May – Aug 2012
Not One Forgotten
Lang Lang China’s Neglected People
Japan Iwate One Year On
Resource Prayers as Encouragement
Bringing hope to hard places
We serve the church and seek to bring the gospel to all the peoples of East Asia. We help place Christians with professional skills in China and other Asian countries, and share the love of Christ with East Asians worldwide. Through God’s grace we aim to see an indigenous, biblical church planting movement in each people group of East Asia, evangelising their own people and reaching out in mission to other peoples.
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Lang Lang Hope in the Red Light District
Japan Step by Step: Ippo Ippo
Xu Wei Introducing the Good Shepherd
16 Thailand Drowned Homes but Hopes Alive
Mie Mie God of the Speechless
China Echoes from the Mountains
Prayers as Encouragement Resource
22 Mission Books for Kids Books to Engage Children in Mission 23 Mission DNA Six Ideas to Transform Your Church 24 26
Events Financial Report
P 12 P4 P 12 3
China’s Neglected People Following our theme of ‘Not One Forgotten’, here are two accounts of neglected minorities from the new ‘China Stories’ prayer guide.
Lang Lang had dropped out of school and had come to the city to find work. Her friend, also a dropout from her home village, offered her an attractive opportunity; an easy job earning a good salary. It was too much for Lang Lang to pass up. She was 15 years old and so far her job search had been futile. She was hungry and desperate, and so she went with her friend to work in the ‘massage parlour’ – a brothel.
Lang Lang soon realised her new job was not what her friend made it out to be. She and the other girls at the brothel did earn double what they would as salespersons, but by giving up their bodies. The money was earned at a great cost. One day, she could stand it no longer, and ran out of the parlour and into the street shouting, ‘I’ve had enough!’ An angry customer and her boss followed, berating her and making threats. Walking by at that moment was Sherry, who helps run a Christian shelter and jewellery-making business, employing girls and giving them a way out of prostitution. Sherry hugged Lang Lang and whispered, ‘If you don’t want to work here, you have a choice. I can give you a job.’ Two months later, and despite some setbacks, Lang Lang was making beautiful jewellery at a table in the workroom, and feeling safe. She had already received counselling and medical treatment to help recover from a sexually-transmitted disease. She’s started studying the Bible daily, and is saving her money so she can go back to school one day. The long-term goal of the shelter is to help girls recover mentally, physically and spiritually from the effects of prostitution. After two years in the shelter, the girls are encouraged to start a new life on their own, either using their jewellery-making skills or through finding another job. They may also go out with a new-found hope in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. »
Prayer Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 • Ask for God’s favour and blessing on this shelter, that it would be used by him to rescue many girls from a life of prostitution. • Pray for girls already involved in or considering prostitution. Help them see the dangers and long term effects and find hope in Jesus. • Pray for those who benefit from prostitution and exploitation in China to repent and be changed by the gospel. • Pray for more creative strategies, like the jewellery business, in reaching out to women and children at risk in China.
Now available: China Stories, A Prayer Guide A series of stories of hope and need in China; buy the guide and join God’s work in this Asian giant. £2.00 – Buy online: http://ukshop.omf.org phone: 01732 887 299
‘The view from the mountain is beautiful, but the climb is difficult,’ Xu Wei reflected as he laboured up the mountainside to his home village. The combined effects of old age and a childhood case of polio that left him lame in one leg made the journey especially arduous.
Xu Wei belongs to one of China’s minority people groups, and has lived all his life in a remote mountain village in western China. He is poor and illiterate, just like all the other adults in the village. Some of the children – who may attend school up to third grade in a nearby village – can read a little. One day a group of Chinese and foreign visitors came to Xu Wei’s village and offered help. With one of the greatest needs being literacy, the Chinese – at the request of the village’s leader – started a weekly class teaching the villagers how to read Mandarin. Every weekend, the team traversed up the mountain to teach these classes, spending the night in the village. The team also started a sheep loan project for the village. As the people in the village raised the sheep, they could keep any lambs born and sell them for income. Xu Wei and the other villagers began caring for the sheep on the plentiful grazing land around them. The bond between the villagers and team grew, and the quality of life in the village improved. Over time, the team shared why they wanted to help the people of the village. They were compelled to do good to others because of God’s love for them, and all people. They shared stories from their holy book, the Bible, about a Saviour named Jesus. They sometimes prayed to Jesus for Xu Wei and other sick or ailing members of the village. Amazingly, Xu Wei’s leg began feeling better. Xu Wei found the message intriguing. The visitors gave him a copy of the Jesus film, which he watched intently, and repeatedly, memorising large portions of it. He even wondered if the movie’s message was true – that Jesus really was God and the Saviour of the world.
Prayer 'The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."' Matthew 25:40 • Ask for God to grant those involved in community development in China compassion, creativity and wisdom in providing long-term viable aid. • Pray for open doors to share the gospel in impoverished and overlooked communities. May people’s hearts be soft toward the life-giving message of God’s grace. • Pray for development and relief efforts on the part of Christian workers to be effective in alleviating poverty and improving the quality of life for those they serve.
God of the Speechless ‘If I stay at home and care for her, we won’t eat. And if I go out to find work, who will look after her?’ A tearful mother and her only child sat on the bamboo platform outside their one-roomed shack in a village in the central plains.
