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Vol. 14 No. 3
May/Jun 2010


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



 
WHEN TOUCHED BY GOD'S LOVE
By Mrs. Phyllis Gould


     After years of missionary service in Asia and ten years of active pastoral ministry in Canada, my husband (Al) and I were so excited to enter semi-retirement a few years ago in our own house located in the beautiful city of Sault Ste Marie, not too far from our two daughters (Gail and Sandra) and their families.

     Looking out the window- stretched out before me is a picturesque brilliant western sky. The formerly dark winter sky has been transformed as the sun's brilliance emerged in time to brighten the day for a few moments. It is now twilight and the setting sun is transforming each cloud into brilliant ever-changing colors. The clouds are like the trials, accidents and changes that momentarily darken our lives. These moments are miraculously transformed when touched by God's love.

     Even in retirement, I can see my life has been touched by many miracles. The first of many miracles over the last three years began at the end of a bitter winter on February 23, 2007. Al and I were on our way out for our routine Friday errands and walk with the dog. Al stepped on the only patch of ice on the driveway and fell. Al was transported to the hospital. As there was not an orthopedic surgeon/specialist available that weekend, eight patients from the trauma unit were air-lifted to Timmins and points beyond. It was decided that, due to his age, Al would remain in town under heavy sedation until the specialist could see him on Monday. The specialist's report stated that Al had two breaks in his pelvis, three breaks in the hip joint, also a back injury and the only treatment available was six weeks of complete bed rest.

     The first of many miracles was that Al, being a man who is extremely independent, and who normally required minimal rest, accepted this prognosis! Despite being in constant pain, Al maintained his sense of humor, witnessing to his roommates and attendants. God's presence transformed these moments from times of complete darkness to times edged in rose. At the end of the long six weeks while talking to the doctor, the commented was made that due to the severity of the breaks to the hip ball socket, there was a likelihood Al would never walk again. To try for some recovery, Al would need extensive daily physiotherapy beyond what could be given at the hospital.

     Rehab-care was in great demand and space was limited and another miracle occurred. After many hours of prayers, a bed at the government-subsidized rehab care facility became available for Al. On the day he was discharged from the hospital, Al was transferred to rehab care for 6 to 9 weeks. This was a rehab care facility where a physiotherapy program was in progress to prove that with correct therapy severely broken bones and traumatized muscles could be re-strengthened and mobility made possible. Amazingly eight weeks later, using his walker, Al walked to the car. With minimum assistance, he got in and out of the car, walked up to the front door of the house and was home. One hundred and three days of dark clouds had become golden!

     2008 brought in a New Year and another round of miracles. I was so glad to have Al home. I was also so very tired. I woke up one morning and realized that I had possibly suffered a right sided stroke. Not wanting to alarm anyone, I blamed it on my arthritis and sleeping with my arm over my head. I drove myself to the doctor -- miraculously arriving without incident. After an examination, I was sent home stating that it would take time to get an MRI. Three days later, while climbing up the stairs from the basement, I fell! These are very steep stairs; somehow I survived the fall -- without a bruise, without breaking my glasses, and with no broken bones! What I received was a rushed visit to E.R. -- immediate X Rays, CAT scans, ultra sounds, and the awaited-for MRI. I was told that I had suffered a stroke, and several mini strokes, one of which caused my fall down the stairs. My blood pressure medication was adjusted and physiotherapy began to help restore the use of my right arm and hand. Miraculously my speech and walking were only slightly affected and improved greatly over the months.

     It was becoming clear to us that we were close to being unable to manage living independently. We loved our home; but I come to the realization that with my arthritis and still weak from the stroke I would be unable to care for my garden and for Al. The family and I began looking for alternative living arrangements. Through all of this, we felt a relative peace and calmness. In our town, the aging population made the waiting lists for Assisted Living units long and primarily unavailable. We were told that it would take at least two years before we would be able to get in. We struggled through February and March. Winter slowly changed to spring.

     In April, the clouds became tinged with color when our daughters "found" a beautiful hilltop senior residence which had just started building a new wing. This new wing consisted of unfurnished, one bedroom apartments. (We could take some of our treasures and memories!) Meals would be prepared, and we would just have to walk to the dining room to eat. We put our names on the list for this new place and hoped and prayed that our health would prevail until a unit became available. Our reservation was immediately accepted. God is so good! Construction, however, would not be finished until mid-summer. That week the decision was made to call a Realtor friend. Two weeks later, the house was sold -- having met all our "requirements" of our asking price, and not taking possession until the end of August. This highlighted one of Al's favorite verses in the Bible --- "My God in His loving kindness will meet me at every bend of the road." Phil.4: 19 (Morley's translation).

