Wednesday, 16 October 2019

AM I CALLED FOR MISSIONS / Melisa Sellvadurai, AO Volunteer

When I was a teenager, growing up in church, we often talked about missions and how we were all called to go out to the nations so everyone would know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The concept of missions was just that, an IDEA which never got put into practice until I left for University. God brought the right people into my life; people with a similar passion to serve God and that led me to my first mission trip, a local trip to encourage an Orang Asli ministry in Cameron Highlands.
I remember feeling unprepared and ill-equipped. I didn't know enough theology to share a message. I didn't know how to help with children's ministry. Nor did I know the right words to pray in Bahasa Malaysia.
So why did I sign up for missions?
On mission trips, we get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Life can be tough and studies, assignments, work, relationships and family can all be a little overwhelming some days. I have often had to pause and ask, "God, what are you trying to say through all this?" By obeying the call to missions, we get to see God at work in the smallest of details like giving us good weather, to the bigger life-changing encounters, like healing and restored relationships. Taking a step back, we get to see God show up and show off. More than just a mountain top feeling, missions gives us a purpose when you step out of your comfort zone, knowing that you too have a role to play.

On mission trips, we experience a new passion for God
On mission trips, we spend an hour with God every morning, reading the Bible, praying, journaling, doing group devotions. In our everyday lives, we are so easily distracted by our phones, or friends, or busy schedules but not on a mission trip! Time had to be spent alone, just filling up on the goodness of God, so we had a tank full of love to pour out during ministry time on our trip. As we are given opportunities to see and experience God more, our passion for Him grows. We also understand more clearly who we are in Him and what our role is in His family.

On mission trips, we experience a new compassion for the lost
We are able to share our faith story with others. We get to pray for those who are hurting, lay hands on those who are sick, and encourage those who are lonely. Out in the field, God breaks our hearts by exposing us to the lives of those who lack the comforts we enjoy. He gives us a new heart for ministering to the hurting, the broken, and the lost.

It is in these key areas of spiritual growth through mission trips that our faith journey makes huge strides
It's been over 15 years since my first mission trip and I have been to almost every South-East Asian country and have continued to go for missions even locally. Together with my church, we give towards missions yearly and I know that the next best thing I can do is pray for those in the field. Being in Malaysia and seeing all the different nationalities around town on any given day, I have come to realise that my mission field isn't just out in another country. I love learning languages, from Thai to Burmese to Bahasa Indonesia and with that I can surely 'go out to the nations' right in our own backyard.

I have been a volunteer with Asian Outreach for the past 8 years, helping them with the editing of the Asian Outreach Connections magazine and their newsletters and my sister-in-law who is a housewife also volunteers with the editing. Helping them with the magazine and reading the testimonies of the foot soldiers and others who have gone for missions has also greatly inspired me in my own journey in missions.
I still don't think I know enough of theology to share a message, or am able to engage with a room full of children. But I do know how to love and be present, to smile and say thank you in a familiar language. I do know how to ask, "Are you ok?" and "Can I pray for you?" and I surely have testimonies of God’s goodness which need to be shared. Missions taught me to start with what I have. Even if it's just 'two mites'.
Missions is all about showing and sharing the love of God. I realised that if we want young people to make missions part of their everyday lives, we must first create space for them to experience it from where they are at – their church.
I continue to pray that God will grow spiritually healthy young people by giving them opportunities to join Him on missions, be it in foreign countries or in their own town. God is drawing young people to Himself, to be part of His big story, part of His family on mission, and trips are a powerful way for them to experience God in new ways.
Acts 13:47
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”



Thursday, 4 July 2019

FAMILY ON MISSIONS / Rev Dr John Thaung, AO Coordinator Myanmar

Every year after the students graduate from Bible School, they go on a mission trip to the Chin state to evangelize and organize outreach programmes. This year after much prayer and discussion with my wife, we decided to take my whole family with us. My children, Grace Lydia 12 years old, Victoria Rebeka 9 years old, Juely Hannah 7 years old and the youngest, John Samuel 4 years old. They were so excited to be joining us on this trip. Every year they watch me leave for this long trip and we would be away for a month or so. So this time when they were told they would be going they could hardly contain themselves.

We took a bus from Yangon to the town of Matupi which is a 2 day’ trip breaking our journey for a day so as not to tire the children but they were so excited to keep moving on. The next day we continued our journey to Caki village. We travelled half-way by an old bus and then the rest of the way on motorbikes. We travelled for what seemed like hours on the bikes along the bumpy mountain terrain and finally reached Caki village at 6 pm in the evening. My body was sore by the end of the ride but my children were more excited than ever and did not even look tired.

