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Vol. 13 No. 5
Sep-Oct 2009


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



 
ECF Scholarship Blesses Korean Scholar
Dr. Paul C.C. Szeto

     In 2007, the ECF Board of Directors, in partnership with Azusa Pacific University (APU) in Southern California, established "The Paul and Dorcas Szeto Global Scholarship" to equip Asian scholars for better service in God's kingdom.

     This year, Dr. S.Y. Kim from Korea has been selected as the recipient. According to Ms. Mary Grams, Director of International Student Services at APU, Dr. Kim received her MA and Doctorate degrees from the prestigious Ewha Women's university in Seoul. Her specialty is Early Childhood Education. She has been the Dean of education at Beak Seok University. For the last ten years, she has been involved in research related to childhood education and with great success. She has two major goals for coming to APU:
     (1) to explore cultural and social differences between two cultures (Korean and American) in pre-service Teacher Education;
     (2) to study on the integration of faith and learning.

     Ms. Grams also arranged a luncheon so that Dr. and Mrs. Szeto can meet with Dr. Kim.

     Both Dr. Michael Whyte, Provost, and Dr. Paul Gray, Associate Provost joined the luncheon and all shared their rich experiences in cross-cultural education.


Dr. S.Y. Kim            Ms. Mary Grams            Mrs. Dorcas Szeto


Please Pray for Dr. Paul Szeto and the ECF Team

September
3      Azusa Pacific University, Dedication of the Segerstrom Science Center
19    Seattle Chinese Baptist Church
20    Monterey Park -- ECF International Chapel
23-28    Beijing -- The 4th World Chinese Venture Models Conference

October
13-17    Shanghai Senior Home, New City School
18    Hangzhou Chongyi Church
20    Hangzhou -- The 25th Anniversary of the Zhejiang Theological Seminary
21    Hangzhou -- The 30th Anniversary of the Reopening of Drum Tower Church
22    Hong Kong -- ECF Board
23    Macau ECF Orphanage and Grace Chapel
24    Kaiping Christian Church
25    Sihui Christian Church

November
8      Eagle Rock Chinese Baptist Church
13    ECF Staff Retreat
22    Monterey Park -- ECF International Chapel
26    Thanksgiving Celebration


 
MAJESTIC SILENCES
"Faith on Trial"

Dr. Harold E. Lane


     It was said of Jesus "Never a man spoke like this man." This was spoken by the officers who came to arrest Christ. Again, it was said that He spoke "as one having authority and not as the scribes." Eloquence and wisdom, simplicity and profundity, clarity of thought, directness of approach, tenderness and fearlessness all combine to place Him in a class of His own. At times, however, His silence was more effective than His sermons.

     In Matthew 15:21-28, we read of the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus pleading for healing of her daughter. The woman's daughter was suffering terribly from demon possession. In verse 23 we are told that "Jesus did not answer a word ...." This action did not seem to fit the demeanor of Jesus, but it did bring the very best out of the woman's soul. When His disciples questioned the Lord as to why He didn't fulfill the woman's request, He indicated that she wasn't an Israelite. His mission was primarily to the lost sheep of Israel or the Jews. But this woman was not easily rejected. She was importunate. Was the silence of Jesus a rejection of the Canaanite woman's request? Her faith was tried and, ultimately, she went away a better woman. Her faith, her humility, the urgency of her request, her love for her daughter, all touched the heart of the Master. His majestic silence to her was a test which she beautifully passed. The Lord said "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." Her daughter was healed from that very hour. Jesus did not touch the daughter. Perhaps, He never even saw her. It was the determined mother's faith in Jesus' power that brought the answer to her prayer.

     If the Lord immediately and unconditionally answered every prayer, more harm than good would result. Sometimes He accomplished most by refusing to grant our requests. Notice how many people were affected in this instance. The disciples learned a lesson. Even non-Jews could approach, request and be heard. This was a new experience for them. The Canaanite woman, undoubtedly, spread the word that Jesus, son of David, was much more than a preacher. The daughter experienced a new life, cleansed from demon possession.

     If our prayers are not answered immediately or not answered as we would have liked, we must learn the lesson of the majestic silence of our Lord.

Macau Mission Team to Sihui
     In August, a group of eight people from the Macau Orphanage and Grace Community Chapel went to Sihui for a two day mission trip. They shared with Cantonese Opera Gospel songs and testimonies at the Saturday night meeting and a special music program during Sunday worship. A set of "Bible Commentary DVDs" was presented to the church library as a special gift for cerebrating of 80 new members being baptized at Sihui Christian Church. They all enjoyed a great fellowship. Praise the Lord.




