It has been some time since we have done a mission report, so we are going to try to catch you up on what your prayers and support have allowed us to do this year. We will make it short and sweet!
In April, we returned to Nagaland to visit the Bethel Children’s Home as well as Kihoto Theological College (KTC).
The children’s home is thriving, with 16 beautiful girls at present. They are so well cared for; well fed, getting a good education, and growing in the Lord. Please continue to pray for Pastor Throngji, his family, and team of helpers as they minister God’s love to these girls.
The Kihoto Theological College sits high in the mountains of Nagaland, looking East toward the border of Myanmar (formerly, Burma). The attendance at the school is still down, due both to the continued effects of pandemic policies and the general poverty of the population. We were told that many students want to attend, but cannot afford even the cost of their food during a semester.
In response to this need, Basic Training Bible Ministries has committed to take on the support of several new students: seven will be full-time support, and six will be half-support. We ask you to pray for these students, that they will excel in their studies, and that they will be sensitive to God’s leading in their life-ministry.
I was asked to speak at the graduation exercises, which saw 17 students complete their course of study at the school. It was a big day, as many family and friends travelled for hours to be present. It was a privilege to challenge these students from 2 Corinthians 5:14–21 regarding the heart and the mind of Christ: the heart of a shepherd, the heart of a servant, the heart of a doctor, the heart of a minister, the heart of the messenger (this message is posted on our website: CLICK HERE TO LISTEN).
After the graduation, we traveled several hours on treacherous mountain roads to a very remote village, where a new church is being built for the people of the village. The young pastor of this church was a former graduate from KTC, where I also was privileged to address the graduates. This young man volunteered, not to go to a place of comfort, but rather to a remote village (the “road” to this village has only existed for one year), where he could teach and serve the people. The church being built is courtesy of your gracious gifts and offerings, which we were able to share with this village. In Nagaland, the pride of every village is their church, which they build on the highest point of the village, if possible. This church sits on a ridgeline that drops away hundreds of feet to the valley below. The scenery is spectacular, but more beautiful still are the precious people who live in these remote places.
Nan and I were able to do something we have long desired to do: host a marriage seminar and to present what God’s Word has to say about marriage. We taught from the book of Ruth: Nan taught the passages relating to Ruth, and I taught those passages relating to Boaz. In addition to the Bible classes, we had some fun with the couples doing some “team-building” games, which everyone greatly enjoyed. In our final session, we actually encouraged husbands and wives to sit together. This was very unusual for them as, normally, men sit on one side of the church, and women sit on the other. It was humorous to watch their initial reluctance, the men waiting for the women to move to their side, and the women waiting for the men to move to their side! Finally, after much hesitation and even embarrassment, they sat together as couples. Mission accomplished!
The day after the seminar, we were sitting in the pastor’s “kitchen” (usually a separate building used for storage, cooking, and general gathering around the fire). A man who had attended the seminar with his wife came in and sat down. He told us how he had been a drunkard, and had been very harsh to his wife. He would sleep in late while she cared for their many children. He said, “This morning, I woke up very early. I got up and prepared a big breakfast for my wife and children. She was so surprised! I think I will do this often.” He then said, “We never knew before how husbands and wives were to live together, and be kind to each other, like we learned from the story of Ruth.”
It is always a great joy for us to return to Nagaland, and we plan to go back in late August. This will be a special journey (it is always a very long journey), because our granddaughter, Emilee, and her friend Kyla will be coming with us. Both of these young ladies are interested in mission work, and this will be their on-the-field introduction. Nan and the girls will stay at the orphanage and minister to the children while I go to Kihoto to teach the students; and from there to a church dedication and pastor’s conference in one of the villages.
When we are finished in Nagaland we will return to Southern India for a pastors/wives conference. We appreciate your prayers and support for this upcoming mission.
“Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, who send out freely
the feet of the ox and the donkey.” Isaiah 32:20
Thank you for so freely sending us out—we’ll let you decide who’s the ox and who’s the donkey!
Thankful to be your burden bearers,
Gene, Nan, and the BTBM team