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Vol. 11 No. 1
January/February 2007

A. Count His Blessings
B. Global Challenges
C. Global Outreach
D. In Context


A Year of Diamond Jubilee

A special DOUBLE NEW YEAR greeting to you from ECF!


     First, thank the Lord for The Year of the Boar -- the Chinese New Year to begin on February 18, 2007. I am thrilled to report that Miss Josephine Leong, (daughter of our ECF staff Ambrose Leong) has won the first prize for the New Year's Card competition sponsored by the Asian Youth Center and TV Channel 18. She received $300 from her sponsors, and the card she designed will be widely distributed during the Chinese New Year. What an honor for the 7th grader at the Alhambra Emery Park Elementary School!


Dr. Szeto with Miss Josephine Leong

     Second, thank God also for the New Year 2007 which is a very special year for ECF. We are celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the founding of Evangelize China Fellowship. Our theme is: Rich Harvest. Please join us for some of the exciting mission programs in the New Year:

2007 Theme: Rich Harvest


January
* Annual Board meeting at the ECF International Headquarters
* Distribution of 2007 special calendar

February
* Mission Team to Singapore - Presentation of Title Deed for Church Building to ECF Church in Singapore

March
* Opening Ceremony for the Primary School in Suiping, Henan, China (this is school #10 ECF has donated in China)
* Mission Team to Thailand - partner with Bethel Bible Institute

April
* Easter Celebration with New Chapel Dedication
* Dancing In the Rainbow - Fund-raising performance to support orphanages in India and in Macau

May
* ECF 60th Anniversary Celebration in Beijing and Shanghai

June
* Mission Teams to India, Cambodia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Vietnam

July
* Gospel meetings in Switzerland

August
* Celebrate the New Churches Rebuilt in Cangnan, Zhejiang and Fuding, Fujian, China (Churches #8 & #9 rebuilt by ECF)

September
* Third Anniversary Celebration of Global Communication Center and Global Rainbow Magazine
* Distribution of a new book in Chinese language

October
* Celebration with minority tribes in the three churches in Yunnan, rebuilt with love gifts from ECF; and the filming of the Kunming Church, Yunnan, China

November
* ECF 60th Anniversary Celebration Thanksgiving Banquet in Los Angeles
* Distribution of the 60th Anniversary Book

December
* Literary Conference sponsored by Friends of Global Rainbow Magazine
* Winter Conference for University Students



 
"A Chain of Love"
60 Amazing Years
(1947-2007)

Dr. Alton A. Gould
Chairman Emeritus

     The year 2007 marks the 60th Anniversary of the founding of ECF International. In 1947 Dr. Andrew Gih, seeing the plight of children orphaned by war, opened a Home of Love in Shanghai, China. From this humble beginning a Chain of Love reached down to Macau and as doors opened, vision activated, and embraced the majority of Asia's countries and reached across to North America, linking ECF families in God's love. Finally the chain returned to its birth home in China, a great link of love encompassing the majority of the countries in S.E. Asia with the vision once again activated to reach out to South America where many of its people have settled, this from ECF as a Diamond Jubilee gift of love and grace.

     The work continues to grow, bringing life and hope to children, youth and the elderly of the world. Many of the children and youth who were helped are now giving back, as adults, in lives of service. Thousands have benefited and been helped physically and spiritually in the 60 years of this sharing in love. On this ECF Anniversary Year we give thanks to God and to all who have prayed, shared and given. A Celebration of Praise is planned to be held on The Great Wall of China in May when many will give thanks for what God has done through the years and for all who have been reached with the life changing Gospel.

     Today's children are tomorrow's hope! It is our prayer that their tradition of love may continue offering care and hope as well as educational opportunity and job training to prepare for the future, impacting every life with HOPE. With love, the possibilities are endless. On this the Diamond Jubilee year ECF NEEDS YOU ... and so do they.

     I often think of Y.W.H. who wandered into a Gospel Hall several years ago. As he listened to the Word as I shared the simple truths of Christ's Grace, his heart was stirred. He opened his life to Jesus Christ. Later he said, "these are the words I heard as a little boy in China." The Word lay dormant for over 30 years, but as an adult he heard, believed, and received. This is the ministry of ECF today: To get the Word into the hands and hearts of children, youth and the elderly. "THE WORD became flesh and dwelt among us...and how can they believe unless they hear?"

     During the decade between ECF Golden Anniversary (1997) and this Anniversary Year, God has led ECF to start ministries in Viet Nam, India and Cambodia with plans, as God wills and leads, to enter South America seeking jewels to add to the Chain of Love We are praying and seeking to change our world one person at a time.

     In this journey of 60 years, ECF has experienced a RICH HARVEST. It is exciting how God has led ECF back to its origin in China. In the last decade God has allowed ECF with your help, to donate 10 schools in China, to assist and rebuild 9 churches, to begin working with the minority tribes in restoring schools and churches, as well as completing the building of a Handicapped Training Center.

