Mission Developer Rod Matthews reports on developments in Southern Asia and the South Pacific.
Vanuatu: drought ended
We are delighted to report the end of the very long drought on the island of Malekula in Vanuatu (where the GCI congregation is located). The water tank is now full and crops are growing! Thank you for your prayers for our members at Rory. They are most appreciative of the help provided by GCI churches in New Zealand, the U.S. and Australia to help them purchase rice and other foodstuffs and ship it in from other islands during this prolonged, difficult time.
India: mission trip
GCI’s congregation in Hyderabad conducted a mission trip to Gudivada in February. Led by Senior Pastor Dan Zachariah and accompanied by Sanjeeva Rao and Praveen, it started with an overnight train trip of about eight hours. The mission team spent half the first day in Gudivada discussing Trinitarian theology with Pastor Joseph Usala who serves the pastoral needs of about 100 people. That evening a gospel meeting was conducted for about 30 people in nearby Nandiwada, a village where Pastor Joseph runs an educational center serving the needs of about 20 children who come in five times a week to be helped with their studies. Prayers were held for those struggling with various life issues. A seminar was later held for about 20 pastors (pictured below) on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Video highlights of the mission trip are available at https://youtu.be/QcUissCsJG8.
New Zealand: refresher weekend
In February, 40 GCI members (pictured below) attended a refresher weekend in Waikanae, NZ. The weekend began with a formal Maori welcome, followed by a magnificent banquet-like supper. In teaching sessions, Kerry Gubb expounded on Philippians 2:5-9, focusing on the way Jesus emptied himself of his rights of deity, and exploring how that might play out in our life of becoming Christ-like.
The refresher weekend included a meeting of the NZ Board and Pastoral Team. The Board marked the retirement of Maureen MacDonald, a Trustee since 2002, and member of the National Advisory Council before that. Rex Morgan commented that her wise input and diligent service are greatly appreciated, and the NZ churches owe her a debt of gratitude. One of the main reasons for Maureen’s retirement was to enable the younger generation to be more involved, and the Board was pleased to welcome Jocelyn Best as a new Trustee.
Myanmar: pastoral conference, pastor’s wedding
Southeast Asian Senior Pastor Wong Mein Kong, his wife Chew Yeng, along with Rod Matthews and his wife Ruth (all pictured below) recently travelled to the village of Matupi in western Myanmar. Matupi is the center of the area populated by the Matu Chin people. GCI has a congregation in Matupi and six others in villages in the surrounding region, totaling over 300 people who came into GCI as a collective decision of the elders led by Pastor Chan Thleng that was then confirmed by the members of the congregations involved.
Chan Thleng had requested that GCI conduct a conference in Matupi for the pastors of these congregations. No GCI personnel from outside Myanmar had been to Matupi before. The travelling group felt immensely privileged to visit the home area of these wonderful people and to meet with the pastors (pictured below). During the conference, brief messages were given by Rod and Mein Kong, followed by a lengthy question and answer session with the area pastors. The conference ended with a communion service followed by the commissioning of the area pastors and church planters as they serve under the guidance of our GCI fellowship.
The conference included the wedding of Chan Thleng to Lydia (pictured below). She is the daughter of the pastor of another church. The wedding had been scheduled for this weekend so that international guests could participate. Rod and Mein Kong officiated, with about 200 people attending.