Greetings to our friends, supporters and prayer partners and welcome to the sixth 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, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines.
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.
It is with great sadness that we advise that Sister Beryl Joyce Ching (née Hollis) fell asleep in Jesus Christ, in her 95th year, on Monday evening 12th September in the hospital wing at Powley Retirement Village, Auckland, where she had lived in an independent apartment for many years. Her funeral service was held on Saturday 17th September at the Titirangi Baptist Church where she was a member for many years before moving to live at Powley Village.
Sister Beryl served her Lord in Madras/Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India for 42 years from March 1954 to 1996 with the American Advent Mission Society, seconded to that mission by the Missions Committee of the Churches of Christ (Life and Advent) Association Inc. which later became the Advent Christian Missions New Zealand Trust.
As a trained nurse she was involved for many years with the operation of a medical clinic at the Velachery Mission compound and with a mobile clinic which travelled (on a bullock-drawn, flat cart!) around the villages on the then city fringes of Madras. During her years in India she held many positions and responsibilities: she served in charge of the Industrial School and of the Printing Press at the mission’s headquarters at Velachery; as Secretary of the India Field council; as Treasurer of the same group: as Director of Literature (Including the press, the bookshop, two reading rooms and magazine production); in charge of the Velachery dispensary; in the mobile dispensary; in charge of the Velachery Sunday School; as Director of Religious Education; as Assistant Superintendent of the field; as the Correspondent (manager) of two schools; as a teacher of a regular, weekly Lay-Workers’ course; and of course regularly filling preaching and speaking appointments and many other jobs too numerous to mention. For several years she led an English-speaking group of professionals and businesspeople in a weekly fellowship service and discussion ministry.
The Indian folk to whom she had ministered had huge amounts of love and respect for Hollis Amma as they called her. She was indeed looked on as “Amma” – Mother in the faith - by many, men and women alike, but particularly the Bible Women who ministered in many of the churches to the ladies of the congregations in both spiritual and practical ways. She was a loving and respected “Aunty” to many of the small children of pastors, including having them stay at her home.
She retired back to New Zealand in 1996 and for a number of years served in various positions in the ministries of the Churches of Christ (Life and Advent) denomination here in NZ, including as a trustee of the Advent Christian Missions of New Zealand Trust, where her knowledge and experience was invaluable as we have continued of support of the ministries that Beryl and her fellow workers were so much involved with. Since her return she has been a very faithful “prayer warrior” both for the Advent Christian ministries in India and for those in the other countries in Asia which we support.
Beryl will be missed by many, but as she did, we look forward to that Great Day when Jesus Christ returns for His church, when we all meet the Lord in the air. He will say to Beryl…
“Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
Since mid-August, the seven-day average of new cases of Covid has decreased in all countries except Myanmar where there has been an increase. The seven-day average of deaths has decreased in all the countries except Myanmar and the Philippines. The 3 October seven-day average in NZ of new-cases was 1,421 (5,320 in mid-August) and death numbers seven-day average was 1.1 (18 in August), with our total deaths figure at 2,038.
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!
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 decreased significantly recently – on 3 October the seven-day average of new cases was 3,428 (17,985 in mid-August) and the seven-day average of deaths was 24 (47 in August). India remains at second place in the world behind the USA with total deaths numbering 529,000, 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.
In Tamil Nadu State, where most of the Advent Christian churches are situated, new case numbers have also decreased substantially – with a 3 October seven-day average of 512 (1,226 in August) but with a seven-day average of 0.14 deaths (zero in August).
Please continue to pray for India and its people.
Pastor Paul D. Ebenezer, pastor of the Blessed Hope Fellowship church in Madurai, asks us to pray - as he and his church members begin preparations – for the monsoon rainy season and for their plans for evangelical outreach in the area around their church and in villages on the outskirts of their city.
About this time last year they completed a new drainage system around their church and parsonage building. This year they are putting the finishing touches to the system by digging and filling large soakage pits to try to cope with the water volumes from the monsoon season, which is just around the corner, timewise. He asks us to thank the Lord for the men of the congregation who laboured to do this work.
Pastor Paul wrote… “Our outreach gospel work is in areas outside of our church and nearby villages, especially sharing the gospel and distributing the gospel word and New Testaments, Bibles and tracts for new people. If anyone will allow us in their houses we will go and share the gospel and pray with them”
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will go ahead of them as they seek to share the message of God’s love and His plan of redemption in Jesus Christ and will prepare hearts and minds.
Rev P. Lawrence is a Fellowship of Blessed Hope pastor, who lives at Mannivakkam, and who has an itinerant ministry in the Kanchipuram District of Chennai and further to the north to areas on the border with Andhra Pradesh State. He asks us to rejoice with him and thank the Lord on three accounts…
In August he arranged a prayer meeting at his home in Mannivakkam. Pastors from churches in and around Mannivakkam came for fellowship and prayed for his ministry and his family. He wrote… “After 12 years this prayer meeting was held in my home. I am so happy about it”
On Sunday 18 September he arranged a Medical Camp (where free medical checks and advice from medical professionals were provided, free of charge, to anyone who sought help) in one of the places where he ministers. 78 people received medical advice or treatment
“Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40
On Saturday 24 September he arranged another Medical Camp in the Irular and Narikurivar areas where he often ministers. Nearly 90 people received medical assistance.
Please pray for Rev Lawrence and his family, as he seeks to bring the Gospel to many areas where there are no churches and as he brings practical assistance to the needy.
