Dear HeartCry and Supporters,
I woke up in disbelief on a morning two months ago as something that I thought could not happen had just happened again. Immediately I went to the throne of God and admitted that He is sovereign over all events in human history. However, it took much prayer and meditation to face reality and not let the situation affect my commitment to preaching the gospel. I thank God for His faithfulness and protection.
In the past three months, I witnessed both the vulnerability of nations and the irresistibility of the power of the gospel. Paul’s charge to Timothy to preach the word and to be ready in season and out of season (2 Tim.4:2) leaves us no excuses to undermine the work of the gospel in difficult seasons. From January until now, I, together with my coworkers, have visited over twenty village churches and mission fields that I oversee. Half of those villages consist of an animist majority in which our missionaries live among them and lead several believers, respectively.
During those trips, we baptized forty-seven people from six locations and added them to local churches. Whereas we preached the gospel in its simplicity, making it understandable to unbelievers, we taught believers about salvation from predestination to the perseverance of the saints.
A man firm adhered to animism among the listeners to our teaching at the church, which building you supported a few years back. He’d never attended our previous teaching there. After hearing the gospel preaching attentively for over two hours in the morning, he returned in the afternoon and told me that he’d like to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. The regeneration of the Holy Spirit had taken place in his heart during the preaching. That was the first time I’ve ever witnessed such a powerful conversion even before the conclusion of the message. I’ve never offered any so-called alter call in my preaching. Praise the LORD for His marvelous works sometimes so visible to our plain eyes! The event shocked the whole village, given that he was one of the most vigorous opponents to Christianity.
After the service, we cleared out animistic amulets and stuff from his house and baptized him. He was the fourth person to be baptized in that village during the past three months. Please pray for those new believers and the young evangelist family and the small church in a big, animistic village.
While we were with our missionary S, we met five Christian families who live near the area. They were members of a liberal church. But they had no pastor in the village where over twenty animists and Buddhist families are living together. When they wanted to attend a church service, they had to travel about two hours in the dry season by motorbike to their church members. For three years, they had considered their church membership seriously and made every effort to attend the service when they could. But only a few adults could do so. Therefore, when we were teaching at the church where S is pastoring now, they joined the meeting and listened to our teaching. One evening, an old lady came to me and asked me if we could give them spiritual leadership. They realized that they couldn’t really grow into maturity in that situation. Their souls had not been fed with spiritual milk for so long. They had already decided to leave that so-called church which couldn’t provide them pastoral and spiritual care partly because of proximity (partly, their denomination won’t usually send a pastor to a village where the church is very small in number). The next evening, I went to their village and founded a new church. S is looking after them now, and we are looking forward to sending a new evangelist there. That’s a new mission field and a wide-open door for the Gospel ministry in the area.
Meanwhile, in the particular region, our men are working hard in their respective churches. A few days ago, a family of five members joined P’s congregation. C, P & T and the team in the area traveled to the village where that family lived and cleared out their old belief stuff, and taught them God’s Word in other villagers’ presence. They are advancing the gospel’s work in that area by proclaiming the word in all seasons and building up the church.
Having said that, the visible and immediate result of preaching the gospel is not always the way we expected it to be. Many unbelievers and prominent animists have attended and even responded to my Q&A sessions. Strangely, none of them disagreed with the gospel or with me. They agreed with the teachings that there is God, that man is a sinner, that good works and religions do not bring us to God, that Jesus is the only way to the Father (heaven), and that the wages of sin is death in hell. They were even seemingly convinced that their relatives in hell wouldn’t want them to join them and wanted them to believe the gospel they were hearing (as I preached from Luke 16:19-31). They said they had no objection to our teachings, but sadly their hearts were still hardened to receive the grace. We must continue to pray for them and also preach them over and over again for “… faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). As Chrysostom said, “Just as the fountains, though none may draw from them, still flow on, and the rivers, though none drink of them, still run, so must we do all on our part in speaking, though none give heed to us.”
Please continue to pray for our country, especially for our brethren and fellow workers across the country going through many hardships during this political turmoil. I thank God for the opportunities I’ve had to proclaim the gospel in spite of this. Also, I thank God for your faithful and effective partnership that plays a vital role in bringing about fruitful ministry. Thank you for your recent support of missionary motor bikes to E and P, and also for the L Bibles. Having traveled over a hundred miles with the new bike, the first quarter of the year has been energy-consuming but fruit-bearing.
All HC missionaries and families in this part of MM are doing well, making every effort to make known the gospel and win souls, both in our local churches and out in the fields.
Finally, please pray that our infrastructural needs be met so that we would expand the mission to its full potential. Several recent and new churches are also in need of a church building and help for their local pastors and evangelists. We, the HC men and our local partners, thank you for the differences you’ve made to our mission grounds by your prayers and supports in many ways. May God bless you all. May God bless the HMS.
Your fellow worker in Christ,
Elijah (March 2021)