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Vol. 10 No. 5
September/October 2006

A. Doors of Opportunity
B. Global Challenges
C. Mission Opportunities
D. In Context
E. Love in Action
F. Global Prayer Focus


 
"A BEAUTY TO BEHOLD"
Dr. Alton A. Gould
Chairman Emeritus

     Life is a wonderful precious commodity that God has given to us. I am glad that, when God made the world, He didn't stop before He had created humans. Humans are wonderful creatures. In the areas ECF International now serves live the bulk of humankind. It is a joy to minister to their needs. How loveable, especially are the children, regardless of their color, creed or culture. Each child is a creation that is "a beauty to behold" --, a beauty but with a great need; a beauty that is constantly seeking but never finding for many have yet to hear. We have heard that we too may share. Because God's love has been revealed to us, we too must reveal that love to others. People around our world hunger for this love. It is our joy to allow His love to flow through us to bless these hungering, seeking, longing, loveable people -- loveable yet lost without hope because no one cared!

     For us to love, we must learn to love as He loved. We see Him taking time to be gentle to the small children crowding about Him. He visits with the woman at the well and sparks a fire in her heart. He stoops in the sand, lowering Himself in the eyes of man, to help a fallen woman redeem her battered pride and restore some dignity to a sorry soul. It is heartwarming to think of how much time Jesus went about just being tender and gentle with people. May we, along with ECF be involved in such love and sharing.

     Life is really a wonderful blessing from God. Yet, how much tension, unrest, and warfare troubles in our world. Amid life's uncertainties, we must learn to add up our blessings, our opportunities, our possibilities. Life actually holds great things for each one of us. We read in the Bible of the marvelous things Jesus did for and through people, and rather wistfully wish that the same experiences might be ours. Through faith Christ's followers accomplished most astonishing achievements, or were rescued from 'sad plights', or gained tremendous new power over difficulties. Some may sadly say, "why can't that happen to me?" Actually, it can. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever." The simple truth is that Jesus Christ never changes. He is just the same as when He walked the roads of Galilee. He has the same love, the same kindness, the same power to change lives. He is the same restorer of courage, the same transformer of souls. Anything that He ever did for anybody throughout all history He can do today as we surrender ourselves to Him with a love and passion to share with others. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . . the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." Quite a thought isn't it?

     Jesus' life was spent in caring for peoples' physical needs as well as dying for their deeper spiritual needs. Throughout the areas in which ECF ministers, needs are many. Your interest, support and prayer for ECF are essential. In ECF ministries we have urgent need for sponsors and support for children, students and the elderly. Many are waiting for our assistance. Jesus offers many opportunities to help, to build and to evangelize. You may ask: How can I help?
    
  • Tell a friend about ECF ministries.
  • Then ask your friend to be a supporter towards the work.
  • Tell your church, family, neighbor, coworker about ECF sponsorship ministry.
  • Ask for DVDs, VHS, photos of the ongoing ministry at ECF International.

     Learn the joy of reaching out to touch some of the "untouchables" for whom Christ gave His all. Get involved in this challenging and exciting ministry. Truly it is A BEAUTY TO BEHOLD, a joy to experience and a privilege to share and be part of the ECF ministries.



 
Action of Love through English Teaching
in Shijiazhuang
     ECF was invited by the Ministry of Education of China to conduct English Conversation Summer Camps at the International School run by the Shijiazhuang 42nd Middle School in Hebei Province. Under the leadership of John Ho and Rebecca Alvidrez, the team of eight devoted two weeks in July for this program. Other team members were Deke Wilkins, Michael Howell, Gabriel Chiu and Christina Fung from the U.S. with Emily Henry and Julie Smith from the U.K.

     Three hours of classroom teaching in the morning, two hours of group activities in the afternoon and two hours of rehearsals in the evening enabled the teachers and their students to become close friends -- to share experiences with open minds. Christian friendships were established. .

     The team was touched and blessed when they visited the Hope Children's Home in Zhaoxian. It was heart warming to see orphans and needy children being cared for with devoted Christian love. May His Gospel and love be known through existing and future education and welfare programs.

By Rebecca Alvidrez
     The first couple of days in Shijiazhuang were the most difficult. Getting used to the heat, humidity, dust, and the mosquitoes constantly having a feast on my body were the least of my problems. It turned out getting into the teaching groove was the most difficult of all. There was a big language barrier between me and most of my students, but with the help of my amazing teacher's assistant Janet, that quickly faded. The students were very curious about American culture and life, and I could see how clever and intelligent they really were. Going with the students on outings such as a visit to a famous cave in Shijiazhuang helped my kids and me become more familiar with each other. Shopping with my students was a lot of fun, because we were given the chance to venture out into the city with our students as the tour guides. It gave them power and opportunity to lead. Two weeks, as exhausting as they were, were so much fun. It was a tremendously rewarding experience for me.

