Victoria V Bran ch Mat t ers
Decemb er/ JJa an a n u ary 2 0 1 3 /1 4 Vol 7 No 11
Alison Thompson with friends in Mondulkiri, Cambodia
Merry Christmas State Director
ave you ever celebrated Christmas in another culture? Growing up in Malaysia, we had a Christmas tree at home, complete with fairy lights, streamers and a star. But make no mistake, the main deal was the presents under the tree. We weren’t a particularly Christian family back then. There were no carols. No mention of Jesus. I knew all the words to Jingle Bells, though (Batman smells, Robin ran away…). Our missionaries describe Christmas in Japan like this: Christmas here is like Valentine’s Day – an excuse for lovers to visit romantic places, have their photos taken, and enjoy a romantic dinner. On Christmas Eve, families eat a Christmas cake (a sponge covered in cream, with strawberries and a plastic Santa or snowman on top) and KFC chicken. Queues outside bakeries are massive.
To us a child is born, to us a son is given – Isaiah 9:6 A Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord Luke 2:11
Amanda Lyons leaves Wei-Han Kuan
Kid born in shed, saves world – Matthias Media Christmas Card CMS exists to keep Christ in the centre of Christmas! Especially around the world in places and cultures where Christmas is centred on something else. Please respond this month to our special Christmas Appeal, through which we hope to raise more funds to support the work of declaring Christ at Christmas. www.cms.org.au/vic/christmas
Developing the Ntuk Nti centre Boyds ask “Why not?” MentAC Indonesia SUTS 2014 Diary
This month, you could start a conversation with someone about Christmas, cake and chicken in Japan. It would give you a reason to explain what Christmas means to you.
Centuries of Christendom have meant that Christmas has been appropriated in different ways by different cultures. Sometimes, as in Japan, the festival turns into something completely unrecognisable to Christians. But even when carols are sung and Jesus gets a mention as the baby in the manger, celebrations can be off-centre.
This month, you could set aside a regular time to pray with our missionaries that we may each bear faithful witness to Jesus, born at Christmas, as Saviour of the world.
In Australia, my observation is that Christmas is mainly about family, food, gift-giving and receiving – and cricket the day after. Not that these are bad things, especially if we regain the Ashes this season. But they’re not the main thing. Keeping Christ in the centre of Christmas is the main thing.
Christmas blessings to you and yours! In Christ
CMS VICTORIA 9-13 QUEEN ST BLACKBURN 9894 4722 firstname.lastname@example.org cms.org.au/vic
People Amanda Lyons heading to Indonesia Amanda has been involved with CMS Victoria for many years, from co-ordinating children’s ministry groups to being involved with young adults groups. Amanda, who has just completed her study at Ridley College, is now taking up an opportunity to serve and learn with All Saints’ Church, Jakarta, an international church, operating in English with people from many cultures. Amanda will be involved in kids and youth programs in the church and working with local partners. To receive Amanda’s prayer news, please contact the office. Amanda will be away until February.
Developing the Ntuk Nti centre Ken and Alison Thompson have been working in rural Mondulkiri, Cambodia developing better agricultural practices within their community. However, recently they have been involved with developing the regional Ntuk Nti ministry centre.
ver the last two years our ministry in Cambodia has taken on a new shape, but the grass roots remain the same – caring about people and showing them Jesus’ love, modelling the Christian life, mentoring young people and teaching them farming skills. Our daily lives We now live on the church property where we have been helping develop the ‘Ntuk Nti’ centre. This is a church meeting centre, student dorm and model farm all in one. We never quite know what each day might bring; just like any other farm or church property! Most days find us working with people at the centre on building projects or farming activities. From time to time we hold workshops and farm tours for groups wanting training in agriculture. Various church related meetings are also held at the property (which may or may not involve us directly) which are another way locals get to see what we are doing. They are free to call in at any time to find out more or see something we are growing or doing on the farm.
