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Vol. 12 No. 5
Sep-Oct 2008

A. Count His Blessings
B. Global Challenges
C. Foundation News
D. In Context
E. Love in Action


GROWING WITH JOY


Joyful News from ECF

     (1) "Blessed to Bless, Saved to Serve" --- was the theme for the 2008 Mission Conference of the Community Baptist Church of San Jose (Sept. 26-28). Under the leadership of Pastor Fu, Missions Department members: Velda Mark, David Chiu, Philip Ling, and Theresa Poon, this three-day conference was a great success with God’s blessings. I was so blessed to share three times. This church is supporting 34 different missionaries and 15 agencies around the world. By faith, the goal of this year’s mission budget is $160,100. In addition to the hospitality provided by the Board of Deacons, and Philip and Christina Ling, my hosts, I really enjoyed the 75th Birthday Celebration of Mrs. Dora Wong, a long time mission partner and faithful supporter from the early 1970s while I was pastor at the Seattle Chinese Baptist Church. I had the joy of sharing with her family members -- her brothers, sisters, children, and her 99 year old mother -- how Dr. & Mrs. Wong assisted me in the Gospel ministry 30 some years ago. I also had the joy of presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to one couple who came to the celebration.

     (2) "Pursuing a Fruitful Life" --- is the theme for the 4th Anniversary for the founding of our ECF Global Communication Center TV Studio and the Inauguration of the Global Rainbow Magazine. October 18 will be a joyful occasion for this historic event. Four speakers will bless the celebration with personal messages.

     (3) "Touching the World with Her Heart" --- is a DVD we produced on Miss Xiaohui Ma, world-renowned Erhu Virtuoso. She has been awarded the Paul & Dorcas Szeto International Scholarship at Azusa Pacific University to be a Scholar in Residence this fall quarter and will speak and perform at the October 18 celebration for the 4th Anniversary of GCC and Global Rainbow. She will also perform at the United Nations in mid-October. What a joy to have her to be a part of our team in reaching out to the world for Christ!

Pray for Dr. Paul Szeto

October
6-7     Canton & Kaiping, China
8-10   Hong Kong
11    Macau ---- 55th Anniversary Celebration, ECF Orphanage. Dr. Nathan Yeh, preaching
12    Sihui ---- Sunday worship, Sihui Christian Church. Presentation of Pastoral Assistantship in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Harold Lane
18    Monterey Park ---- 4th Anniversary Celebration, GCC and Global Rainbow Magazine
26    Monterey Park ---- International Chapel

November
9      Los Angeles ---- Chinese Zion Baptist Church
16    Torrance ---- Bread of Life Church
23    Monterey Park ---- International Chapel

December
6      Monterey Park ---- ECF Executive Council
11    Azusa ---- Commencement for Azusa Pacific University
28    Monterey Park ---- International Chapel


 
PRAYER IS... MAKING US AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD!

Dr. Alton A. Gould
Chairman Emeritus

     “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28.16. The Apostle Paul in writing to the church at Thessalonica exhorted the church family to “pray constantly” or “without ceasing”.

     A family once was about to sit down to dinner and to offer “thanks for the food” when the six-year-old piped up, “I have to go to the bathroom, but I’ll pray on the way.”

     Is this what Paul had in mind? Praying on the way is a good habit all should cultivate, no matter where we are going. It is important to have a daily, scheduled ‘Quiet Hour,’ but it is also good to establish the habit of saying small prayers throughout the day. Someone comes to mind. It may be that already that one has asked God to lay him or her upon someone’s heart. We can be an answer to their prayer.

     Every prayer is a blessing. It may be a neighbor in need, a family member with a problem, a missionary friend, ECF ministries: anyone we come in contact with can be blessed and their lives can be enriched by our prayers.

     Also we should never neglect to breathe a prayer of appreciation to God for the many good things which come into our lives each day. We must learn (to paraphrase a familiar hymn) not only to ‘count our blessings, naming them one by one’ but also to express our thanks to God for such blessings.

     If an incident or a person pops into mind at any time, we should pray right then so we don’t forget. Later, at a regular prayer time, we can reinforce our previous short prayers. And we mustn’t forget to thank God for the answer.

