Happy New Year

We wish you a wonderful and Happy New Year of 2014.  May the year of 2014 be a year full of blessings from our living God and Lord Jesus Christ!  The old year has passed away, and let us now look forward to reckoning His faithfulness and giving thank to God for His unfading and immeasurable love, focusing the joy that is set before us, seeking the unshakable city, the New Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God, and the home Jesus has gone to prepare for us. 

Thanksgiving for a new crop

Thanksgiving is an occasion that our family would lift up each year during this month since we plant rice not only for self-consumption, but also for our mission works.  Each year, God has faithfully provided enough rice.  We also want to demonstrate the right way of gratitude to our unbelieving neighbors, who are still giving thanks for all their new crops to evil spirits or idols.  Some even give their thankfulness to animals.  Among the indigenous people like Lisu and Ahka, they thank dogs for their new rice crops.  Every year at the harvest season, the Lisu people would cook their new rice crops which had been offered to the evil spirits and before their first consumption they had to feed their dogs to express their thankfulness to the dogs.  This is due to the tale saying that dog was the first animal that could bring rice from the court of god’s house to human.  Even today, many unbelieving Lisu people are still practicing this ceremony.  Among the Ahka people, they offer their rice to dog every morning prior to their breakfast. 

Stephen and Simee Ki are harvesting

Nick is hitting the rice stalks on a hard 
rock chair in order to separate 
the rice grains from the stalks

Nick is giving a speech at a family thanksgiving 
service for the new rice crops

Family Christmas

One thing that we learned from Christian friends while we lived in the USA was giving.  Prior to our going to the USA, Mary and Stephen had never received or gave any gifts, neither Christmas nor birthday gifts.  However, many of our friends had demonstrated God’s love through giving us gifts in several occasions.  We have always been touched with those remarkable deeds, not because we loved those gifts, but the joy of giving spirit.  Now, we are in the mission field, we have seen many people, children in particular, have never received any gifts.  So, every year our family has a Christmas party for the displaced kids in our neighborhood. The gifts aren’t amazing and the food isn’t special, but the love, happiness, and particularly the story of Jesus’ birth that is told to the kids that make it priceless!

This year indeed was the first year over the past several years that our family gathered together as a family.  We had cancelled all Christmas convention (Stephen called off his speech at any Christian convention) so that we as family would be able to harvest the joy of family life together and meditating God’s covenantal love that He has demonstrated through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Praise the Lord! Our children were all at home.  Becky, John and Isaac were on school break.  It was the first year since 2008 for Nick to spend a Christmas and New Year with the family.

Evangelistic trip for 2014

Since the raining season is over, land traveling is much easier and most people are freed from the farm works, from now on our ministry will be focused on open field evangelistic works.  Rather than indoor ministry for equipping and empowering Christian leaders through teaching, we will emphasis our ministry on carrying out the Great Commission to the lost souls, bringing the gospel of Jesus’ redemption to many un-reached people who live in various restricted areas and to various ethnic groups of people starting from the border of Thailand-Burma to the border of Burma-India.  Our goal is to sweep every village with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, hopefully within 5 years we will reach the border of India.  The year of 2014 will be the second year of this evangelistic endeavor.  Since we were blessed by winning many souls in the past year, we pray God will bless more by adding more souls during this upcoming year.  Like last year, we are scheduling to start this evangelistic trip this upcoming March-April, 2014.  We are much appreciated you lifting up this evangelistic trip before our living God and Lord, whether in your daily, weekly, or monthly prayers.

Much appreciated for all your partnership with our ministry throughout the year of 2013.  We are looking forward to further partnering in advancing His Kingdom through carrying out the Great Commission to the lost souls in Southeast Asia and China till the day of His return.

In Christ's Love,
Stephen and Mary

A New Creature in Christ!

Every day we have reasons to “Thank” and praise our Living God and Lord.  We give thanks to God for His grace and for entrusting us to serve in expanding His Kingdom in Southeast Asia and China.  This is indeed grace upon grace that we have received through His son, Jesus Christ.


