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Vol. 13 No. 6
Nov-Dec 2009


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



 
A Strong Team for A Better Year

     In preparation for the growing ministry in 2010, ECF is building a strong team. On October 12, the entire ECF team met for a day of prayer and planning. Due to the early retirement of Mr. John Ho, Director of Publication and Program, some responsibilities have been re-assigned with new approaches. Under the leadership of Dr. Szeto, the entire team made clear goals for the new year. The spirit of cooperation and partnership is great. ECF is prepared to welcome the challenges of the new year. Please support us with your prayers.




New DVD
"Together We Learn and We Dream"

     Last month, the ECF Global Communication Center in Monterey Park produced a new DVD featuring the English Teaching programs in China for the last 20 years. This is a great accomplishment for short-term missions to share the gospel through teaching. Please send for your free copy!





 
MAJESTIC SILENCES
A Silent Verdict

Dr. Harold E. Lane


     The setting for this, our second look at majestic silences of Jesus, is John 8:1-11. This is the episode of the woman taken in adultery. In verse 6 we read, "But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not." The words "as though He heard them not" are not in the old manuscripts and were placed in some translations to make better reading. Even so, His immediate response to their testing was not speaking but writing. This is the only place in the gospel story where the Lord is said to have written something.

     The Pharisees had been plotting long into the night as to how they might catch Him in a breach of the law. The woman in question was caught in the very act of adultery and arrested. The adulteress was thrust into Christ's presence in the temple where a crowd had assembled to hear His message. Jesus was questioned as to how this woman should be punished. If He said,"free her", they would feel that He would be breaking the law of Moses. If He said, "stone her", the people would have been shocked by the lack of tenderness and left during the murderous stoning.

     What did Jesus write? We can only conjecture the answer.

     1. He might have written that they misquoted the Law of Moses. Deut. 22:22 indicates that both the man and the woman should die. Where is the man? Should he not have been arrested also?

     2. Maybe Jesus wrote some of the secrets of the lives of the woman's accusers. Convicted, they left, the eldest first (they had lived longer and the most to hide.).

     3. Perhaps He wrote quoting Psalm 86:15 or perhaps Psalm 111:4 or 112:4, noting that God is a God of compassion and overflowing in mercy.

     Finally, only the accused woman was left standing with Jesus.

     Jesus asked the woman, "Where are you accusers? Are there none to condemn you?" She answered, "No man, Lord." Faith had come to her. She could have called Him by several other names but she called Him "Lord". (I Cor. 12:5) A question is, when did Jesus refuse to condemn her? He never denied her guilt. He did not condone her actions. What He did do was to forgive her and then give direction for the future. "Go and sin no more."



SHARING IN THE LOVE OF THE LORD
     The Board of ECF held its annual Thanksgiving Banquet on November 19, 2009 at the ECF Headquarters in Monterey Park. It was a celebration that gathered the Fuller Theological Seminary faculty and student recipients of The Paul C.C. Szeto Fellowship Program for Global Studies and Research. Established in 2005 in appreciation of Dr. Szeto's 25 years of faithful service at ECF, the $1 million endowment was set up at Fuller Seminary for the support of faculty members to do research and for international students to come to Fuller for training.





 
MACAU
New Believers were Baptized
     The greatest joy for a small Christian community is to welcome new members into the family of God. Through the ECF Grace Chapel in Macau, three children from the Grace Home (Ben Leung, Ken Lum and Wai-keong Chong) and one staff member (Mrs. Mel-hung Ng) accepted Jesus as their personal Savior and were baptized by Dr. Szeto on Sunday Oct. 25. Families, relatives and friends all came together for the event and shared a love feast at the Grace Chapel that evening. The Rev. Eddie Chan led the worship, and Superintendent Yong gave a report on the current situation of both the Home and the Chapel.



USA
Music Outreach for the Community
     October 3, 2009 was the day of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival because the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest. ECF International Chapel used this special day as an opportunity to have a musical outreach program. Over 70 people came to the celebration and all enjoyed the music from the soprano soloist Xin Xin Sun and flutist Xu Cun. The program concluded with the singing of "Amazing Grace" together to give thanks to the Lord.



THAILAND
New Academic Programs and Better Facilities
     The Bethel Bible Institute in Thailand is growing in both the academic program and facilities. Starting the school year of 2009, the Institute established two new programs. The four year Bachelor's Degree Program in Chinese language with 11 students, and a special Bachelor's Degree Program for the Thai language has 20 students. The Institute has purchased more land and is planning to build a two story building in order to meet growing needs. The building project will be finished at the end of year 2010.