     When we pray for a stranger, a friend, or a family member or say, “Thank You, Lord,” we are radiating mini-prayers. Such keeps us in the atmosphere of prayer. And throughout the day, these will not only help the one being prayed for but also will make us AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD and keep us attuned to the higher things of life. Let us determine to pray along the way to wherever we are going, thus touching the lives of those whose paths cross ours each day. In the Gospel of Mark, we read of four people carrying a man to Jesus for healing. One point of that story is that we can bring others into the Presence of Christ. In fact, at times people may be in such need that they do not have the strength within themselves to come to God. At such times, they have to have someone who will carry them. That is what we do when we pray for others.

     All around, every day, we see people who need someone to pray for them; as in the Gospel story, some of their needs may be obvious. But whether we know exactly what to ask or not, we can still be with God for them. We may sit quietly, envisioning persons being bathed in the healing light of God’s love, with God’s power penetrating their bodies. We may envision someone who is ill as glowing with health. We simply sit in God’s presence, tenderly holding before God those who come to mind. We leave with God the outcome of their situation. There may be those who may need someone to bring them into God’s presence for weeks or even months, day after day. To pray in this way is a gift of love that may be an avenue for a miracle from God in that person’s life.

     James says that “effectual, fervent prayer” has a great effect. When we pray for others; we may find that, as we hold them before God, we are directed to take some other action as well in order to be an instrument of God’s love in their lives. Praying for others changes them and changes us, for truly “Prayer does change things, people and situations”.

     Prayer always makes us aware of the Presence of God in our own lives and in the lives of others. ‘Lord, teach us (me) to really pray!’


 
MACAU
     The ECF Macau Orphanage will celebrate its 55th anniversary on October 11, 2008. Superintendent Un-tap Ieong and staff put in good effort in preparing for the celebration. In the summer months, children enjoy singing, Gospel movies, games and cooking in the Orphanage. They also enjoyed an outing to Panyu and Zhongshan in Guangdong Province, China. Vacation Bible School was conducted by the Global Children’s Evangelistic Association for the children in August. A revival meeting was held on August 30.



THAILAND
     Bethel Bible Institute has a total enrollment of 20 students in the Chinese Language Department and 9 students in the Thai Language Department. Plans have been made to offer an intensive Bachelor’s Class and build a two-storey building to extend the library, to create more classrooms and media spaces, and to host the foreign lecturers.



PHILIPPINES
     The sponsored children are busy with their school work as the new school year is in full swing. Through the Education program of the ECF sponsorship ministry, Mrs. Ditas Leonardo, ECF Sponsorship Worker, distributed school uniforms, shoes, book bags, and school supplies to the children. Everyone was excited to receive their new gear! Most grateful were the parents because they know that through the generous gifts of the sponsors, the children can continue their schooling.



VIETNAM
     Mr. Hai Huynh, ECF Representative in Vietnam, together with his wife, Theresa, and their three children, will be in Los Angeles, California from November 1 to 5, 2008. During their stay, they will be visiting the ECF Headquarters as well as Azusa Pacific University to share about the mission opportunities in Vietnam. Mr. Huynh is currently working on an Education project to support needy students at the Bible Institute in Ho Chi Minh City. Last June 2008, ECF International presented scholarships to two students at a language center and a seminarian in Da Nang, Vietnam.





 
Rainbow Action Committee
     We are celebrating Global Rainbow’s 4th anniversary! Four years ago, in view of the need for a magazine that provides Gospel messages with uplifting articles, the Education and Culture Foundation allocated $150,000 to publish the Chinese bimonthly, Global Rainbow. Many renowned authors have supported this program, and readers around the world have given their positive responses. Without outside financial support, we have spent over $40,000 each year for its publication.
     Under the pressure of the rising costs in printing and mailing of this free magazine, the Rainbow Action Committee is formed to appeal for financial support with a target of $40,000 to enable the continuation of publication in 2009. Please send support to ECF specifying “for Global Rainbow.”


The 6th Cross Culture Oratoriacal Contest
Purpose: To elevate children’s talents, to establish children’s confidence, to cultivate children’s cultural awareness, and to create children’s precious memories
Rules: Contestants should be 12 years of age or under.
            Contestants are required to orally interpret one designated poem and one poem of his/her choice.
            The duration of both poems is not to exceed 2 minutes.
Areas of judgment: Voice; Projection; Enunciation; Feelings; Gesture and Interpretation.
Contest date and venue: 9:00 a.m., Saturday, December 6, 2008. Council Chamber, City of Monterey Park, 320 W. Newmark Ave.
For information: 626-288-8828 ext. 18.