Every one of the Wongratanamajcha’s is doing great, busy with their own tasks and ministry.  Stephen has just begun his 6 week teaching courses, Greek for Ministry and Exegesis of Revelation.  On top of this, he has been taking students during the weekends for teaching and preaching practices.  Mary is busy with taking care of the needs of family and students.  Frequently, we are blessed to be able to host unscheduled visitors. This is a common culture for Asians. Becky, John and Isaac are busy in their studies.  Becky got straight A+’s in the past semester.  It is incredible!  Isaac is busy with school lessons and school plays.  John is now speaking English very fluently.  His school, GIS is struggling with legal problems, so they need a lot of prayers.  Visit their site at http://www.gisthailand.org/give-a-day-pay/

Nick is readjusting to the culture and to the language.  He was born in Thailand but has lived most of my life in the USA so he is very much “Americanized”, and not knowing much about the culture of Asia.  Within these past three months, he has been to China and Myanmar to establish relationship with leaders, Christians and non-Christians in these countries; and above all, to have a firsthand experience at the mission field.  He is now teaching English to the AIS’ students and having Bible studies with our Burmese students, at the same time.  He is also reaching to kids in our neighborhood (total of about 20 kids) via teaching English and incorporating Bible stories.  Since most churches in China, Myanmar and Thailand do not have youth programs, he feels that the establishment of youth ministry programs is a must and necessary in reaching out to the youth of Asia for Christ.

Mary and Stephen at the Thailand-Myanmar border

Equipping Christian Leaders

Our appreciation goes to Joe and Jerry Snyder who came all the way from America to teach 1 and 2 Peter for a week.  This helped Stephen a lot because this meant he could take a little break after teaching consecutively for 3 weeks and taking students to the restricted areas at the border of Thailand and Myanmar.  They even went and stayed inside Myanmar border for a week to visit churches among Lisu and new converts among the Wa people so the students could use whatever they have learned in their classes to the real mission fields.

1 and 2 Peter class by Joe

 One of our students with her baby


Indeed for many years, we, along with many other people particularly the Wa brothers and sisters in Christ, have been praying that we would be able to meet each other face to face and encourage them through the Word of God.  Finally, God has answered!  With our Burmese students, Stephen visited the new converts among Wa people.  As one of the Wa leaders said “We can’t see God, but now we have seen you, therefore we praise the Lord!”

 Stephen and the students at the border

Historically, Wa people used to be head hunters.  Twice a year, during planting and harvesting seasons, they would offer three heads to sacrifice to their spirits.  During the planting season, they would hunt for three human heads to offer to the spirits and their blood must mix with the seeds prior to planting the new crops. During harvest season, they would go out and find three more heads to offer to the spirits.
As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things passed away; behold, new things have come!” (NASB).  In the recent years, several thousands of Wa people have accepted Jesus Christ and have been baptized; and the number continues to increase, weekly.
With Bible distributions; in the past few years, we have sent about 3,000 Bibles for the Wa people at Mai Tung, Myanmar, about 50 miles away from the Thai border, with our medical ministry; helping those who suffer TB epidemic in the area, and above all, God has moved among them through our evangelist, Kalip, several thousands of Wa people have turned from their traditional gods to worship the true and living God.  Like churches in Ephesians, once they were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world; now through God’s grace in Christ Jesus, they have become God’s children, and above all, they have seen hope in the Gospel of Jesus’ redemption.

 Stephen, Yeesa, and Kalip

 Kalip and his family

 One of the Wa Christian leaders who used to be a Buddhist monk

 Stephen at a Wa house church

Stephen, Kalip and Wa leaders discussing evangelistic strategies

Prayer Needs

However, these new convert Wa are under people who claim to be “lord.”  They have to work for those lords days and nights.  Like feudalism during the Middle Age, these Wa people have to work for them.  For this matter, they have no time to work for themselves so that is why they live in very poor conditions. They have no rights, no freedom, and no pay.  If those lords want to move them suddenly, they would come with trucks and drag the villagers into the trucks and move them to a different place in order to work at those lord’s fields.  Most of the time, children and parents, husbands and their wives would become separated.  When this occurs, rarely do the children ever see their parents again, and same goes for husbands and their wives.  Imagine what it would be like if you were in their shoes? We feel deeply sad and helpless because we, mere humans, can do nothing. But God is able! We encouraged them that we have a mighty God who is able to help them to go through this terrible chapter of life.  Please lift these people into your prayers and ask God to be with them, and if it is in His Will, to liberate them.

 The view of the border from Myanmar side

Lisu in the area coming back from their fields

 The house by the river that we stayed at

Lisu children singing at a church service

 Stephen preaching

One of the Lisu congregations in the area

Much appreciation for your faithful partnership for carrying out the Great Commission to the lost souls in Southeast Asia and China.