CHINA
Two Churches are Experiencing Tremendous Growth

SIHUI
     Sihui Christian Church is a growing church in China. Eighty new members joined the church this summer. Last year, working closely with the Christian Council in Sihui, ECF established a fund for Pastoral Assistantship in honor Dr. & Mrs. Harold Lane, the pastor of Mrs. Dorcas Szeto who was born in Sihui. For the year 2010, ECF will continue to provide RMB $10,000 to care for the needs of all four pastors at the Sihui Church. Please pray for these hard working servants of the Lord in China.




KAIPING
     The Moon Mountain Church in Kaiping was established in the 1930s by missionaries. It was taken over by the government during the Cultural Revolution. After a long negotiation, the entire property was returned to the Kaiping Christian Council in 2008. Rev. Wu contacted Dr. Szeto for a Reconstruction Partnership for this old building. With the encouragement of a love gift from a dear sister in Seattle, the ECF Board took a step of faith in providing a total of US $28,000 for remodeling of this old building. Please pray for the completion of this project in December. If you are touched by the Holy Spirit and wish to have a part in this project, please send your love to ECF before Christmas.



JAPAN
A Gospel Journay
by Mary Jean Gano


     In March, 2009, I was honored to be one of six former missionaries to Japan who were able to attend the 50 Annual Conference of the Women’s Department of the Japan Baptist Union. We were among those who had helped the women of our related churches to join in mutual assistance and encouragement as they emerged from the destruction and discouragement of World War Two. It was also a time of greater freedom and responsibility for women in Japanese society, so we were able to encourage their desire and ability to take important leadership tasks in the enormous job of rebuilding and also starting new churches and preaching places at a time when interest in Christianity was high.

     During the ten days of my visit I also had time to meet many women who had been in neighborhood English Classes or at YWCA classes and also visit Soshin Gakuin inYokohama where I taught English for over twenty years and was on the Board of Directors for most of that time.

     People who had been students in our various church Bible Classes and whom we had kept contact with over the years had a gathering for me. Some of them are now retired professors or teachers and most of them are grandparents, themselves, now.

     I returned full of love and memories of the 45 years we lived and loved the good people, our Japanese friends, churches, and institutions.





 
Great Celebrations In China and Hong Kong
Dr. Paul Szeto

     Praise God for recent opportunities in China and Hong Kong for the development of partnership in education and for the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ.

     (1) Hangzhou: Sunday worship in Chong-yi Church. On October 18, Rev. Joseph Gu, Pastor of the largest church in China today, invited me back to preach for him with about 6,000 attending. My message, "The Turning Point of Life" based on John 5:1-9, 14-15, about the healing of a man who had been ill for 38 years, was well received by the congregation. When the Altar Call was offered, several hundred stood up for new life and rededication in the Lord Jesus Christ.

     (2) Hangzhou: The 25th Anniversary of Zhejiang Theological Seminary. After the great celebration on the 19th, I was invited to provide two sessions of leadership training on the 21st for several hundreds of students, faculties and friends of the seminary. I shared two messages, "Building Body Life" (Romans 12:1-13) and "Servanthood in Ministry" (John 21:1-14).

     (3) Hangzhou: Various activities for the 30th Anniversary of Gulou Church took place all day on October 21. That afternoon, I gave a message "Doing Greater Things for God" at the revival meeting with more than 600 attending.

     (4) Shanghai: We spent sometime with 51 senior citizens at the Home for the Elderly in Shanghai. We shared God’s love with them through words and actions. We also visited the New City School and discussed future training programs for teachers.

     (5) Hong Kong: The ECF Foundation Board met in Hong Kong and mapped out new plans for 2010. The main focus will be on more practical programs in China and a TV documentary in Hong Kong. We met with representatives from The Media Evangelism and GOD TV for partnership in broadcasting "The Sound of Life", a series of 13 documentaries with Chinese sub-title, on TV next year.

     We are so thankful to the Lord for these open doors. Also, we are more grateful for so many prayer partners who have been praying for our growing ministry, especially those in China.






 
Typoons in Philippines

Dr. Ralph S. Carlson


     In watching the news that comes to North America from Asia during the month of October, a person could too often have said “What? Again?” at reports of earthquakes and typhoons because several of each troubled the Asia-Pacific region in the span of just a few weeks. But given the habits of journalism in much of the Western world, the average consumer of news commonly learns – by newspaper or television or radio – of the first and the worst episodes of such troubles. The next day, or the next week, another set of stories about whatever seems “first and worst” displaces the “old news” in the focus of our media attention. What is happening with the people who have suffered losses after the news cameras have moved on to some other place?

