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Updated: 36 min 28 sec ago

Mission Yearbook for August 29, 2015

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Philippines, continued

 

 

Jocelyn, second from the right, with other service providers during the training

 

Courtesy of Dessa Palm

 

It was the first day of our training in the use of creative methods for psychosocial support and action. Jocelyn was in tears as she explained to fellow day-care staff the work of art she had just completed—a paper with a circle that she had colored purple, black, and red. “I so desperately wanted to put happy colors like yellow or orange in the circle. But I could not. I am not there yet. I still feel deeply sad, grieving for the loss of my husband. We were helping families evacuate to various centers during Typhoon Yolanda when he was caught in the surge.”

The 15-foot-high surge came November 8, 2013, to Tacloban City, which took a severe beating from the supertyphoon (known elsewhere as Typhoon Haiyan) that left at least 6,000 dead in the Eastern Visayas region and many more with missing family members or destroyed homes. Following the typhoon, Jocelyn and other service providers like her, realizing the need to establish safe places for children, especially those who were orphaned, moved immediately into helping mode. “I felt that, in spite of my loss, I still had something to give to ensure that the children were protected. God was still working through us.”

The training became their safe space to recognize their own brokenness and grief. Having collectively lifted the weight in their hearts, they all exclaimed at the end our time together, “We can’t wait to go back to the children and apply what we learned.”

—Dessa Palm, PC(USA) mission coworker, Dumaguete, Philippines

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

United Church of Christ in the Philippines: Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, general secretary • National Council of Churches in the Philippines: Father Rex Reyes, general secretary • Philippines Christian University

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Jonathan Moore, PMA
Kay Moore, OGA
Wayne Moore, PMA

Let us pray

Most loving and compassionate God, may your comforting presence and abundance of grace be on our service providers, churches, and communities who have suffered immense loss from natural and human-made disasters. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 122; 149
First Reading 1 Kings 7:51-8:21
Second Reading Acts 28:17-31
Gospel Reading Mark 14:43-52
Evening Psalms 100; 63

Mission Yearbook for August 28, 2015

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Philippines

 

 

Church conference delegates risking the storm

 

Courtesy of Cobbie Palm

 

We stood at the edge of the sea, 92 delegates to the annual church conference gathering. It was pouring rain, and we were huddled under umbrellas. Our destination was the island of San Vicente, two hours across the stormy waters.

Our boat, an open outrigger with a tarp for a cover, had a capacity of 30 people. Given the stormy conditions, the limit was firm. Walking across the boat’s narrow gangway, I asked a council member: “Why are we doing this? Can’t we just meet in this town here?” Her answer was simple: “It is biblical: the last shall be the first. The island churches struggle with being heard and recognized; they are often the neglected churches, the forgotten voices. By going to them, we remind each other that no one is to be neglected—that everyone is important.”

The boat filled with our delegates. When 30 had boarded, one leader said, “The other boat is still nowhere in sight; since we are not carrying cargo, let us add 10 more.” Without discussion, a group quickly came onto the boat. I counted 15. Then another said, “The boat is heavy up front; those that don’t mind getting wet, go to the back to balance the weight.” Eighteen young people ran excitedly across the gangway. Alarmed by their flaunting of the limit, I addressed the leaders: “We just added 33 more people. This is a violation of Coast Guard rules.” But I did not get much sympathy, and one leader replied, “Sometimes we have to violate the rules for the love of Christ.”

Cobbie Palm, PC(USA) mission coworker, Dumaguete, Philippines

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

United Church of Christ in the Philippines: Rebecca Lawson, ecumenical relations / mission specialist, Dr. Rev. Paul Matheny and Rev. Dr. Mary Nebelsick, theology professors, Union Theological Seminary, Carlton “Cobbie” Palm , missions facilitator, Silliman University Divinity School, Modesta“Dessa” Quesada Palm , team ministry

Young Adult Volunteers

Tyler Hoisington, Kendall Jennings, Kelsey Pennington, Emily Vandewaller, and Angela Williams

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rebecca Moody, PMA
Elder Bill Moore, PMA

Let us pray

Lord, we thank you for the valiant church workers in the Philippines, who weather the storms and take on risk and sacrifice to reach the least. May your blessing and protection be always on them as they live out your example. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 88; 148
First Reading 1 Kings 5:1-6:1, 6:7
Second Reading Acts 28:1-16
Gospel Reading Mark 14:27-42
Evening Psalms 6; 20

Mission Yearbook for August 27, 2015

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Japan, continued

 

Located in northern Japan, the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) is an international training ground for grassroots rural leaders. Each year it conducts a nine-month Rural Leaders Training Program in sustainable agriculture, community development, and leadership. ARI recruits women and men who are living and working with their neighbors in rural communities. It seeks out local leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to serve and act as conduits for positive change within their own communities.

ARI emphasizes reaching the poorest and most marginalized and oppressed peoples, especially women, tribal minorities, and those of low castes. It welcomes those of any faith, race, class, or profession as long as they share ARI’s vision and pledge to return home upon completion of the program to work together with their people.

Although the Asian Rural Institute is duly registered with the Japanese government, its training methods are different from what you might expect. It does not provide an academic degree, nor does it promote “modern” agricultural technology that depends on chemicals or large-scale operations. Much of the learning takes place through the simple acts of living in community, working on an organic farm, and sharing food. At the heart of the program is the concept of foodlife—a term coined in recognition of the interdependence of food and the life of all creatures sustained by it.

In addition to training, ARI seeks to nurture a healthy community in which all members have a voice. ARI’s training facilitates the discovery and utilization of the strengths and talents of all participants. Everyone in the community not only has access to resources but participates in decision making and contributes his or her abilities.