When we reached the village, the villagers had already set up the tents and were eagerly awaiting us. The tents were for our evangelistic meetings and that very night, though we were sore and tired we could not disappoint the village and did not want to either, so we held out first meeting. The response was overwhelming and we could see how hungry the people were for the Word. We held meetings every night and during the day we would go house to house for evangelization. On the last night 40 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Many were touched by the power of the Holy Spirit and there was a revival in the village.

We left that village after 4 days and went back to Matupi and again the young people from the village sent us by motorbike to where the old bus picked us up for the rest of the journey. The road was extremely dusty and soon we were covered with dust, grime. My son laughed to see me saying I looked like a white man with light coloured hair. My children never complained about anything and just took everything in their stride. Half way on our journey the bus suddenly blew a tyre and that it took some time to repair. It was getting dark and all around us was the jungle and I could see the worrying look on my wife’s face because of the children. We prayed together and asked the Lord to keep us safe and God is faithful to those who trust in Him. Suddenly, we saw a big truck come up the road and the driver took us to the next town to wait for the bus so my children could get some food.

We waited for some time at that village for the bus to come and pick us up. Unfortunately, when we got to the next village of Ngala the tyre blew again and it took us another 4 hours to be on our way.By the time we got to Matupi t was midnight and the kids were  exhausted. Sometimes God teaches us to be patient with others and though we had some setbacks we praise and thank God for His mercy and looking out for us. We were so hungry especially my children but thank God my wife's sister prepared dinner for us and they still waited for us and we had a very good dinner.

The next day the people from Sun Tui Village came to take us to their village for the crusade. Road conditions here were very bad and we were advised not to take the children. So to the disappointment of my children they had to stay back in their aunt’s house. They enjoyed themselves though playing with their cousins and the other children in the village.

Three of us in the team went by motorbikes but half-way, for some reason, our riders suddenly stopped and told us they could not go further and left us along the jungle path. We were bewildered as to why they did this. There was no signal and no way to contact anyone so we sat by the path for 3 hours, praying and seeking God. We could not walk up the mountain because we had our luggage with us. After 3 hours the organizers who had invited us came looking for us as they were wondering why we had not reached. Two motorbikes came to look for us but there was 3 of us, so I decide to let my wife and the Bible student ride on the bikes with our luggage while I walk up. When we got to the first village on our way to Sui Tui village, we stopped and because the condition of roads are bad, my feet hurt and walking was so painful. My wife said riding the bike was equally bad.

It was getting dark so we had to break journey in this village. Thank God the villagers welcomed us and gave us dinner. This village is predominantly Buddhist and they were curious about us. I told them we were Christian pastors and expected them to be hostile but praise God they were not. In the early morning we continue to walked to our destination and the organizers came to pick us up half way by motorbike and we arrived there at 8 am. They told us that they waited for us till midnight and many were disappointed so we immediately started our teaching and preaching in that village.

Sun Tui Village is in a very remote area up the mountains and in the old days the people here were fierce and revengeful. They were ancestor worshippers before converting to Christianity. We taught and preached day and night and 20 people dedicated their lives to Jesus and many were delivered. The power of the Holy Spirit really touched many of them. I saw many of them were under inter-generational curses that needed to be broken. Let us continue to pray for the villagers of Sun Tui that God may deliver them from these curses. It was sad to hear that many had not heard of the Name of Jesus.

Dear brothers and sisters we enjoy the presence of God but there are many who do not know Him yet. When we left the village the whole village came out to say goodbye, begging us to return again and not to forget them. We see many people are hungry for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and there are a lot of villages around that area called the Daai region, a very undeveloped and unreached area that is still not penetrated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Join us to pray that we will be able to raise up more foot soldiers, willing to serve the Lord and bring the Gospel to these remote regions. This year we are sending two of our graduates, Soe Moe Naing and Yo Han to plant churches in the Delta area. Please pray for them that God may use them to Reach, Touch and Transform lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Praise God we got back safely to our children and returned to Yangon. I asked my children if they wanted to go next year again and in one union the shout “Yes, please papa.” It was a good exposure for them specially to meet the villagers and learn about their culture and traditions. Though we are all Burmese there are many different tribes, each with its own culture and tradition.  Children also can evangelize to other children.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Prayer Points
1.       Pray for protection for Myanmar’s Christians, especially in the Karen and Kachin States, where they are often targeted by troops and Buddhist nationalists.