By Julie Smith
     The whole experience in Shijiazhuang this summer was truly amazing and eye opening. My initial worries about the trip were calmed by the warm welcome we received from the rest of the team and the officials who came to meet us at the plane. It was really good to go straight into teaching on the first full day there, and I loved every minute of it. Through class discussions I was able to learn a lot about Chinese history and culture as my class were clearly very proud of their heritage. I look back on the time I spent in China with really happy memories, I'm very grateful to everybody involved in the project.

Creative English Conversation Training
in Hangzhou
     The Education and Culture Foundation was invited by YWCA in Hangzhou in cooperation with Zhejiang Seminary in China to offer English Conversation courses to ministers and seniors and juniors in high school. ECF responded by sending two consecutive teams to fulfill this meaningful and challenging mission during the summer of 2006.

     Team A, under the leadership of Dr. Theodore Szeto included Joanna Szeto, Maureen Durso and Molly Chang who taught from July 24th to August 4th. Team B, led by Donald Merkel included Sally Merkel, Sarah Dallman, Dr. Wesley Ong and Faye Ong. They followed Team A on August 7th to the 18th. Both teams taught morning and afternoon sessions to senior and junior high students at the YWCA. The Chinese ministers were taught at Zhejiang Seminary.

Report by Joanna & Tedd Szeto -Team A
     Our summer trip to Hangzhou was much more than we bargained for! Not only were there double the number of anticipated students, but the level of English comprehension was extremely diverse. This necessitated creative lesson plans which we usually produced during the wee-hours of the morning, huddled under a blanket of prayer.

     The workload was unexpected, but so were the results of our efforts. The students speaking skills improved in leaps and bounds. Shyness turned to confidence, apprehension to joy!

     Our experience at Zhejiang Seminary was amazing. Worshipping together was an awesome opportunity because their worship was so pure ... so genuine. As we sang together in a dirty, humid classroom, we were overcome by the power of God's love and we realized worship should always be so focused --- so pure ... so real. It seems that while we were sent to Hangzhou to teach others, we were also called so that we would learn more about God from them.

Report by Maureen Durso -Team A
     Our mission to China can only be described as "awesome". The teaching experience was both challenging and rewarding. These young people were so polite and very responsive. The pastors at the seminary stole my heart. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and sharing as well as teaching. They poured blessings on me. Thank you ECF for giving me this opportunity.

Report by Faye Ong-Team B
     My husband, Wes Ong, and I felt called by God to minister to the pastors because we understood their ministry concerns and responsibilities. As it turned out, the Merkel family took on the youth classes at the YWCA while Wes and I took on the seminary students. Wes helped his students improve their conversational English through discussions on Bible content topics and church ministry issues. Halting English did not pose a barrier for these pastors and seminary instructors who readily shared their burdens and concerns for the spiritual condition of their churches and China. In both classes, we asked students to write their testimonies of how they became Christians. When they read them aloud, we felt awed by God's work in China.

Report by Don Merkel -Team B
     Once again, ECF provided me the opportunity to teach the children of Hangzhou who were attending Conversational English classes at the YWCA. It was more like a blessing than just an experience. The children in China are so willing and eager to learn that it is actually a pleasure to help them. My class group ages ranged from 17 to 21. Some were in 3rd year of high school while a few were "in the university".

     While teaching "Conversational English", we taught of how conversation itself is made up of the two "Ts". Talk and Tone are the main ingredients in good conversation. Our skits at graduation included humor and the children loved it.

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Sie Hui Church is Flourishing

     Since the church at Sie Hui was built in 2003, its Congregation has multiplied. Pastor He Er Jie became its full-time minister on August 1, 2005 working diligently and effectively.

     Not only did ECF provide financial assistance to help build the church, but it also established a Memorial Fund in honor of Dr. Lai Pan Shi for his devoted service to this local church. The fund aims to provide practical assistance to local pastors and workers.

     On July 16, 2006, a baptism was conducted by Elder Li Xi Guang. There were 200 worshippers at this momentous occasion. Rev. Lin Tian-Ci from De Xing City preached and baptized 49 new believers.

     The Sie Hui Church is truly blessed abundantly by God as more Christians are being added to its congregation week after week.



Macau Chapel Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

     July 30, 2006 was an exciting day for the ECF Grace Community Chapel in Macau. God blessed the Second Anniversary worship with a baptism service. Dr. Szeto baptized Mr. Ho Sai Wing, a young professional from China. This church is also growing in number. Praise the Lord!





