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Vol. 13 No. 1
Jan-Feb 2009


A. Higher Vision
B. Christian Dynamics
C. Global Challenges
D. Mission Opportunities
E. In Context
F. Love in Action



 
Theme for 2009
"Greater Challenge ---- Deeper Love"
Dr. Paul C.C. Szeto

     Everyone is facing a new challenge in this New Year 2009. President Barack Obama, our new leader, needs our prayer support as America faces the greatest challenge in her history. America needs God!

     Looking back, ECF is very thankful to the Lord for the support coming from several presidents in the United States during these last six decades.

     In 1990, when ECF took the lead in fighting against illegal drugs in Los Angeles, President George Bush wrote to support us; “Your efforts are evidence that we are going to win the war on drugs. We’ll win because there is no match for a united, determined America. Thank you for all you are doing in this great campaign and God bless you.”

     In 1997, when ECF celebrated our 50th Anniversary, President Bill Clinton sent us his personal greetings: “Our nation’s strength always has depended on the unselfish acts of generosity and community action of our citizens…..I commend you for your hard work on behalf of the people of your community. You are helping to create a brighter future for all of us.”

     In 2006, when ECF co-sponsored the China Bible Exhibition in Atlanta, President Jimmy Carter officiated the Opening Ceremony and accepted our interview for the TV documentary which narrated the historic encounter he had with Mr. Deng Xiao-ping.

     In 2007, when ECF celebrated our 60th Anniversary, President George W. Bush gave us his personal blessings: “Your compassion, good works, and dedication to family and faith enrich our society and set a positive example for others. By spreading God’s message of love, you help lift hearts and make our country a more peaceful and hopeful place. Laura and I send our best wishes on this special occasion.”

     Looking ahead, ECF is facing greater challenges. But our board and staff are all committed to pray for President Barack Obama and his new team. By God’s grace, we will experience deeper love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Please join us in prayer throughout 2009.


Presidents Luncheon at the White House
- Thank God for our Presidents -


Please Pray for Dr. Paul Szeto

January
4     ECF International Chapel
13   Woodbury University
22    Fuller Theological Seminary
23    Azusa Pacific University Board of Trustees
23-24    ECF Annual Board

February
8      Eagle Rock Chinese Zion Baptist Church
15    ECF International Chapel

March
21    Commencement for Bethel Bible Institute, Thailand
23    10th Anniversary of ECF Ministry in the Philippines
24    Home for the Aged in Chengde, Hunan, China
29    Chong-yi Church, Hangzhou, China
30    ECF Board in Hong Kong/Macau


 
PARABLES TO LIVE BY

Dr. Harold E. Lane

Our theme for these next issues of Global Vision will be education. What better example of teaching and training could we look to than that of the Master Teacher. Three methods used by Jesus as noted in the Gospels were by parable, by miracle, and by, believe it or not by silence. First, we will focus on parables as a means used by the Lord.

     As we launch into this series on Parables, there is a need to understand several background thoughts. First, what is a parable? Here are several definitions.
               A Divine truth clothed in Human Garb.
               An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
               The Hebrew word for parable is Mashal, meaning proverb or similitude or “to be like.”
               A resemblance — to cast along side of. Material objects used to express spiritual truth.


     Next, what is the motive for using parables? Jesus used parables to enlighten, exhort and edify. He used parables with His disciples and also the Pharisees in order to convince the one group and condemn the other.

     Varied figures of speech are used in parables. Metaphor employs unlike terms with a form of the verb to be (is, are, was, were...) to affirm a comparison, as in Psalm 84:11 “The Lord is a sun and a shield.” Simile uses like, as, than, to represent comparison, as in Psalm 1:3-4 “He shall be like a tree planted...the ungodly are like the chaff which the wind...” Allegory makes extended use of metaphor and allusion to achieve teaching of one thing by the other, as in "He is the true vine. His father the Husbandman."

     Metaphor is comparison by representation. Allegory is comparison by implication. Simile is comparison by resemblance.

