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Vol. 11 No. 2
March/April 2007

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


A Year of Diamond Jubilee
2007 Theme: Rich Harvest

To God Be The Glory

     Since 1980, the ECF Headquarters Board adopted a new policy not to become a small denomination, but to empower each local congregation to attain full autonomy by turning over local properties for self control. Several churches in Asia were able to sell the small and old property and build a larger and new church.
     Due to various governmental complications, the property in Singapore took much longer to complete the title transfer. This exciting event finally happened on Feb. 11, 2007 when Dr. Harold Lane and Dr. Paul Szeto signed the papers donating the Singapore property to the ECF Holy Word Church. Dr. Szeto preached on the topic “Rich Harvest” encouraging this growing congregation to move ahead with God's rich blessings and to create a better future for the younger generation in Singapore.


Signing Ceremony for Property donation in Singapore


Please Pray for Dr. Paul Szeto
and the ECF Worldwide Ministries

January
15 Alhambra--ECF Staff Retreat
18-20 Dana Point--Board of Trustees Retreat, Azusa Pacific University
26-27 Monterey Park--ECF Annual Board meetings

February
3-4 Pensacola--Mission Conference, Brownsville Assembly of God
9 Hong Kong--The Messengers of Life Board
11-13 Singapore--Property presentation to ECF Holy Word Church
14 Macau--ECF Orphanage and Grace Community Chapel
15 Hong Kong--Education & Culture Foundation Board

March
4 Monterey Park--ECF International Chapel
11 Eagle Rock--Zion Chinese Baptist Church
18 Monterey Park--Chinese Evangelical Free Church
31 Monterey Park--Woodbury University Students China Orientation

April
1 Monterey Park--ECF International Chapel
8 Monterey Park--ECF International Chapel Dedication
15 San Gabriel--“Dancing In the Rainbow,” a fund raising concert performed by Linda Lai’s Dancing Studio

May
5 Azusa--APU Graduation Ceremony
13 Monterey Park--ECF International Chapel first baptism ceremony
25-27 Beijing--The 8th ECF International Council meeting
28-30 Shanghai--The 60th Anniversary Celebration of ECF

June
3 Macau--Ordination service for Mr. Eddie Chan
10 Eagle Rock--Zion Chinese Baptist Church
29-Jul.10 Switzerland-- Gospel meetings arranged by Rev. Ulrich Obrist



 
Opening the Door of Faith to Our World

Dr. Alton A. Gould
Chairman Emeritus

     In this ECF's year of jubilee we must reach out expecting a RICH HARVEST as we open the door of faith to the world (Acts 14). In Psalm 46:1O (LB), the Psalmist wrote, “Know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation in the world”. We may find it difficult to believe this, but God said it will happen. The challenge of accomplishing the task seems overwhelming and beyond all possibility. Humanly it seems inconceivable to think of reaching every nation with a clear witness of Jesus Christ. Events in our world today cause one to wonder how God's plan can ever be accomplished.

     Often we are prone to look through the lens of our own resources and abilities. God doesn't expect us to accomplish the impossible. He simply asks that we trust Him to equip us to accomplish His purpose. What seems impossible to us is possible with God. In our search for the impossible, we must not forget God's harvest principle. Plowing, seedtime and growth take time before the full harvest is ready. For sixty years, ECF has been doing this. In this, the Year of Jubilee, it is time for harvest: “A RICH HARVEST!”

     Until every nation is adequately reached with the Gospel, God continues to call people who will commit to pray, plow and plant and give for however long it takes to see the work accomplished. Revelations 7:9-10 tells us what our vision is. “I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from all nations and languages, standing before the Lamb and shouting salvation comes from God and from the Lamb.” ECF and our supporters and workers must be engaged in the global mission of Jesus Christ by praying, giving and sharing. ECF's mission is to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ to the spiritually lost in all areas through every available means; to touch poor and suffering people with the compassion of Jesus Christ, inviting them to become His followers. Dare we with a fresh sense of trembling expectation ask for and expect a Christ-exalting, global harvest beyond anything ECF has ever seen during the past 60 years?

     In many areas India and Bangladesh, naked, undernourished children lie on the street as throngs pass by. In the dumps of Manila, waves of hungry youngsters search feverishly for scraps of food while the unconcerned take no notice. In Cambodia and Thailand, girls as young as 8 are bought and sold for service as prostitutes, to be discarded as useless when spent. All across S.E. Asia where ECF ministers such scenarios are replayed in variations. Perhaps some parents are heartless, but most have few options. Regardless, it is the children who suffer. Many factors make the buying, selling and smuggling of people a most profitable illegal business. It is estimated that 1 million are smuggled and sold each year, half just minors destined for a life of hardship, deprivation, misery and often terror and death.

     Every human born into this world, regardless of race, color or creed still has the image of God, which is the reason God directs us to respect and care for humankind, “for in the Image of God He made man” (Gen. 9:6).