Archives Wanted: one technocrat! In our Archives we have slides, reel to reel tapes, videos, and various other now outdated forms of media. We urgently need the help of someone who can deal with these so they can be better stored, and made accessible to researchers. If this is something you could do, please contact the archivist Janine Stewart at: email@example.com, or on a Thursday at 9894 4722.
Sustainable ways of helping farmers On the farm, our priority is to develop resources and appropriate technology that are helpful to the small farmer. In the past we took our ideas to help with problems to the farmers. Now we are addressing problems through training or by answering people’s questions about the things they see on the farm. This is a more natural and sustainable way to show farmers useful ideas. Over time people see new ideas tried and tested under local conditions. This helps give people confidence to try things themselves. In addition, the on-farm nursery, seed bank and shop let people access new crop varieties, allowing people to invest in these things at their own level of interest. Sales of produce and young fruit trees also provide income for the project.
Sharing our lives and the gospel As people visit or work with us we get to talk about the issues they are facing, including farming, health, family, community or spiritual matters. We try to share what the Bible says about these things whether in informal ways, or formal ways, such as the workshops or preaching and leading Sunday school through the local church congregation that meets weekly on the property. The newly completed meeting building is a significant step for the village church leaders in realising one of their long-term goals. Having a central meeting place that can accommodate any sized group (such as women’s conferences, leaders’ meetings, and training workshops) no matter what the weather will make these things more attractive and easier to run. As the building is large enough for indoor sport, we are hopeful that more youth will get involved in what’s happening at the property and that this will be another avenue through which we can mentor young peole and share the good news. Looking forward Now that the building phase is mostly over, our main challenge is to develop a cohesive community of people who live and work at the centre full-time. As the Bunong Christians mostly live and farm in distant villages, settling on the church property is a big commitment. Please pray with us that God will raise up people to fill these roles.
To hear more of what Ken and Alison Thompson are doing in Mondulkiri, come to SUTS2014. To register go to summerundertheson.org To support Ken and Alison and their work in Cambodia, go to: give.cms. org.au/thompsonka. To receive their prayer news, please contact the office.
Why not? David and Prue Boyd have been at St Andrew’s Hall and are now preparing for deputation before heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo later in 2014. Please pray for them as they transition to a new country.
hy uproot yourselves and go to work in an unstable, povertystricken, difficult country at your
We served in the Diocese of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) in 1986-96, working with the church in a variety of teaching and helping ministries. In the 17 years since, we have followed the news from there and kept in touch with friends and former colleagues. Since then, we have felt for a number of years that God was not finished with us yet in terms of working cross-culturally in mission, and have been seeking the right time to get involved again. I worked for over three years as the State Director of CMS Tasmania, so we have had constant news of missionaries around the world, their varying ministries and their ups and downs. At the same time, Prue volunteered with a Hobart organisation to help refugees in the resettlement process. One large family she helped was Congolese. Now, our children have grown up and married, we are still in good health, and we think we still have something to give in mission. Democratic Republic of Congo today DRC is a country in dire straits, with five to six million people having died there as a consequence of the Rwandan genocide in April-June 1994 and its fallout afterwards within DRC. War in 1996-97 and again in 1998-2003 has been followed by chronic instability and great violence, particularly in the east. Even now, the east is known as ‘the rape capital of the world’ as various armed groups, official and unofficial, use rape as a weapon of war. Intermittent fighting against heavily armed and foreign-backed groups continues. Hundreds of thousands are internally displaced or are refugees in surrounding countries. The largest UN peace-keeping force in the world is based there.
So the followers of Jesus have much work to do, but the church is greatly constrained by lack of resources, training and the pervasive insecurity outside the main towns. Why not? Therefore, just from the simple point of view of justice, why wouldn’t we give serious thought to offering to work in a place where resources are gravely lacking rather than in a place where there are plenty? It was more a question of “Why not?” rather than “Why?” Even if we finally end up serving in a different country, the question remains the same. We have (of course) been through the CMS selection processes and our referees, interviewers and various committees all agreed that they believed that God is calling us back into cross-cultural mission overseas. We do not believe that mission workers should be on a pedestal, because all Christians are called to be proclaimers of the gospel. We are just going to be doing it in a different place, but that means that we will need prayer, care and financial support from people and churches in Australia. Thank you for partnering with CMS to enable people like us to serve God in DR Congo.