     Who used parables in Scripture? We find parables used by the prophets and patriarchs, by the disciples and by Jesus. A few examples of parables used by prophets and patriarchs are as follows:

          II Sam. 12:1-4 (two debtors:); II Sam 14:6 (prodigal); I Kings 20:39- The object of these three is to convict the listener out of his own mouth.
         Isaiah: Isa. 5:1-7 Jehovah’s vineyard; Isa. 28 :24-28 plowman.

     Old Testament parables fall into 3 classes: A) story parables (trees), as in Judges 9-15; B) sermon parables (vineyard) as in Isa 5:17, and C) symbol parables (two sticks), as in Ez. 37:15-22.

     Examples of parables by disciples include A) Peter explaining spiritual immaturity (newborn babes), in I Peter 1:23; B) James addressing uncontrolled speech or loose tongue (bridle, bit, rudder) in James 1:26 and in James 3:1-12; and C) John in the Book of Revelation using language that is symbolic, apocalyptic, and parabolic, such as Seven stars representing seven churches, and a sword representing the Word of God.

     Reasons for using parables as noted in Matt. 13:
         1. To reveal truth interestingly and catch listeners attention. 13: 10-11;16
         2. To make known new truths. 13:11-12; 16-17
         3. To open mysteries by comparison with that which is already known. 13:11
         4. To conceal truth from scoffers or rebels at heart. 13: 11-15
         5. To expand on truth to those who love and want more. 13:12
         6. To remove knowledge of truth from rejecters. 13:12
         7. To fulfill prophecy. 13:14-17;35


 
CHINA
Sharing the Love of Christ
     The residents of the Senior Home in Shanghai, China proudly show the Christmas cards that they received from Dr. and Mrs. Paul Szeto last December 2008. Most of them have never received Christmas greetings from anyone. And for many, this was their first time! What a blessing to share the love of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas to these seniors.



MACAU
Preaching about the Joy in Christ
     On October 13, 2008, the Sunday after the 55th Anniversary celebration of the ECF Orphanage in Macau, Dr. Nathan Yeh, ECF Board member, preached at the morning Worship service. His message was based on Philippians 4, “Happiness, Joy and Counting your Blessings.”



PHILIPPINES
Extending their Gratitude
     The sponsored Children send their heartfelt thanks to their supporters for the monthly ration of food that they receive through the ECF Sponsorship Ministry. Since rice is a staple food for Filipinos, the food assistance that the children receive helps augment the family’s food supply. It truly is a blessing especially nowadays when the price of rice and other commodities increase everyday.



INDIA
Rejoicing at Christmas
     The Staff and children of the Grace Home in Guntur, India, celebrated Christmas at the Orphanage. The children were excited as they received their gifts from their Sponsors. They praise God for His continuous provision through the generous hearts of ECF and its supporters.


USA
6th Children's Cross Culture Oratorical Contest
     The event took place on December 6, 2008 at the Council Chamber of the City of Monterey Park, California, under the venue sponsorship of Councilman, David Lau. There were ninety-seven children twelve years of age or under who participated in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. There were two groups in English and Mandarin and one group in Cantonese. All contestants received a Certificate of Participation issued by the Foundation and stationery sponsored by Sino United Publishing (L.A.) Inc. The top five winners in each group received trophies sponsored by Mr. Evans Lam. The Foundation gave out scholarships to the top three winners of each group: $100, $75 and $50 respectively. The Foundation invited three community leaders as judges for the contest, namely Mr. Evans Lam, President of Sino-U.S. Institute of Human Resources; Ms. Alice Lau, renowned Hong Kong movie/T.V. star; and Ms. Joyce Chan, Manager of the Small Business Assistance Program of Chinatown Service Center.




 
Partnership with the Pastors in China
     Following the 55th Anniversary Celebration for the ECF Orphanage in Macau, Dr. & Mrs. Harold Lane were invited to Sihui, China, for the presentation of the Pastoral Support Fund established by ECF, with $10,000 RMB for the support of local pastors at the Sihui Christian Church, in honor of the Lanes. Sihui is the birthplace of Mrs. Dorcas Szeto. ECF helped to rebuild this church about five years ago. Now the congregation has grown from 80 to about 400. When church leaders learned that Dr. Lane was the pastor of Mrs. Szeto, they welcomed the Lanes to the church for the presentation and to honor him for his dynamic pastoral leadership for many decades in America. Dr. Lane encouraged this congregation to love the Lord more and to serve the people better in years to come.