At nine years old, Mie Mie should have been in school, but she was so disabled she could not even move her arms and legs, or make any sound. The whole team felt the sense of helplessness, as the cause of her disability was unknown and unlikely to respond to physical therapy or medication. With heavy hearts we moved on, with a promise to return after a few months. Yet He sees. He remembers. He hears speech never uttered, prayers made with no sound. Returning a few months later, we couldn’t find Mie Mie at first. Having expected to see her on her bamboo platform, we were amazed to find her walking – unsteadily, but with purpose. Her mother came rushing across, her eyes flowing with tears. ‘I have got my daughter back.’ She exclaimed. When I asked the staff what they had done, they shrugged and said, ‘Well we did some exercises, and set up some parallel bars… And we prayed for her as well.’ This time we moved on with joy – all amazed at what we had just seen. In our country, there are over a quarter of a million children with disabilities, and very few facilities where they can get help. Over the past few years, we have been able to open a network of rehabilitation centres where disabled children and adults can receive physical therapy, wheelchairs and crutches, and help with education and job skills, as well as being linked with other people with disabilities in their area. But big gaps remain; there are no trained speech and language therapists, no occupational therapists, no special needs teachers, and no programmes to help people with mental health problems. There are so many who cannot express their desires and needs, their hopes and dreams. We need more worker who will hear the song of the speechless, who can offer voice, hope and dignity – and good news to those living in shadow.
News God is at work in the lives of East Asians; here's how OMFers are joining in.
Next Step, Diaspora
In God's Time
Teaching the Teachers
Keith and Joyce Wood have served with OMF since 1981, initially in the Philippines and for more than 20 years in OMF home side ministry in Manchester and Watford. A new challenge now awaits them as they have joined OMF’s Diaspora Ministries Team in the UK. Last month they were in Canada for in-house training with leaders of the International Diaspora Ministry Team. Keith and Joyce will be involved with East Asians in the Manchester area, and helping churches and Christians around the UK reach out to East Asians who come to the UK. Their prayer is that when East Asians return home, they will take Christ’s hope to their own people and beyond. Please pray for them as they adjust to the different facets of their new roles including local outreach, training, pastoral care and administration.
Retiree Keith Ranger still regularly travels to a number of university cities in the UK where he has opportunities to preach and share the gospel. He had an unusual surprise when a lady came up to him during his visit to Nottingham and said, ‘I want you to know I am now a Christian. Nearly 50 years ago I turned you away from my door in Malaysia when you came as a young missionary to share Christ with me. I told you I was not interested. So isn’t God good to grant me a second opportunity to respond to the Good News I had earlier rejected?’
'Every week God uses something in the lesson material to touch my heart’, said one of the participants on a pilot Children’s Worker Training Course in Phnom Penh run by Mike and Rachel Hill. Another course member commented: ‘I started doing children’s work because my pastor told me to, but now I do it to please God.’ The Hills are encouraged by the positive feedback and that the mix of study, local stories and practical work is meeting a need, not only in equipping the participants to serve in children’s work but also helping them to grow as disciples of Christ.
Comic Book Hero
In Japan, Mr Seino (72) turned up at church saying that he wanted to be baptised with all his family, despite appearing to have no understanding of Christianity. He attended church regularly but was always in a rush to leave with no time to attend the seekers Bible study. Miriam Davis decided to enlist the help of a fellow church member and offer Mr Seino a six-session basic Bible study course during the week. Together they have built a good relationship with Mr Seino. He finds reading the characters difficult and asks the most unusual questions but his understanding is evidently growing. Miriam’s prayer is that his spiritual eyes will also be opened.
Outreach in the rural areas of Cambodia can be tough, especially when there seems to be little response. Daniel and Wei Wei Zwygart (Switzerland and Taiwan) were invited to help with literacy and library work in the province of Snoul. Wei Wei cycles out with the mobile library, praying that those who read the Christian material would ask questions during her visit, giving an opportunity to share about Christ. One afternoon she was sitting with a group of villagers when someone finally asked a question about Jesus. Wei Wei sat silently with tears rolling down her cheeks. ‘I’ve spent all this time preparing for this moment and now I can’t even reply!’ Suddenly a voice answered the question – another villager had been reading Bible comic books and felt he could explain who Jesus was!
Out of Action? John and Sian Newton-Webb are students on the language and orientation programme in Japan. John enjoys making friends playing futsal (indoor football) but was put out of action when he tripped and tore ligaments in his right ankle. He was under orders not to put weight on his foot but managed to keep up with his studies. One day he took a day off classes to study at home when a Jehovah’s Witness knocked at the door. They opened the Bible together and the visitor took copious notes and kept remarking, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’ So despite the lack of preparation – the enforced rest had given John his first opportunity to lead a Bible study in Japanese with a non-Christian!
Departures Six new OMFers just leaving for, or just arrived in Asia
‘We felt God leading us to Muslim ministry in South East Asia.’ Graham & Nok Destination: South East Asia Ministry: Professional Calling began: On short-term trips (Graham)
Destination: Tokyo, Japan Ministry: Working with Serve Asia Japan Calling began: Playing Japanese Playstation games! Departed: January 2012 Sending church: St Helen’s Church, London Philipa is a cross-cultural girl – she was born in Uganda, grew-up in Sweden and moved to the UK when she was 14. She knew Jesus from a very young age as both her parents were Christians. She had her first taste of Japanese pop culture via Playstation games which her father gave her and her brothers. So began an obsession with Japanese anime, gadgets, games and toys. During university she met students from China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, many of whom had never heard of Jesus. She then became involved in international student ministry. In 2010 she joined a St Helen’s short-mission trip to Tokyo. The trip was a real eye opener into Japanese culture and Christianity in Japan. She saw first-hand the need for Gospel workers in Japan. She began to pray and kept learning about ministry in Japan. When the tragic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March 2011, Philipa felt very saddened that so many people died without the opportunity of ever hearing and knowing the Lord Jesus. Philipa felt that this was a clear message from God to go. Her prayer is that many Japanese people will put their trust in the firm foundation that is Christ Jesus.