In Christ’s Love,

Stephen and Mary 

Myanmar in Focus (October 2013)

The second leadership conference in Pying Oo Lwin, Myanmar (another name for Burma) is the highlight of our mission works on this month, October 2013. The conference was under the overseeing of the Shan State national ministers and organized by Robert Fish (Ah Lay Bo), one of our seminary (AIS) students.  The majority of the Christian leaders came to the conference from Lisu churches at the central region of Myanmar and over 50 leaders came from the Northern part, particularly Myitkyina; and some church leaders at the boarder of China-Myanmar also attended this conference. A little over 200 church leaders attending this conference.    

These Lisu churches have a long history backdating to early 1900s when the first missionary, J. O. Fraser, started to evangelize and convert hundreds of thousands of Lisu animists in China into Christianity.  During the Christian persecution under the Mao Tse-tung revolution, the tens of thousands of Lisu Christians migrated from China into Burma, India and Thailand.  As the nature of Lisu people, loving to tell and share stories, God’s Kingdom has expanded to their neighboring ethnic groups of people, for instance, Rawang, Lahu, Wa, Hmong and Shan.

 Pying Oo Lwin where the conference was held

 A group picture of everyone at the conference

 A leadership class

At this conference, a former professor at Cincinnati Christian University and currently a teaching minister at Parkview Church of Christ, Ohio, Dean Hammond spoke on Christian leadership and Nick Wongratanamajcha conducted a daily workshop on Youth Ministry, which is virtually nonexistent but essential among Lisu churches.  If it is God’s willing, Nick and his team (one of the groups attending from Myitkyina– a cooperative of 10 churches asked Nick to start the program with 400 youth in their area) will begin to establish Youth Ministry programs into the thousands of Lisu churches in Burma, China and Thailand.  This is very challenging!  

 Dean Hammond teaching on Christian leadership

 Nick preaching at an evening service

Nick at his Youth Ministry class

The Youth at Nick's Youth Ministry class

It was a great privilege for me to work with these 200 church leaders.  My spirit was  lifting up while listening to them sing beautiful hymns with angelic voices, seeing probably a third of them sing from the heart without looking at the hymnal books; humbly experiencing how God has moved at the conference; and above all, to speak on the book of Philippians, emphasis on what it means to be heavenly citizens, to the Lisu, a nomadic culture and context—moving around due to the political unsettlement, economic crisis or agricultural depletion.  My desire is to see these Lisu churches in Burma be a life-transforming church based on the Word of God and to be ready and aware of the new era of Burma, which is becoming a more and more open country; at this time of an opening country, both good and evil will come into their homes, society, and their churches. 

Stephen at his Bible class

Since Burma has changed tremendously in the past few years.  Myanmar, today, looks different from the past.  The country has various potentialities in developing the country in a positive direction.   However, there are many areas needing to be transformed.  Most villagers are very primitive. Reports say that Burma has only two classes of people: the rich and the poor.  The gap between the rich and the poor is a chasm distance.  The rich are extremely rich while the poor are extremely poor.   The country is still far behind in several areas.  The international airport at Mandalay was working without any modern day technology.  This is the only international airport perhaps that has no computer.  The air conditioner wasn’t working at the waiting room. People, even the airport personnel, were chewing bitter nut. It was hard to even understand what they were trying to say when they had their mouth full of bitter nut.  Chewing bitter nut is very popular in Myanmar. Also, foreigners are not permitted to stay at any homes, only hotels.  The roads are mostly one lane.  They drive on the right side of the road while the driver is on the right side, so when the driver would try to pass the car in front, he could not see around him. So, many time we had to grip our hands tightly to our seats. These are just some descriptions of Burma that I would like to share with you. So if you can imagine, this is a country that has been closed off from the world for so long.