 
Bridging Cultures through Language
English Teaching Team 2009

Showing Christ with attitudes
Deke Wilkins
     This year, I had the opportunity to teach at two different locations. In Shijiazhuang, Molly, Rachel and I spent two weeks teaching English teachers. As always, we were warmly welcomed by the students and the school administration. The most meaningful part of our time in Shijiazhuang was with Mr. Liu. He was our host who was always there to take care of us; which gave us the opportunity to show Christ with our attitudes, actions and ultimately words. My second location was at the YWCA in Hangzhou where, as in Shijiazhuang, many relationships were founded with students and assistants. I want to thank everyone for the spiritual and financial support that our team enjoyed this summer. I ask for further prayer as we maintain the relationships that were established, and we nurture the seeds that were planted.



A new experience
Rebecca Alvidrez
     I had previously been to China three years ago with ECF. I was very eager to see the city of Hangzhou as a colleague of mine, who is from China, told me that they called it "heaven on earth". She was right! It was beautiful, lush and green; a very old city steeped in history and tradition -- but also very modern and commercial. Because I had taught previously, I assumed that the children would be like my students in Shijiazhuang. Silly me. These kids were very different, and I had to take a step back and rethink how I would teach. The class loved the lessons and had a blast playing vocabulary games. One of the highlights of the trip was watching the solar eclipse with the students and the teachers. I look forward to the next teaching trip and what new experiences are in store!



No language differences in God's creation
Kimberly Doyle
     I was very nervous on the first day of teaching, as my initial lesson plans were not what this well-educated group of teachers needed. However, I quickly reverted to what I know best, neuroscience, and found a way to make it applicable to the study of language. I adapted the materials that our fabulous team leader Sherry prepared, and new lessons emerged. Our days were filled with laughter, learning, and exchanges of life experiences. One of the highlights was the opportunity to share the solar eclipse with my students. Maybe it was God's "ice breaker" for us? Similar to the way children can communicate through play despite language barriers, the sharing of a monumental phenomenon of God's creation knows no language differences. One thing is for sure, without the support and comic relief of my teammates, it would have been a much harder experience. I hope to return to China in the future, but this time with my family.



Good fellowship with students
Walter Kwok
     It was the first time I joined the English Team to teach English in Hangzhou. I was moved and motivated by how eager my students in the Pastors group wanted to learn and improve their English skills. They improved a lot on their pronunciation and conversational presentations through repeat practice daily. They learned and sang ten hymns in English. They even memorized Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me, as well as The Lord's Prayer. I also enjoyed very much the fellowship during classes, lunch breaks; and after class, walking the streets and having dinner at the students' homes. All eight students and 2 TAs are Christians. Upon their request, they took turns to lead the opening and closing prayers and saying grace for lunches. We would also recite The Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23 before working on our class materials. It was more like a retreat than teaching an English class.



Team work lifted me up
Susan Nash
     I had 21 very bright and energetic junior high students in my class who loved to play games and were eager to practice their English. My teaching assistant was delightful and extremely helpful in managing the class as well as drawing out shy students who were reluctant to speak. I personally struggled with my role as teacher and experienced anxiety over how to manage a classroom full of children. Thankfully, the other team members were very supportive and helped me navigate the rough waters.



Wonderful memory
Sherry Thompson
     This was my first time to China and my first mission trip. There were many similarities and differences between China and the United States, and Hangzhou was a beautiful city. I spent each day teaching teachers in the mornings at a Middle school and, in the afternoons, team taught the teachers and middle school students with my fellow team members. The teachers were eager to learn, and the students enjoyed learning through various western teaching methods. In the evenings, our team would have dinner and fellowship time -- a great time for us to reflect on our day and share how Christ was working through us on a daily basis. Overall, my trip to Hangzhou was more than I could have hoped for. I would like to thank all of my sponsors that made my trip possible and the ECF staff, who are wonderful. I am looking forward to returning to China and am excited to see how God will work in the relationships I made with my new friends in China.



Opportunity to share God's love
Rachel Shackleford
     Our team arrived in Beijing where we met our gracious host, a teacher from the 42nd Middle School, who took us sightseeing on our way to Shijiazhuang. We were blessed by this experience as it brought our team closer and gave us a better understanding of China and its history. The time that we spent with the Chinese teachers in Shijiazhuang was exciting and refreshing. The teachers impressed us with their advanced English skills and hunger to learn more. We developed friendships and are hoping to see them again next year. One of the most exciting times for me was when we took our dorm manager, Mr. Liu, to church and, later, Molly blessed him with a Chinese/English bible. Before we left Shijiazhuang, he also allowed us to pray for him. We are looking forward to working on next year's training program and anticipate another exciting teaching mission!