     The summer months flew by as we gradually downsized --- room by room. On August 18 we moved into our new home- an assisted living apartment on the top of a hill overlooking our city and into Northern Michigan. Our living room and bedroom windows overlooked beautifully landscaped gardens; I could still enjoy flowers, without the need to weed. Our move to assisted living proved over and over to be one miracle after another. Unfortunately, over the next fourteen months of our new living experience, I was hospitalized four times. Fortunately, while I was in and out of the hospital, Al's daily needs were met! However, each hospitalization left me weaker and weaker, and Al's health also seemed to me to be deteriorating. Moving into a Nursing Home appeared to be the next step. As we filled out the necessary paperwork it seemed to me that the storm clouds were once more churning across our lives. We were told that it might be a couple of years wait. When I heard that I was at peace. I would not have to make any immediate decisions. We once more settled down and our families surprised us with a sixtieth anniversary party.

     Eight weeks to the day that we signed up for the nursing home we received a phone call to let us know a room was available for a man at this highly demanded facility! We had only forty-eight hours to decide whether to take the room or not. If we decided to turn down the room, Al's name would be removed and he would have to re-apply again in six months. After much prayer, agonizing, family discussions, and various considerations we concluded that this had to be another answer to prayer. We agreed that we would make this decision the way we had when Al went to China, Hong Kong and the Philippines -- that we would trust God every step of the way. Al would go first, and I would follow...shortly!

     On November 17, 2009, Al moved into the FJ Davey Home. Al's health greatly improved as medications were adjusted and physiotherapy once more adapted to his needs. His room was bright and comfortable. Then, in December I received word that there was a possibility that a room would become available for me at Al's Nursing Home early next year. One day while visiting Al, I noticed that the room diagonally across the hall from Al's was empty. I asked if they knew who was moving into that room -- and the nurses told me that was my room! I was so excited. Again God not only supplied my needs, but He took the time to satisfy my wants. Once more we had evidence of God’s perfect timing. The room became available over Christmas Break so that our daughters could help over vacation time, and Robert, our son, could come for Al's six week evaluation and would see where we both would be living.

     I love my room, which overlooks a small courtyard with beautiful flowerbeds. As I sit here surrounded by family pictures, I am recording these memories witnessing that God so lovingly guided us each step of the way. The clouds are now edged in shades of rose and lavender.


 
Thank God for New Believers Who Demonstrated Love!

     Our ECF International Chapel is just a small but growing group of true believers of Jesus Christ. This Easter, at the Third Anniversary Celebration of the founding of the Chapel, Dr. Szeto baptized three new believers. Each one has a strong witness for our Lord Jesus Christ. Also, each one has experienced a real miracle from God, especially in healing. Their stories touched many lives and truly blessed this growing community of disciples. Beginning in June this year, under the leadership of Chairman John Qu, a spiritual program -- "Small Caring Groups" will be launched to help many others in the Chinese community. Please continue to pray for this exciting outreach ministry, asking God to provide a full-time pastor to come and lead this congregation with a higher vision and greater harvest.


John Qu     Joseph Cheung     Gui-Yun Peng     Shuying Chen     Paul Szeto

 
MACAU
ECF Computer Center to be Updated
     Dr. Paul Szeto, ECF President, met with the Macau Board and they all agreed that the ECF Computer Center, which is right next door to the Grace Chapel, needs to be updated. Therefore, with the donation from the Four Seasons Hotel, new computers and software will be purchased. A proposal will be sent to a local Foundation to request for extra funding as well. As soon as the project is completed, the Center will hire qualified teachers to teach computer classes to the children living in the Fellowship Orphanage, the Orphanage Alumni and the women in the community. The Computer Center's aim is to help these groups learn a skill that can aid them for employment in the future.



CAMBODIA
Certificates Awarded to Students
     In partnership with the Faith in Christ Church in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, computer classes such as Ms-Word, Ms-Excel, Access and Repairing & Installation courses are established to train young people as an outreach program. Hundreds have benefited from this program and were able to find good jobs. Some of them started to come to church and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.

     On March 6, 2010, 20 students completed the courses and received certificates. Pastor Daracheat shared the Word of God with them and encouraged them to know and accept Jesus Christ. Three students gave testimonies. Please pray for this outreach program and also the needs of this church.