Prayer Needed

The religious discrimination, the clash between Buddhism and Muslim causes severe impact upon social upheaval and political unsettled.  Since Buddhism is the national religion in Burma, the Buddhist movement led by a Buddhist monk named U Wirathu not only encourages the Buddhists to boycott trade with Muslims and shop only at Buddhist-owned stores, but also enforces to burn down many villages and eliminate several towns.  For instance, the riots in Meiktila, 100 miles south of where the conference was held, on March 2013 burnt more than 1300 homes in Muslim neighborhoods and killed 43 people. Also in Lashio, 170 miles north of where the conference was held, from May 28 to 29, 2013 according to the government one person was killed and five injured, included five homes, three mosques, one cinema, four warehouses, 32 shops, two cars and 11 motorbikes were burned.  Both of these incidents were kindled by this Buddhist movement.  While the government has begun to reform and making relations with the West, Myanmar needs to take a firm stand on human rights, pluralism, and security for all of its citizens, promoting the rule of law.  Please pray for people in Myanmar, particularly, Christians that the religious violence and persecution would not expand into churches (which many fear that Christians will become the next victims), rather using this time of conflict to demonstrate God’s love and peace to their neighbors.  Please pray also that the Lisu churches in Myanmar would be rooted in God’s Word, rather than human teachings, particularly, the liberation theology.  Today, this human theology is considered to be the main stream of Christianity in Myanmar.  This type of theology indeed causes division or discrimination which leads to pride and definitely becoming a stumbling block for evangelism.  Pray for the Lisu churches so that they would not be entangled with this evil trap!

Family in Focus

Every one of the Wongratanamajcha is doing great.  In fact, this week is the first week in several years that we all have some free time to spend together.  Becky, John and Isaac are on their school break.  Nick and Stephen are on their ministerial and teaching break.  October 23, 2013 is the first day in many years that we went out, having a family picnic at the park.  Praise the Lord for this precious family time!  Mary is still busy taking care of the Burmese students in their daily needs.  The freshman of our Burmese students went back to Burma on October 6, 2013, while another group of Burmese students has just arrived and began studying God’s Word with us since October 17.  This group of students will be scheduled to go back on December 15, 2013.  At the moment, they are studying the Doctrine of God taught by Isaiah Yinthum (Laoyeepa).  Starting from November 5, Stephen will teach for 6 hours a day consecutively to December 12, 2013 (with a break on November 18-22).  Please lift him to God so that he will have energy to serve Him faithfully and accordingly. 

We deeply appreciate your prayers and partnership in expanding God’s Kingdom and in making disciples in Southeast Asia and China.

In Christ’s Love,
Stephen and Mary 

The Wong Lifeline (September 2013 in Focus)

Joshua 1:9 saying “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (NASB).

On the wall in our living room, there is a sticker that says “God is with you in all that you do.”  This notorious sticker always encourages us to serve our Living God and Lord faithfully in every aspect of our family life and ministry.  Yes, indeed God is always with us.

Mission trip to China

Our recent trip to China on August 26-September 2 was very productive one, though the purpose of the trip was not for ministry directly, it was about cultural exchange under the sponsorship of the Chinese government.  The majority of the attendants are non-believers of China-Lisu, represented 64 counties (62 counties in Yunan province and 2 counties in Sichaun province) and 2 autonomic areas, where all of these counties are being governed by the Lisu mayors and governors.  Each county was granted 5 representatives to attend at this conference.  However, the number of Lisu believers, including the president of Christian in Yunnan, who happens to be a Lisu Christian, attended at this event.  In Yunnan province of China, for your personal knowledge, the largest Christian population comes from the Lisu people.  Stephen led 20 other Lisu leaders, both believers and non-believers, including our son Nick, to represent the Thailand-Lisu.  Some Lisu Christian leaders from Myanmar (Burma) also attended at this event.  University students who helped as attendees, half of them were Christians.  Praise the Lord!  God is moving in this pagan society gradually through the impact and example of the Christian lifestyle.  We believe sooner or later God will turn this country upside down through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Stephen’s life and ministry in China is very dramatic.  Above all, it differs from many other Christian workers in China.  At the beginning of Stephen’s mission works in China, it began with persecution from church leaders, who tried to arrest Stephen, but God saved him through non-believers, university professors and other government workers.  Stephen’s first sermon in a church a decade ago in China was permitted by one of the governors from the autonomic areas. God truly has a sense of humor. 

After spending several years at the southwestern part of Yunnan province and winning many souls among Wa and Lahu people, and after empowering all God’s Kingdom works to local Christian leaders, our mission work has moved to the northwestern part of Yunnan province, at the border of the former Tibetan area. At first, we felt the strong animosity between believers and non-believers on the cultural issue.  Many nonbeliever felt the threat from Christianity.  We have tried several occasions to demonstrate the alternative connotation, through various speeches, articles and, of course, deeds of the Samaritan manifesto, and conduct.  As we all know that actions speak louder than words for carrying out the Great commission to the lost nations, China in particular.  Now, not only has the animosity turned into fellowship, but many of the government leaders also have acknowledged that Christianity makes people different.  At this conference, they even told their people publicly to take Christians as the example for a high moral standard and preserving Lisu culture through the written and spoken Lisu language, which is hardly found among non-believers.  Praise the Lord! 