Watching mission workers in East Asia (Nok) January 2012
NOK: East Asia is my home. My parents became Christians through the medical ministries at a hospital near us, where they eventually worked. I worked there for a few years, wanting to be a cross-cultural worker. God called me to apply to some Bible colleges, which is how I ended up at the same place as Graham. GRAHAM: I had taken a number of short-term trips, which confirmed my calling to long-term work, so I started cross-cultural studies to prepare for this, which is where I met Nok. NOK: When we first met, I thought Graham was German with his thick Scottish accent and I got offended when he asked me too many questions and then walked away! However, all was not lost - we eventually became good friends and it went from there! GRAHAM: We got married and then lived in East Asia for about ten months praying about and investigating future cross-cultural opportunities. We felt God leading us to Muslim ministry in South East Asia. We returned to the UK and continued praying and connecting with OMF. NOK: Over the last two years we have faced a number of challenges but God has continually been faithful to us and taught us many lessons. GRAHAM: Our separate journeys into full-time crosscultural work have taken quite a few years so we are glad that now were are able to begin long-term work. I love sport and look forward to building relationships with local men through sport. Nok is looking to spend time with local women, building deep caring relationships and sharing Jesus with them in natural ways. There will be much to learn and difficulties to face but we know that we are in step with God and that we go with Him, so please pray for us.
Margaret Rugira Destination: Japan Ministry: Gospel Outreach Calling began: While being a member of a
Chinese Lion Dance troupe!
Departure: July 2012 Sending church: Christ Church Cambridge &
Song & Julia Tsai Destination: Zhongpu, Chiayi County, Taiwan Ministry: Joining church-planting team Calling began: Nehemiah (Song)
My husband's jokes! (Julia)
Departed: January 2012 Sending church: Wycliffe church, Sheffield
Christ Church, Cockfosters
Margaret was also born in Uganda – her family moved to the UK in 1985 after the death of her father. Growing up she was heavily involved in church activities and thought she was a Christian. It was when she went to university that she found Christians who appeared to possess something that she did not. Her first interest in Japan also started at university where she was on the committee of the Chinese Society and involved in a Chinese Lion Dance troupe! Through having Japanese friends, she helped start the Japanese Society at the university. Since graduation in 2000 she has worked as an engineer in Cambridge. She first visited Japan in 2001 and after subsequent visits with work, she saw the need and felt a burden for the Japanese to know the Gospel. However, it was a few years later that God spoke to her at Spring Harvest. She began to pray and took a two-week Serve Asia trip to Japan in 2006. Having finished her theological training she is now an apprentice at Christ Church Cambridge and is hoping to join OMF’s July 2012 Orientation Course. In undertaking this step she is constantly reminded that ‘In his heart a man plans his course but the LORD determines his steps.’
Song was born in Taiwan, but the family moved to the UK when he was 11. He found himself reading the Bible at university to prove Christians wrong, yet instead he came to the conviction that there is a God! Julia met Song at the International Café for students in Sheffield, where both were on the volunteer team, and in her enthusiasm assumed he was a foreign student, which he teases her about to this day! Song and Julia spent their honeymoon in Taiwan. On the plane, Song began reading about Nehemiah, a Jew in exile. The love he had for his people really challenged Song about his attitude towards his own people, the Taiwanese. He was grieved and came back to the UK longing to return to Taiwan as a Christian witness to his people. How was he going to convey this idea to Julia without freaking her out? He could have a sensible, mature, frank talk about it, or he could start joking about it to sound her reaction. He chose the latter, but still managed to freak her out! Julia was reluctant to leave the security of home, but after a chat with her mum, she realised now would be the best time to go if they were going to do it. They go, hoping to be stretched in their walk with God and to learn much.
By Laura-Jane Meas
Step by Step: Ippo Ippo Iwate one year on On 11 March 2011, eight hundred of Yamada’s residents lost their lives. The town centre was gutted by water, then fire. The impact is still obvious: its 49 temporary housing areas now accommodate around 6000 of its 17,000 residents.
The OMF Iwate Relief Project’s focus has recently shifted to the town of Yamada which is a 30-minute drive south from the base originally established in Miyako last summer. During the past months the OMF team have made many visits to the temporary housing areas, bringing encouragement through community activities – crafts, Christmas parties and hot meals. They have delivered small electric blankets and cushioned hand-made chairs which add a touch of homeliness to the rather spartan interior of the tiny prefabricated houses. Thinking beyond material comfort, the team also produced a leaflet about the ‘God of Hope’, which many survivors have now received. ‘Ippo Ippo Yamada’ is the name chosen for a soon-tobe-built prefabricated building which will be a centre for the OMF Iwate Relief Team’s ministry. A year on, day-by-day and ‘ippo-ippo’ – step by step, the journey through loss, trauma and grief toward restoration continues. US OMFers Mike and Rowena McGinty are working in the area with with Japanese coworkers Hidetaka and Sanae Honma. »
The Lord has also recently moved Pastor and Mrs Takahashi to join the team and work in Kamaishi, a 45 minute drive further south from Yamada. At some point it is hoped that a ‘Step by Step Kamaishi’ can also come into being there. Rowena McGinty visits tsunami survivors on an almost-daily basis. As the anniversary of 11 March 2011 approached, she says, people needed to retell their survival stories: ‘Last week one grandmother told me that her grandson carried her on his back. Today they look at each other and wonder how they ever had the strength to do that. If it was today he could never carry her. People speak of a strange strength to escape the water or fires on that day. I think they are wondering why they survived. I wonder whether, if God allowed them to be saved from that freezing water and ensuing fires, (several have talked about water up to their necks) he also wants them to be saved spiritually?' OMF’s relief focus in Iwate has been about helping rebuild people’s lives and communities through community cafés, which continue to provide survivors with a safe place to unburden. Often there is a word of encouragement, a conversation with a Christian volunteer, a book taken from the bookstall, a hymn sung together. Some ask about God.