     During this ECF's Diamond Jubilee year, the mission continues as a call from the Founder Andrew Gih to proclaim the message that God loves the peoples of this world and that to reach our world we must preach Christ and Him crucified. Dare we with a fresh sense expectation ask for and expect a Christ-exalting, global Harvest beyond anything ECF has ever seen? Let us expect A RICH HARVEST as together we OPEN THE DOOR OF FAITH TO OUR WORLD.



 


CHINA

Love Gift to Nanjing Union Theological Seminary
     On the Friday evening of February 9, 2007, Dr. and Mrs. Paul Szeto together with Dr. and Mrs. Harold Lane met with Presbyter Jian-Hong Ji, Rev. Penny Peng Wang and other professors of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary at Hill Top Restaurant in Hong Kong under the arrangement of Dr. Lung-Kwong Lo, President of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The main purpose of this meeting was to present a love gift of US$32,500 on behalf of the Education and Culture Foundation to Nanjing Union Theological Seminary for its new building and the computerization of their library systems.
     There has been a close tie between the Education and Culture Foundation and Nanjing Union Theological Seminary since 2002. In August of 2002, the Foundation sponsored twenty professors and ministers of the Seminary to come to ECF's Big Bear Retreat House for a week of creative English conversation training. Mrs. Szeto has also assisted in equipping software and hardware for the Seminary's library computerization project. Professors of the Seminary have been trained at Azusa Pacific University in library system upgrading. In March of 2006, Dr. Paul Szeto, President of ECF and Trustee of Azusa Pacific University, led five administrators of A.P.U. to the Seminary in an official donation of 1,500 copies of Dr. Gerald Wilson's collection to promote cultural exchange and academic co-operation between the two schools. The love gift delivered to the Seminary this February in Hong Kong bears a definite meaning in reinforcing the development of theological education in China.




THAILAND
Graduates Moves to the Fields with Faith and Courage
     Mr. Min Szeto, ECF Ministry Consultant, together with Mr. Eddie Chen, ECF Coordinator in Asia, were invited to attend the Graduation Ceremony at the Bethel Bible Institute in Thailand on March 17. Mr. Szeto encouraged the 19 graduates to go into the fields with faith and courage. Being a computer expert, he also assisted the staff and faculty in expanding the automation services in the library.




CAMBODIA
A Little Congregation with Great Dreams for Growth
     Later, they went to Cambodia. With the help of Dr. Andrew Kwong at the Phnom Penh Bible School, they met with leaders of the Faith In Christ Church to discuss future expansion of this growing church. ECF has been helping this church to reach many young people through the computer training center established by the church with help coming from ECF. The immediate goal for the church is to purchase a piece of land and to build a place for worship and for training.


USA
Establishment of the "Professor Dorcas Szeto Ministerial Scholarship" in Sihui
     In the early morning of February 4, 2007, Mrs. Dorcas Szeto together with Eddie Chan and Ms. Ping-mui Yu, co-workers at Macau Orphanage, left Kowloon, Hong Kong for Sihui, Guangdong to visit the church in Mrs. Szeto's home town. They were greeted by Mr. Hee-kwong Lee, Sihui Church Moderator, upon arrival and shared the joy of meeting more than twenty people who accepted Christ as their personal Savior at the evangelistic rally the night before.

     Though Mrs. Szeto's team did not make it to the Sunday morning service, they were deeply touched as they witnessed the new believers' enthusiasm in staying on after worship to receive Biblical training. This is indeed a fast growing church in the region. To establish a Ministerial Scholarship to train ministers for this locale is a timely necessity.

     On behalf of the Education and Culture Foundation, Mrs. Szeto donated and presented the scholarship to the church's first recipient, Miss Mui-Ying Lau. Miss Lau is a devoted Christian and has been serving the Church as a volunteer for two years. She has recently committed herself to God's calling to enter into full time ministry. She is willing to quit her job for seminary studies and has decided to return to Sihui Church to serve in the Women and Youth Departments upon graduation. Let's remember Miss Lau in our prayers.





The Ideal ECF Workforce
     This year ECF celebrates its 60th anniversary. The ECF Board has planned a series of programs around the world to celebrate and give thanks to God for His blessings over all these years. The theme, “Rich Harvest,” was adopted to enhance the challenge of the Great Commission. Under the leadership of Dr. Paul Szeto, President and General Director, all staff participated in a Planning Retreat on January 15, 2007 at Almansor Court, Alhambra, to share vision and iron out steps toward accomplishing the goals with team spirit.

     At the morning devotion, Min Szeto, ECF Computer Consultant and Web Master, shared from Romans chapter 6, focusing on the sacrifice of Christ. Our devoted service in His ministry is an act of thanksgiving to His salvation to mankind. Though some of the dream targets may not be achieved completely due to lack of sufficient manpower and financial support, every ECF staff definitely has a worldwide scope in mind when promoting programs and projects which will glorify God, bring blessings to others and edify one's self.