A group of the Thailand-Lisu leaders

Nick, Stephen and
Stephen's brother (Pol.Lt.Col. Nawin)

Stephen with a traditional Lisu dress

The China-Lisu is welcoming the Thailand-Lisu

Police Lieutenant Colonel Nawin 
is presenting a gift to the host

The China-Lisu is performing their traditional dance

Through the good relationship that we have with the local authorities and leaders, various mission works could be done.  Your continue to pray for all our mission works in winning the lost souls among Lisu people and their neighboring ethnic people, for instance, Tibetan, Naxi and etc, at the border of former Tibetan area is much appreciated.  Also, your partnering, if God is calling, to do a short-term mission trip in the area is welcomed.  Various short-term mission trips can be done at the moment, for instance, a week of English camp, including sports ministry for youth and kids, and medical mission trip. The mission field is growing and many souls are being saved with your help.

Family in September

Most of our time this month (September) has been spent on training and equipping our Burmese students.  Mary is busying in taking care of their daily needs, Nick is teaching English, and Stephen in particular has taught the Bible intensively starting from 9Am-4Pm from Monday-Friday for 4 consecutive weeks.  At this moment, they are studying in the book of Philippians, emphasizing the contrast between the social values, norms and mindset and the mindset of Christ.  Today, Christian leaders need to have the mindset of Christ in humility, sacrifice for others and walk in the way of Christ, rather than according to the values of the society around us.

Stephen is teaching the book of Philippians 
to a group of Christian leaders from Burma

While John has just begun his classes, Isaac and Becky are at the final week of their first semester.  They are taking final exams.  Over all, the Wong family is doing great.  Every weekend the family, with the students of AIS, enjoys visiting various churches at village on the mountains.  Nick and John in particular have a chance to exercise their preaching skills and becoming a Christian model to many youth who are struggling with drug addictions.  

John is preaching

Nick is preaching

Nick, John, Isaac and Burmese student of AIS are singing a special song at church

Like father, like son

Prayer needs

This upcoming October 6-14, Nick and Stephen will fly out from Chiangmai to Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) for a Christian Leadership conference.  Usually, we anticipate Christian leaders; preachers, elders, deacons, evangelists and youth leaders from the central part of Myanmar attend at this conference.  So far, Christian leaders from the North, particularly Myitkyina (the capital city of Kachin State) are planning to attend at this conference.  In the past several days, we received several phone calls asking about this conference.  Many church leaders from China are also planning to come if their documents would be granted.  It will be a great number of church leaders will attend this conference.  Pray most of all that God, not man, will receive the honor during the conference.  Pray for the safety for all speakers, and attendants especially for save travels, and for God to move at this conference so that many church leaders’ lives would be transformed by the Word of God.  Pray for the team leaders at this conference and ten of our students from AIS that will attend at this conference to help out with whatever the needs are. Nick will be teaching a seminar on Youth Ministry and help the youth leaders in Myanmar develop a youth program because, at this moment, Youth Ministry does not really exist there. Please pray for the speakers: Dean, Nick and Stephen and other speakers from Australia.  This will be an international conference!

Thank you always for your partnering in carrying out the Great Commission to the lost souls and the making of disciples in Southeast Asia and China.

In Christ Alone,

Stephen and Mary 

Ps. Please lift up John's school, Grace International School, in your prayers.  They have done a wonderful job in ministering missionary children.  They now need your supports more than ever so visit them at youtube by viewing at http://www.youtube.com/user/gisthailand 

Wongs in Focus (August 2013)

Family in Focus

Mother’s Day is one the most important days to the Thai people because the Thai social structure of the family is ideologically based on a mother.  Moreover, Thai children are taught to respect/honor their parents and take care of their parents in their old age.  Mother’s Day in Thailand is set in August.  The most popular song of Mother’s day in Thailand says:

What else could be the reason for how we grow up today, other than the breast milk
Take into consideration, what else could be comparable to the breast milk
Mother, I miss the milk you once breastfed me
The bloodstream of hers turns into milk for us
The value of breast milk will be every child’s lasting reminder
It is compared as the far-flung sky and heavier than the earth
No matter what we have done and how hard we have tried
Nothing can compensate for one drop of milk and the kindness of mothers (translator unknown).