 
Glimpses of Change in Viet Nam
Ralph S. Carlson


     In September of 1971, I left Quang Tri, Viet Nam, a soldier ending twelve months of duty, eager to be shut of the war. I had logged months of isolated watch on a hilltop firebase, supplied with 1961-vintage C rations, and 1961-vintage batteries for my radio, occasionally at risk from shelling of the opposing forces, and occasionally at risk from the misjudgments or malice of “our own.” At times, in transit by truck or helicopter, I had seen beautiful landscapes and seascapes, I had only briefest glimpses of farms or markets or schools, rice paddies or banana groves. I wished for peace. I wondered if I would ever see the country again.

     Twenty-five years later, as one of three professors from Azusa Pacific University tasked with exploring possibilities for joint programs with universities in Viet Nam, I traversed some of the same territories I had seen as a soldier. Old revetments for sheltering military aircraft still clustered along parts of the taxiways at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhut Airport, but gone were the sprawling military encampments along Highway 1, and while still numerous fishponds and duck ponds in rural regions were repurposed bomb craters, as of 1996, Viet Namese society had grown considerably beyond the catastrophes of war. More than 75% of the population had been born since the end of the war.

     Right after reunification of Viet Nam under the Hanoi government in 1975, very strict controls had been imposed on religious organizations for a number of years. Buddhist monasteries that were not shut down were, in some cases authorized to operate with one or a few elderly monks or nuns on site, with one or a few young novices, but the elders could have the young only help with daily chores and upkeep of facilities: religious doctrines and practices could not be taught. Catholic and Protestant seminaries were closed. Bibles and Christian literature were confiscated and, occasionally, burned in the streets. Many churches were closed entirely. Many clergy joined the exodus of refugees to other countries.

     During my 1996 visit, our group worshiped one Sunday morning with a congregation in Da Nang. The pastor preached a gospel sermon, but from a pulpit literally fenced off from the congregation. Youth who sang, and lay people who made announcements or who read scripture, faced the congregation from the front, but on the people’s side of the small picket fence. Only the pastor was authorized to speak from the pulpit. The sermon for the week had been submitted for approval by Public Security two weeks before. A visitor from the USA few months before had stood up in his pew to greet the congregation, but spoke for nearly ten minutes. He had ended up in jail for “unauthorized religious activity.”

     Still, in 1996, the pastor of that congregation was very grateful to God and to the government for the then-recent blessing of a shipment of 100,000 bibles printed in Ho Chi Minh City for Protestant churches in Central Viet Nam. In the post-service fellowship hour, he spoke of parishioners who had shared hand-written verses and chapters of scripture during the years of suppression, and he told of a pending agreement with the government for another printing of 1000,000 bibles to be shared with the Catholic diocese for the Da Nang area.

     Again, in 2007, I was privileged to visit Da Nang, to see its expanding commercial and residential developments, the vitality of its people. Again, I was privileged to worship with a Viet Namese congregation – this time, in a large, very new facility, with no barriers between the pulpit and the congregation, and with parishioners happily conducting Sunday School classes and evening bible studies for young and old – no barriers to passing the Gospel to the children.

     As years pass, policy changes have brought more possibilities for aid agencies such as ECF International to assist local churches and government bureaus in meeting education, health and development needs of people in Viet Nam. Currently, ECF has funded three scholarships for English language students and a seminarian. Prayerfully, we look to God for guidance in selecting additional projects in Viet Nam, grateful for the insights and experience of Mr. Hai Huynh, our ECF field representative in Da Nang. And even in times of great economic turmoil, we look for the donations needed for funding additional projects for the good of God’s Kingdom. As God brings concerns for renewal in Viet Nam to your heart, pray daily, and direct any contributions to the ECF office in Monterey Park



 
Hangzhou, China

     Six language teachers from the U.S. and U.K. were sent to Hangzhou in July to offer intensive trainings in Western Teaching Methodology and English Conversation. At the Closing Ceremony, Rev. Eddie Chan, ECF co-worker in Hong Kong/Macau, presented 10,000 yuan (US$1,500.00 ) on behalf of ECF to the co-organizer of the Teaching Program, the Hangzhou Y.W.C.A., for the purchase of a copying machine for better reproduction of teaching materials for future classes.



Sihui, China

     Rev. Eddie Chan, Superintendent Un-tap Ieong, staff and children of the ECF Macau Orphanage went to Sihui in August for a mission trip to witness the baptism of 90 new believers. Mr. Lee, leader of the Sihui Christian Church, shared with the congregation the love gift of 10,000 yuan (US$1,500.00 ) from ECF President, Dr. Paul Szeto, for the purchase of a projector for worship services. The congregation was encouraged and uplifted.






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