     In 1949, China had only 4 million Christians. Today the number stands at about 82 million, a twenty fold increase. We give thanks to the Lord of Harvest who blessed China over the difficult years. Do you care enough to be involved? In this the Diamond Anniversary Year for ECF, IT IS TIME TO DELIVER! IT IS HARVEST TIME in our world. DON'T LET THE CHAIN OF LOVE END WITH YOU!



 


CHINA
     All three Homes for the Elderly supported by ECF in Shanghai are experiencing great blessings. A total of 121 senior citizens are most grateful for the love and support given by ECF. In addition to the Love and Joy at Christmas, 59 at Little East Gate Home and 57 at Luwan Home received from Mrs. Zhou, ECF worker in China, special healthy breakfast foods; and the 5 at Wahsan Home got new winter jackets plus healthy food.




PHILIPPINES
     Like most children around the world, the children of the ECF Children's Center in the Philippines were excited about Christmas. The kids began their Christmas holidays with the yearly Christmas card and letter writing activity. The handmade cards expressed the children's gratitude for the abundant love and support they receive year after year from their sponsors. Next, Mrs. Ditas Leonardo, ECF Staff in the Philippines, distributed new clothes and Christmas food baskets. The children's faces glowed with excitement when they received their gifts! Finally, they capped off the Holidays by attending the Christmas service and fellowship party to celebrate Jesus' birthday at Caingin Baptist Church. The sponsored children and their families send their heartfelt appreciation because through the ECF Sponsorship Ministry they had a wonderful Christmas.




MACAU
     The ECF Grace Community Chapel experienced exciting growth in 2006. Three new believers were baptized by Dr. Paul Szeto. 12 persons are now attending membership classes. Regular attendance on Sunday worship increased from 15 to 30. Thursday night prayer and Bible study meeting attracted about 10 weekly. Offering was also increased. Special ministry plans have been made to welcome the challenges of the new year.

     Over 150 people came to the Christmas Celebration of our Fellowship Orphanage in Macau on December 17. Pastor Lo gave a message on how to live an abundant life. One friend accepted Christ in this joyous meeting. The children presented a drama on “The Prodigal Son”. Many gifts were donated by individuals and companies. Each child received nine gifts for Christmas. All gave thanks to God.




USA
     Global Rainbow Readers' Club was established in December 2005. The purpose of this club is to unite those who agree with the mission of the Global Rainbow magazine which is to "Glorify God, Help Others and Edify Self."

     The club members will make efforts to recruit good writers and donors, and to help with organizing and participating in various magazine functions. They will also make constructive suggestions as to how to attract more supporters to assist financially, so that the magazine can grow and make more services available to readers.

     On December 9, 2006, a seminar was held successfully in which two speakers gave speeches in the area of physical health and reading pleasures. About 80 people attended the seminar and 10 officers were elected as the Planning Committee members of 2007. They are: Dr. Jimmy Yu, Mrs. Joanne Cheng, Ms. Shao-fen Tan, Mrs. Jane Liu, Mrs. Wei-ming Chu, Mrs. Chelsea Lord, Mrs. Ruth Yang, Mrs. Hou Faye Shiina, Mr. Chris Ho, and Ms. Tai-bi Lang.

     Mrs. Lan Woo, the Advisor of the Global Rainbow Readers' Club, along with Doris Yu, Chief Editor of the Global Rainbow magazine, Mr. John Ho, the Director of Education and Culture Foundation, and the 10 officers will meet regularly to plan 2007 activities.



 
ECF Programs on TV
     Under the leadership of Mr. John Qu, Director of ECF Global Communication Center, a special series of six TV programs has been produced. This special series focuses on China and the Chinese people around the world. Under the title “A Window to the World,” all six programs were aired on Charter Communications' Channel 56 in Los Angeles from October 6 for six weeks every Friday night at 7pm.

     GCC also produced a series of TV programs in Mandarin. “Touching Life” -- a documentary on Yanyan Li, a blind student from China who completed his doctorate studies at Palmer College of Chiropractic, is a moving story of true friendship in the struggle and success of human life. This program was aired on August 20, 2006 on the city of Changde TV, in Hunan, China.



ECF Blesses Fuller Seminary Women
Dr. Karen Kaigler-Walker

     What a privilege it was for me to develop and teach the first course in women's spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary this past fall. And what a blessing the class and I experienced in November when we gathered at the ECF retreat house in Big Bear for a weekend of community building, worship and reflection on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives

     The retreat was designed to give students the opportunity to participate in a women's retreat as well as to teach them how to develop and conduct women's retreats. Over the two days we explored and plumbed the role of God in our lives through activities such as walking meditation and artwork. We shared our personal stories and examined the often neglected role of mothers, grandmothers and other significant women in our spiritual development. Students worked in groups to create outlines for women's retreats and programs and developed wide-ranging possibilities for women to come together and experience God. One group developed a Lenten series. Another created a week-end program whereby women of various generations could come together and learn to appreciate the differences and similarities among women of all ages. Still another group designed a program for spiritual healing of victims of sexual abuse and other forms of violence against women.