This August becomes the most meaningful Mother’s Day for our family because of the family reunion with Nick.  This is the great gift that God has poured to our family.  There is nothing more joyful to the family, Mary in particular, for her Mother’s Day, than this family reunion.  Nick is now at home (though he may not feel it) and on the mission field with the family.  For almost 20 years, our family has never resided in any place for more than 3 years.  We have moved around because of ministry, and for a very short time during those years, the whole family lived together as a whole family.  Almost 6 years, except during some summers, Nick has been away due to his preparation for the ministry.  Now he is in Thailand perhaps, we will have time to catch up with each other once more. 

The family

The welcoming service for Nick

Nick is now in the process of re-adjusting the Thai and Lisu cultures since he grew up in the USA most of his life.  First, he has to reconnect with his Thai and Lisu cultures and languages.  Also, he has to rebuild his relationship not only with his family, but also with his whole clan, our clan is one of the biggest clans among the Thailand-Lisu.  His dad is already planning to equip him with the mission works, starting from Thailand, China, and Burma.  While his mom is spending good quality time with Nick, Dad is planning to put Nick a pack load of ministry.  Nick is now teaching English to Burmese students of AIS.  The students have really enjoyed the class.  He is also scheduled to join his dad to go to China this upcoming August 26-September 2.
 Nick is teaching English for dislocated Shan children

Nick is teaching how to read Bible in 
English to Burmese students of AIS

China in Focus

Stephen has been invited to attend and being one of the key guest speakers at Lisu cultural conference under the auspices of the Chinese government.  He has been asked to represent Christians and give a speech on Christianity and Lisu culture.  Stephen will lead a group of Lisu from Thailand, 21 all together, to attend this conference.  Stephen is attempting his best to reshape the Chinese mindset on Christianity.  As you may have known, many unbelievers throughout Southeast Asia and China condemn Christianity as a cultural destroyer.  Some even accuse believers as western dogs serving the western world.  Stephen has demonstrated the alternative image in various occasions with cultural sensitivity, but never compromise with the Word of God. Your prayers for the great spiritual impact upon people who will be around us during this trip would be much appreciated.

We always praise the Lord for our mission works in Chinese, though it is a gradual process, not as fast paced as we have expected, in winning many souls (If you follow our mission works in China in the past two decades, you have heard that God had blessed our mission works abundantly, particularly at the southern part of Yunnan province.  In the past two-three years we have moved our evangelistic work to the northern part of Yunnan province, at the border area of the former Tibetan area, emphasizing to the unreached area).  However, we give thanks to God for many prominent women and their children, except their husbands, for accepting Christ.  As I mentioned earlier, many of local leaders are strongly desire to accept Christ, but because of the law, they are forbidden.  The Chinese law enacts that every local leader must solely be a member of communist party.  In China, communism is not only under the political, but also religious criteria.  One of the local leaders in the area whispered at one time to Stephen that he drives his wife and son to church every Sunday.  While they were inside the church, he sat in his car and waited for them throughout the church service.  Please continue to lift them in your daily prayers so that one day they will have more freedom to worship the Living Lord and God. 

Burma in Focus

Recently, we have shared with you the fruits which bear among the students of Asia International Seminary (AIS), particularly, students from Burma.  God has moved with these students in advancing His Kingdom in Burma through evangelism, teaching and equipping other Christian leaders.  Ah Lay Bo, in particular, has carried out the Great Commission to the lost people who live in the restricted area and turning many of them to Christ.  He is also working as a church consultant to almost 50 churches in central Burma through conducting various conferences with the word of God, teaching Bible at short-term Bible training centers throughout Burma; and mobilizing those churches to engage with the Great Commission to the lost souls at their neighboring areas starting with the Lisu, Palong, and Shan people.  Every time when we hear about their faithfulness to God’s Word and their bearing spiritual fruits in their endeavor ministry, we have been encouraged, we hope it does to you as well, to equip more Christian leaders to be rooted in God’s Word, rather than human opinions and traditions, so that they will be able to teach, train and equip other people likewise.  We also cherish this endless partnership with these students because through them we are now able to easily conduct several leadership conferences in Burma with hundreds of church leaders throughout central and north Burma in the area of Myitkyina.

