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Vol. 11 No. 3
May/June 2007

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


A Year of Diamond Jubilee
2007 Theme: Rich Harvest

Seven New Believers were Baptized

     April 8, 2007 was a wonderful time for 65 worshippers who came to the Easter Service with the Dedication of our new ECF International Chapel. Mr. David Gong and Mr. Li Kwok, our ministers in-charge led the congregation in wonderful singing with Ms. Kate Liu at the piano. Dr. Harold Lane gave an inspiring message. Dr. Paul Szeto officiated the Dedication Ceremony with 8 committed Founding Members and 7 new believers. On Mother’s Day (May 13), God led 96 worshippers who came from near and far to the beautiful sanctuary of the First Baptist Church in Pasadena for the historic baptism of 7 new Christians. Dr. Nathan Yeh shared a message on love. Special music included: a spiritual duet by Dr. and Mrs. Tedd Szeto; a classical number by Mr. Jay Yang and Ms. Xiao-zhen Tian; and a Chinese folk song by Bethany Yew and her 5 year old brother Josiah. Dr. Szeto also officiated the child dedication for Franklin Qu after his parents John and Jane Qu were baptized at this glorious service. Beautiful flowers were presented to all the mothers and all enjoyed a simple luncheon at the Outdoor Church Park.




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

May
13 Pasadena -- ECF International Chapel first baptism worship service
17-18 Azusa -- APU Board of Trustees
25-27 Beijing -- The 8th ECF International Council meeting
28-30 Shanghai -- The 60th Anniversary Celebration for the Founding of ECF

June
3 Macau -- Ordination service for Mr. Eddie Chan and baptism for 5 new believers at the ECF Grace Community Chapel
10 Eagle Rock -- Zion Chinese Baptist Church
17 Monterey Park -- ECF International Chapel
29 Austria and Switzerland -- Dr. Paul Szeto and Dr. Nathan Yeh will conduct meetings in Vienna, Austria.

July
2-3 Meetings in Steye, Austria
4 Meeting in Salzburg, Austria
6 Meeting in Muttenz, Switzerland
8 Meeting in Wettingen, Switzerland
9 Return to Los Angeles
21 Monterey Park -- ECF Executive Council



 
"Everyday People" Change the World

Dr. Alton A. Gould
Chairman Emeritus

     "Everyday people" do God's work and build His Kingdom together! We are not involved in world evangelism simply because we are Christian. We are involved simply because we are Christian. As Christians we cannot support or ignore missions according to personal whim or desire. As Christians, it is our responsibility to reach this generation with the Gospel in this generation. How can such a task be accomplished? When every Christian realizes their full duty to reach its world.

     Some may ask, "what can I do to reach my world?" The answer is to become involved in the great world mission. A mission is made up of people -- people like Samuel Kho who ministers in Thailand, and Lillian who faithfully serves in Myanmar. But a mission is also made up of people like Mrs. W. who has lovingly and faithfully supported missions with her gifts to support children, and Grandma B. who, though elderly, writes and tells that she is praying daily for the work and the workers, especially the aged in the homes the Elderly and by like you who have stood by ECF for so many years with your prayers and support. Every day people? Yes, but common folk who Care and Share.

     We are all in this job together. Workers, prayer partners, and donors -- we work together helping to reach the whole world. Today His Will is ours to do, and we can be in the center of His Will for our lives. Jesus taught us to pray “THY WILL BE DONE...THY KINGDOM COME”....building His Kingdom Together!

     We look to the future, uncertain what it may bring, but with confidence that, as we together work with the purpose to make Christ known, Jesus Christ will open our eyes to see the needs of people: to see people as God sees them. God’s love comes to us and through us, a "love that is willing to get its hands dirty, to be identified with the problems of the poor, the hungry, the burdened, the needy, the illiterate. We need to see with the eyes of Jesus Christ and to act." The work of ECF in our world challenges us to stay focused, to see the needs, the possibilities for service, and then to expand as God calls and directs. Visiting the different fields opens one’s eyes to the harvest that faces ECF and waits to be gleaned. Children of tomorrow live with a great need today! Because of love, we want to give some of them back their lives. Where the elderly eke out a bare existence, without hope, we want to give hope for peaceful existence in this life and assurance for eternal life. The children in the orphanages are the lucky ones, fully alive, vibrant, the leaders of tomorrow ... proof that an investment in a child pays healthy dividends... But what of the others? In our world today there are millions facing a life of hunger, fear and loneliness. What we do for them today will probably decide what their and our world will be like tomorrow. With love, the possibilities are endless as we Build His Kingdom together!