Passionate in teaching
Molly Chang
     I am truly grateful to God for providing me this opportunity to share my professional experience with teachers from the other side of the globe. This experience had developed a strong conviction in me to continue to strive for providing a meaningful training for these young teachers in China in the future.

     I was especially impressed by the determination of these English teachers. During the conversations we had at our workshops, these teachers expressed the desire to reach out to the students beyond text books. They recognized the challenges in teaching, and were determined to learn new ways to do things differently. Many of them had expressed eagerness to implement the western teaching style in their classroom this year. Their passion for providing the best education for their students is honorable.





 
A Gospel Journey with Rich Blessings
Dr. Paul Szeto

     My ten days preaching trip to Northern Ireland and England had been a real blessing from the Lord.

Growing Churches:
     The greatest joy was to see all four Baptist churches (Carryduff, Ballymena, Larne and Castlereagh) are growing both in God's grace and in spiritual dynamics. Irish Christians truly know how to pray. Their love for China continues to expand with prayer and financial support. My personal life was also enriched by the genuine love and concerns of these churches.

Missions Concern:
     The Bangor Worldwide Missionary Convention 2009 took place at the Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church in Bangor the same week. The theme this year was "Loving God, Loving Others".

     I was so encouraged by the sharing from Mr. Raymond Pitt, the former Secretary of the Convention, who had gone to China with me a few years ago. On that trip, during his short stay at the hospital, he led a young officer to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Recently, Stephen was baptized in China.

Dedicated Youth:
     Rev. John Gault introduced me to a number of people with exciting Christian experiences.

     Mr. Gibson Boyle who has spent a whole year in the hospital due to a torn oesophagus as a result of an endoscope examination. No one expects him to live. But with the strong faith from his dear wife, Margaret, and many prayers offered to God, a miracle happened and he lives. He said, "My long stay in hospital gave opportunities for witnessing. I was able to pray with doctors, nurses, cleaners, porters and patients." What a joy to learn from an energetic 70 years old saint who shared like a 17 years old youth.

     Three young friends - Peter, James and Jonathan of Larne wanted to teach me how to play rugby. They all came to the evening meeting at the church. As our friendship develop, we ended the day with a delicious meal in a Chinese restaurant where we shared our experiences in sports, culture, and missions in China.

Old Friendship
     Rev. Gault accompanied me to visit Tom and Violet McCord who donated ten hospital beds to the Senior Home in Shanghai several years ago. Following a brief visit with Pastor Edwin Ewart, Principal Designate of the Irish Baptist College, we were invited by Dr. Hamilton Moore, retiring principal, to his home for supper. I was truly blessed by his missionary vision in reaching out to Romania with church planting and with practical Christian education.

     Since I have one day without meeting, I made it all the way from Belfast to Oxford, England so that I could have a short visit with Dr. Tom Houston who is a dear member of the ECF Council of Reference and a personal friend for many years. He always encourages me to move on with deep faith in God. As we parted, he gave me a book "Robert Morrison and the Birth of Chinese Protestantism" by Christopher Hancock.

     Dr. Houston's wife, Hazel, is weak and requires prayer support.

New Contact:
     Preaching at the St. Helen's Church, London was such an exciting experience.

     Vicar Steve Divall is a spiritual and dynamic young leader. With the help of my hosts John and Michell Wu, I was able to share openly the power of the Gospel, not only at the Sunday morning worship, but also to some personal friends in a BBQ gathering. I also enjoyed the noisy Notting Hill Carnival in London.

Committed Partners:
     I am most grateful for all the ECF Board members (former and current): Mrs. Anne McCloskey, Mr. John Ritchie, Mr. Andrew Vaughan, Ms. Betty Kirk, Mr. Roger Lyons, and Mr. Denzil McIlfatrick for their continual support to the missionary work of ECF. Mrs. Hazel Gault serving as Honorary Treasurer provides faithful service to the mission. Thank God for all these Missions Partners of ECF.






 
Conflict in Burma/Myanmar

Dr. Ralph S. Carlson


     As World War II ended in Asia, the British government began processes to give numerous parts of its colonial empire independence. In the area known as Burma, many political parties were active. Many groups had resisted British rule before World War II and, during the war, allied themselves with Imperial Japanese civilian administration and the military command structure. General Aung San, now honored in retrospect as a major national hero and founder of the Tatmadaw, the Burma National Army, helped found the Communist Party as well as other political parties, as he broke with the Communist movement. He became a leader of a Japanese-organized and supplied Burma military on the promise of national independence, which was declared in 1943. However, as Allied Forces recovered territories in the Asia-Pacific region, and General Aung San saw no significant release of control by the Japanese, he shifted his support to the British and American Allies, gaining leverage for post-war independence for Burma. During the transition time for forming a Burma government, however, Aung San with several other members of the Executive Council intended to take over from the British colonial administration were assassinated on July 19, 1947.