Indeed, all our students from Burma are full time ministers and evangelists, but none of them are a paid minister.  As you may know, ministers and evangelists in Burma receive only the once-a- year- help from their congregations with rice.  Paying cash is beyond the abilities of their congregations.  Only because of God’s calling that keeps these ministers and evangelists to continue in their faithful services.  Moreover, most of our evangelistic areas are located in the restricted areas where the main cash crop is opium and many of our new converts are struggling with this kind of business.  We are very sensitive with this issue and strongly prohibit our evangelists to get involved, or even taking an offering with such crops, so that our mission works will not be a stumbling-block in advancing His Kingdom.     

The first group of Burmese students, mostly from the central of Burma, is now on the verge of completing their studying courses.  Two more blocks of time, this first group of students will complete their Biblical courses.  For the year of 2013, the class is set for them at the last week of October to the end of November.  Recently, we had hardly rejected a strong request from Christian leaders from the north of Burma, Myitkyina, in particular.  With an extra mile effort, we are now offering our exegetical courses to the second group of students from Burma during August 20-October 10.  They will return to their homes and to continue their ministries after each block of time is over.  At this moment, it seems that they are really excited and enjoy their classes. 

 Sanduan is teaching Greek to Burmese student of AIS

Our gratitude goes to all your faithfulness in being the blessing channel of the faithful God so that he is able to demonstrate his faithfulness.  Much appreciated for your faithful partnership in advancing the gospel of Jesus’ redemption the lost souls and expanding his Kingdom in Southeast Asia and China.  

 The family with the students
Prayer  requests:
1.      Mission works in China
2.      Equipping Christian leaders at AIS
3.      Leadership conference in Burma in this upcoming October
4.      New opportunity for mission works in Laos
5.      Wongs’ family (health and children’s education) and their co-workers

The Wongs Lifeline on July 2013

We always have various reasons to praise our Living God and Lord.  We continue to thank Him for blessing our mission endeavors by adding more and more new converts in regular basis. Stephen and John just came back from their mission trip to village by driving through drenching monsoon storms in order to baptize new converts.  Praise the Lord!

Baptizing the new converts...

Equipping Christian Leaders at AIS

In the face of the false teaching in Ephesus, Paul instructed Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 with four imperatives; preach, be ready (stand by), expose, rebuke, and exhort.  Particularly, the second imperative is followed by two Greek adverbs; eukairos and akairos, which is a paired wordplay on the word kairos (season).  One biblical scholar translates this phrase somewhat like this: being ready both at convenient and inconvenient times.  Imagine living in the context of people worshipping idols, evil spirits, mountains, rivers, trees and rocks like Thailand which is located on the torrential monsoon zone, probably Paul’s exhortation can be contextualized as this: be ready in monsoon and out of monsoon season. 

During this monsoon season, the emphasis of our ministry has shifted from evangelism (out door ministry) to equipping Christian leaders with God’s Word (indoor ministry).  In the next couple of weeks, students from Burma or Myanmar will be here in Chiangmai for a block of time.  All these students, as state earlier, are presently Christian ministers, evangelists, or teachers.  Since they are already active in ministry, they are able to take time out from their ministries during this monsoon season, when most of their church members are busy in working at their farms.  They will be with us for a month and a half studying God’s Word at AIS (Asia International Seminary) so that they would be rooted firmly with God’s Word.  Please keep us in your prayers so that we will continue to be faithful in ministry with the emphasis of God’s Word, rather than human’s opinion, whether in evangelism, equipping or empowering the church leaders.  Our appreciation goes to those who have given an extra to make this ministry of making disciples through teaching God’s Word possible.    

Religious Discrimination in Burma

There are two major obstacles for our evangelistic works in Burma.  First, the evangelistic area, particularly Doi Mo, as you may recall, used to be the hub of opium cultivation and business. As a matter of fact, according to UN reports, Burma is the second largest opium grower in the world after Afghanistan.  The Shan and Kachin states in Burma are the major sources of most of the opium from Burma.  Second, the religious discrimination in Burma is getting intense.  According to one of the Human Rights Organizations in Burma, the Burmese government openly discriminates against ethnic and religious minorities such as Christians and Muslims.  Therefore, the UN urges the Burmese government to urgently pursue legal and institutional reforms including reforming local orders and national laws that discriminate along lines of ethnicity and religion. 

