Dear HeartCry and Supporters:
From December 6-18, I led a group of evangelists and Bible students to open air preaching at 11 separate villages. We have had our evangelists in some of those villages living among animists and preaching the gospel. There are two new animistic villages (100+ families) to which we look forward to sending out missionaries in near future. By the end of the trip, we had preached the gospel to over 1,600 people, and I baptized 6 people.
Paul and his team made a successful trip to churches in December, although it was not without hindrance by authorities from both side. They were almost stopped and sent back. But thankfully a Chinese citizen who was my student was able to negotiate with the authority. They were split and went to different villages there. Situations are not as before. They had to be careful and wise. Mass gathering for long was not advisable.
Paul and a friend, Peter, went to three new villages and it turned out that the churches in those villages were in great need of sound teaching. He spoke a few sessions to over a hundred people, especially in nighttime when nearby villagers were also present. Those who had heard his preaching invited them to their churches too. But they couldn't go.
At one village, Paul taught to about 20 Christians. That village has about 100 families and only 20 families are so-called Christians. They said that they had never heard the Bible expounded in this way. Sadly, even their pastor is an alcoholic and is a pastor just because he was appointed to be, not knowing anything about the job. All they knew, or misunderstood, was that baptism confirms salvation.
In another village, Paul has observed that Christians are conducting services as rituals in a monastery. They wouldn't even gather together for church service, rather individuals would go to the church on Sundays anytime and recite the same prayers. Paul preached to them and they eagerly invited him to come again and teach them more. Paul said the situation was really desperate spiritually and heartbreaking.
The other two men visited previously visited villages and followed up believers there in two churches. They were mutually encouraged by the visit. Our men were encouraged to see the progress in those two churches because of the previous visits and teachings. Besides, some of my former students live there and they are regularly preaching at those churches and nearby. The way they pray, conduct services and their taking delight in listening to sound teaching proved that our fellowship with them in the past years is bearing fruits, which we will maintain.
Overall, the trip was a timely and beneficial to many souls there. There were more churches that invited our men but the were not able to make them all. They made most of their efforts and time in teaching at churches, homes and open-air as well during this brief time with pressure from having to be alert. Thank you very much for your support towards the expense of that trip.
Chris, Rufus and the region
The situation in the special region remains unchanged though it is not getting worse. Rufus has been assigned to an animistic Lahu village 40 miles from KT whereas Chris remains in MK and waits for the situation to get better. He too was appointed to pastor a church in our region, but he wants to wait and see if he could return to his former congregation while also visiting and preaching the church he has been assigned to. Meanwhile in the region, Paul's team, mentioned above, is visiting the churches and conducting services at homes. It is a possibility that the authority would restore some of the churches to previous conditions. By the way, Rufus is expecting a baby soon.
Let me conclude by thanking you again for your partnership and support in many ways. May God bless HeartCry and all supporters!
Yours in Christ
Elijah (for December)