     Perhaps the greatest blessing of the weekend was the chance for the participants to slow down and simply be in the company of like-minded Christians and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Many in our group hold full-time jobs, and several are mothers. By November, all were over-stressed by the demands of their studies. So, in addition to the planned activities, the students enjoyed just being away from the push and pull of their daily lives. Two students brought infant daughters, and we set up a nursery in the largest up-stairs bedroom. In no time we became a community of caretakers for Samantha and Taylor, giving their moms a chance for some much-needed R&R. This was the first retreat group I've led that made no complaints when it came time for bed.

     Each student's evaluation of the retreat included a statement of appreciation to ECF for allowing us to use the retreat house. As a member of the Board of Directors, I am grateful that ECF maintains the Big Bear house and offers it to groups such as my women's spirituality class. Like my students, we all are busy and find ourselves in need of rest. Thus, it is good to be still and know that God is God (Ps. 46:10). The ECF retreat house offers the perfect setting.





 
R.S. Carlson


     One summer, I taught English as a Second Language at a private language school. A Thai-American Buddhist colleague overheard me tell of organizing an ECF Intensive English teaching team for a teacher’s workshop in China. “I'd love to go.” she said. “That's a wonderful way to ‘make merit.’”

     ECF works in several nations where the vast majority of people would be classified as “Buddhist.” But what might that mean to me as a Christian, or to a contributor to the ECF programs that operate in the non-Christian environs? Occasionally, I read articles or a book on Buddhism to remind myself of the beliefs and practices of the tradition, and of varied emphases in Buddhism that exist. I offer next a summary which I hope does not misrepresent the belief system.

     Some five centuries before Christ, Siddhartha Gautama, born to a wealthy family in Lumbini, a town in modern-day Nepal, at age 29 left wife and child and a comfortable life to wander and learn about the purpose of life from other wandering ascetics. At age 35, meditating under a bodhi tree, he determined that one should seek enlightenment. One should recognize Four Noble Truths: 1) Life includes suffering; 2) Suffering comes from desire and disappointment; 3) The end of suffering is nirvana – an ideal rest, or harmony; 4) The way to nirvana is the Eightfold Path: Right Understanding (that life is suffering); Right Thought (rid the mind of lust, envy, hatred, etc.); Right Speech (speak truth, avoid gossip, abusive remarks, etc.; Right Action (avoid killing, stealing, immorality); Right Livelihood (avoid work involving killing people or animals, trafficking in human lives, providing alcohol or drugs, etc); Right Effort (strive for positive attitudes and actions), Right Awareness (in meditation, focusing on self-awareness in the present moment); Right Concentration (meditate on appropriate scriptures to discover the Buddha within the self and to move beyond selfish desires into ultimate compassion for others).

     Some see Buddhism as a psychological regimen, or as a philosophical system, or as a religious system for self-improvement and harmony with all others without a God intervening in human affairs.

     As Christianity has Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Quaker, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and many other branches with varying emphases on doctrines, organizational patterns, and devotional practices, so Buddhism has divisions, though individuals may be aware of only the precepts and customs of their home area. Regional influences of animism, spiritism, Confucianism, Daoism, and ancestor worship blend with veneration of particular bodisattvas (enlightened beings) and teachers.

     One sect of Tibetan Buddhism emphasizes monastic life and uses chanting, prayer flags and prayer wheels. Zen, prevalent in China and Japan, emphasizes individual meditation. The Pure Land sect holds that commitment to Amithaba Buddha ends the cycle of reincarnation for earning good karma and insures union with him in infinite light.

     But why did my friend want to “make merit?” Two basic premises in Buddhist thought are reincarnation and karma. Siddhartha Gautama believed that a person was born again and again in the material world until he or she attained sufficient enlightenment to surpass all attachment to self and material. Good or evil deeds in one life cycle , karma, affected later life (or lives). A particularly bad person might be reborn as a dog or a flea. A good person might be reborn in a more “successful” physical and spiritual status, nearer the wished-for nirvana.

     My friend, then, wished to do good deeds to advance her spiritual journey, to move nearer nirvana. She could be willing to attend church with me, saying “All faiths lead to one divine end.” She could be very supportive of Christian social service programs as good ways to “make merit,” if not for herself, for the benefit of others. But if she does not perceive a living Christ confronting her through the witness of the Holy Spirit in Christians around her, she will not come to believe that a loving God offers her, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, eternal salvation.

     In ECF programs, we work along side many who do not believe in Christ, and we pray for God to show the eternal love of Christ Jesus through us – not for or by our own merits, but through the Grace of God for the glory of the Kingdom of God.


"Be it known to you all...that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man is standing before you well...And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)


Dancing in the Rainbow 2007





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