Profile: Ho, Laura-Jane & Joseph Meas Returned for summer 2011 to help set up the OMF work in Miyako.
‘The forests are longing for the sea; the sea is longing for the forest.’
One lady who first met Christian volunteers last summer recently talked with Rowena about why Jesus had to die. Another grandmother and daughter who prayed to receive Christ last summer have been studying the Bible with Rowena and Sanae every week. Although the 9.0 earthquake last year caused most damage along the north-east coast of Japan, the impact on the whole nation has been monumental. For the Japanese church nation-wide, what has changed during the past year? Pastor Takahashi recently noted some ways the Lord has been obviously at work. Walls have come down between brothers and sisters in Christ, as churches have worked together to bring relief. Until recently, many Japanese Christians had also felt unable to cross barriers to engage meaningfully with local communities, but over the past year, many Japanese Christians have volunteered to serve the people of Iwate – a region which is seriously under-represented in terms of Christian witness. A further touch of God has been experienced by the Japanese church, which has often felt rather isolated, as they have seen how the body of Christ worldwide responded to Japan with real demonstrations of Christian love. An Iwate aquaculture farmer and conservationist, Hatakeyama, has a rather poetic catchphrase: ‘The forests are longing for the sea; the sea is longing for the forest.’ Believing that good upstream forest management is key to the revival of the ocean, he sees this time of rebuilding from scratch as an unprecedented window of ecological opportunity for restoration in Japan.
OMF Japan workers: 131
OMF Workers in Iwate: 6 (plus 4 Japanese co-workers)
This time in Japan’s history is crucial for the ocean and forests, but this is also true for the kingdom of God in Japan. Whilst responding urgently to the crisis, OMF recognises that recovery needs to be sustainable and integrated with God’s work across the nation. As we pray for the tsunami victims and ‘downstream’ churches in the devastated areas, it is also important to remember to keep praying for healthy church developments ‘upstream’. Can you hear it? ‘Ippo, Ippo’. A step at a time. It is the sound of Japanese footsteps on the road to recovery and to Christ.
Prayer • We can be thankful that God is placing his people along the Iwate coastline as representatives and witnesses of His grace, love, and salvation. • Praise him for the positive, active response of God’s people to the crisis so far. • Watch go.omf.org/iwatevideo and pray for the team. • Let’s also pray that God will continue to call people to work with the OMF Iwate team, with heart and hands ready for practical relief, and a vision to bring the hope and light of the gospel to spiritually needy people. • Don’t forget to pray for God’s work in church fellowships the length and breadth of Japan – for spiritual life that will result in streams of living water flowing out to people and places desperately in need of the Lord.
Drowned Homes but Hopes Alive in Bangkok By Jeff Callow
My wife Belinda and I followed the news of the recent Bangkok floods closely, feeling especially horrified by the pictures we saw posted on Facebook by friends. I felt that God was calling me to get involved, but couldn’t see what I could do. We live in South Thailand, such a long way from Bangkok. Early in November one of our close missionary friends, Marten Visser, shared photos and stories on Facebook about the flood relief he and his co-workers were doing. ‘Is there anything we can do to help?’ Belinda asked him. ‘Yes, come and help us!’ came his reply. Marten, we learned, had been receiving donations from his home country, the Netherlands, and needed help to deliver this relief to the people affected. He was already doing this on the east side of Bangkok, but had no one to work with on the west side. I discussed my desire to go and help with our team in Pak Phanang (Nakhon Si Thammarat province in South Thailand) and discovered that two other team members - Sue Ambler and Steve McCallum - were having similar thoughts. So after a few days of deliberation and preparation, the three of us set off for Bangkok. One of the first things we A report of our involvement discovered was the extent of false in flood relief in Bangkok information and rumours that were in November 2011. circulating about the situation in Bangkok. ‘There’s hardly any drinking water and food available,’ and ‘Buy a boat in South Thailand, because there’s none available here,’
were some of the things we had heard. Having suitably equipped ourselves with food, water and a boat, we arrived in Bangkok to discover that only half the city was under water and life was going on as usual in the dry parts of town. We were put in contact with Bang Mot Church on the western side of the city. This church had received donations of vegetables and rice, and were cooking meals and delivering them into flooded communities. They had just run out of cash and the supplies to continue this ministry when we contacted them. Pastor Ponlawat of Bang Mot Church, had not even had a vehicle and had been asking other churches for assistance to help deliver this food. All of us marvelled at God’s timing of our arrival. The flood relief packages arrived within 24 hours of our arrival in Bangkok, in the form of a truck loaded with ‘care bags’. Each bag contained rice, cooking oil, dry and tinned foods, as well as other daily necessities such as tissues and toothpaste. With the help of the Bang Mot Church, the truck was unloaded and the bottom floor of the little church was filled with the evidence of God’s love which was to be poured out on the people of western Bangkok. Pastor Ponlawat had spent hours on the phone, talking with churches in flooded communities on the western side of Bangkok, in order to find which places had the greatest need, and which churches could help with the distribution. After a time of worship on Sunday morning, more meals were made with the final remnants of rice and vegetables, and we were ready to head out on Monday morning. We travelled through the communities in my pickup truck and another belonging to a church member. At each place we discovered that other charities had been in the area, using army trucks to distribute assistance. However, these big trucks couldn’t fit down the long, narrow laneways and thus stopped at the mouth of each lane to distribute goods. (Some of these lanes, called “sois”, were over 2 kilometres long.) Those who lived down the end of the soi weren’t reached, and those who lived near the main roads often received multiple packages and hoarded them. Very quickly we stumbled on an important strategy that we were to follow all that week - to drive as far as possible
into these areas and then, if the water became too deep, to load up the boats we had with us with goods and wade or paddle further into the flooded communities. The appreciation and excitement shown by the recipients was very evident. Many of these people had been out of work for a month due to the flooding and some were finding it hard to get just one decent meal per day. At each place we would simply say we were Christians and had brought the bags as God’s blessing to the local people. After an intense week, we enjoyed a last wonderful meal with the rest of the church team and then headed back south, in need of sleep, but with many good memories and some new friends to keep in touch with. We had learned some valuable lessons as well. We learned that collecting information is just as important as collecting supplies. The better informed we were, the more effectively we could distribute the goods we had. We also learned the importance of flexibility. Our plans changed every few hours, and I was particularly impressed with my co-workers in the way they gracefully responded to all these changes. The third lesson was the value of intentional, anticipatory prayer. Every day we met with many situations that could have had serious repercussions towards the team and our equipment. Instead of worrying about these, we covered every known risk and danger with prayer, and the Lord didn’t let us down. We distributed care bags to around 800 families, which represented only a small part of their needs. We ourselves played only a small part in an enormous task being carried out by many different organisations and government agencies. But the real help we gave was much greater than the physical assistance. We hope we showed each family that they weren’t suffering alone – that God really cared for them. Most of those communities are dry now, and they are cleaning up and rebuilding their homes. My prayer is that, through our care and help, they will remember the God that cares for them and that doors will be open to the ministry of each local church in each of those communities. Many thanks go to those from around the world who gave generously to the flood relief work in Central Thailand and Bangkok.
‘Many of these people had been out of work for a month due to the flooding.’
Written by a Chinese pastor Translated by Tony Lambert
From Tianfeng, the Three Self Church Magazine
Echoes from the Mountains The gospel among the Yi At the very southernmost tip of Sichuan province, the mountains stand in serried rank and the River of Golden Sands flows in a giant ‘U’ curve. The Datianfang church is perched on an 1800 meter hillside in Changwan Village in the Lixi District of Huili County...
I was taking a training school to fulfil a promise made 13 years ago in 1998 when I met two brothers who told me they were hungry for training. Although we stayed in touch, I was unable to accept any of their repeated invitations until February 2011. I flew 700 km from Chengdu to Panzhihua and then drove 120 km to Huili. I then travelled across mountain roads for a further 100 km and, after 10 hours, finally arrived at Datianfang church, where they welcomed me in song… Datianfang is the local name for villages comprising 80 households with 340 inhabitants, all of whom are Yi. Here, the sun shines for more than 300 days a year. They grow maize, buckwheat, walnuts and pomegranates. In the old days they walked the narrow paths or rode donkeys, but today everyone rides motorbikes. On 30 August 2008 a huge 6.1 earthquake, the epicentre of which was only 20 km away, disturbed the peace. No one was killed, but many of the tile-roofed homes were damaged and some collapsed. People camped out under plastic but nothing was stolen, which was a testimony to the reality of the people’s faith. Aid poured in and no one went hungry. Pastor Bai showed me around; he said that Christianity came here from Yunnan more than a century ago. After the church was built most villagers became Christians, and today that is still the case.
Profile: Tony Lambert This Yi pastor went to Sichuan Theological Seminary in 1989. After graduating, he took on the job of pastoring the entire Huili County and is still the only official TSPM church pastor in Huili. He told me that today in the mountain’s region there are about 10,000 Protestant Christians (mainly Yi) scattered across several hundred square kilometres. There are now eight officially registered churches and meetingpoints, most of them very financially stretched and most damaged by the earthquake. However, very quickly 1.5 million RMB was raised by the Sichuan Provincial TSPM, Christian Council and overseas churches. Within a year, all eight churches had been rebuilt. The church built here amidst the mountains is most attractive with its blue tiles shining in the sun. It can seat 200 people. All the other churches are similar. It goes without saying there are meetings every day. At dusk the loudspeakers broadcast the sound of hymns praising God and people flock from all quarters to the church. The church has become the centre for the entire community. What I observed that is different from other mountain villages, is that people do not need to keep guard-dogs and they do not drink alcohol. In their own words, this comes from their faith. Pastor Bai notified all eight churches about the training class. The furthest had to walk for 10 hours! As this was ‘the first training class in the history of the Huili church, where a pastor has come from the
Director of Research for OMF’s China Ministries.