2.       Pray for the continued spread of the Gospel across this nation, for freedom to worship for all people, and for many to have life changing encounters with Jesus Christ.
3.       Pray for the Holy Spirit to move over Myanmar, to turn many hearts to the truth of the Gospel and bring transformation to families and communities in this land.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Working with the poorest of the poor / Ps  Paul Silvanus

In the little town of Puzhal in the Chennai district Prabhu lived with his family. His father was a stone mason but he was also an alcoholic and they lived in dire poverty. Prabhu’s father Sekar worked very hard but to ease the tiredness and aches in his body from the physical hard work he drank and eventually found every excuse to drink. Desperate for her family, Prabhu’s mother went out to work as a daily paid labourer, carrying sand and cement bags at a construction site. Eventually Prabhu as the eldest son stopped schooling and started working to help support his family.  While these obstacles shaped Prabhu’s life and circumstances, they taught him that, “poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you about perseverance. No, poverty only teaches you how to be poor.” This was the simple and brutal realities of his life, and the lives of all the Indians around him.

The abuse of alcohol finally took its toll on Sekar’s body and he fell very ill. Having no money he could only afford the illicit alcohol sold illegally and this burnt his intestines and he was in constant pain, unable to eat. The whole family suffered and it was a dark time for them. One day a Christian family friend came to visit them and he brought with him Ps John Jaya Singh who shared the Gospel with the family and came daily to pray for Prabhu’s father. After a few weeks, Prabhu and his family began to notice that his father was looking better and he was not in constant pain. As the days passed, he began to get stronger and could eat. After a few months Sekar was completely healed and he never went back to drinking alcohol again. There was great rejoicing and the whole family of 5 accepted Jesus and received water baptism.  

One day while praying with the family Ps John turned to Prabhu and told him that Prabhu had a calling on his life to serve God and after praying earnestly he resigned from his job as a mason and he joined a mission training centre. After he graduated he served in the Kanchipuran District and the Lord blessed him with a wife, Jeba Priyam who shared his passion and love for serving the Lord. After serving a year there, he and his wife moved to the Teynampet city slum and started their ministry there. By God’s grace he planted churches in the Teynampet Slum and in the villages of Velcherry and Semmancheri.

 Ps Prabhu and his wife worked in the Slum  Daycare Centres, reaching out to the Dalit children and their families. After school the children come to the centres where they receive help with their school work. The children go to the welfare schools where the standards are far below the normal government schools and the teachers are quiet indifferent to the students because they are Dalit(The outcaste or lowest caste in India’s caste system). There Jeba cooks them a meal, for many their only meal for the day and they are also taught moral and hygiene issues. The parents in the slums are happy to send their children as this keeps them of the streets and from roaming around picking up bad habits and mixing with bad company getting involved in drugs, prostitution and alcohol, a real threat in the slums.

The slums are not an easy place to work. People there live in extreme poverty and are suspicious of everyone believing that no one really cares about them. Life there is a daily fight for survival. They live in some of the most dilapidated conditions in the world, unfit for human habitation by reasons of dilapidation, overcrowding, lack of ventilation or sanitation facility and having drinking water facilities in unhygienic conditions. This is where Ps Prabhu and Jeba chose to serve God and His people.

They have faced many challenges but they have remained steadfast in their love and commitment to the Lord. They have shown love to these unfortunate people going out of their way to lend a hand, asking nothing in return for themselves. This has touched the hearts of the people there and many have been saved through the Gospel, even the most hardened hearts.  Below are some of the testomonies of God’s love through the people who have not only felt but seen God working in their lives.

Saravanan, a high school student, started coming to the Sunday school with his friends and as Ps Prabhu shared the Gospel Saravanan’s heart was changed and he gave his heart to Jesus and accepted Christ. His family is Hindu so he has to remain a secret believer but he has not wavered and remains steadfast.
Muniamma’s husband fell ill and she sought the Hindu mediums for help but none could heal him. Desperate she came to Ps Prabhu to pray for him and God healed him. Today this family has accepted Jesus and been baptised. Miss Sandhya came to work at the Day Care centre as a part time teacher. She experienced the love of God as she worked with Ps Pabhu ans Jeba in the centre and she has been saved.

Ezumalai was a hired killer who had been sent to prison for murder. On his release after serving for many years he had come to live in the slums. The many fights he had in prison had taken a toll on his body and he had come out of prison unable to walk. A Christian friend in the slum began to minister to him urging him to come to church and eventually he agreed to go. There God touched him and transformed him. He repented of his sins and accepted Christ and then God healed him and he was able to stand up and walk- He became a new creation in Christ. What laws and punishment could not achieve the power of Jesus alone did. 