Upon completion of the training, participants return to their home villages and communities to work for the poor, the hungry, and the marginalized, to pass on their learning, and to promote development from within. To date, ARI has trained 1,130 rural leaders from 51 countries throughout Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan): Rev. Tetsuo Nagasaki, general secretary, Rev. Makoto Kato, executive secretary on Ecumenical Ministries, Mr. Teruki Takada, Ecumenical Ministries staff • Korean Christian Church in Japan: Rev. Song Wan Hong, general secretary • Reformed Church in Japan: Rev. Takashi Yoshida, moderator, Rev. Ken Iwasaki, vice moderator • National Christian Council in Japan: Rev. Kouichi Kobashi, moderator, Rev. Kano Yoshitaka and Rev. Makoto Watabe, vice moderators, Rev. Wataru Arizumi and Rev. Hiroko Hiraoka, secretaries, Rev. Shoko Aminaka, general secretary •Japan Oral School for the Deaf: Akinobu Nishigai, principal • Kinjo Gakuin University: Dr. Tetsuo Kashiwagi, MD, chancellor • Meiji Gakuin University: Dr. Haruki Ohnishi, chancellor • Shikoku Gakuin University: Dr. Takaaki Sueyoshi, president • Tokyo Union Theological Seminary: Rev. Dr. Katsuhiko Kondo, president • Tokyo Woman’s Christian University: Dr. Masako Sanada, president • Yodogawa Christian Hospital

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Palwasha Mohammad, PMA
Nadine Monn, BOP
Bobbie J. Montgomery, OGA

Let us pray

Gracious God, we thank you for those who look beyond existing solutions to forge a new path to new life. We ask your blessing on the people and work of the Asian Rural Institute. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 143; 147:12-20
First Reading 1 Kings 3:16-28
Second Reading Acts 27:27-44
Gospel Reading Mark 14:12-26
Evening Psalms 81; 116

Mission Yearbook for August 26, 2015

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Japan

 

 

Providing whole-person healing at Yodogawa Christian Hospital

 

Courtesy of Ann Moore

 

In the aftermath of the Second World War much of Japan lay in ruins, and the population was spiritually and physically exhausted. The nation was hard pressed to meet even the most basic needs of the people. Presbyterian missionaries returned to this challenging environment and immediately conducted a survey to prioritize their efforts. One of the highest priorities was to witness to the love and compassion of Jesus Christ through medical ministry. Together with Japanese Christians, an area in Osaka called Awaji was identified as especially lacking medical services. It had been severely damaged during the war and was home to a marginalized minority group.

Presbyterian Women was inspired to sponsor this project by giving an entire year’s Birthday Offering to the building of Yodogawa Christian Hospital (YCH). Today, with more than 700 beds and 1,700 employees, YCH is one of the largest general hospitals in Osaka. It operates on the conviction that complete health cannot be achieved without a relationship to God and that this relationship comes only through knowing and believing in Jesus Christ, the source of abundant life. YCH therefore focuses on not only the physical but also the social, psychological, and spiritual needs of its patients. Countless people continue to experience compassionate healing in the name of Jesus Christ at Yodogawa Christian Hospital.

Ann Moore, PC(USA) mission coworker, Kobe

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Japan Mission: Ann Moore, team ministry, Rev. William Moore, administrator • United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan): Emiko Taborn, team ministry, Sanford Taborn, English professor, Kinjo Gakuin University • Hokusei Gakuen University, Sapporo: Rev. Thomas Goetz, professor of English

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rhonda Mirarchi, BOP
Rosemary Mitchell, PMA

Let us pray

Compassionate God, you sent your Son into the world to bring us your healing. We thank you for all those who heal in your name. May you uphold them with your love and power. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 65; 147:1-11
First Reading 1 Kings 3:1-15
Second Reading Acts 27:9-26
Gospel Reading Mark 14:1-11
Evening Psalms 125; 91

Mission Yearbook for August 25, 2015

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     North Korea

 

 

Chilgol Church in Pyongyang

 

Photo by Choon Lim

 

As a regional liaison for East Asia, I was looking for a partner to share the ministry in North Korea with me. In November 2013, I traveled to Shenyang, China, to attend Seotop Church’s 100th-anniversary celebration. There I met Rev. Sungnam Chen, associate pastor of the church, and shared my thoughts with him about reconciliation between North and South Korea and about the abiding poverty in North Korea. He suddenly grabbed my hand, saying, “Please use me.” So I talked with his senior pastor, Rev. Myungbok Oh, who granted Rev. Chen her permission.

On March 15, 2014, Rev. Chen and I went to Pyongyang to meet with representatives of our partner church, the Korean Christian Federation (KCF). As part of this partnership, the PC(USA) has sent 30 tons of flour and supported the renovation of Chilgol Church (see photo).

Working together with the KCF, I saw big smiles on those who received God’s love. Rev. Chen thanked me many times for providing him an opportunity to see the situation in North Korea. He felt he should raise funds for them through his church. He thanked me for opening his eyes about how he should serve and share. My final word to him was, “Don’t thank me, but thank God, who uses supportive churches and individuals.”