PHILIPPINES
Easter Week Celebrated
     A week-long joint fellowship was held during Easter Week at the Caingin Christian Baptist Church. The sponsored children's families, church members and the community gathered nightly at the Sanctuary to play games such as Bible Drill and group Cheer. A special Bible study on prayer was held, and a lesson for baptism candidates was also taught. On Easter Sunday, awards were handed to each winning team. The parents and the children were all blessed to have a special time together!



USA
ECF International Chapel 3rd Anniversary Commemorated
     The ECF International Chapel celebrated the Third Anniversary on Easter Sunday at the Pasadena First Baptist Church with over 40 members attending. Rev. K.Y. Too, Principal of ECF Bethel Bible Institute in Thailand, shared the message at the celebration. The youth group performed a drama and also special music. After the celebration service, Dr Szeto baptized three new believers, Jun Joseph Cheung, Shujing Chen and Gui Yun Peng. Please pray for this growing church and the ministry team.



THAILAND
Graduation & New Building Project
     The graduation ceremony of the Bethel Bible Institute was held on March 20, 2010 with a total of 34 graduates. Nineteen graduates received the Bachelor's Degree in the Chinese Department. Fifteen graduates received Diploma Certificates, 12 from the Chinese department, and 3 from the Thai Department respectively. This is the first year that the Institute conferred the Bachelor's Degree. The new school year will start on May 15.

     Due to the increase of students and teachers, the Institute decided to build a new two-story building with 12 rooms on the upper level for accommodations, and two class rooms and a library on the ground floor. The building project will cost around US$300,000. The Thailand ECF Board has already pledged half of the cost. The new building will be finished early next year. Please pray for the graduates and the needs for the new building project.





 
Moon Mountain Church Rebuilt and Reopened!


     The original Moon Mountain Church in Kaiping, China was built by missionaries in 1928.

     Due to political change in 1949, Christian worship came to an end. From the 1960s, this large building was used by various groups through the government. Since the Open Policy in China from the 1980s, the rent from this facility was given to the Kaiping Christian Council for the support of the Gospel ministry. In May 2008, the usage right was also returned to the Kaiping Christian Council.

     When Rev. He, Chairman of the Council, learned that Dr. Paul Szeto has been working closely with the National leaders of the China Christian Council for the rebuilding several churches in China, he contacted Dr. Szeto for a new partnership in the rebuilding of the Moon Mountain Church. Since Kaiping is Dr. Szeto's birth place, he has a strong interest in helping. Unfortunately, the world economy affected donation income everywhere. But when the rebuilding project was presented, the ECF Board took a step of faith to support this exciting project. When God's people prayed and took the step of faith, miracles happened. A dear sister from Seattle heard about "the great news with little hope," she donated a love gift to encourage all Board members and staff to move on with the project.

     On March 27, 2010, Dr. Nathan Yeh and Dr. Szeto were invited to attend the dedication service for the reopening of this church. The service was scheduled for ten in the morning, but brothers and sisters in that area came when the sun began to rise. More than 200 people just couldn't wait to go into the Lord's house for worship. Four choirs came from other towns to share their joys with great singing. Dr. Yeh sang the famous "Jerusalem" and touched many hearts.

     Mr. Stephen Leung, ECF Board member, with his wife, Susan, and Rev. Eddie Chan came from Hong Kong to present a love gift to this growing congregation. Dr. Szeto shared from his heart with a message "We are all thankful people". He even used his own Kaiping dialect to communicate with groups. About 130 also attended the Thanksgiving Luncheon. This exciting event wrote a new page in the history of Kaiping City in China. This new page was written with God's love and about God's people.



 
Turmoil in Thailand

By Dr. Ralph S. Carlson


     To borrow phrasing from the British Broadcasting Corporation, "Thailand has been gripped by a paralyzing political crisis since Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted from office in a military coup in September 2006."

     Twice elected Prime Minister, Shinawatra was forced out of office amid charges of gross corruption. However, supporters among the poor, the working class, and the farmers and ethnic minorities especially in northern Thailand, feel his administration followed policies that gave attention to local communities' or "the common people's" needs and wishes.

     In development projects, for example, construction of dams on rural rivers means flooding of miles of territory upstream from a dam site, covering some traditional village sites and farmlands and forest, slowing water flow, raising water temperatures and therefore changing the populations and quantities of fish that can survive in the rivers below a dam and in the impoundments behind a dam.

