India and Asia Report
“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen,
Who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep
them from the evil one … Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.”
It would be a good idea for each of us to keep these verses in mind as we head into the New Year. To us, 2010 is a great unknown, but God already knows every event. He has prepared the way for us and will provide for every need with perfect faithfulness and timing. What we lack the most is having faith in our faithful, heavenly Father. The power and dynamics of Pro 3:5-6 is in direct proportion to the great simplicity of the truth stated. If, with childlike simplicity and trust, we move ahead into the unknown in light of these known certainties, this year will be an amazing adventure of discovery in the infinite grace of God!
Pastors Conference, India
We thank those who prayed for our recent conference in India. We gathered at a quiet retreat center outside the city with over one hundred pastors and their wives for a time of study, singing, and fellowship. In four days, I gave an overview of the book of Revelation. The believers were very excited to learn that the book has a theme (the revelation of Christ in future history), and a simple outline (given in Rev 1:19), and that the book is not only intended to be understood, but brings blessings to those who study it (Rev 1:3).
These believers are very poor and your offerings made it possible to provide travel, food and accommodation for them. The last day, we enjoyed a Christmas celebration with them—brothers and sisters in Christ—rejoicing together in God’s greatest gift. Please continue to pray for the Family of God in India, as many face extreme hardships and growing persecutions. Especially pray for a new need that is arising in our contact’s ministry. He has recently come across many village pastors who desire to properly shepherd their flocks, but they themselves are illiterate and lacking in basic Bible understanding. Our contact is praying and seeking out opportunities to train these men in simple biblical truths in order to equip them for their own ministries. This is a great need and we ask you to support him in prayer.
Leaders Conference, Asia
Some of the countries we serve are places of intense persecution against Christians, and therefore we think it best not to mention them by name. Further, our partners there have advised us that it is best not to post their pictures, considering the fact that many countries have agents who spend their time checking Christian websites for names, pictures, etc.
Our Leaders Conference included 20 workers who came together to study the book of Titus. At the end of our time, some thanked us by saying that the teaching Nan and I gave had greatly enlightened them regarding not only biblical truth, but also in the way to conduct themselves in life and ministry. It is often commented on by people in various places that we go how rare it is to have a husband/wife team come to them. They value that fact that we both teach and strive to model not only ministry but also Christian marriage. In most countries, marriage is looked on more as an arrangement than as a living witness of Christ and His bride, the Church. We consider it a privilege to go to them as a team. Only the gracious giving and prayers of those of you who remain behind make this possible.
Papua New Guinea Bible Institute
We leave today (Jan. 3) for our annual visit to the Ese Bible Institute, which includes the graduation of the third class of students. This will be a special time, with not only Logan and Desiree Carnell joining us, but also Roger Thiele, and our contact in India, who runs the seminary there. It will be good for him to meet the principal, Pastor Michael (Aparihi) Pijai. They will compare notes on their respective schools and discuss a visit in return by Michael to the school in India.
You may remember that some of the churches in PNG have begun to give to the ministry in India. This is a tremendous step for such poor congregations. Their offerings in the past have blessed the children’s ministry in India. Just recently we received a letter from one of the congregations in PNG thanking us for the work in the Bible Institute and encouraging us with these words, “We want to share God’s blessing and love with you to extend the love of God to others. We are making a commitment here to support your ministries in (1) prayer support, and (2) an offering of 6 Kina (about two dollars) monthly.” You cannot imagine what a large offering this is for these poor congregations! What a big step of faith, as the love of Christ compels them to do what they can! Please continue to pray for them and for our ministry over the next weeks. Nan and I will be going by foot on a circuit, visiting villages we have not yet been to, scattered throughout the mountains and jungles. Pray for effective teaching, counsel, example, and protection on the trail from sickness and venomous snakes!
After our ministry in PNG we will go home via Australia. We are excited to see our son, Wil, his wife, Kris, and daughter, Ari, in Sydney. Then it’s on to Perth to visit our other son, Gavin, our daughter, Katie, and her husband, Daniel. We have invitations to do a weekend conference in Perth and catch up with our old friends from Cross Road Bible Church, who faithfully continue to support us both in prayer and offerings.
Footsteps of Paul Tour
Many of you are aware that this coming fall (Sept. 10-20) we will follow our Israel tour with a tour in the footsteps of Paul. We have already filled one bus, and still have room for 24 more participants. I encourage those who may be wavering to join us, as we were able to get amazingly low prices for the entire tour (including airfare from NYC and a four-day cruise on the Mediterranean Sea), due to our great relationship with tour guide Motti, and the hard work of Ken and Sharon Curcio. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we intend to make the most of it.
Life is an adventure, and we ought to embrace the journey. This is true all the more because we who trust in Jesus Christ are under the protection, provision, and providence of Almighty God. The problems facing this present evil world, our wayward nation, and each of us are daunting. It is essential that we keep in mind that Jesus Christ controls history, and God holds each of us in His mighty hands. The promise of Jesus that not a hair of our heads can perish (Luk 21:18) should provide all the comfort we need. The greatest summary of the Christian life is, “The just shall live by faith” (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38). Let us resolve to do just that in 2010, and all will be well with us, regardless of conditions in the world around us. Have faith, for He is faithful!
Privileged to serve,
Gene and Nan