Choon Lim, PC(USA) regional liaison for East Asia

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Korean Christian Federation

Presbytery Partnership

Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse, with Pyongyang Presbytery (PCK)

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Eliza Minasyan, PMA
Cazden Minter, PMA
Diane Minter, OGA

Let us pray

Gracious God, make us humble, use us to serve those in need, and lead us to justice and peace, so that we can be peacemakers wherever we are. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 54; 146
First Reading 1 Kings 1:32-2:4 (5-46a) 46b
Second Reading Acts 26:24-27:8
Gospel Reading Mark 13:28-37
Evening Psalms 28; 99

Mission Yearbook for August 24, 2015

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     South Korea, continued

 

As Young Adult Volunteers in Daejeon, South Korea, we began our year of service with a limited knowledge of Korean culture and language but were expected to teach 10–30 children every week who had a limited knowledge of English. Needless to say, we were all a bit overwhelmed. We began our lessons and activities as if we were mimes, attempting to show rather than say what we were hoping to accomplish over the course of a few hours.

Thankfully, through the Hannam-YAV buddy program, we were partnered with 10–15 Hannam University students who accompanied us to our work sites and helped us to communicate with the children and our supervisors. Over the course of the year, program buddies evolved from work partners into friends who helped us with our Korean, pointed out (and giggled at) our cultural faux pas, and provided a caring support system.

These students have no idea how beneficial they were to us during our time in Korea. They helped us to make our house a home by joining us for numerous community meals, including Thanksgiving; in return, they opened up their homes to us during Korea’s special Thanksgiving and New Year family holidays. From them we learned how to be more hospitable Christians and more self-aware individuals. We grew into friends who can see each other as equals, since we now understand that we both struggle with language, insecurities about the future, and being unsure of where God is calling us.

It is for these friends, our buddies, that I offer a prayer. I pray that they continue to share their ups and downs, their hopes and dreams, and their knowledge of Korean history, language, and culture with future YAVs. I pray that the buddies who come to serve as YAVs in the United States will be willing to open their minds to learn from American culture in the same way we opened ours to the beauty of Korea.

—Molly DeWitt, PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer, South Korea, 2013–14

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Hannam University: Dr. Hyung Tae Kim, president • Hanshin University: Dr. Soo Il Chae, president • Honam College and Theological Seminary: Rev. Dr. Young Sang Ro, president • Keimyung University: Dr. Ilhi Synn, president • Kwangju Christian Hospital: Dr. Byung Ran Park, MD, director • Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary: Rev. Dr. Myng Yong Kim, president • Presbyterian Medical Center, Chonju: Chang Young Kwan, MD, director • Siloam Eye Hospital: Rev. Dr. Sun Tae Kim, director • Soongsil University: Dr. Hun Soo Han, president • Yonsei University: Dr. Kap-Young Jeong, president • Yonsei University Health System (Severance Hospital): Dr. Chul Lee, president

Presbytery Partnership

Hanmi Presbytery, with Jeonju Presbytery

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Nadeen Miller, BOP
Matthew Milliren, BOP

Let us pray

Gracious God, open our eyes to the buddies around us. Help us to learn from them what it means to engage your world as agents of your peace crossing boundaries of division. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 57; 145
First Reading 1 Kings 1:(1-4) 5-31
Second Reading Acts 26:1-23
Gospel Reading Mark 13:14-27
Evening Psalms 85; 47

Mission Yearbook for August 23, 2015

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Minute for Mission: Public Education

 

In the summer of 2013, Nikkitta Jacobs of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, received news that her son, Jaden, who had just turned three, would not have a spot at the Clara Hearne Head Start Center that fall. Facing a $267,000 budget reduction, the center had to cut 37 children from its incoming class.

Created in 1965, Head Start is the premier early childhood development program supporting our nation’s lowest-income households. Head Start takes a holistic approach, bringing together education, health care, social services, nutrition services, and parental involvement. Studies indicate that Head Start graduates show better math and language skills, social conduct, and physical development than their non–Head Start peers.

High-quality early childhood programs help children in low-income families develop the skills to succeed in school and give parents the support they need to be productive at work. Studies show that children from low-income families who participate in such programs are less likely to be held back in school or placed in special education, have lower rates of juvenile crime, and are more likely to graduate.

Sadly, Congress does not allocate sufficient funds for these programs. Only one in six children eligible for federal child-care assistance receives it. Head Start serves only about half of eligible preschoolers, and Early Head Start serves approximately 4 percent of eligible infants and toddlers.

The 219th General Assembly (2010) approved the report Loving Our Neighbors: Equity and Quality in Public Education (K–12), which recommitted the PC(USA) “to the principle of equal educational opportunity for all children in the United States.”

We must now commit also to making early childhood education, so crucial to future success in life, available to any child who needs it. Greater investments in Head Start and a national commitment to universal pre-K education are essential policy goals for beginning to address many of our nation’s educational disparities.

Leslie Woods, representative for domestic poverty and environmental issues, PC(USA) Office of Public Witness

Let us pray

Holy God, as we enter a new school year, we pray your blessing on the children. We pray that we who are responsible for the education of all children in our community may provide support for them to grow and thrive. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10–11) 22–30, 41–43
“Immortal, Invisible,
God Only Wise”
GTG 12, HB 85, PH 263

Ps. 84
“How Lovely, Lord”
GTG 402, PH 207

Eph. 6:10–20
“Just a Closer Walk with Thee”
GTG 835

John 6:56–69
“Bread of the World
in Mercy Broken”
GTG 499, HB 445, PH 502

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 67; 150
First Reading 2 Samuel 24:1-2, 10-25
Second Reading Galatians 3:23-4:7
Gospel Reading John 8:12-20
Evening Psalms 46; 93

Mission Yearbook for August 22, 2015

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     South Korea

 

 

Rev. Sootaek Kim

 

Photo by Kurt Esslinger

 

Rev. Sootaek Kim founded Saenaru Church, which also houses a children’s center and a soup kitchen, in the city of Daejeon 20 years ago. I have come to know Rev. Kim, as Saenaru is one of the locations where our Young Adult Volunteers serve for a year. After graduating from college in 1978, Rev. Kim worked in the Korean civil service, participated in the democracy movement of the ’70s and ’80s, and eventually studied theology, which connected his sense of justice to God.