In front of Sihui Christian Church

Teaching English in China, Summer 2009
Teacher Team 1: Shijiazhuang (near Beijing), Hebei. July 4 to July 19
Teacher Team 2: Hangzhou, Zhejiang. July 18 to August 2
Student Team: Hangzhou, Zhejiang and Wusu, Xinjiang. July 18 to August 19
Please contact ECF Program Director, Mr. John Ho at johnho@ecfdn.org or visit our website (ecfinternational.org) for more information.


Rainbow Performing Group
acts to raise funds for High School Graduates in Xinjiang, China

     The Education and Culture Foundation set up a Scholarship Fund in 2006 at the Wusu #1 Middle School in Xinjiang, China, to assist graduates who have immediate financial needs to continue their university education. Upon selection and certification of the Wusu Education Department and Social Assistance Department, US$1,500 is granted to each recipient. Four needy graduates have been benefited from this project.
     In order to generate support, the Rainbow Performing Group of the Foundation staged a drama entitled, “The Message of Love”, at ECF’s Global Communication Center’s Studio on December 13, 2008, to raise funds. US$400 was collected. US$1,100 is still urgently needed to reach the goal for one scholarship of US$1,500. Please send your support to ECF International at 437 S. Garfield Ave., Monterey Park, CA 91754, specifying on the check: Wusu Scholarship.




 
Terrorism in Asia: The Philippines - part 2
Dr. Ralph S. Carlson


     In the prior column, extremist Islamic groups were discussed. However, in the Philippines, there has also been a long history of political and military activity by communist groups identifying with the needs and grievances of the rural and urban poor and opposing central government authority in the name of “the people.” In fact, with the beginning of 2009, the Communist Party of the Philippines celebrates its 40th anniversary.

     In late December of 2008, the International Herald Tribune reported that, in one form of commemoration of the founding, the party issued a communique detailing a five-year plan to increase military activities with the goal of establishing a Marxist state. The group pledged to attack civilian and military officials who were guilty of “treason, plunder and human rights violations.” The Herald Tribune article also represented that the military wing of the CPP, which numbers an estimated 5,000, declared its forces must destroy more government units and installations, though truces would be observed for Christmas and New Year’s Day. According to Agence France Press, a communist group that had captured a Philippine army lieutenant in November declared in early December he would be released in a goodwill gesture toward the government.

     Formal peace talks between the current Philippine government and the CPP were suspended in 2004. Yet, in 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued a proclamation of amnesty for rebels whose actions were based on their political views and did not include felonious acts that would warrant prosecution in normal peacetime circumstances. An early January posting on the Philippine government web site reports that, in the latter months of 2008, 225 rebels turned in weapons and accepted cash assistance payments for resettlement under the government Social Integration Program. The high commander of the Philippine Armed Forces, in late December 2008, projected that, with continuing amnesty returnees, and with military pressure on remaining areas controlled by the Communist Party’s New People’s Army, the Communist opposition to the central government could be eliminated in the year 2010.

     The ordinary citizen in the Philippines remains at risk whenever government troops move against a guerilla group or vice versa. Both the urban and rural poor need improved living conditions, and the urban middle class, though more able to provide the daily bread and shelter for family, still face the uncertainty day by day of where and when a bomb may go off, or an attack by gunfire may begin.

     The ECF International program with the Caingin Christian Baptist Church in Bulacan brings both the gospel message and practical assistance to urban poor families in the area. Women receive training in machine sewing; children receive school supplies, shoes and clothing for school. The sponsorships and support do not meet the needs of all Bulacan’s urban poor; the program does not cover the whole of the island.

     We must surely pray for peace in the Philippines, and we must surely continue the support of children and needy families where we are able in order to reduce the frustration and economic desperation that leads people to abandon godly goals and turn to violent attempts to reshape their society.



 


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