     Between 1948 and 1962, civilian governments in Rangoon, (now Yangon) dealt with recovery from the war devastation, and with revolts by several Communist factions and by ethnic groups either seeking more autonomy within the federation or full independence from the central government. In 1962, General Ne Win assumed control, initiating the "Burmese Way to Socialism," which meant a single-party system and central government control of administrative and economic life. Burma became one of the world's poorest countries. In 1988, Ne Win resigned leadership of the party, uprisings broke out across the country, and a coup brought in government by military junta. In 1989, the junta officially changed the name of the nation to "Union of Myanmar." The terms, "Myanmar" and "Burma" both relate to the majority Burman ethnic group in the nation.

     In 1990, over 18 political parties fielded candidates for a 492-seat national assembly. The National League for Democracy won 392 seats. However, the military government refused to acknowledge the results of the election. Many political leaders and candidates from the NLD and other parties were imprisoned, and General Aung San's daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her stand for democracy, has lived under house arrest for years.

     The variety of political parties fielding candidates in 1990 shows some of the diversity among Burma's 135 officially-identified ethnic groups. While the largest movement, The National League for Democracy does not show ethnic identity in its name, many minority parties do - for example, Arakan League for Democracy, The Mon National Democractic Front, The Kachin State National Congress for Democracy, The Chin National League for Democracy, and so on.

     After World War II, many ethnic groups in Burma/Myanmar maintained militias and, at times engaged in armed conflict with central government forces, and sometimes with one another. In 1995, the central government put 100,000 troops into the regions along the border with Thailand, moving to crush armed resistance among minorities. In 2009, military conflicts near the borders with India, Thailand and China have sent thousands of refugees into camps in the neighboring nations. In September 2009, the government of China, which seldom comments on the internal affairs of Myanmar, publically expressed concern that the unrest which prompted 37,000 ethnic Chinese to cross into Yunnan Province be soon ended. The Thai government, for decades, has dealt with refugee camps on the Thai side of the border, often housing more than 100,000 Karen, Karenni, Mon, Shan, Kachin refugees from Burma/Myanmar, whose government sees Christianity among its people as an unwanted left-over of British colonialism and views Christians as tools of foreign imperialists.

     Some graduates of the ECF Bethel Bible Institute in Thailand often serve as pastors in village churches in sensitive border areas where conflicts often don't make the news in the Western world. Pray for the spiritual strength and physical well-being of those pastors and their congregations who live not only in harsh economic conditions, but also with the many risks of combat in their regions.



 
PRAY & PRAISE

"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise ...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:13, 16

     We would like to share updates from the ECF Mission Fields so that you can give thanks to God and pray for our ministries with greater understanding. For more information about ECF, please visit our website www.ecfinternational.org.

CAMBODIA
     PRAISE - Some students from the Computer classes are attending the Sunday service and youth fellowship at the Church.
     PRAY - For teachers to be trained to share the Gospel effectively.

INDIA
     PRAISE - Open air gospel meetings were held in Vinukonda, which is 60 miles from Guntur. Many received Jesus Christ.
     PRAY - The Orphanage is in urgent need of a water purifier.

MACAU
     PRAISE - A Christian group visited the Macau ECF Orphanage and held games and a buffet for the children.
     PRAY - For good leadership and team spirit among the staff.

PHILIPPINES
     PRAISE - The children have completed their 1st quarter examinations and all have passed their classes.
     PRAY - For protection especially from bad weather. A 20-minute whirlwind hit the town damaging some properties.

THAILAND
     PRAISE - The Bethel Bible Institute has purchased more land and the board is planning to build a new library.
     PRAY - For the students, teachers and staff of the Institute.

CHINA
     PRAISE - The rebuilding of the church in Guangdong Province is progressing well. This is Church #11 that ECF has rebuilt in China.
     PRAY - For the Lord to bless the growing congregation and the Pastors and staff.

USA
     The ECF International Chapel was established in Monterey Park, CA in 2007 and is growing rapidly. Rev. Yanghai Jin became the pastor in June 2009. Please pray that the Lord will bless the congregation in their faithful giving so that the Chapel can continue to grow and develop more outreach programs.





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