The neighborhood around Saenaru Church includes Daejeon Train Station and many people living in poverty, most of whom are elderly or part of single-parent households dealing with homelessness or on the verge of it. Rev. Kim found that he needed to study social work in order to better minister to them.

Around 20 children regularly participate in the children’s center programs, and every day the church serves 170 meals on site and delivers another 40. Our YAV community worshiped one Sunday morning with the Saenaru congregation and witnessed a very holy occurrence. Most in attendance were from the homeless and hungry population in the neighborhood who are part of the minjung, the name given to the outcast, the downtrodden, and the ignored in Korean society. Rev. Kim showed us how he encounters Jesus Christ among the downtrodden.

Kurt Esslinger, PC(USA) YAV site coordinator and mission coworker, South Korea

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Rev. Choon Lim, regional liaison for East Asia, Presbyterian World Mission, Yen Hee Lim, team ministry • Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK): Rev. Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee, YAV site coordinators and partnership facilitators for peacemaking

Partners/Ministries

Presbyterian Church of Korea: Rev. Dr. Hong-Jung Lee, general secretary, Rev. Chang-bae Byun, executive secretary, planning and ecumenical relations • National Organization of Korean Presbyterian Women: Elder Kyung Ja Min, moderator, Rev. Yoon Hee Lee, general secretary • Women Ministers Association Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK): Rev. Tae Jin Bae, general secretary, Rev. Min-heui Cheon, executive secretary, ecumenical relations •National Council of Churches in Korea: Rev. Young Ju Kim, general secretary • Christian Literature Society: Rev. Ji Kang Chung, president • Hanil University and Presbyterian Theological Seminary: Rev. Dr. Duck-ho Oh, president

Young Adult Volunteers

Jordan Bailey and Kalyn Stevwing

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Carla Miller, PMA
Emily Miller, PMA
Elder Martha Miller, OGA

Let us pray

God of warmth and compassion, let us be filled with the light of Christ that Rev. Kim and prophets like him reflect so brightly. Lead us out into the world, where the lost, lonely, and hungry can be the face of Jesus for us. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 56; 149
First Reading 2 Samuel 23:1-7, 13-17
Second Reading Acts 25:13-27
Gospel Reading Mark 13:1-13
Evening Psalms 118; 111

Mission Yearbook for August 21, 2015

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Hong Kong

 

 

“Church, speak out for voiceless victims!”

 

Courtesy of Hong Kong Christian Council

 

Hong Kong takes pride in being a vibrant, cosmopolitan city where East meets West. With Chinese roots and a British colonial heritage, Hong Kong has preserved its cultural traditions while keeping abreast of the latest international trends. One issue that still demands attention is equality between women and men. Despite advances in overcoming discrimination, significant work still needs to be done to achieve gender justice.

The Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC) is tackling this issue through its Gender Justice Program. One of its pioneer projects is a formal council policy against sexual harassment, which includes mandatory training for all staff and the creation of a panel to address victim complaints. It was designed to serve as a model for denominations and Christian organizations to establish their own policies against sexual harassment. Besides this project, the program also conducts educational forums. These are opportunities to explore topics such as family roles, population policy, and political development from a gender perspective.

As a Christian body that believes every individual is made in the image of God, the HKCC is committed to upholding human dignity and value. Its commitment to gender justice is an essential component of the compassionate and prophetic ministry of Jesus Christ.

Judy Chan, mission coworker, China (Hong Kong)

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Hong Kong Christian Council: Rev. Judy Chan, communications specialist

Partners/Ministries

Hong Kong Christian Council • Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China • Christian Family Service Center

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Ada Middleton, PMA
Terri L. Milburn, PMA

Let us pray

O God, you sent your Son to show us how to live in love as the community of faith. Empower us by the Holy Spirit to take action to ensure that women’s voices are heard and their lives cherished, in both the church and society. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 130; 148
First Reading 2 Samuel 19:24-43
Second Reading Acts 24:24-25:12
Gospel Reading Mark 12:35-44
Evening Psalms 32; 139

Mission Yearbook for August 20, 2015

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     China

 

 

Trainees singing hymns with grateful hearts in a thanksgiving ceremony

 

Courtesy of Hong Kong Christian Council

 

In order to tackle the serious problem of drug addiction in Baoshan City in Yunnan Province, the Baoshan Christian Council started a drug rehabilitation center in 2007. This highly successful program combines intensive Bible classes with physical exercise and vocational training to help addicts overcome drug abuse and start a new life.

All trainees in the Chong Sheng Yuan Center enter voluntarily. The rigorous residential program lasts for one-and-a-half years and is led by a dedicated team of six teachers, of whom three are former drug users. There is no fee, but the family or sponsor makes a deposit that is refunded when the student completes the program.

A new dormitory called Grace Building opened in 2011 and allowed the program to expand with improved facilities and equipment. Funding was provided by the China Christian Council / Three Self Patriotic Movement and donors of Hong Kong Christian Council’s Five Loaves and Two Fish program.

The Chong Sheng Yuan Center has graduated over 30 students, and 20 more are currently in the program. So far, none of the graduates has relapsed into drug abuse. Because of the program’s success rate, churches and the community are introducing the center to other drug users who want to give up drugs and transform their lives.