 
Past, Present and Future
Mrs. Mary Jean Gano
Board Member
     We are gathered today with the special privilege of planning the ministry of ECF international at an auspicious time in its history, and we certainly need to begin by acknowledging the purpose and power which sustains us in this endeavor. As long as we begin with the premise that God is to be praised by what we do and say, we have hope of accomplishing significant good for His Kingdom.

     An anniversary celebration provides three time elements as we ponder the occasion. They are Past, Present and Future. Most of us do not know the people of sixty years ago who probably didn't envision what ECF has grown to be today. Yet, they faithfully and courageously invested their lives in the purpose which still guides us today—to bring the love and caring of Christ to those who need it, in whatever way it takes. We have been blessed by these people and challenged by their fore sight in many ways. For half of that time the Szeto family has been at the center of the many projects and plans which have grown to the organization, ECF International, which we represent now. We thank them and all the unnamed, yet remembered, leaders for that dedication now.

     Those of the past could hardly have imagined what we are doing in these days. Look in the plans in the folders we have received! Notice the facilities we are using here at headquarters! We stand on the shoulders of those people, as they say. The involvement of people from Europe, Asia and the U.S./Canada has encouraged and supported the growth of the work in many counties.

     The present, with those of us involved in the greatly expanded program which we noted last night (it took both sides of the page) challenges us to be faithful in our stewardship of our time and money so that opportunities of service which can open doors for Christian witness will not be missed.

     The occasions when we are together are always happy ones. I'm sure that is because of the hard work of the staff here as well as the careful and creative planning of the executive leadership. Words like “vision” or forward looking” come to mind. We, who are not daily involved, arrive at the headquarters with the table set, the agenda arranged, a feast waiting with choices of many delicious foods and drink, but more than that, the warm welcome of friends and co-workers. When we are fortunate enough to join one of the trips overseas to visit some of the projects ECF sponsors or assists; again, we are welcomed by friends and coworkers. There is a common bond based on the love which God has given us and Christ has directed and planned for us to share.

     The ability to recognize the potential of people with which the organization comes in contact is a significant part of the preparation for the future. Do we know what that will be? Of course, we cannot be sure of what God has in store for the organization. What we can depend on is God's guidance as we continue to do our best with what we have and remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is not our responsibility to map a road we have not seen. It is our responsibility to follow the step-by-step unfolding of God's purpose for the organization.

     We succeed in the future by boldly holding to our faith and prayerfully acknowledging the gifts which have been given to each member of ECF International. God's blessing be on all who join us in these endeavors.


Mrs. Mary Jean Gano(2nd from left front) and ECF Board Members




 
Viet Nam: Some History and Government
R.S. Carlson


     With a history of more than 4000 years in Southeast Asia, the nation now known as Viet Nam has had many incarnations over the millennia. The culture has absorbed much from Chinese culture. For about a thousand years, the educated Mandarin class of the Viet Namese used a writing system, Chu Nom, adapted from the Chinese character system, combining characters representing Viet Namese pronunciation of words with characters representing the word meanings.

     In the 19th century, a writing system adapted from the Roman alphabet was established as the “national” writing system, and only a few dozen scholars can currently read the old Nom script. With the more easily taught “Quoc Ngu,” widespread literacy was achieved in the twentieth century, and Viet Nam now competes with its Asian neighbors for development in high technology. Some production facilities moved from Western nations to Taiwan, Korea and China, have been attracted yet again into Viet Nam, out of the other “tiger” economies.

     While many Westerners may think first of combat scenes and refugees on hearing the name “Viet Nam,” by now, 75% of the population of more than 84,000,000 has been born since the end of the warfare in 1975. Given the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late twentieth century, and neighboring China's shift from a government-controlled economy to a “socialist market” economy, Viet Nam in its “Doi Moi” or renovation program has likewise moved from business by government agencies and peoples' cooperatives, to more and more business by private enterprises. Modern Viet Nam, rural and urban, looks to the future, to expanding business and industry.

     The government of Viet Nam includes a National Assembly of 498 representatives, a president, vice president, a premier and vice premier. The assembly is elected every five years, and the representatives elect the executive officers from within the body. The Communist Party is the sole recognized political party, and the majority of candidates for the National Assembly are party members, though in recent elections, the party has approved some candidates outside its membership. The legal system reflects a mix of communist and French legal patterns, though adaptations continue to be made as international trade and internal business processes demand definition of property rights and banking practices that mesh with those of other nations.

     While ethnic Viet Namese are the majority population, the government's 1999 census includes almost 9,000,000 ethnic Chinese, and many other minorities. The government recognizes 54 distinct ethnic groups. Academic sources, identifying languages besides Viet Namese spoken in the country, count 101 other languages or dialects in use – Cantonese, Cambodian, Hmong, Akha, Bru, Bahnar, Jarai, Cham, Tai, Thai Dam, and more. Minority tribes mainly live in the Central Highlands, and in the western border areas.

     In 1999, ECF contributed to the construction of a well and water distribution system to a small school district in Dong Nai, near Ho Chi Minh City. This year, we look to establish additional contacts and initiate other projects to benefit the children of Viet Nam.








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