God is using Ps Prabhu and his wife powerfully in the slums and so many lives have been touched and transformed because this couple went where God had called them to go. They did not look at the squalor and dirt all around but what they saw were God’s people hungry for Him and in need of saving.

Romans 10:14-15 “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

Prayer points.
1. Pray for every citizen to be blessed with equal rights and opportunities, not an India which is divided and discriminates on religion, region, caste, class, gender and income.
2. Pray with Christians in India for God’s provision and protection as they preach the gospel in places with anti-conversion laws.
3. Pray for restoration in the relationship of Indian slum dwellers with God, other people and their societies to bring them hope and renewal;

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

My Mission Trip to the Dalit Slum / Bro Peter Lim

On 23 October, 2018 I flew to Chennai with Asian Outreach Executive Director, Rev Eric Fung to visit the ministry there. I have always wanted to go on a mission trip and India has always been my first choice. Many years ago I entered a child-sponsored program and supported a child in India so I always had a heart for the children in India. I spent 8 days there and every memory of this trip and of what I saw and experienced is deeply etched in my mind. 

Chennai is a city of approximately 9 million people. More than 80% are Hindus, with Muslims and Christians making up the rest. It is estimated on an average there are about 2.7% of Christians. There are approximately more than 2 million slum dwellers within this sprawling city. These slum areas are next to 5-star hotels, neighbourhoods of the rich on one side and a sewage channel on the other side.

The slum dwellers are mainly the Dalit peoples group or the ‘untouchables’ as they are often called. They are considered the outcast of society, rejected even by the prevailing religions and not even allowed to go into temples to worship. The caste system is very prevalent in India and the Dalits are considered the lowest caste. The Dalits live in abject poverty and suffer many atrocities rising from the caste system. The Dalits being at the very bottom of this caste system continue to bear the brunt of violence and discrimination. Generally they are illiterate and the government has started to increase the rate of literary among them by providing welfare schooling from ages 5 to 14.

Ps Prabhu and his wife, Jabapriyam who are Dalits themselves live in the slums. They run a Day Care Centre from 4.30pm (the children are in school until 4pm) until 7pm where the children are given a meal (for majority their only meal in the day), and also given free tuition. They are also taught biblical and moral values and the centres stresses on education as this is the only way for these children to break free from the poverty their parents have had to endure being illiterate.

English is taught as a second language and I was impressed with the children’s ability to understand and converse in English. They are taught to pray before their meals and usually a short devotion is given. I saw that they are being taught good values for the building up of their character at the centres and also kept away from the streets where danger (drugs, gangs, human trafficking) lurks for these children.

At the suburban slum centre that I visited, I noticed how well the children behaved and they seem so happy to come to the centre. There used to be 75 children here but they have had to cut down to 40 children due to financial constraint. I could see how it hurt Ps Yesudass and his wife, Amutha to have to let some of the children go.

Even though their Hindu parents allow them to attend the Day Care Centre, it does not necessarily mean they are open to conversion of their children. Once, Ps Prabu was beaten up because one of the children became a Christian. Gangsters were sent to inflict damage to the property which they rented to house the day care as well as the church service on weekends.

It is no secret to the community that these centres are run by Christians and that there is a chance that their children may believe in Jesus. I understand that the parents send their children for the following reasons: because they themselves are unable to help them in their studies, being illiterate, to stop the children from roaming the streets, the government schools don’t give personal attention, for the children to learn discipline and good manners and to have a free meal.

The Day Care Centres are a small work in a very large community. The pastors have to work hard to gain acceptance. It is slow but the positive impacts on the children will be felt as the work progresses. Once a month the pastors will visit the children’s parents to discuss the progress of their children and once in two months the parents will come for a meeting. The personal care and concern of the pastors and their team are certainly felt and there are many opportunities to demonstrate the love of God. Through the years, some parents have become Christians as a result of the work of these centres.  I am told the parents themselves testify to the positive changes they see in their children, and the free meals they received are the best meals the children get in the week.

At this stage the biggest challenge would be finance. It takes 30 rupee to feed a child a meal per day. That’s INR660 per month and INR7920 per year (equivalent to RM450). For a day care of 40 children, that amounts to RM18,000/= per year. Then there are payment of teachers’ allowance, rental of premise and the purchase of a bag and two school uniforms annually for each of the children. The pastors themselves are sent out by a church in Chennai under Pastor Paul after undergoing training at the Bible school and partially supported by the said church and they must source for the rest to support themselves and their family. Asian Outreach is involved in providing support as well.
Personally, I am of the view that this work among the children is an awesome opportunity to change and elevate a community in society and to bring them to the knowledge of Christ through experiencing the love of God. It is a very effective channel of outreach, like a bridge into these young lives and their communities. Seeds sown into these young lives will bear fruit one day. These young hearts are very receptive. In a world where they are rejected, they are taught and shown that there is a God who loves them for who they are. It is a work worth sponsoring and investing in. The impact will be felt now and through eternity.