Rev. Judy Chan, mission coworker, China (Hong Kong)

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Amity Foundation and China Christian Council: Rev. Dr. Hugh Anderson and Teena Anderson, English teachers • Hong Kong Christian Council: Rev. Dr. Myoung Ho Yang and Ji Yeon Yoo, professors of liturgy and sacred music, Divinity School of Chung Chi

Partners/Ministries

Amity Foundation • China Christian Council: Rev. Gao Feng, president, Rev. Kan Baoping, executive associate general secretary • Nanjing Union Theological Seminary • National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Veronica Mercure, PMA
Andrea Meriwether, PMA

Let us pray

O God, may the saving power of your Holy Word and Holy Spirit continue to bring those who fight addiction out of darkness and into your wonderful light. In the name of Jesus, our Savior, we pray. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 36; 147:12-20
First Reading 2 Samuel 19:1-23
Second Reading Acts 24:1-23
Gospel Reading Mark 12:28-34
Evening Psalms 80; 27

Mission Yearbook for August 19, 2015

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Indonesia, continued

 

 

Becca holding Bahari, a three-day-old infant born while his mother was staying in a Presbyterian church housing flood survivors

 

Photo by Barry Dawson

 

In January 2014, a major flood hit the city of Jakarta. One of the worst hit areas was less than a mile away from Jakarta Theological Seminary, along the Ciliwung River. On its banks is a Muslim neighborhood where seminary students and alums have long been working: teaching adults to read, tutoring elementary school students, and counseling teenagers in order to prevent drug abuse. They have built a mutually rewarding relationship with the residents, so when the floods hit, there was no question that the students and alums would come through for them again.

About 500 yards from the river is a Presbyterian church that opened its doors to community members whose houses were flooded. About 1,000 people crowded into the church building for more than two weeks.

When interviewed, the Muslims staying in the church spoke appreciatively. Asked if it was OK for Muslims to stay in a Christian church, one woman said: “Any Muslim who refuses to accept such great hospitality from our friends is a hypocrite. We don’t judge people by their faith; we have friends from many religions.”

The seminary students and alums took a risk six years ago—entering a Muslim community even though some community leaders tried to deny them access. The students and alums showed the kind of compassionate and prophetic discipleship to which God calls us. As a result, they made far more progress than what anyone could have imagined.

Rebecca B. Young, PC(USA) mission coworker, Indonesia

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS-Yogya): Siti Syamsiyatum, MA, PhD, director • Communion of Churches in Indonesia: Rev. Dr. Andreas A. Yewangoe, general chair, Rev. Gomar Gulton, general secretary • Christian Churches of Java: Rev. Dr. Andreas Untung Wiyono, general secretary • East Java Christian Church: Rev. Rudy Sewoyo, general chair, Rev. Tjondro F. Gardjito, general secretary • Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua: Rev. Jemima J. Mirion-Krey, chair, Rev. Hizkia Rollo, secretary • Indonesian Christian Church: Rev. Royandi Tanudjaja, general chair, Rev. Arlyanus Larosa, general secretary • Indonesian Christian Church, Central Java: Rev. Samuel Adi Perdana, general chair • Protestant Christian Church in Bali: Rev. Nyoman Suanda, general chair, Rev. I. Made Priana, general secretary • Duta Wacana Christian University: Dr. Djohan, MEM, PhD, rector, Rev. Dr. Yahya Wijaya, dean of theology • Jakarta Theological Seminary: Rev. Dr. Joas Adiprasetya, rector • Satya Wacana Christian University: Prof. Dr. John Titalay, rector

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Kathy Melvin, PMA
Marvin Mendoza, BOP

Let us pray

Dear God of the dispossessed, we thank you for the witness of the Ciliwung River community, who reveal to us that the most important thing we can do is be present for our neighbor in need, just as you are present for us in Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 15; 147:1-11
First Reading 2 Samuel 18:19-33
Second Reading Acts 23:23-35
Gospel Reading Mark 12:13-27
Evening Psalms 48; 4

Mission Yearbook for August 18, 2015

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Indonesia

 

 

Muslims and Christians learning from each other

 

Photo by Bernie Adeney-Risakotta

 

W hat is it like to live in a country where everyone believes in God? In Indonesia, the national ideology proclaims “the Great Unity of Deity.” No one doubts that God exists, but everyone wonders how different religious groups, who some see as implacable enemies, can get along. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population as well as 25 million Christians, and a renaissance of Islam is occurring alongside growth in the Christian church. In some places, this causes conflict and even violence.

Ahmed*, having just been elected president of the State Institute for Islamic Studies, talked with a Christian friend about how to integrate knowledge from Scripture with knowledge from science and even other religions. “How can we learn the truth from one another?” he asked. Ahmed transformed the institute into a full-fledged Muslim university and began inviting Christians to teach. In spite of attacks on his integrity, he helped start a graduate program in religion that is jointly sponsored by Muslim, secular, and Christian universities.