To support David and Prue Boyd financially and to receive their prayer letters, please contact the office. To find out more from David and Prue, come to SUTS2014 and hear their story.
MentAC Central Java Indonesia
MentAC is a cultural immersion and training program for people interested in learning about other religions, beliefs, cultures and practices in Indonesia. Indonesian Language You will be studying the Indonesian language, learning about culture, and mixing with local people in a variety of environments. Home-Stay Accommodation Living in a home-stay or student housing enables language acquisition to be practised and consolidated, as well as giving an inside and up-close experience of Indonesian culture. Relationship building Building relationships with local people allows an insight into different religions in the Indonesian context. Making friends with believers helps you to understand the experience living as a minority in another religious context. Local Sunday fellowship Joining a local fellowship opens you to understand and appreciate a local expression of Christianity which is likely to be different to what you may be accustomed to. Exposure to ministry styles Meeting people who share the Good News using a variety of different methods to connect with Indonesians increases your understanding about how God uses different people in different ways. Cultural Enrichment Trips Taking opportunities at various times to visit places of cultural interest in Central Java, and possibly further afield. There will also be opportunities to visit villages of diverse religious backgrounds. To explore whether this could be for you, contact CMS on 9894 4722 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Under the Son 2014 It is almost here! Summer Under the Son 2014 (SUTS) is shaping up to be an amazing event with excellent speakers and a wonderful program. If you intend to come but haven’t yet registered, please do so as this will make administration much easier for everybody at the conference. You can also register at SUTS, so invite your friends for a day or just the evening sessions. There is still some room in the Youth Camp and in Summer Salt kids’ program so register them now, so they do not miss out. Youth Camp Registration closes 20 December.
Summer Evenings Each evening we will have the Summer Evenings program at SUTS. It is included in your day registration but if you can’t come during the day, you can still come and register just for the evening - a great opportunity to bring friends and show them what SUTS is all about. The City on a Hill band will lead us in worship and David Williams will be our guest speaker. Don’t miss out on this great event. Sarah Harding, SUTS Kids Ministry Coordinator, has some opportunities for people who love working with children to join her team. Summer Salt is the kids’ program which will run in the mornings at SUTS and for one session in the afternoons. There is a great program planned and Sarah is now looking for a few more people to help her run it. If you are interested or know someone who is, then contact Sarah at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally - SUTS doesn’t work without its army of volunteers! People who volunteer gain a whole new level of involvement and reward from attending - so if serving food, ushering or helping people find their way to the car park is your bag, please call Andrew Astley in the office on 9894 4722 to offer your help.
Diary Missionary Care Fellowship (MCF) Christmas Celebration Wednesday 11 December 10:15am start with morning tea. Speaker: Liz Hawthorne All welcome. Bring a plate to share. Contact Maurelle Thompson on 9850 6850.
comings and goings 10 January Ken and Alison Thompson arrive from Cambodia 18 January Tavis and Kate Beer return to Katherine, NT
Giving Electronically 1. Go to http://www.cms.org.au/vic/give/directdebit, download the form, complete it and send it to the office. 2. Give with your credit card at https://give.cms.org.au (we pay a credit card fee on each transaction). 3. Set up direct giving into our account. Please indicate your name and if there is a missionary/fund you wish to support in each transaction. Then email email@example.com with the details. Name: CMS Victoria BSB: 063107 Account: 10105716 Please ring the office if you need assistance.
Published on Nov 28, 2013
Great articles by Ken and Ally Thompson and David and Prue Boyd on heading to DR Congo. Wei-Han brings a Christmas message... and more.