This trip has been very enriching for me personally. I have been blessed to be able to witness the sacrifices made by these pastors to reach out to the lost and their determination and perseverance. There is no glamour here. My perspective has broadened, from the little community of Seremban where I come from, to include at least a few communities in India. We have so much in comparison. Some things are best felt and experienced than taught. I believe that through this experience I have experienced the spirit of giving, of faith, of prayer and zeal for the lost from the pastors in the field, Ps Paul and especially from Ps Eric Fung, a tireless and faithful servant of the Lord even at 74 years of age.

In those few days I was given the opportunity to preach and teach at a village open air gathering, a leper colony, a young church and a city church. It was a time of giving - to share from all the things I have learned and experienced back home. These few days in Chennai, India has impacted me, I know, and the effects of which I will discover in the course of time. I am certainly looking forward to another mission trip with Asian Outreach, perhaps in another part of Asia. I would challenge anyone reading this article, to go on a mission trip and experience for yourself what God can do through you and what He wants to do in you and you will discover that you have so much to offer.

Galatians 5:6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcised has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”


Tuesday, 10 July 2018


At Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus which marks the beginning of a new covenant between God and man. It was indeed the biggest event in Bible history - Jesus gave His life so we may be saved and have LIFE! Life is such a precious gift from God. We do not have absolute autonomy over our own lives but are stewards of the life given to us by God. In Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” The lives of all humans, their own and others are to be cherished and guarded.

I was recently reading a report from our Pro-Life ministry in Vietnam and was appalled to read of the number of abortions performed there, estimated at about 1.5 million per year! Vietnam is the 3rd to 7th highest ranking county (statistics vary) in the world for the number of abortions and the highest in Asia. About 40% of pregnancies in Vietnam are aborted and abortion is the biggest challenge in Vietnam in the field of reproductive healthcare (according to a World Health Organization report).
Secret abortions are performed on teenagers aged between 13 and 19, said Nguyen Thi Hoai Duc, the director of the Institute for Reproductive and Family Health. In Vietnam, getting pregnant before marriage remains a taboo. A young woman who gets pregnant without being married is likely to face harsh backlash from not only her own family but society too. As a consequence, unmarried women  turn to private clinics to have abortions. On average, one woman dies every week because of unsafe abortions. However, it is not only unmarried women who abort their babies. Statistics show that married women with one or two children (some statistics show one or two daughters), have the highest rate of abortions.

The guilt of killing their unborn children affects many Vietnamese women who believe that the soul of their unborn child cannot rest in peace. So they go to online grave sites on the internet and insert a tombstone, name their baby and ask for forgiveness. Besides this online grave site there are also real grave sites for giving foetuses a proper burial. It has been reported that in grave sites outside the city of Hanoi more than 100,000 foetuses have been buried. This does not reflect the true number of abortions however, as many more are simply discarded in the most convenient place or manner.
Our missionary in Hanoi, Pushpa Waters was heartsick to learn of the growing number of abortions and she prayed to the Lord to show her a way to save these unborn children and together with others the Pro-Life Ministry was born.

From a slow start with varying degrees of success to reach women at risk, the PL-Team (Pro-Life Team) in Hanoi is now growing in number and in the scope of their ministry. Last year (2017) Passion Life from the US came, (thank you AO Malaysia for introducing), and conducted their first ‘Four Questions – Answering the Crisis of Abortion with the Gospel of Life’ (4Qs) Training in Hanoi. They returned in March this year teaching in several more churches, then David (Pushpa’s husband) was invited to teach the 4Qs to the Hanoi Christian Medical Fellowship in April and later David and Hue (his secretary) taught the 4Qs in their church. About 130 believers in Hanoi have gone through this one day abortion awareness training.

After the second visit by Passion Life in March, a pro-life team (PL-Team) made up of local believers was formed, adding momentum to the pro-life movement. They have now finished translating the 4Qs materials, and are challenging the local team to train churches. They have also just completed translating ‘Forgiven and Set Free – A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Women’ by Linda Cochrane (introduced by Jeanne Pernia) and are set to begin their first restorative group in the coming days. This is important, since many of the women who have a heart for pro-life have had abortions themselves, and they need to be set free in order to serve well.