Ahmed showed prophetic courage in opposing religious polarization. A man of deep faith, he believes that all truth is God’s truth and that “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Bernie Adeney-Risakotta, PC(USA) mission coworker, Indonesia

*Name changed

Let us join in prayer for

PC(USA) People in Mission

Communion of Churches in Indonesia, Duta Wacana Christian University: Dr. Bernard Adeney-Risakotta, professor of ethics, Dr. Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta, professor of social science, faculty of business, Dr. Dong Choi, senior adviser for international cooperation, Sook Choi, English and art lecturer • Jakarta Theological Seminary: Rev. Dr. Rebecca Young, instructor of systematic theology

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Tricia McReynolds, PMA
Nancy McWhorter, PMA
Melody Medley, PMA

Let us pray

Lord, please protect Ahmed* and the many Muslims and Christians who are working for peace and reconciliation in Indonesia.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 123; 146
First Reading 2 Samuel 18:9-18
Second Reading Acts 23:12-24
Gospel Reading Mark 11:27-12:12
Evening Psalms 30; 86

Mission Yearbook for August 17, 2015

Sun, 08/16/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Vietnam

 

We were visiting the home of an older couple in a remote location in a rural province of Vietnam. Within 10 minutes of our arrival at their humble home, the local authorities were already on their doorstep, ready to question our hosts. After we departed, the couple was pointedly questioned, and answers were demanded. “Why did they come to visit you?” “To pray with us,” came the unflinching reply. “Did those foreign visitors bring you money? Did they bring you Bibles?” And the faith-filled Vietnamese believers replied, “They brought us the gospel.”

When we think of our Vietnamese brothers and sisters in Christ, several striking images linger as vivid paintings on the canvases of our memory. One painting might be entitled A House-Church Body of Christ. Many Protestant Christians in Vietnam worship in house churches where 10, 20, or more believers gather to hear the Word of God and joyfully sing praises to the Lord. In Vietnam, the connective tissue of the house-church body enables new Christians to grow in faith and experience the blessing of genuine Christian community.

When we think of the many stories of struggle that we have heard from our Vietnamese friends in Christ, we see a second portrait, for which Bold Faith would be an apt title. Even today, members of Protestant house churches may be harassed by local authorities, refused educational or agricultural loans, ostracized by neighbors, or shunned by family members who will not accept the beliefs and practices of those who have decided to follow Jesus. Yet in the midst of daily challenges and periodic persecution, Vietnamese Christians have inspired us with their bold witness.

Rev. Dr. Barry Dawson and Shelly Dawson, PC(USA) regional liaisons for Southeast Asia

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Church World Service–Vietnam

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Andrea McNicol, PMA
Jewel McRae, PMA

Let us pray

Lord Christ, fill your followers in Vietnam with bold faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. Continue to increase the number of believers, one house church at a time. May we be inspired by their witness and support them through the gift of prayer. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 135; 145
First Reading 2 Samuel 17:24-18:8
Second Reading Acts 22:30-23:11
Gospel Reading Mark 11:12-26
Evening Psalms 97; 112

Mission Yearbook for August 15, 2015

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Thailand, continued

 

 

CVT Ben Ewert reads the Bible during Sunday evening Bible study

 

Photo by Sharon L. Bryant

 

Christian Volunteers in Thailand (CVTs) gather for one to two years of missional living under my supervision as a PC(USA) mission coworker. They come to share the love of God with Thai children and adults through the many ministries of our partner church, the Church of Christ in Thailand. For many, it is their first experience living and working in another culture, and the struggle to find ways of adapting what they know to something they have never encountered brings me many late-night telephone calls.

But they do all things with such incredible grace and love! When we gather on retreat four times each year and I hear their stories, my strength is renewed by their faith and their dedication to this work. These young men and women are amazing!

More than a dozen CVTs now serve in various ministries of the church in Thailand: teaching English in Christian schools, preparing radio programs for peoples in isolated places, showing parents how to protect their children, and reaching out to orphans and refugees displaced by conflict. During their time in Thailand, CVTs are active in congregations and participate in evangelism and social-development programs. They learn to sit on the floor, eat on the floor, pray on the floor, and enter into the joy of intentional Christian community.

Rev. Dr. Sharon L. Bryant: PC(USA) mission coworker; assistant to the general secretary for ecumenical relations, Church of Christ in Thailand

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Church of Christ in Thailand: Rev. Dr. Boonratna Boayen, moderator, Rev. Sayam Muangsak, general secretary • Payap University • McGilvary College of Divinity: Dr. Satanun Boonyakiat, dean

Presbytery Partnership

Presbytery of Los Ranchos, with McGilvary College of Divinity, Payap University

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Terri McCurdy, FDN
Rev. John McFayden, BOP
Carol McGinn, BOP

Let us pray

Gracious God, open the eyes and the hearts of us all, that we might see opportunities to serve you in the lives of those around us each day. May your light and your love shine through us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 104; 149
First Reading 2 Samuel 16:1-23
Second Reading Acts 22:17-29
Gospel Reading Mark 11:1-11
Evening Psalms 138; 98

Mission Yearbook for August 14, 2015

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Thailand

 

How do you get 70,000 people to come to 700th Anniversary Stadium to hear the good news of Jesus Christ? Over three evenings in November 2013, a total of 70,000 people came to the Abundant Life Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to hear the story of God’s love for the world. We were there for two of those evenings to witness the joy of the Spirit making new disciples.

So, how did that extraordinary event happen? The Abundant Life Festival started with local churches working together, including congregations of our mission partner, the Church of Christ in Thailand. Thousands of Christians were trained as one-on-one counselors for those who would commit their lives to Jesus Christ. They made plans to ensure that each new believer would get connected to a local church. Then, during the evenings of November 22–24, they prayerfully waited as the music of popular Thai singers and the gospel invitation in the parable of the prodigal son touched the hearts of listeners yearning to come home to the God revealed in Jesus Christ.

During those three nights under the stars in Chiang Mai, a reported 7,000 persons made personal commitments to follow Christ—an unmistakable sign that the Spirit of the Lord is indeed working in Thailand and throughout our nine-country region of Southeast Asia to bring abundant life. Thanks be to God!

