the process of relocating to a central location which the Lord graciously provided a couple of years ago. They also have a Bible college - Myanmar Bible College, a residential college which normally has about 30 students from various parts of Myanmar. They also have a number of church planters in parts of Yangon and other parts of the country.
A message recently received from him read as follows…
“Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ from Myanmar.
How are you brother.
We hope you and ministry are going well.
Please continue praying for our country. Still fighting and killing every where. It is difficult time and terrible time for us. Everything cost is going double high and expensive now.
Military coup making martial law and more difficult time for our country and ministry.
Thanks for your praying and helping in possible ways.
In early July Pastor D wrote…
“Please praying for our security, yesterday our staff Andrew was sword fighting by 4 men and they take his phone and his motorcycle. Prayer for him he needs new phone and motorcycle for his travel from his home to campus. Every where now many people are fighting, killing, stolen every day and night. There is no security in our country now.”
These sentiments are of course indicative of the experience of all the members of the Advent Christian Conference of Myanmar and in fact of all the Christians and other residents of the country.
Please regularly bring our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and all the residents of the country, before the Lord, praying especially for an end to the terrible things that the army is doing to that country and its people.
Despite what is going on around them, our brothers and sisters continue to have joy in their service for the Lord. Pastor T recently wrote…
“Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank God and always pray with joy for your loving care. I am sending pictures to you – todays worship service and give Bible to new believers.
God Bless you abundantly.”
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. Recent news items reported that the army had executed a number of those who had opposed the regime and had been imprisoned as political prisoners!
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 7 August the Philippines had a seven-day average of 3,904 new cases (707 in late June) and a seven-day average of 11 deaths (7 in June). They have had a total of 60,807 deaths since the pandemic began.
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 pray too for Oro Bible College in Cagayan de Oro, which is just commencing a new academic year – pray for its director, lecturers and staff and students. The new year has started with only five students – four returning students and one 1st year student. Please pray that more students will enroll.
Pastor Roy Rocha, who leads New Life in Christ ministry in Novaliches, Manila recently wrote…
“I praise God for all His goodness to us. Truly His faithfulness is new every morning!
I would like to thank God for spiritual, physical and emotional STRENGTH each day. Thank you also for all your prayers. We are doing good in ministry. Covid restrictions are almost normal, so we are able to do our ministries.
I am happy to share that our children's ministry is BACK.
We are now on our 4th Sunday since we re-opened.
We have 65 children ages from 4 years old to 13 years old.
It is divided into 3 groups ages 4-6 are called 'Promise Child’; ages 7-9 are called 'Promise Saviour'; and ages 10-12 are called 'Promise King'. Lessons are about JESUS’ life and ministry.
We also have 6 (2 each group) teachers and 14 staff members that will help the teacher in watching the children. They are also responsible to pick up the kids from their homes to the church, and from church back to home to make sure of the safety of the kids walking on the streets where there are many motorcycles.
Our young people are the teachers. They were Sunday schoolers before.
It is so amazing to see the kids back and see them thirsty for the joy they had long before the pandemic.
Our prayer requests:
- To have a sustainable source of funds to meet our children’s ministry. We spend *2,000 pesos every Sunday to provide for 65 children, 6 teachers and 14 staff.
- For our personal needs.
- That NO MORE Covid restrictions so that ministry continues.
- Good weather. It is rainy season here. But even some Sundays when there's rain, still kids are coming.”
Promise Child Group
Promise Saviour Group
Promise King Group
Please continue to pray regularly 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. Details of our bank account are on our website -www.acmissionz.org.nz.
In His love and service with you,