Here from Mission Developer Rod Matthews are updates from various places in GCI’s Southeast Asia and South Pacific regions.
In late June, Southeast Asia Senior Pastor, Wong Mein Kong, and his wife, Chew Yeng, traveled to Thailand to visit a man named Goro who leads our Karen congregation. Unable to gain permission to visit the refugee camp where the congregation is located, the group traveled to a village further north along the border with Myanmar, where several member families are living. There they conducted a Bible study with communion in the home of one of the members (pictured below). A few members who live in the camp were able to come to the house to join in the study.
The highlight of the trip to Thailand was the baptism of a young couple in a stream near the home mentioned above. These members are hoping to construct a small church building in their village since they cannot join the members in the camp. One encouraging development is that a member’s son is in seminary and will graduate at the end of the year. He is already helping Goro in his pastoral ministry.
On July 14, the Alwal Pastors Prayer Fellowship, of which our Secunderabad, India congregation is a member, conducted their monthly meeting in our church building (see the group picture below). The main message to the group was given by host, GCI Pastor Daniel Zachariah, on the subject of Pastoral Responsibility. He recounted some of the salient points that GCI had learned through our transformation and, utilizing a Trinitarian focus, challenged the pastors to ask “Who is the God that we preach?” and “Are we faithful to the scriptures and willing to be corrected?” The message was translated into the predominant local dialect by Praveen Kumar Chinta, Dan’s pastoral assistant.
The drought affecting our congregation on the island of Malekula has continued for a year now, and we are needing to provide regular food assistance for the members to supplement their meager local supplies. Thanks to a donation from the GCI Disaster Relief Fund, we purchased a 6000 liter polymer water tank, which was installed in July on a new concrete base. However, there has been no rain to fill the tank, and no water is available in the local reservoir. Until rain comes, the members collect water in bottles and containers at a river two kilometers away.
The New Zealand churches have been providing food assistance for nearly a year, and we are grateful for a donation from the Australian Mission and Emergency Fund that will help us continue this assistance over the next three months until the next cyclone season begins. Hopefully then there will be normal monsoon rains that will replenish the reservoirs and tanks, and soak the ground for the annual crops. Thank you for continuing to pray for our beleaguered members in Vanuatu.