 
R.S. Carlson




     In the United States, civil rights activists brought change to American society in the middle of the Twentieth Century. The segregation laws in force in many states were declared unconstitutional and were invalidated. Now, in the TwentyFirst centurty, decades after legal segregation was eliminated, much social and economic progress can be identified in African-American communities, yet in many places at many times, the legacy of the old segregated society remains engrained in the lifeways and habits of thinking of Americans of all ethnic backgrounds.

     Indian culture, likewise, remains strongly influenced by the ancient patterns established as the Aryans began moving into the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BC, conquering the Dravidian and other cultural groups already established. Different sources offering differing explanations of the ways the system of castes were outgrowths of ancient Hindu religious premises. Some contend that, early on, the warrior class was dominant but, after a period of contention, the warrior class lost a struggle for dominance with the priestly class. For nearly two millennia, however, five major "castes" were identifiable in the culture - the Brahmin, the Kshatriya, the Vaishya, the Shudra, and the Harijan - long known to English-speakers as the "Untouchables."

     The Brahmins were - and are - Hindu priests, teachers and judges. They commonly expect and receive the respect and deference rendered the top members of society.

     Next in status are the Kshatriya - the landowners, and farmers whose labors sustain society by supplying food and the warriors who protect society.

     The Vaishya are the class of shopkeepers who sell products such as vegetables or pots and pans. Larger, yet lower is the Shudra caste, whose members sell services - carpenters, cabinet makers, sculptors of Hindu gods used in festivals, gardeners, laundry workers or "washermen", potters, barbers ... the list includes hundreds of service occupations.

     The "outcaste" or Untouchables in the traditional system included those who cleaned up the waste of people and animals, or whose trade brought them in contact with dead bodies - animal or human. For example, those who tanned animal skins to produce leather, or who produced bags or shoes or other articles from leather ranked among the outcastes, as did people from minority tribal groups, and adherents of religions other than Hinduism.

     Mahatma Ghandi renamed the Untouchables "Harijan" or God's Children, and the term held for decades. More recently, members of the traditional outcaste groups have chosen to be termed "Dalit" - the oppressed. While, officially, the caste system in India has been outlawed, the lifeways of very many are still closely shaped by the traditional social divisions and their many, many subdivisions.

     Politically, while the numerous religious groups in India have religious freedom under the constitution, several of the Indian states have passed laws to control religious conversions. Christians and Muslims in certain places express concern that the "conversion laws" are emplaced to discourage departures from Hinduism and to prompt those who have converted to other faiths to return to Hinduism. Thus, the dominance of ancient traditions about each individual's "place in life" still shapes the thinking and lifestyles of many millions of people, even as the growth of urban, industrial and technological developments bring more openness to change to the society.

     ECF International contributes to the support of children at the Grace Home in Guntur, southeast of Hyderabad. To sponsor a child in India, contact Kate Reyes at ECF headquarters in Monterey Park, CA.

     For additional information sources on the internet, begin with http://indiaimage.nic.in/ and http://indiansaga.com/languages/index.html





 

CHINA


Our Foundation donated school clothing to the children's Home in Xian, China. Ms. Sung presented the special gift on June 1, 2006.

PHILIPPINES


The children in the ECF Center organized a Gospel Acting Program for outreach.

USA


Miss Sinleng Tong of ECF Macau Orphanage, recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Youth Award, shared her story with the ECF Board at the Headquarters.

ECF TV SERIES







We are in urgent need of 25 new sponsors in 2006.
If you want to help a needy child, become a sponsor and touch a life with God's love.
Please contact Kate Reyes at the ECF Headquarters.


 
Please pray for Dr. Szeto and the ECF Team

September
17     Chinese Church of the Nazarene, Upland, CA

24     Chinese Evangelical Free Church, Monterey Park, CA

28-29     Board of Trustees, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA

October
8     Chinese Zion Baptist Church, Eagle Rock, CA

15     Bread of Life Church, Torrance, CA

16-27     ECF Team to China, Hong Kong & Macau

November
3-6     Chinese Baptist Church, 110th Anniversary Celebration & Mission Conference, Seattle, WA

December
10     Chinese Zion Baptist Church, Eagle Rock, CA

15-16    ECF Executive Council Meeting, Monterey Park, CA

28-30     ECF University Student Winter Retreat, Big Bear Lake, CA




Ms. C.Y. Wang, former Superintendent of ECF Macau Orphanage died on August 5, 2006. She had served the Lord at the orphanage for 30 some years. Dr. Szeto visited her at the hospital in Hong Kong on July 31 and prayed together with her and some relatives. A memorial book will be published by the graduates of the ECF Orphanage.


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