Now that the risks and restrictions of the Covid pandemic have faded, the Adda Road Advent Christian Church in Andhra Pradesh State (one of Yesuway Jeevan Mission’s ministry partners) is very much “back in business” with their ministries. Led by Pastor Paul Gantham and his son Pastor Victor Abraham they are once again visiting and reaching out with the Gospel to unreached people in distant villages through the presentation of short Christian films, testimonies, the Jesus Movie etc. and of course teaching, at evening meetings.
The membership of their church now stands at 220 members and these numbers are regularly increased as some of those to whom they minister accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and are baptized and join the fellowship. They have recently had the joy and blessing of witnessing further baptisms.
Using funds sent by Advent Christian General Conference’s BREAD of LIFE program, they recently had the privilege of distributing rice, lentils, vegetables and groceries to many poor and vulnerable people, and to provide them with a hot cooked meal.
Please pray regularly for Pastor Paul Gantham, and Pastor Victor Abraham and the members of their congregation as they reach out to their neighbours with the Gospel and pray that the congregation will continue to grow as many more come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Pastor Victor Abraham and his wife were blessed with the birth of their second daughter in December last year. He refers to them as their “little Princesses”.
Please pray for this precious Christian family: Pastor Victor Abraham, Swapna his wife, Sannidhi, which means “God’s presence” (at right in picture) and Samarpana which means “Dedication” (left in picture.)
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
On 3 October Thailand reported a seven-day average of 444 new cases of Covid (2,167 in mid-August) and a seven-day average of deaths at 5 (16 in June). There have been 32,771 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 2 October, the number present was small, but the fellowship was warm. Together they remembered the Lord Jesus Christ as they celebrated communion together.
Pastor Boontaa and Dtee represented Christian Mission Naratchakwai at the monthly service and meeting of the pastors and leaders of the seven member churches of the Christ for All People Church Association as they gathered for fellowship and worship at the Nongkonkaen church on 3 October. Dtee was able to give a food parcel to a needy family, as is CMN’s custom at these meetings.
Please pray for the ministries of these churches - Christian Mission Naratchakwai in Nakhon Phanom Province; Kusumarn Church in Sakhon Nakhon Province; Kudsakoi Church in Sakhon Nakhon; Na Lao in Sakhon Nakhon; Hnong Khon Kaen in Mookdahan; Num Meed in Naan; Dong Noi in Naan – and for their Pastors, leaders and members, praying that God will use their ministries to bring many more into His family.
Please continue to pray for the leadership team at Christian Mission - there have been some changes
of personnel this year - they are doing a very good job of ensuring succession within the team. We nearly have a picture of the entire new team – the day the picture below was taken Lita was unwell and unable to attend the service!
Left to right: Ploy, Annie, Pastor Boontaa, Dtee (driver and musician), Maeo, Parn, Guitar, Job, Gung Ging, Pea.
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’s health, Pastor Boontaa’s wife Phon and daughter Bow, and the other musician who assists at services, Noi.
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. They are presently waiting for necessary US citizenship documentation before moving to Thailand to live and become involved in the ministry. Present plans are for them to move to live in Ban Naratchakwai next year – please pray that all will go smoothly.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
On 3 October Malaysia reported a seven-day average of 1,827 new cases (4,071 in August) and a seven-day average of deaths at 3 (8 in August). There have been 36,376 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 3 October, as having a seven-day average of 159 new cases (11 in August) with a seven-day average of one (zero in August) deaths. It shows 19,459 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 changed by only 14 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 stated in a news item some weeks ago “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 continue to ask for our prayers for the Lord’s leading and provision and protection.
Gospel for Myanmar, led by Pastor K, has a Bible college – Salem Theological School – which presently has five students attending from various parts of the country, and they are planning and preparing 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 during November to a town called Padang, which is in the Magway Division to the north of Yangon. We have been able to send funds to assist with the cost of this trip. In preparation for this ministry, the students have been fasting and praying for four hours each weekend for some time. Please pray with them that the Lord’s guidance will be clear and that the Lord will bless their ministry by changing hearts and lives of those to whom they introduce Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Pastor T, leader of the Advent Christian Church of Myanmar, advised recently that one of his church planters, Pastor T T, who has a church in another area of Yangon City, recently conducted a baptismal service for seven new converts. So far this year, this ministry has had a total of 11 new converts. Please praise the Lord for these eleven new members of the great, worldwide family of God and pray that they will grow in grace and in the knowledge of their Saviour.
Pastor D, leader of Fellowship Bible Ministries recently wrote seeking our prayers, as follows…
“Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ from Myanmar.
I hope you and ministry are going well with you.
As you know about our country military coup for more than one year and almost two years now.
Everything cost is going double high and expensive now. There is no job for people and closed everything. Many people are hungry and become stolen and killing everywhere now.
Please consider and praying for our ministry - we want to help food distribution to our church planters and our people.
If you are praying and consider relief work for our people we would appreciate forever.
Thank you so much for your considering and praying for us.
In Him, D”
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. 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 3 October the Philippines had a seven-day average of 2,222 new cases (3,904 in August), a seven-day average of 32 deaths (11 in August) and 63,042 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 has just commenced a new academic year – pray for its director, lecturers and staff and students. The new year has started with 20 students. By government decree, they are only allowed to have limited face-to-face classes as well as some online Zoom classes this semester. Their great desire is to return to full face-to-face classes as soon as possible.
Please pray, with them, that the government education authorities will allow this for the second semester beginning in November.
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,