Greetings to our friends, supporters and prayer partners and welcome to the seventh 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 somewhat, 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.
Since 3 October when we last reported, the seven-day average of new cases of Covid has decreased in all countries except Malaysia and New Zealand where there have been increases. The seven-day average of deaths has decreased in all the countries except Malaysia, New Zealand and the Philippines. The 31 October seven-day average in NZ of new-cases was 2,926 (1,421 on 3 October) and death numbers seven-day average was 2 (1.1 on 3 October), with our total deaths figure at 2,106.
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 a considerable 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 a very long time!
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 31 October the seven-day average of new cases was 1,368 (3,428 in early October) and the seven-day average of deaths was 14 (24 on 3 October). 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 which stands at 1.07 million, with a seven-day average of 37,285 new cases on 31 October. 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 31 October seven-day average of 170 (512 on 3 October) and with a seven-day average of 0 deaths (zero on 3 October).
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 evangelical outreach in the area around their church and in villages on the outskirts of their city. 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”
On the 13th of October they had a further session of discipleship and church growth training – picture at right.
They are also planning and preparing for a Medical Camp to be held at their church during the third week of November. A Medical Camp is a time when the church will arrange for a number of health professionals to be available on their premises to give free medical consultations, advice and treatment where that is necessary to those who attend, who are normally the very poor who cannot afford the cost of treatment.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will go ahead of them and will prepare hearts and minds as they seek to show Christian care and compassion in practical ways and share the message of God’s love and His plan of redemption in Jesus Christ.
Please continue to pray for YJM Manager Dr. Ehzil Christadoss, asking the Lord to give him great wisdom and patience as he has the responsibility for the leadership of YJM. Pray too for the mission staff and their families on the compound at Guindy.
Please pray for wisdom and perseverance for Brother Christadoss as he and the Mission’s auditor try to understand and adjust to the new government regulations concerning the use of funds received from outside the country. Pray especially that he will rely on God’s guidance as they seek to continue financial and prayerful support of their ministry partners. YJM has many partners doing wonderful ministries that look to the Mission for support.
Please thank the Lord that the Mission’s new Foreign Currency bank account and the associated new internal bank accounts are now up and running, and that funds can now flow readily – thank you for praying for this very important matter. Please pray that the Mission will soon receive permanent approval for the operation of their FCRA account - they have had only a series of 3 monthly temporary approvals up to this point."
Brother Christadoss asks that we thank the Lord and/or continue to pray for the following matters in respect to the Fellowship of Blessed Hope Churches…
Thank the Lord for the resolution of issues at the Chrompet Church, following the death of the long-time pastor of the church some time ago. The issues have been resolved and a new pastor has been appointed who is doing well.
Pray for the Kodaikanal Church, where the pastor is not able to provide inspiring leadership for the congregation.
Pray for the pastor (Pastor Paul D. Ebenezer) and leaders of the Madurai Church where their ownership of the land is being disputed by the local Hindu temple.
He also asks us to pray for the Homework Study Centre started in August by one of YJM’s ministry partners, the ADDRES Centre led by Pastor Paul Nilivan.
They have recently added this centre to their portfolio of ministries – to give some of the grade 5 to grade 8 children from poor homes in their area (Ambattur) a well-lit, quiet and safe place to do their homework under the supervision of a trained teacher.
Because there is usually no space available at home (most of the children live in small and cramped huts), no conducive environment due to domestic bickering/violence, alcohol addiction of male family members and no academic help or motivation available at home, as the parents are often illiterate, they saw the need to provide for the children…
- a quiet, safe and well-lit place for completing their homework.
- mentoring and rendering academic help to them to complete their homework.
- liaison between the school and parents in handling issues relating to their academic performance
- avenues for developing their personality, team spirit and social skills
- refreshments while they study.
They have chosen four villages in their area for setting up initial centres, each enrolling about 20 – 25 students. A part-time teacher cum mentor will take care of each centre, catering to the academic and personal needs of the children. A part-time supervisor will be visiting the centres once a month to address any issues and for counselling.
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.
YJM ministry partner Adda Road Advent Christian Church in Andhra Pradesh State continues its enthusiastic outreach within the area around their church and to neighbouring villages, many of which have never before heard the Gospel.
They continue their regular, monthly meetings for outreach and fellowship on Calvary Healing Mountain, and Pastor Victor Abraham visits small villages in the area around their church and walks through the villages, speaking to whoever he meets on the streets or in their homes about Jesus Christ, and hands them a tract, and leaves the results to the Lord. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will bring some of these contacts to join in the fellowship of their congregation and then to a commitment to Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
On Calvary Healing Mountain
In the villages
Please take time to relax and watch a 2 minutes 8 seconds long film of this modern-day apostle as he visits a village and shares the Gospel with its people and invites them to join their fellowship on Calvary Healing Mountain.
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.
Please continue to pray for the Advent Christian Conference of India’s outreach in Khagaria, in the State of Bihar. This outreach is led by Pastor Paul Sundar Raj (pictured at right) and his team, which now consists of 19 pastors ministering to three thousand members in 20 churches, and 55 teachers (including 31 missionary teachers) and 15 non-teaching staff providing education to one thousand six hundred children at St Xavier’s English Medium High School.
Please pray especially for the provision of funds to complete the new school premises to replace the crowded, rented facilities which the school presently occupies.
21 classrooms and facilities on the ground floor and 6 classrooms on the 1st floor have been completed but there are still 12 classrooms and an assembly hall/chapel to be completed on the 1st floor. The cost to complete these is approximately 46 lakhs (4.6million) rupees which is about NZ$299,000 at today’s exchange rate. The new premises cannot be used until all the facilities are completed.