Since March, one doctor in the PL-Team has created a website and written a pro-life booklet specifically aimed at non-Christians and has invitations to teach this to students in the medical universities. This same man has also offered the land he inherited just outside Hanoi as a refuge centre for women in pregnancy crisis. He already has the legal process underway and plans drawn up to build a legal orphanage/women’s refuge centre. This will be the first Christian women’s refuge centre (that we know of) in North Vietnam.

One lady pastor in the PL-Team has been taking care of four women in pregnancy crisis, even though she is poor (a single mum) and her house is very small. Two of the women are staying with her. Several other women have plans to reach out to women in pregnancy crisis as they enter or sit in crowded clinics. Many go there looking for abortion, but the reality is, in their time of need – in their crisis – they simply don’t know anyone who can help them. Many don’t want to abort but feel that they have no choice and are pressured to do so.

One woman was told by her pastor to attend the first 4Qs training and after the session she was determined to keep her baby – she was convinced she should abort when the doctor told her that her baby would most likely be born handicapped because she has high blood pressure. Her families were forcing her to abort. She is married with one child already. Praise God she did not abort.

Lan Anh, a university student in David and Pushpa’s church faced a difficult time when she was pregnant. She had to take a year off from studying when she became pregnant. She was abandoned by her boyfriend and disowned by her parents, however with help she was able to stay in her rented room in Hanoi until the baby was born. After the birth of her baby her mother softened and came from the countryside to visit, finally her whole family softened and welcomed her and her little child back into their home. Lan Anh returned with her baby to her family in the province and there met a nice young man. She is now married and has had another baby already!

The PL-Team in Hanoi have three main areas to serve in and to develop:
1. Awareness – starting with the church then mobilizing the church to pro-life action. Giving a clear understanding of the sanctity of human life, the humanity of the unborn child, the moral evil of intentionally killing innocent human beings (born or unborn) and the clear calling to the church to rescue the innocent.                                    
Connecting the church to God’s truth on life and abortion.
2. Women in Crisis – developing people and practical ways to minister to women in pregnancy crisis – through personal presence and care, offering understanding, hope, safety and practical support in their time of crisis. Opening Pregnancy Help Centres and Women’s Refuge Centres. 
Connecting with those in need.
3. Post-Abortion Healing – Offering real healing and freedom from guilt to the many women affected by abortion.
 Connecting women with Christ and the forgiveness he offers.

Pray for every woman facing a pregnancy decision, that they would choose life for their unborn children, and be surrounded by a supportive family and community to make a commitment to family and life. We pray that all will look upon human life as a great gift from God and be accepted and loved, not an unwanted burden to be destroyed. We pray for the Lord’s help for the efforts of those in the pro-life ministry of promoting the dignity and value of all human life, in particular the unborn. As for those women who have already aborted their unborn children, we pray they will seek His forgiveness and find peace and comfort in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 24: 11
“Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.”

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Sharpening One Another / Ps Lau Tak Siong

Solomon gave us an important principle of strengthening one another in that we can sharpen one another. This was what he said in Proverbs 27:17As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

There are many pastors, leaders and evangelist who serve the Lord very faithfully in His vineyards in Asia, especially in the remote and unreached areas. Their heart is so passionate for God but many are not fully equipped having not had any proper training which is vital for them. They also need encouragement as many face many challenges in their work. Have you ever wondered who will encourage or sharpen these brothers and sisters? Some of them live in outlying villages with no opportunity to attend any seminars. Many have no internet or not much opportunity to learn or refer online. Right from the beginning Asian Outreach Malaysia realised the importance of training and equipping the pastors and leaders in the poor nations of Asia and praise God, we have been able to conduct many training programs. Over the years I have had the privilege to work alongside with AOM to conduct Advance Leadership training to sharpen the leaders of Asia, mainly in India, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Myanmar.

It has always been such an encouragement for me too to see their response to the training and I come away from these trainings carrying so many testimonies that have made me want to go the extra mile for them. I don’t only sow into their lives but they are also sowing into mine. Every training has encouraged and strengthened me so much and it is not a hardship for me to leave my family and my comfortable home, the long hours of travelling, the difficulty in food and accommodation I have had to endure to these places to equip and train these pastors and leaders. Indeed I count it a privilege for me to work with these men and women of God and to see them so passionate for God. Recently I had the privilege to meet Ps Joseph again who had attended my seminar four years ago.
Ps Joseph who is in his late fifties is one of those always beaming with joy and the hunger for the Word of God. He is still faithfully serving the Lord despite the failure of both his kidneys. Through prayer and faith, Joseph is a walking miracle. The doctors had to discharge him as soon as possible because he continued to preach the Gospel while warded in the hospital. Four nurses turned to Jesus during his stay in the hospital. Many unbelievers in the hospital have heard the Gospel because of this man who is not afraid to share his faith to anyone willing to listen. As a result, the hospital authorities reprimanded him saying, “You are a patient not a preacher while warded”. But he continued the sharing of the Good News that they had to discharge him. Today, he is still faithfully serving the Lord despite of his illness. 