     While hydroelectric power, irrigation projects and flood control may be benefits of a dam, rural communities wish to be heard if they oppose a project that may force relocations and changes of livelihoods, or elimination of their homes and their lifeways. Among the Red Shirts are those who feel the current government caters to the wishes of a wealthy elite, middle-class business interests, and the military, with little regard for "the will of the people."

     As of mid-May, 2010, Red Shirt demonstrators occupied a square mile of downtown Bangkok, calling for an end to the current government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva who had proposed new elections for parliament be held in November, but then withdrew the proposal in the face of further demands from the opposition parties supported by the Red Shirts.

     At times, in recent weeks, Yellow Shirts, supporters of the current government, have held counter-demonstrations to the Red Shirt activities. Bangkok police and the Thai military have frequently stood on watch or have moved to separate Red Shirt and Yellow Shirt demonstrators when physical conflict broke out between the groups. However, at times, not only batons, tear gas and water cannon have been employed to disperse demonstrators, but also gunfire. While leadership of the various groups joining Red Shirt activities call for peaceful demonstrations, sometimes violence has erupted from the ranks of the demonstrators.

     On Friday May 14th, the Bangkok Post reported seven dead and 101 wounded in clashes during the day. By the weekend of May 15, the army had marked the section of the city where the Red Shirts encamped, as well as streets approaching the area as "live fire" zones. BBC carried reports from several Bangkok residents who remarked that they observed "ordinary Thais," meaning people not involved in the demonstrators' downtown encampment, countering army units' moves against demonstrators. Some observers worry that more widespread violence may break out, not just in Bangkok, but elsewhere as well. Others in Bangkok report that, where they live and work, all is routinely calm.

     For four millennia, Thailand, formerly called Siam, was ruled by absolute monarchs. In 1932, constitutional monarchy was established, with political power in the hands of an elected parliament and a prime minister. The monarch still is very highly revered, and it is illegal to criticize, make jokes about, or publish any material showing any disrespect for, the king and the royal family. While the monarch, constitutionally, cannot rule, on occasion, the king has made public statements or called together political party leaders to urge cooperation for the good of the country.

     Since the 1930s, Thailand's parliamentary democracy has had a spotty history. Prime ministers and parliaments have been elected, yet there have been numerous military coups displacing elected governments. Since 1932, sixteen constitutions or charters have been promulgated, some by military regimes, some by elected representatives and approved by popular vote.

     ECF supports Bethel Bible Institute in Maesai, in northernThailand, on the border with Burma/Myanmar, and serving students from many ethnic backgrounds through programs taught in Thai and in Chinese. Bethel offers both baccalaureate and certificate programs. Graduates go on to serve urban and rural churches in Thailand, China, and Burma/Myanmar.

     To sponsor a student at Bethel Bible Institute through Evangelize China Fellowship, contact Kate Reyes at ECF headquarters. kreyes@ecfusa.org



 
"The Sound of Life" Came On TV in Hong Kong


     After three years of hard work and faithful service by our ECF Board members and staff, this unique series of thirteen TV documentaries "The Sound of Life" with Chinese sub-titles came on TV in Hong Kong on Sunday March 21, 2010 at 8:30pm local time. Each program will be repeated the following Saturday night. The entire series will be on the PAL System so that some cities in China can also enjoy this new and unique presentation in the Chinese language.

     We are most thankful to the Lord for His rich blessings on the production of these 13 DVDs. The series documents the struggle and success of the Chinese people and Chinese Americans around the world. Part of the focus is on the phenomenal growth of contemporary Christianity in China. Four episodes feature churches in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Kunming and Sihui, providing up-to-date, true situations of the growing Christian communities in China.

     We are also deeply grateful for the partnership of Media Evangelism in Hong Kong, under the leadership of Mr. M.F. Yuan and the encouragement of Messengers of Life, under the leadership of Mr. James Chu. A Thanksgiving Dinner was held and all shared the great blessing received from the Lord.

English Teaching Program in China 2010
     Two English Teaching Teams will be sent to China this summer, July 5-17 in Shijiazhuang and July 19-31 in Hangzhou. This special program has blessed thousands of local teachers, students and pastors for the last twenty-some years. You can participate in this ministry through your prayer and also financial support. We would like to invite you to be part of our team next year. We need YOU!

     For more information and application, please email Rachel Shackleford (rachel@ecfusa.org) or contact our headquarters at 626-288-8828. www.ecfinternational,org



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