Rev. Dr. Barry Dawson and Shelly Dawson, PC(USA) regional liaisons for Southeast Asia

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Rev. Dr. Barry Dawson and Shelly Dawson, regional liaisons for Southeast Asia, Presbyterian World Mission • Church of Christ in Thailand: Rev. Dr. Sharon Bryant, coordinator of Christian volunteers, Carol Fujii, team ministry, Rev. Leith Fujii, instructor in theology and evangelism, Bangkok Institute of Theology, Rev. Dr. Esther Wakeman, university administrator, Payap University • Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Churches: Amy Davisson Galetzka, ministry to Burmese refugees in Thailand

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

William McConnell, PAM
Doris McCray, BOP

Let us pray

Gracious God, thank you for testimonies of your life-changing power at work in the world. Continue to empower your church to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, so that all may receive the abundant life he freely offers. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 51; 148
First Reading 2 Samuel 15:19-37
Second Reading Acts 21:37-22:16
Gospel Reading Mark 10:46-52
Evening Psalms 142; 65

Mission Yearbook for August 13, 2015

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Sri Lanka, continued

 

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. They shall spring up like green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams. (Isa. 44:3–4)

W e see many shoots of the tamarisk tree, native to Sri Lanka, springing up as signs of hope among the churches of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka. As the country of Sri Lanka recuperates from decades of civil war, these churches are making great strides to be agents of God’s hope. After years of bleakness and desolation, it is springtime for gospel ministry here, with many signs of hope:

• Joyous, open-air, united prayer meetings held in the center of Colombo

• Talented, young information technicians volunteering time to set up church websites

• Thoughtful biblical reflection offered on national television and radio

• Programs to rejuvenate the education of war-afflicted students

• Empowerment of marginalized groups, including traditional peoples who make a living collecting wild honey

• Ongoing discussions with government officials about issues of religious discrimination

The National Christian Council is entering its centennial year. Council churches and ministries are learning to laugh together as they celebrate their common hope in Christ and to weep together as they experience their common consolation in Christ. God’s Spirit is being poured out like water on a thirsty land.

—Gary Van Brocklin, PC(USA) regional liaison for South Asia

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Presbyterian Church of Sri Lanka: Rev. Saman Perera

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elder Tim McCallister, PMA
Dianna C. McCombs, PMA
Norma J. McConahay, FDN

Let us pray

Gracious God, thank you for your Spirit's renewing and refreshing work in Sri Lanka. We rejoice with the National Christian Council in our common hope and consolation in Christ. Give us eyes of faith to discern your Spirit’s springtime work in our own congregations and communities. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 97; 147:12-20
First Reading 2 Samuel 15:1-18
Second Reading Acts 21:27-36
Gospel Reading Mark 10:32-45
Evening Psalms 16; 62

Mission Yearbook for August 12, 2015

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Sri Lanka

 

 

The property and livelihood of Sri Lankan fishing families are threatened by development.

 

Photo by Valéry Nodem

 

Of all the countries I have visited, the one that I consider the most beautiful is Sri Lanka. Called “the wonder of Asia,” Sri Lanka offers a rare combination of beautiful landscapes, pristine beaches and lagoons, and World Heritage Sites.

From 1883 to 2009, Sri Lanka was embroiled in a very bloody civil war that left more 80,000 people dead and the country weak, divided, and very poor. To rebuild Sri Lanka’s economy, the government is investing heavily in tourism, with a goal of quadrupling the number of tourists by 2016.

Implementing that plan means developing the infrastructure needed to attract tourists, including building luxury hotels and resorts along inland waterways and beaches. Unfortunately, such construction threatens fragile ecosystems and jeopardizes communities that have earned their livelihoods from the sea for generations. Most communities that lose their lands as part of these projects are not offered compensation, but in a country where thousands were brutally killed at the end of the civil war, dissent can be dangerous.

The good news is that some voices cannot be silenced. These brave people and organizations are proposing ideas that show how Sri Lankans can live in tandem with local ecosystems. They work tirelessly to bring alive God’s kingdom, where the poor and marginalized have the best seats at the table.

Valéry Nodem, PC(USA) associate for international hunger concerns

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, Presbytery of Lanka: Rev. W. P. Ebenezer Joseph, general secretary

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Mary McAdory, PMA
Maria McAtee, BOP

Let us pray

Loving God, we pray for people who feel hopeless in a world that can be traumatic and overwhelming. We pray they would receive hope from the reality of your constant presence and promise of justice. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 89:1-18; 147:1-11
First Reading 2 Samuel 14:21-33
Second Reading Acts 21:15-26
Gospel Reading Mark 10:17-31
Evening Psalms 1; 33

Mission Yearbook for August 11, 2015

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Bangladesh

 

 

Bishop Samuel Sunil Mankhin baptizes a Santal tribal woman in the rural village of Lalmatia

 

Courtesy of Cynthia L. Morgan

 

Bishop In Bishop Mankhin’s Kushtia Diocese, Rev. Probhudan Hira and Rev. Immanuel Mollick have worked alongside six evangelists to launch a renewed initiative to bring the gospel to the Santal tribal people in the Northwest.

Over the years, other presbyters and catechists have joined in the effort. As a result, families in Bajpukur, Laldighipara, Dokhin Sohor, Kushia, Lalmatia, Hudrapur, Koelhat, Suguna, Tatihati, Polashi, and Salbandha have received baptism into the fellowship of believers.

During this same time, in Dhaka Diocese, Tripura tribal families formed vibrant worshiping communities in the villages of Giriful and Bailachori in the Southeast after hearing the gospel preached by Rev. Deacon James Baroi.