Ps Prahbu also attended the Advance Leadership training over the last several years and is currently working among the Dalit community (or frequently called the “untouchables”). He has been facing many obstacles and challenges but he continues to serve God faithfully. He has reached, transformed and saved so many souls among the Dalits through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. They may be poor in material things but certainty filled with the joy of the Lord. 

These are just two of the many examples of leaders that have gone through our Advance Leadership training in partnership with Asian Outreach Malaysia. There are many more I have encountered over the years. I have received so many emails requesting me to come again to undertake training with them.  We that live in the towns and city are blessed to have excess to all the latest online resources but not for these poor foot soldiers and evangelist in the remote and small villages of Asia. When properly equipped and trained they can make such a huge impact on the believers and pre-believers enabling them to win so many more souls for God. Being equipped helps them to step out boldly to share and to overcome objections to the faith.

For those of us who use tools for gardening or knives for preparing food, we do realize that after sometime the axe or knife gets dull and need sharpening. What more, the brothers and sisters who serve faithfully in tough places. Your prayers and sacrificial giving have encouraged and strengthened the pastors in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. There are still many more that are yearning for training. In challenging times like these, they need to be fully equipped with God’s Word and how to use it when faced with these difficult challenges in their work and ministry. My prayer is that you will join us to sharpen the lives of these pastors/leaders and evangelist through the Word of God so they will be effective in their witnessing and sharing of the Gospel.

Romans 10:14 “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?”

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

FROM THE HEART OF ERIC FUNG / Executive Director, Asian Outreach Malaysia
Heading North of Chiang Mai, about a two and a half hour drive away and just 3 kilometres from the Burmese border is the village of Arunothai, a picturesque village surrounded by mist with majestic mountains as its backdrop. This area once belonged to Burma (now known as Myanmar) before it was annexed by Thailand. While most residents are of Yunnan Chinese origin and Burmese Chinese origin, there are also ethnic tribes like the Shan, Lisu, Karen and the Palaung in the surrounding hills. This far flung border settlement was originally founded by the Kuomintang who fled here after the communist took over China. There are also many illegal Burmese refugees living here too. There has been a progressive transformation of this once refugee village into a small town and the population has doubled over a decade.

Recently when I was in Chiang Mai, I was invited to visit a school and a children’s home in Arunothai, the En Hui Chinese School and the House of Grace. Equipped with only the little knowledge I had of its history and the village, I decided to visit the place. Ps Lee who oversees the School and children’s home offered to take Deborah and myself to visit Arunothai.

On the way to Arunothai, we were in awe of its stunning views and the cool, lovely weather. Just before entering the town there is a beautiful lake and we were told that the lake get fills up with water once every 8 eight years only for about 4 months and we were blessed to witness the water-filled lake. As it was lunch hour and as we neared Arunothai, I was told that the town was famous for its egg noodles and fried dumplings, and without hesitation Ps Lee headed straight to the stall that sells the best for our lunch.

Ps Lee’s ancestors hail from Yunnan and had settled in Burma along the Chinese border. His father quickly prospered in the drug business and became the richest and most powerful person in their village. As a teenager Ps Lee helped his father in the drug business. Although being so rich and having everything he wanted he felt no happiness but felt a feeling of emptiness. A friend introduced him to Christianity and he felt God calling him to enter Bible school. After completing Bible school he was excited to serve God but unfortunately he was lured back into the world of power and money.
He started a business and was doing very well but God had not forgotten him and was calling him back. A few years later Ps Lee had a stroke and he felt he was being punished for forsaking God and being disobedient.  He began to pray earnestly and while praying, God gave him a vision of Arunothai and told him to go there. He obeyed and left for Arunothai to work in the En Hui School.

The school and church was started 50 years ago by Ps Yang and another English pastor. When Ps Yang passed away, Ps Lee took over and continued the work in the school. The school caters to the poor children many of whom are Burmese Chinese refugees. The children would attend the Thai national school where they were taught in Thai (It is compulsory for all children to attend school) and then come to En Hui after school, where they were taught Bible Knowledge, Mandarin, English, Maths and computer. The school has 845 students with 28 classes from Kindergarten to Form 3, with a total of 35 teachers who are church members and 2 Malaysian missionaries.

