This update is from GCI mission developer Rod Matthews.
India: festivals celebrate God’s grace
Early in October, GCI members met in two locations for a week-long festival celebrating God’s grace. Members from across southern India met at a Christian retreat facility on the outskirts of Mysore (see group picture below).
A highlight of the festival in Mysore was the appreciation expressed to pastor Joe and Joanna D’Costa on the celebration of 25 years of employment in the church (see picture of a presentation to the D’Costas below). The D’Costas also celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary during the festival. A stimulating session of the Life Club (a personal development and speech club) and an afternoon of swimming capped the activities.
Members from northern India met for the festival in a retreat center on the outskirts of Hyderabad (see group picture below). Some traveled from far north India and overseas, including the USA. The festival enjoyed a range of speakers including messages on the challenges of sharing the gospel in a modern Hindu nation while facing associated legal restrictions. Everyone laughed and learned from the movie night feature, a personal story of missionary work in New Guinea called The Pineapple Story. The pastor of a small group of churches who is building a relationship with our church in his area, attended part of the festival. Another young man took great efforts to seek us out as a source of teaching aligned with incarnational Trinitarian theology.
New Zealand – celebrating 200 years of Christianity
- The preacher was Samuel Marsden, chaplain of the convict settlement at Port Jackson, New South Wales (now Sydney).
- Marsden became chaplain on the recommendation of William Wilberforce, famous anti-slave reformer in Britain.
- Marsden had learned the local Maori language before he arrived in New Zealand.
- On his first voyage, Marsden introduced sheep, cattle, pigs, poultry, horses, goats, dogs and cats to New Zealand, all on a single journey, a veritable “Noah’s ark” said a sailor. The Maori were amazed.
- The spread of Christianity in New Zealand is credited largely to the indigenous Maori peoples.
GCI’s Auckland pastor and office manager Rex Morgan tells the story in an article in our New Zealand church magazine, Inside Life (cover pictured above, right) found online at www.insidelife.org.nz/files/8699/InsideLife21%20200Years.pdf.
Thanks for Falam Chin literature
The Discipleship 101 course is now in print in the Falam Chin language of northern Myanmar! After being translated by GCI friend and partner Van Thawme Lian, we recently printed 2000 copies, which he shared with pastors, students at the seminary where he teaches and other interested Christians.
When someone receives rare Christian literature in their own native language, their thanks can be quite effusive. Van Thawme Lian has shared the following letter of thanks: