Category : Malaysia.
Well, it is official! Our Malaysian Pastor Franklin and his wife Jessie have joined us at the church plant, and they are settling in nicely. As we approach our first year anniversary since the launch, we have started conversations with our congregation, asking them what is working? What is not working? Is there anything we want to change? How do we see our Father leading us to impact our city in the years to come?
Please remember to pray for our young congregation. Two baptisms and counting! Each new person who joins brings a new set of gifts. Please pray for us as Pastor Franklin and I try to discover and hone the gifts of every person God brings our way.
A few weeks ago I was an observer at the General Assembly of the English Speaking Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in Malaysia. Sixty-six churches were represented — but about half do not have any ordained pastor. This is a chronic shortage, and a major topic of the assembly was how to encourage younger generations to enter the ministry. As I listened to the discussions it was borne in on me what a wealth of ministers we have in America: so many good seminaries churning out so many potential pastors there is actually a bit of a glut on the American market! And more than one Malaysian minister, in speaking to me about it, wanted to know:
“How can we get those young men and their wives to come here and help us?” Well, there you have it, dear reader: an open invitation. Any takers? If you cannot join us here on the ground, please remember to pray for the Church in Malaysia. In the face of rising economic and religious pressure, many young people are pursuing career opportunities in the West, and the pastoral shortage is being felt in every denomination.
Over the last couple of years I have helped to put together an organization we are calling the Gospel City Network. GCN is dedicated to encouraging and supporting church plants and church planters in our city. Using a curriculum from the City to City Network (related to Redeemer PCA in New York), GCN is
hosting a two-year long training course in church planting which is accredited by a local seminary. We have thirteen students signed up — all potential church planters! Last Saturday, Dar and I taught the second module of the course, a segment called “The Personal Life of the Leader,” which
focuses on how to remain rooted in the gospel when the pressure to ‘succeed’ in ministry becomes overwhelming.
Please pray for the Gospel City Network, and the training/mentoring part Dar and I will be playing there in the months and years to come.
As many of you are aware, there is a genocide ongoing in Myanmar, where the Buddhist-majority government has turned against its Rohingya
Muslim citizens. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled across the border into Bangladesh where they are living in huge refugee camps. Our sister church there, the Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh, has mobilized to offer relief: food, clothing, and the gospel.
Our teammates Phil, Barb, and Sandy have been able to join in that work, making two trips to the camps in the last three weeks.
Please pray for the Rohingya refugees, living in tents beside the sea on the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Pray for an end to the killing. And pray that the servants of the Presbyterian Church in Bangladesh will have many opportunities to preach the gospel with their mouths as well as
Dar’s health continues to fluctuate: some days are better, some worse as she learns to live with Rheumatoid Arthritis. We are having to carefully restructure our lives to make room for chronic pain. Thankfully our two oldest are now driving (Nadi in a car, Myrddin on a motor-scooter), which means that Dar is able to pass off some of her Soccer Mom duties.
While we are confident of our Father’s love, and understand that this illness is the particular cross he is asking us to bear, I, in particular, am struggling to come to terms with discouragement and grief. I am reading a book called The Crucifixion (by Fleming Rutledge), and it has reminded me that it was through Christ’s weakness that redemption entered the world. It was the strangest, most unimaginable plan ever! So it makes sense that even today God should continue to choose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. We have been sown in weakness; we will be raised in power. But until that day comes, we could use your prayers.