Minority Groups in China : 56 officially recognised
Christians among Minorities: 42 groups are less than 2% Christian
provincial capital’ everyone’s enthusiasm was high! Pastor Bai told me: ‘As we are at the southernmost tip of Sichuan, “the heavens are high and the Emperor is far away”, so some heresies are flourishing here and threatening the growth of the church. So I hope we can have more training classes in future.’ I said goodbye to Huili on the final afternoon and flew back to Chengdu. As I gazed down at the mountain peaks, I remembered the Christians’ hospitality and the clean mountain air. I remembered what one of the leaders had said from the pulpit: ‘We are so happy you have come!’ This was the heart-cry of those brothers and sisters and for me it was a great challenge.
‘The heavens are high and the Emperor is far away’
Prayers as Encouragement Idea: Encourage your Mission partners by praying for them, and telling them what you prayed for. 20
‘We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ’ 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3. ‘One of the remarkable characteristics of Paul’s prayers is the large proportion of space devoted to praying for others’ says Don Carson in A Call to Spiritual Reformation, IVP. Carson goes on to outline the different types of Paul’s prayers. There are prayers, prayer wishes (such as ‘May the God of all peace do ...’), exhortations to pray and prayer reports (telling people what he is praying for them). We listen carefully to the missionaries’ letter, read their prayer points and pray earnestly that God’s kingdom may be established, but then skip over something that may have a wonderful added impact. Paul continues in his prayer ministry, after he’s finished praying for the Thessalonians, by writing and telling them exactly what he’s been praying for. It must have been a great blessing for them to hear that Paul’s prayers for them had been frequent, and that he is encouraged by their faith, growth and work in Christ. This prayer time idea gets you doing this work of encouragement as a group, spurring mission workers on with our ‘prayer reports’ to them.
You’ll need • Post-it notes, pens • Bibles • A map of the country you are praying for (ask your OMF office) • A large envelope and stamps • Millions magazine • Video clips: www.vimeo.com/omfmedia • Prayer letters and prayer guides • Coffee and cakes (optional, but important!)
Profile: Chris & Sarah Keiller 2nd year language learners and part of the Thai church-planting team in Singburi.
OMF Workers in Singburi: 5
Christians in Thailand: 0.56%
Heres how: From the prayer group’s perspective
Can you tell us how any of those prayers have been answered?
'So ….today we met at 11am. We had coffee on arrival and an opportunity to see some video clips. Then we separated to go wherever we felt comfortable to pray privately. The Billions magazine was available, as was the Thai Tempo, the latest prayer letter from the OMF workers, Bibles, post-it notes and pens. We asked if people would like to write a word of encouragement, a verse or a prayer for our workers, whatever we felt God was saying. The post-its were then placed on the map of Thailand. The map and notes have since been posted to Thailand …hopefully our workers there will be encouraged.'
Some of these prayers were reminders of God’s promises to give His peace and strength, particularly as we have been going through the transition from language school into a ministry-setting where everything is done in Thai; we have known God’s faithfulness in answering these prayers, in what has been quite a big adjustment for us. We would love to see more and more people praying for Thailand and for God to move among the people here. So these prayer notes themselves are an answer to prayer!
From the missionaries’ perspective How did it feel when you received the prayer time notes? We often find it hard to be in touch with prayer partners personally, so to receive this very personal demonstration of prayer support was a special blessing. It was an extra treat to receive something in the post!
Is there anything you would say to encourage prayer supporters to keep going? We would like to encourage prayer supporters that even if you only hear news through more general updates, your prayer support is extremely precious to those you are praying for. Even just a short message to say you are remembering someone or a specific situation in prayer, can be a real encouragement and blessing to those working away from friends and family. More prayer ideas at www.omf.org.uk/resources
Visit the OMF Shop Website: http://ukshop.omf.org Phone: 01732 887 299
Mission Books for Kids With the summer holidays approaching, we have some great offers on books to engage children in mission.
Christian Heroes series
I Went to School in the Jungle
From YWAM Publishing. This excellently written series gives the phenomenal accounts of God working through ordinary people. Titles available: Hudson Taylor (China), Gladys Aylward (China), Lottie Moon (China), Jonathan Goforth (China), Adoniram Judson (Burma) RRP: £5.99 – Special offer £3.00
by Sheila Miller From snake bites and landslides to the hated fish, life at Chefoo could be really exciting! But then it wasn’t an ordinary school that Teresa went to. You’d expect things to happen at a boarding school in the jungly mountains of Malaysia … RRP: £2.50 – Special offer: £2.00
The Mission Zone
An excellent teaching resource about other cultures, mission and how to share the good news of Jesus Christ. This is an adaptable action pack of teaching materials, activities and tools to excite children about world mission. Ideal for Sunday school teachers of all age groups. RRP: £5.99 – Special offer £3.00
J. Hudson Taylor sailed for China in 1853 at the age of 21. Dressing like the Chinese, he starts to preach about Jesus. ‘Bai Gui!’ they shout at him, their hatred is clear. This is the Life and Legend of Hudson Taylor – Manga comic style. RRP: £5.99 – Special offer: £2.00
The Obstinate Horse
Ian and the Gigantic Leafy Ostacle
… and other stories from the China Inland Mission. 24 bedtime-story length true stories of God’s work, interspersed with short devotional passages and scriptures. RRP: £4.99 – Special offer: £2.50
by Sheila Miller An OMF classic for primary school aged children RRP: £2.99 – Special offer: £2.00
Profile: Global Connections Global Connections are a UK based network who seek to serve, equip and develop churches in their mission in order to fulfil our shared vision of ‘Mission at the heart of the Church, the Church at the heart of mission’.