The centre has given hope to many of these children to have a better future. With the effort and love put in by Ps Lee, the teachers and all the volunteers, the children are thriving. However, many of the parents cannot afford to pay the fees (a fairly small amount) but Ps Lee still takes them in and walks by faith that God will provide the finances needed to support the school.

Ps Lee knew that there were many orphaned and abandoned tribal children who were refugees or had been sold off by their parents to drug dealers just to satisfy their drug habits. Some of these children were abandoned when their parents were jailed for criminal offences or drug smuggling. A few were from a single parent struggling to survive. His heart was filled with compassion to see these children who were innocent and starving for love and a place to call home, with people to care for them and love them.

God called him to take these children and care for them and so the House of Grace was built. The House of Grace currently has 66 children from various ethnic groups. The population of Arunothai is about 40,000 people but only about 5% are Christian. This is the reason Ps Lee continues his work in Arunothai despite the many challenges he faces. He hardly gets any financial support as the people there are poor themselves. He depends on the Lord and walks by faith that God will bring willing financial partners to Reach, Touch and Transform lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The school is blessed to have two Malaysian volunteers, Sister Mavis and Su Han who have left their homes in Malaysia to help Ps Lee with the school and the home. Mavis’s ambition was to be a school teacher as she loved working with children. It seemed her dreams were fulfilled when she went she went to work in Shanghai and Nanjing and then ended up in Singapore. She was happy and loved her job but always felt something was missing. Mavis was a Buddhist and did not know the Lord. One day she fell ill and needed an operation so she returned to Malaysia to be hospitalized.

Mavis grandmother at that time also fell ill and they both were in the same hospital room where her grandmother’s friend who was a Christian came to visit them and shared the Gospel with them. Mavis heart was stirred and four years later she accepted Jesus and so did her grandmother. As she was seeking God to know His plans for her  she received an invitation from Ps Su Han to follow her on a mission trip to Arunothai. Working in the En Hui School and the House of Grace brought new meaning to her life and she felt God’s call to serve Him in Arunothai.

Su Han had completed Bible College and went to work in a church in Cameron Highlands for three years but her heart was in missions and reaching the unsaved. After leading a mission trip to Arunothai, she felt God calling her to help the children there. The two missionaries work in the school helping Ps Lee to teach the children and Mavis helps out with the accounts as well as helping in the home. They have been such a blessing to the school and the Home. Mavis and Su Han are not paid any salary but walk totally by faith. They have a bed to sleep in and food to eat (They eat simple meals with the children) and whatever funds they can raise from their family and friends they use to help with the fees of those children who cannot afford to pay.

I was deeply touched to see Mavis and Su Han’s commitment to God’s calling and plans for the school and the Home. They are two young women with a bright future ahead of them but they gave it all up to come to this little town far away from modern amenities and city life to serve God here and because of the love they have for the children. They also serve in church, teaching in the Sunday school and also find the time to visit the homes of the children, sharing the Gospel with their parents. I am reminded of this bible verse: Isaiah 58:10-11 “and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

After my trip I felt God impressing on my heart to reach out to His children in Arunothai. Being a father and grandfather myself, children have always had a very special place in my heart and I have said this often enough that even if I can make a difference in one child’s life it would be worth everything to me. Children are our future and every child regardless of race, colour or circumstance deserves a chance for a better life and to have their dreams and hopes fulfilled. As Jesus said in Matthew 19:14 "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Every child is a gift from God and we must treasure these little ones.

Join us in prayer to ask God to provide the necessary finances for the two missionaries to apply for their official visa at the cost of RM8,000 for both and to ask God to provide the necessary finance to run the children’s home. Let us trust God to speak to individuals to give generously to a worthy cause. If God moves you to support this ministry please send your contribution designate for ‘Thailand Projects’ and it will go to support the House of Grace, the En Hui School and the two Malaysian missionaries. 
Proverbs 22:9 "He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor."

Join me in giving thanks to God for sustaining and providing for me for the last 31 years, as I serve Him through Asian Outreach Ministry.
Prayer Points
1. We pray that all the needs of the school, Home and the visa fees for the two Malaysian missionaries to be met.
2. Pray for God’s favour and anointing upon Ps Lee, Ps Su Han and Mavis as they reach, touch and transform lives through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
3. Pray for more open doors and willing hearts among the people of Arunothai to be receptive to the Gospel.