My beloved Gethsemaneans,
By the rich mercies of God, both Carolyn and I finished our 10-day visit to our church’s Ethiopian mission stations. We spent most of our time in Alem Gena, where we have built a churchcum- GBI complex to advance the preaching of the Gospel in Ethiopia and the neighbouring countries. The work of the Lord here has been increasing, but certainly not without struggles within and without. We are very thankful to witness that the Lord has mercifully preserved and blessed the work.
I have taught ‘Christology’ in GBI for 7 days, about 5 hours daily. GBI has presently 15 fulltime students (Mon-Fri) and about the same number of parttime students (certain weekday night classes and on Saturday). Rev Ephrem and his family live on campus, and bear much of the administrative and teaching responsibilities. Pr Engida, who is stationed in Addis Ababa, comes to Alem Gena once a week and teaches in GBI. Pr Imane, who also lives on campus with his family, is juggling his studies (Masters in Theology) at Ethiopia Graduate School of Theology and his teaching responsibilities in GBI.
Two of the students, Bayera Nurgi Tura and Dejene Daka Dantero, have completed their 3 years of theological studies and ministry training. Last Sunday, in conjunction with the combined worship services of our two congregations, their graduation service was held. More than 160 worshippers gathered together for this blessed occasion. Incidentally, Bayera has been reaching out to a farming community in the middle of a very large farming area in Sebeta region, which is about 40 minutes’ drive from our church in Alem Gena. Our Ethiopian brethren have decided to buy a piece of land (of about 2,000 square metres) with the money left from the Building Fund. This is to build a temporary structure for a worship gathering area, and a small mud-house for Pr Bayera to stay while he reaches out to the community there. I have gone with Rev Ephrem and Pr Bayera to view the place, which is a very remote area with no public transportation. People need to walk a very long distance (along a new road that is being constructed) or ride on horse-carts to get to that village. We travelled to the place via the church van – it was a very rough and bumpy ride. People in this place generally worship household idols and are superstitious. Let us pray that the preaching of the Gospel would turn many to the living God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, in order that they may be saved.
We left Ethiopia on Wednesday (2nd Dec) morning (7.30am) and only arrived in Bomet at 8.30pm. We were received at the Nairobi (Kenya) airport by Rev Eben Yoon (Bible College of East Africa, Nairobi) and another Korean young man who is studying at BCEA. Together with them was Pr Charles Sang, an FEBC graduate who now reaches out to a community in the outskirts of Nairobi as a preacher of African Gospel Unity Church (AGUC). He came with two young boys from Bomet in a minivan to fetch us. After a short fellowship with Rev Eben Yoon, we left the airport for Bomet. It was a long journey of about 6 hours. Though we were expecting to reach Bomet by 7.30pm, the van’s tyre burst just about 15km before Bomet. It was pitch-dark everywhere, without lights along the road. The driver tried to change the tyres with help of the light from our mobile phones, but the tools in the van malfunctioned. As we prayed in our hearts, God sent a man, who was walking along a side road, to help us. He kindly called his friend on his mobile phone to bring some help. Thank God, after waiting for almost 40 minutes, help arrived. God has been merciful and we safely arrived in Bomet. We were heartily received by Rev Michael Koech (Principal of Bomet Bible Institute) and Rev Jonathan Langat (Pastor of AGUC, Bomet). Sis Carol Lee (Truth BPC, Singapore) was also there. (She has been coming to Bomet for the past 11 years – during the Nov-Dec period – to train youths and also to help in the Bible College.)
I preached in the Missions Conference of AGUC on Thursday (3rd Dec) and the Graduation Service of Bomet Bible Institute on Saturday (5th Dec). We travelled back to Nairobi on Saturday afternoon and are staying in BCEA, Nairobi. We have been looking forward to having fellowship with Rev & Mrs Mark Kim, who lead the work in BCEA. I am also invited to preach God’s Word in BCEA’s Campus Church during Sunday Worship Service. Soon after the worship, we will head to the airport for the return flight to Singapore via Dubai. Please continue to pray for us and hope to see you all on Tuesday night, at our Bible Study and church prayer meeting.
I am thankful to the Lord for your ardent prayers and generous gifts for the Building Project. Please make it a point to come for the next “fasting and prayer” gathering of our church on Tuesday (15 Dec). Let us seek the Lord’s help to obtain a place that is 4 to 5 times bigger than our present CRC, in order to meet our urgent need for sufficient space for office and fellowship meetings. He who has been our “very present help” will come to our aid, if we sincerely and earnestly seek Him. Come and pray and be a channel of His blessing in the work of the Lord in Gethsemane. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalm 146:5).