Six ideas to transform your church 1
The World Starts Here
Affirm Existing Links
Find Out About Local Communities
Regardless of where we live or what our occupation is, all Christians are full-time mission workers. So why not celebrate and emphasise this? Also avoid the common barrier of the secular/spiritual divide – what belongs to God and what is ours? The Great Divide, produced by the LICC, is an excellent booklet on this subject and includes study questions for home groups. See: www.licc.org.uk/the-great-divide
Find out more about places church members are going with their jobs, longterm mission, short-term mission trips or while studying. This could include interviewing members of the congregation with connection to the area. The Global Connections World Prayer Map website www.worldprayermap.co.uk is regularly updated with prayer points for countries around the world and Operation World is an excellent prayer resource.
What different communities are there in your area? Why not find out more about these groups with a view to future outreach or at least informed prayer? Your research might include interviewing members of the congregation with links to particular communities, contacting other churches or mission agencies with experience of working with similar people groups, or simply encouraging the congregation to get to know their neighbours.
Invest in Partnerships
Equip the Congregation
Ensure that the world is central to church life and mission is not marginalised: • Involve the church leadership – the world needs to be part of the church’s vision. • Include world prayer in other prayer opportunities rather than just having separate mission prayer meetings. • Avoid a separate world mission budget that only enthusiasts give to. • Ensure that special mission events are not the only way mission is promoted as that can cause mission issues to be put off until the next mission event.
Partnerships can often be developed naturally out of existing connections within the congregation. Alternatively, why not 'twin' your church with a congregation in one of your official twin towns? You could hold a twinning event to launch the partnership and pray for them regularly and encourage people in the congregation to write - especially if they know the language. Eventually this could lead to each church planning a team visit to the other.
Teaching programmes need to include world and mission issues and celebrate what God is doing. More specifically, Kairos: www.kairoscourse.org is a really helpful tool, both for broadening people’s view of mission and helping them discern their own place in the mission of God. This article first appeared in the Deceber 2011 issue of Sphere, a publication of Global Connections
25 – 27 May
Belfast OMF Afternoon of Prayer
Loving God, Loving Asia – OMF Weekend in Wales
2.30 – 5.30pm Belfast Bible College, Glenburn Road South, BT17 9JP Contact: Nathaniel Jennings Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 028 9073 1266
Cefn Lea Conference Centre, Dolfor, Newtown SY16 4AC Bible Readings from Rev. Meirion Thomas. Children’s programme for 4yrs and above. Contact: Web: Email: Phone:
England 4 – 7 May
GO2012 Carrying the flame 24
Bulstrode, Oxford Road, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire SL9 8SZ Worship. Word. Seminars. Prayer. Mission opportunities. Web:
Cambridge OMF update 10.00am – 3.00pm at Eden Chapel, near the Grafton Centre Cambridge Speakers include: Peter Rowan (National Director), Peter and Janet Dallman (Japan), Mogens Pedersen (Aids-Care Thailand), Mark N (Missional Business in China).
www.go2012.org.uk Contact: Tim Jenkins Email: email@example.com Phone: 0755 723 7039
Heart for Asia
15 May and 14 July
West Area Days of Prayer 10.30am – 3pm Redland Road, Bristol BS66YG Contact: Charles Chalmers Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 01179 466 211
11am – 3pm at Bethany Chapel, Prenton, Wirral, CH43 0TY With different workshops and seminars happening throughout the day. Sandwich lunch provided. Contact: Phone: Contact: Email: Phone:
Charles Chalmers www.omf.org.uk/wales2012 email@example.com 01179 466 211
Brenda Holton 0151 670 1771 Richard Crofts firstname.lastname@example.org 07932 054 411
4 – 6 May
By Faith – Scottish Annual Conference Arbroath Windmill Christian Centre A weekend of praise, prayer and passion to serve God with plenty of opportunities to be resourced with books, literature and up-to-date news from Asia. Bible Readings by Dr David Harley, former General Director of OMF. Speakers from The Philippines, Singapore and China. Come and meet new Field workers and short term Serve Asia workers. Contact: Phil and Cath Steed Web: www.omf.org.uk/scotland2012 Phone: 0141 959Annual 4180 By Faith: OMF Scotland Conference 4 - 6 May 2012 By Faith: OMF Scotland Annual Conference 4 - 6 May 2012
By Andy Stevens
OMF Area Mobiliser and China Coordinator
OMF will also be at the following events, please come, say hello and maybe lend a hand.
• 4 – 7 May
Bible by the Beach Eastbourne www.biblebythebeach.org • 2 – 3 June
Big Church Day Out West Sussex www.bigchurchdayout.com • 8 – 9 June
Celebrate Norfolk St Stephen’s Church, Norwich, www.celebratenorfolk.co.uk • 16 – 23 June
ALIVE Festival 10.30am – 8pm Smithdon & Culloden Free Church Inverness www.alivefestival.co.uk • 14 July – 3 August
Keswick Convention www.keswickministries.org/convention • 17 – 21 July
Imagine Scotland Thainstone Centre, Inverurie www.imaginescotland.co.uk • 4 – 10 August
Keswick in Buckie Buckie Baptist Church www.keswickinbuckie.org.uk • 11 – 17 August
New Horizon Coleraine www.newhorizon.org.uk • 17 – 21 August
Soul Survivor Bath & West Showground www.soulsurvivor.com/uk • 3 – 7 September
UCCF Forum Shropshire www.uccf.org.uk
Not One Forgotten A6 card_Layout 1 03/11/2011 15:04 Page 1
此 後,我 观 看,见 有 许 多 的 人,没 有人能数过来 是 从 各 国.各.各 民,各 方 来 的,站 在宝座和羊面 前,身 穿 白 衣,手 拿 棕 树 枝. Revelation 7:9
There are many unreached people groups with scanty Christian witness and few, if any evangelicals among them. They may not, yet, be known to you, but Not One is Forgotten by God. It is our responsibility to remember them too. When: March 2-4 2012 Where: Hayes Conference Centre Swanwick, Derbyshire Who: Henry Lu Director of COCM Christian Gabre Director of Central Asian Fellowship Andrew Kaiser Jian Hua Foundation – and others Find out more:
GLOBAL CONNECTIONS CHINA CONFERENCE 2012
Not One Forgotten China Conference Catching the butterfly ...