     Join with us praying that God will enable ECF to be more faithful and efficient Christ—bearers in carrying the children across the waters of childhood and adolescence which will confront them. Believing prayer can and will make the difference in multitudes of boys and girls, youth and the elderly receiving the Gospel of Salvation. It is the joy and privilege of ECF to explore ways and means whereby more children, students and "oldsters" who are "nobody's child," the forgotten youth, the neglected grandparent, may have shelter, food, clothing, comfort, education and, most precious of all, faith sowed in and with love. Pray with us that, as ECF shares and ministers with them, the many children and youth, the elderly in all parts of China and S.E. Asia, of many races, cultures and backgrounds, that they, too, may have an opportunity to receive the Light of the Gospel.

     Annie Johnson Flint in one of her poems expresses the ministry and need so vividly:-"Three things the Master hath you to do, And we who serve Him here below, and long to see His Kingdom come-may Pray or Give or Go…He needs them all--the OPEN HAND, the WILLING FEET, the PRAYING HEART; to work together and to weave a three-fold cord that shall not part… pray that the gold-filled hands may GIVE to arm the others for the fray; that those who hear the call may GO and PRAY that other hearts may Pray!"

     "God uses everyday people, to change the world and God uses people to reach people"



 


INDIA

Grace Home celebrates its 20th Anniversary
     This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Grace Home in India which first opened its doors on May 1, 1987. Home to 110 children, the Orphanage is managed by Pastor & Mrs. Samuel Dumpala and staff. The Agape Institute of Multimedia continues to flourish in Guntur. Many young people come to the computer classes to learn a skill that may help them secure a job in the future.




PHILIPPINES
Five sponsored children celebrate Graduation
     Warmest congratulations to five sponsored children (James, Joan, Carl, Mark, & Dianara) who graduated from elementary and high school. The graduates received a gift from ECF which they used to pay for their graduation fees. Also, ten sponsored children received awards and class honors. The children and their parents are grateful to ECF and the sponsors because through the Sponsorship Ministry the children can have a good education and a brighter future.




USA
"Dancing in the Rainbow"
Receives $25,468.65 in Donations
for ECF Fellowship Orphanage in Macau
and Grace Children's Home in Guntur, India
     In view of the urgent needs of the ECF Fellowship Orphanage in Macau and Grace Children’s Home in Guntur, India, the Education and Culture Foundation invited the Linda Lai’s Chinese Folk Dance Studio to perform at a charitable event on April 15th at San Gabriel Civic Auditorium. The auditorium was fully packed with over 1,200 in the audience and an amount of $25,468.65 was received.

     Mayors of the City of Alhambra and the City of Cerritos together with Council member of the City of Walnut were among the dignitaries. The Dance Studio performed sixteen dance numbers, including dances from China, Korea and Europe. Modern dances and a Cantonese Opera were also staged. Besides accomplishing our charitable goal, the event has also created an important platform for the promotion of cultural awareness in our multi racial community.


USA
GCC produces “Touching Lives with Love”
Sponsorship Video
     Through the years, many have partnered with ECF through its ECF Sponsorship Ministry. However, more supporters are needed to stand prayerfully and financially for the children in the Orphanages of Macau and India and at the ECF Children Center in the Philippines and for the training of Bible students at the Bethel Bible Institute in Thailand. Thus, the ECF Global Communication Center has produced a 10-minute DVD entitled “Touching Lives with Love” to showcase the opportunities available to share in the lives of the children and students. If you would like to be a part of this wonderful ministry and want to receive the DVD, free of charge, contact ECF International by sending an email to info@ecfusa.org.





 
ECF Blesses Woodbury University's International Business Study Program
Dr. Karen Kaigler-Walker
ECF Corporate Treasurer
     At a lunch hosted by Woodbury University president Dr. Kenneth Nielsen, Dr. Paul Szeto presented a check for $20,000 to Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Andre van Niekerk, Dean of the School of Business. The donation will establish the School of Business International Study Program and will be used to support eighteen students and two faculty who will travel to China in May.

     Woodbury University is a minority-majority campus that attracts many low-income, first generation college students from families where English is not the primary language spoken at home. Such students are less likely than college students from middle- and upper-income families to have the financial means to study abroad. The ECF donation will provide these business students the opportunity to study Chinese culture and business in China.

     The students will experience one-week of intensive language and cultural studies at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou as well as participate in field trips to local Hangzhou businesses such as the Zhengda Qingchunbao Pharmaceutics Co, Ltd. and the Wahah Coca Cola Factory. They also will travel to Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Of special interest will be lectures in Beijing at the United Nations Development Program and the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchange. By special permission, the group will visit the Shanghai Stock Exchange, an organization that has been closed to visitors since 2003.

     To ensure that the best and brightest students would have the opportunity to participate in the program, they competed for the eighteen slots. Each student was required to have taken certain pre-requisite business courses, have a high G.P.A., get a recommendation from a member of the business faculty and write two essays. The chosen students reflect the various majors in the School of Business including marketing, international business, management, finance and IT. The group will be accompanied by Dean Andre van Niekerk, Professor Bud Walker and Dr. Karen Kaigler-Walker, Chair of the Department of Marketing, and Corporate Treasurer of ECF.