Communications officer Pastor Denny Moses asks us to thank and praise the Lord for the Annual Prayer & Revival camp which was held during October. Visiting speakers Rev Ronald Ronald and Evangelist Karthick Gamaliel shared the Word of God and it was a very blessed time for all the pastors, missionaries, believers and youth. As a result of this gathering 25 new believers were baptized in the branch churches.
He asks us to pray for their Annual Prayer Camp which is to be held at the Bala Bazar church on November 26th and 27th. The Bishop from the Advent Christian Conference of India and other pastors from Chennai will attend this meeting and he asks us to pray that God will bless them as they minister.
On 25th November, prior to the meetings, the bishop will dedicate the new church building at Sannha Village and will dedicate the pastor and his ministry.
He asks us to also pray for their activities during the Christmas season. There will be carol services held in many villages on Christmas Eve giving them the opportunity to share the Gospel with those who attend.
THAILAND | CHRISTIAN MISSION NARATCHAKWAI
On 31 October Thailand reported a seven-day average of 364 new cases of Covid (444 on 3 October) and a seven-day average of deaths at 5 (5 on 3 October). There have been 32,955 deaths since the pandemic began.
As has been the case since mid-April, Christian Mission’s morning service has still been only for adults and the members of the Leadership Team. Ploy advises that they are presently enjoying their summer break, and that when the schools re-start early this month, Maeo will be going down the road to the elementary school (where she taught many years ago and is held in high esteem by the staff and by the residents of the village) to personally invite the children to attend the church’s activities including of course, the teaching of English. She wants to talk to them about what the church is and what will they do and receive from going to the church on Sundays.
At this stage they will 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 30 October, the number present was small, but the fellowship was warm. Lita and Pea conducted the service, with Pastor Boontaa giving the teaching.
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 following the summer break. Please pray for them all, 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 early next year – please pray that all will go smoothly.
MALAYSIA | Kluang Advent Christian Group
On 31 October Malaysia reported a seven-day average of 2,738 new cases (1,827 on 3 October) and a seven-day average of deaths at 4 (3 on 3 October). There have been 36,475 deaths since the pandemic began.
We have not heard from the folk in Malaysia for some time. Sister Ruth’s last communication said…
"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 31 October, as having a seven-day average of 139 new cases (159 on 3 October) with a seven-day average of one (one on 3 October) deaths. It shows 19,482 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.
The “Deaths” figure on Worldometer has changed by only 59 since April but a recent news item from AP (Associated Press) states…
“With coronavirus deaths rising in Myanmar, allegations are growing from residents and human rights activists that the military government, which seized control in February, is using the pandemic to consolidate power and crush opposition.
In the last week, the per capita death rate in Myanmar surpassed those of Indonesia and Malaysia to become the worst in Southeast Asia. The country’s crippled health care system has rapidly become overwhelmed with new patients sick with COVID-19.
Supplies of medical oxygen are running low, and the government has restricted its private sale in many places, saying it is trying to prevent hoarding. But that has led to widespread allegations that the stocks are being directed to government supporters and military-run hospitals.
At the same time, medical workers have been targeted after spearheading a civil disobedience movement that urged professionals and civil servants not to cooperate with the government, known as the State Administrative Council.
“They have stopped distributing personal protection equipment and masks, and they will not let civilians who they suspect are supporting the democracy movement be treated in hospitals, and they’re arresting doctors who support the civil disobedience movement,” said Yanghee Lee, the U.N.’s former Myanmar human rights expert and a founding member of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar.”
Pastor K’s Bible College– Salem Theological School – presently has five students attending from various parts of the country, and they will be travelling away from Yangon from 21st to 26th November to gain practical experience in evangelism and sharing the Gospel with others. They had originally planned to travel to a town in another Division/State but for various reasons they will now travel to and minister in the towns of Taikyi and Okshitgone which are about two hours bus ride from Yangon.
This area is where one of Gospel for Myanmar’s church planters - Pastor H T - has been ministering for some years, initially in Okshitgone but with an outreach to Taikyi town. Pastor H T originally ministered from his home but in recent months they have built a church building in Taikyi town and the believers from both towns are now meeting there – the building is almost completed now, with only the electrical facilities to be completed. The combined membership of the group is now about 50 and the average, regular attendance at worship services is 35.
The students will work with Pastor H T and the members of the church and take opportunities to talk to folk on the streets of both towns about Jesus Christ. Please pray that the Lord will give them courage and joy in their service for Him and that the Holy Spirit will go ahead of them to prepare hearts for their ministry.
Pastor K was able to tell us of a joyful time during one of their recent services, when he had the pleasure of dedicating the new-born baby of one of his pastors – J K S – and his wife to the Lord.
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 minorities, including 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 is 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 31 October the Philippines had a seven-day average of 2,222 new cases (2,222 on 3 October), a seven-day average of 37 deaths (32 on 3 October) and 64,074 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 commenced a new academic year in August – pray for its director, lecturers and staff and students. The new academic year started with 20 students, but by government decree, they were only allowed to have limited face-to-face classes as well as some online Zoom classes this semester.
The government education authorities have given their approval for them to have full face-to-face classes for the second semester which begins this month, if they obtain a “safety seal”, indicating the school meets minimum public health standards. Please pray that they will be able to comply with the safety seal requirements and thus start full face-to-face classes again.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org - we can get funds to all of our countries now. Details of our bank account are on our website -www.acmissionz.org.nz.
In His love and service with you,