Once upon a time, understanding China was like holding a caterpillar. It was a bit wriggly, potentially dangerous, but pretty easy to capture. China could be held up to scrutiny, analysed and understood. Understanding China now is like trying to catch a butterfly. It is skittish, beautiful and tantalising, but as soon as you try and pin it down, it flaps its wings and flies off. Hosting a conference about China is a bit like trying to catch that butterfly too. However long you spend looking, you will only ever get a glimpse of the beauty of the creature. You might, for a minute, think you have it in your net, but then it escapes and you have only had a fleeting vision. At the Not One Forgotten conference in March, which OMF helped Global Connections to run, we tried to give a sneak peek of where the butterfly might land next. The focus on minority people groups was very well received. The people of China are as diverse as an entomologist’s field book. Settling on a few Chinese ethnic groups that God treasures and loves, will hopefully serve to improve the awareness of the many others still unreached. There is great hope that the Chinese church itself, alongside expatriate workers, will catch a vision for mission work amongst those who live on the geographic borders of the country, as well as those who live in the disenfranchised fringes of society. Meanwhile, there was also an excellent focus on possible future roles for Western professionals, perhaps a diminution in number, but not necessarily in influence. Our conference was thoroughly undergirded by Henry Lu’s Bible talks. Jesus was passionate about the forgotten and the neglected. No one was too lowly or unimportant, or sinful, for his attention. We surely should go and follow his example.
Profile: Darren Wall Director for Finance & Corporate Services
Family: Married to Susan (Serve Asia Individuals Coordinator). Daughters: Elspeth and Catriona.
Once again, we are thankful to God. He has been gracious to use OMF for His purposes amongst East Asians, granting the provision necessary to see this happen. Our unaudited income figures below show that in 2011, OMF UK received 97 per cent of its budgeted requirement for unrestricted purposes.
In considering the path ahead, James Hudson Taylor is recorded as thinking, ‘when I get out to China, I shall have no claim on anyone for anything. My only claim will be on God. How important to learn … to move man through God by prayer alone’. This principle, which the fellowship has held since that time, is one which the Lord has honoured to see His purposes fulfilled time and time again. Notably, during 2011, OMF UK underwent a major organisational restructuring process including the closure of 5 regional offices, centralising administration processes to the National Office in Borough Green, Kent. Whilst this led to the reduction of costs in certain support areas, extra costs have been incurred with a strategic expansion for assisting the mobilisation (of people and other resources) into mission. The full financial effects of these changes will become more apparent by the end of 2012. Please pray with us as we continue to seek the Lord to guide, provide for and use OMF in his purposes, as we constantly review and refocus our activities and structures as he leads.
By Darren Wall
Supports: Southampton FC
Financial Detail 2011 Total general income: £6,684,000 (2010: £5,811,000), an increase of 15 per cent. Included in this income was over £750,000 received for restricted purposes, including the Japanese Sendai Earthquake, an increase of approx £400,000 on 2010. Legacies (as reported according to charity regulations) include those notified in 2011, but not received until early 2012. A £400,000 legacy received in 2012 has therefore been included in the income total for 2011 and is the reason why the transfer to reserves is so high (these monies were not in hand to be spent in 2011, but are required to be reflected in the accounts). In 2010, some extraordinary General Fund donations were received, which were not continued to the same extent in 2011. Total expenditure: £6,224,000 (2010: £6,055,000), an increase of 3 per cent, includes the transfer overseas of the increased restricted funds referred to above. Reserves increased by £460,000 (2010: decrease of £244,000). Our policy is to pass all income received to ministry purposes, as it is received, subject to the requirement to maintain a small working capital reserve. These are draft summary figures, to which we have made certain adjustments for the sake of clarity. A full copy of our audited accounts will be available on request later in 2012. We are very grateful for the prayers and generosity of you, our partners and thank you for the way you faithfully join with us in this ministry which God has called us to serve in together.
Other Miscellaneous – 1% Education & information - 2% Mission support – 8% Retirement - 7%
Mobilisation – 20%
OMF Financial report 2011
Evangelisation – 62%
2011 estimated £000s
INCOME Support gifts General donations Legacies
Mission support HA, Fin, Member Care Education & information
Other Miscellaneous Total expenditure
Taken to / from (-) reserves
China Stories Filled with stories of hope and need, as you read, lift up China in prayer as you join God’s work in this Asian giant. £2.00
Hope for Tomorrow Will you intercede for North Korea? There is change, but will you ask God to give you his heart for this nation £2.00
Discounts available 25% off on 12 or more with code: 12pray Website: http://ukshop.omf.org Phone: 01732 887 299