     Those who have access to the Internet can search out information about events in places far from their home territories, and often can find an inventory of stories stemming from major events on government web sites, on personal web sites, or on web sites of news agencies and non-governmental organizations. The British Broadcasting Corporation web site, for example, keeps links to prior stories on a particular topic next to the most current story on the topic. Thus, by browsing news sites, a computer user can retrace the recent history of happenings in various places around the world and can find localized sources of ongoing information.

     We in North America have heard several stories during September and October 2009 of typhoons affecting Taiwan, The Philippines, Viet Nam, Cambodia and India. However, seldom have we been afforded the day-to-day facts of life for those in the regions inundated by torrential rains, where rivers have drowned villages and swamped large sections of cities, where mudslides have wiped out three-fourths or all of a village or a town, and survivors have to dig through mud-filled wreckage to recover the bodies of neighbors and loved ones. Only sporadically will we get a video report from a correspondent who has gone back to an area weeks or months after a natural disaster to account for what progress has been made in recovery and what needs remain to be addressed.

     Significant damage was done in several Asia-Pacific nations by typhoons Ketsana, Parma, and Mirinae as well as by other tropical storms which did not gain the intensity and scope to “earn” the status of a named typhoon, but which still brought flooding, death and destruction.

     CNN reported on November 1, 2009 that, in the Philippines, the widespread flooding Ketsana brought at the end of September (crossing Luzon island on the 26th) lasted well into October, and over 400 people perished in the floods and mudslides and collapses of buildings.

     Parma, that crossed Luzon island on October 3, destroyed 55,000 houses and killed over 400 people.

     Mirinae, which passed over the Luzon region on October 31, caused at least 29 deaths. The Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council attributes the much lower loss of life to major evacuation efforts made ahead of the arrival of the storm.

     In the Philippines alone, the typhoons have affected over eight million people. Along some rivers, lakes and streams, flooding is not expected to subside fully till sometime in 2010. In the wake of Mirinae, in early November, nearly 88,000 people still sheltered in evacuation centers. While many have been able to return to homes to clean up and rebuild, tens of thousands will have no homes to return to at all. Their needs call for attention.

     United Press International reports as of November 8, 2009, that Typhoon Mirinae, on sweeping across Viet Nam caused 116 deaths. The central coastal provinces of Binh Dinh and Phu Yen sustained the greatest damage from Mirinae –with an estimated 1300 homes destroyed, and thousands of acres of Riceland devastated. The typhoons Ketsana and Parma before Mirinae brought flooding, landslides, loss of homes and croplands, and scores of deaths to Danang, Quang Nam Province and to locations farther north. Fortunately, the home of ECF representative Hai Huynh and his wife Theresa in Danang sustained only moderate storm and flood damage.

     The back cover of this issue of Global Vision gives more specifics of need in places that ECF serves. Please pray for the ECF representatives and those whom they serve in India, Cambodia, Viet Nam and the Philippines, and please give to the flood relief fund as the Lord leads and enables.



 
Relief needed for three countries ravaged by typhoon and flooding


PHILIPPINES

     Massive amounts of rain and flooding caused a wide spread disaster in the country. The aftermath showed thousands of people dead and many displaced; losing their homes as well as their possessions. Diseases have erupted especially in the areas where floodwaters have not receded. In Bulacan, the Caingin Baptist Church and many homes were submerged in water, including those of Mrs. Ditas Leonardo, ECF staff, as well the sponsored children's families. Praise God that no lives were lost!



CAMBODIA

     The FICC church in Cambodia was also flooded causing the congregation to move to a temporary place for worship. Classes at the Computer Center were also disrupted for two weeks. A building fund is currently being raised to help with the construction of the church building by fixing the foundation and the first floor as well to erect fencing around the property.



INDIA

     Andhra Pradesh was also affected by flooding, the worst in more than 100 years. At least 63 people have died. Crops, food grains and property were lost; thousands dislodged from their homes. Praise God that the Grace Home Orphanage was not affected. However, the main concern is that children will not catch any of the communicable diseases from the floods and stagnant waters. Please continue praying for India, especially for the staff and children of Grace Home.

ECF needs your help to raise the necessary financial support so that we can assist these three areas in the rebuilding of peoples' homes and livelihood. Most of all, we want to bring the Love of God -- to let them know that there is HOPE and JOY in the midst of hardship and difficulty.

Won't you partner with us? For your donations, please indicate "FLOOD RELIEF 2009." Thank you.



WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT IN 2010!!!
     Beginning in 2010, ECF is inviting our partners to help raise missionary support for ECF staff members Rev. Eddie Chan who is based in Hong Kong/China and Mrs. Ditas Leonardo who is in the Philippines. In order to continue the programs in these fields, they must raise a total of $6,000 each. You may send your donations by using the enclosed envelope and indicating "MISSION SUPPORT FOR HK/PHILIPPINES."



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