More and more people who live under the weight of oppression and the constraints of poverty are awakening to the joy and hope of salvation through Jesus Christ. Let us rejoice as Christ’s body continues to grow in Bangladesh.

Cynthia L. Morgan, MD, MPH, mission coworker, Dhaka

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Church of Bangladesh: Dr. Cynthia Morgan and Dr. Leslie Morgan, advisers for Health Ministries

Partners/Ministries

Church of Bangladesh: Rt. Rev. Paul Sarker, bishop (Dhaka Diocese)

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Sherree May, PMA
Anne Marie Mazzone, BOP

Let us pray

O Holy God, bless Bishop Mankhin and the presbyters, catechists, and evangelists of the Church of Bangladesh. Reveal the breadth and depth of your love to these new tribal believers. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 42; 146
First Reading 2 Samuel 14:1-20
Second Reading Acts 21:1-14
Gospel Reading Mark 10:1-16
Evening Psalms 102; 133

Mission Yearbook for August 10, 2015

Sun, 08/09/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     India

 

 

Church of South India leader Rev. M. Azariah prioritized village ministry throughout his life.

 

Rev. Masilamani Azariah (1934–2012) served the people and the church with dedication, compassion, and intelligence. He lived an exemplary and humble life and fought all forms of oppression. Fond of portraying Jesus as a brother to all people, the Holy Spirit was his daily guide.

Rev. Azariah affirmed the Dalit nature of the Indian church earlier than others were willing to, about 40 years ago. He was an enthusiastic spokesperson with prophetic words and actions: writing, teaching, applying theology, and organizing people to help erase casteism in the church and society. Rev. Azariah connected with people everywhere, including Burakumin in Japan, and African Americans in Chicago in 1967 as a community organizer. He served the Church of South India as general secretary for eight years before being elected bishop of Madras Diocese (1990–1999).

Rev. Azariah believed and preached that Jesus liberates us from caste bondage. Yet he never limited his actions to Christians. He inspired, mentored, and cherished people from all backgrounds and faiths. Rev. Azariah founded CSI Ewart Women’s Christian College to provide rural students the access to education that his mother was denied. He placed missionaries as evangelists in underserved areas of Madras Diocese, which has resulted in thousands of people becoming Christians every year. Rev. Azariah’s legacy continues!

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission
Please pray for people in mission in India

Partners/Ministries

Presbyterian Church of India • Church of North India: Most Rev. Dr. P. P. Marandih, moderator • Church of South India: Most Rev. G. Devakadasham, moderator • Baring Union Christian College: Dr. Edward Masih, principal • Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore: Dr. Sunil Chandy, hospital director, Dr. Alfred Job Daniel, principal of Medical College • Kodaikanal International School • Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology & Sciences • Sangli Industrial School • United Theological College, Bangalore • Wanless Hospital, Miraj Medical Centre: Dr. Nathaniel Sase, director • Woodstock School: Dr. Jonathan Long, principal

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Jessica Maudlin, PMA
Rev. David Maxwell, PPC

Let us pray

God our provider, thank you for the life and witness of our leader, Masilamani Azariah. Grateful for all that he taught us, we celebrate his life and service. “All glory to God!” as he often said. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 5; 145
First Reading 2 Samuel 13:23-39
Second Reading Acts 20:17-38
Gospel Reading Mark 9:42-50
Evening Psalms 82; 29

Mission Yearbook for August 09, 2015

Sat, 08/08/2015 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Minute for Mission: Higher Education / Collegiate Ministries

 

“So, what exactly does a chaplain do?”

It’s a question I’m often asked when I tell people that I’m a college chaplain. I don’t really have “typical” days. Like most pastors, chaplains do a little of everything. We put together programs, organize and lead worship (weddings and memorials included), and counsel students.

In his book Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen recounts a story of walking the campus at Notre Dame with an experienced professor who, as they strolled along, said to him, “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.” If ever there was an apt description of ministry in higher education, that is it: a ministry of interruptions.

About a year ago, some students approached me about having a Bible study. It’s a pretty unusual request given the number of active student groups on our small campus. We were joined by Christians of all kinds, as well as students who might not identify as Christian but were interested in how we might talk about the Bible. We met weekly during Lent and read Lamentations together. Most of them (even the churched ones) weren’t even aware it existed. In a world of distraction and disruption, sometimes we need interruptions like this in our hectic lives, and sometimes we ask for it without even knowing why we need it.

While the heart of the church may be the congregation, I see the Holy Spirit at work in amazing ways through people who never enter a church building. Working beyond church walls also means I never quite know what is coming my way and can’t really plan for it, because when I plan too much, I miss the best opportunities.

And some days I do my best work in the dining hall.

Rev. Kate Colussy-Estes, Julia Thompson Smith chaplain, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia

Let us pray

God of the interruptions, we are wanderers on a journey, seeking your way and your will. Forgive our need for distraction, and help us to keep our mind on you and the creation that surrounds us. Help us to be present to you and to see you in the interruptions that come our way. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

2 Sam. 18:5–9, 15, 31–33
“Precious Lord, Take My Hand”
GTG 834, PH 404

Ps. 130
“For You, My God, I Wait”
GTG 791

Eph. 4:25–5:2
“Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive”
GTG 444, PH 347

John 6:35, 41–51
“Break Thou the Bread of Life”
GTG 460, HB 250, PH 329

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 103; 150
First Reading 2 Samuel 13:1-22
Second Reading Romans 15:1-13
Gospel Reading John 3:22-36
Evening Psalms 117; 139

Pages

Presbyterian Mission Yearbook

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