     In preparation for the trip, ECF hosted the students and faculty for a one-day retreat at the ECF headquarters. Students spent the day learning about Chinese customs, learning a few key Chinese phrases, preparing for international travel and experiencing authentic Chinese food at a restaurant in Monterey Park.






 
Viet Nam
R.S. Carlson


     In 1999, the Education and Culture Foundation funded a well drilling and a water distribution system for a small school district in Dong Nai, some distance from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). This summer, ECF is pursuing new contacts in Viet Nam, and IN CONTEXT for this issue focuses on Hoa Hao Buddhism, a religious movement which originated in Viet Nam in the Twentieth Century.

     Theravada Buddhism, discussed in a previous column, is the dominant “denomination” in Asia, holding forth the “Four Noble Truths” and “The Eightfold Path.” In many places, individual believers may commit to becoming monks or nuns for life, though in Thailand, a person may “make merit” for self and/or family by going into the monastic life for a specified number of months or years, and then return to secular pursuits. Naturally, over the centuries, many traditions and ceremonies have grown up within Theravada Buddhism as a whole, and thousands of individuals may be considered “saints” or “living Buddhas” who achieved “enlightenment” during their lifetimes.

     With political and economic changes in the last two decades, governments which sometimes suppressed religion have grown more accepting of religious activity in officially approved churches, temples, pagodas and mosques. Commonly, conflict has arisen between religious believers and governments as to what is acceptable religious belief and what is in some way anti-government. The history of Hoa Hao Buddhism, which began in Hoa Hao village, Chau Doc Province, Viet Nam and now claims 5 million adherents world wide, is one sample of such conflicts in Viet Nam and elsewhere in the world.

     In 1849, a monk known as “The Healing Buddha of Tay An” had settled on “The Sacred Mountain of That Son” near the Cambodian border and taught a simple view of basic Buddhist doctrines -- “Buu Son Ky Huong” or ‘Strange Perfume from Precious Mountains.’ In 1939, while on a pilgrimage to the sacred mountains of That Son and Ta Lon, Huynh Phu So, a frail young man whose health problems thwarted formal education beyond grade school, felt inspired to advance a kind of “protestant” approach to Theravada Buddhism, extending the Buu Son Ky Huong premises of simple beliefs and practices for the rural people. In contrast to grand ceremonies and rituals with lavish decorations and bells and gongs employed in pagodas and temples, Huynh Phu So emphasized individual morning and evening prayers and quiet worship at home with simple family altars adorned only with water, flowers and incense. The organizational structure of the Hoa Hao movement involved elected leaders at village, district, province and national levels.

     For advocating Viet Namese independence, Huynh Phu So was imprisoned by the French colonial government in 1945, but was released at the bidding of Japanese military authorities. In the post-WWII turmoil, Huynh Phu So worked to bring together various patriotic groups into united fronts. On April 16, 1947 he was captured by a competing group and was killed.

     With the Cao Dai religion that also grew up in southern Viet Nam, the Hoa Hao and other advocates of independence formed militias to resist the French. With the rise of the Diem government in South Viet Nam in the 1960s, The Hoa Hao resisted some policies of Ngo Dinh Diem militarily, but were eventually disarmed. After unification of Viet Nam under the Hanoi government in 1975, the Hoa Hao, like all other religious groups underwent suppression in the home country, yet with migration overseas, spread their beliefs with the diaspora resettling in Europe and North America. Given that members of many religious groups in Viet Nam have, in the past, been connected with military activity, the government remains sensitive to trends in religious activities even during the current era of greater openness.

     Currently, agencies authorized to do social service work in Viet Nam can operate with amiable relations with government officials and civilian volunteers alike. Christian-based agencies keep in mind that they are authorized to perform their work in rural development, medical aid, etc., and that, while foreign personnel are free to worship with local Christians in authorized congregations, the work of evangelizing is the mission of the local church.



 
Beijing
May 26-27



The 8th ECF International Council Meeting
Sharing of Vision
Reports on Ministries
Strengthening Partnerships
Prayer commitment


Shanghai
May 28-29



The 60th Anniversary Celebration for the Founding of ECF
Visit New City School and Special Educational Presentation
Visit Home for the Elderly and Love Gift Presentation


Hong Kong - Macau
June 3



Ordination service for Mr. Eddie Chan
Baptism for five new believers at the ECF Grace Community Chapel
Anniversary Banquet


Hangzhou
July 20 - August 5


Short-term Mission Team to China
English program at the YWCA for youth and community leaders
English classes at the Bible Seminary for pastors and Christian workers




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