Few days ago, we received a prayer request from our friend in Burma mentioning about the new believers in Doi Mo, who have been forced by local leaders to offer daily food to Buddhist monks.  As you may know, every morning Buddhist monks in Burma as well as in Thailand walk from their Buddhist temple passing house after house to receive food offering from people living nearby the temple.  This is their social and religious norm!  In the recent months, during and after our evangelistic trip to the area of Doi Mo, many people have converted to Christ.  The conversion has changed their daily life routine.  Apparently, the impact has caused Buddhist monks in short of their daily food.  The Buddhist monks have complained about the lack of their daily food.  The local authorities then have acted by forcing these new believers to offer daily food to those Buddhist monks.  When these Christians rejected to do so, they are now facing religious discrimination, social and legal oppression and perhaps soon persecution.  Please keep these new converts in your prayers so that they will be strong in their faith in fighting with this trail and temptation.

New Mission Opportunity in Laos

Recently, we have received a request to extent our mission works into Laos.  We are now on the stage of praying for seeking God’s Will.  For we have heard and seen, as a matter of fact, many of our friends, who are Lahu and Ahka evangelists from Thailand were put into prison in the past year because of their evangelistic works in Laos.  Now they have withdrawn most of their mission works from Laos.  This is a very challenging call!  We have foreseen the risk of this calling. 

Laos is one of the five remaining Communist nations that continue to impose undue restrictions on religious freedom. While the national government claims to allow Christians to worship freely, many provincial and village level officials continue to harass and threaten Christians. Many new believers have been forced to leave or even bar to returning their homes and resettle elsewhere after their conversion.  If Christians refuse to move, they are sometimes ostracized by the community and may face further harassment by the authorities.

At this moment, Yasa has initialed the mission works for Lahu people in Laos by taking 3 Lahu boys and a girl from Laos and training them at Lahu Bible Training Center in Chiangdao.  Our mission is now praying and brain-storming whether we should following up this initial ministry into the full extension of our mission works inside Laos.  Much appreciated your prayers for this challenging ministry!

Yasa with Lahu students from Laos.

 The Wongs in Update

Every one of the Wongs is doing well.  Stephen has sacrificed most of his time to continue his exegetical study on the Gospel of John.  He has studied in depth this Gospel since 1997.  He is now compiling them for a lecture note so that he will be able to teach his students in this upcoming November 2013.  He is also revisiting his works on the Epistle to the Philippians so that he will be able to teach on the topic of “a Christo-mindset of leaders and evangelists” based on this epistle at the Christian leadership conference in Burma on this upcoming October 2013.  Mary is one of the busiest moms.  She is maneuvering both family and ministry into the right shape.  Beside of taking care of children, she is, as usual, not only preparing the rice-field to be ready for the next crop, but also a place to be ready for the Burmese students.  She is the real heroin!  Again this year, Becky has received recognition as one of the outstanding students from her university.  John is on summer break.  He is enjoying taking computer lessons via internet.  Occasionally, he joins his dad to make evangelistic trips to various places.  Isaac is enjoying studying English, Thai and Chinese.  He loves learning a Hallelujah chorus with his grandma and enjoying preaching and teaching Bible stories at family devotions.  Nick is working on his ministry supports so that he will be able to be a missionary for the youth in the Southeast Asia and China.  Many youth Christian leaders, particularly in central Burma, have anticipated his returning and working with him in order to mobilize other youth in carrying out the Gospel of Jesus’ redemption to the lost people and expanding His Kingdom in the region.  Nick is planning to be in Thailand this coming fall.  If God is willing, he is hoping to teach at the leadership conference in Burma, emphasis on youth, at this upcoming October 2013.

Becky on her recognition day

 Becky and John

Mary congratulates Becky on her recognition day

We are very thankful for your faithful partnership with us in carrying out the Great Commission to the lost people in Southeast Asia and China as well as equipping and empowering Christian leaders with the Word of God.  May all your partnering gifts become an investment that reaps spiritual dividends in Jesus Christ!

PS. John is attending at Grace International School.  The GIS is a Christian School mainly for missionary kids.  On July 9, 2013, the verdict of the appellate court in Thailand disfavored the school.  The school has to turn over the property that was part of the former owner, pay various fees, and restore the facility to the original condition (further information see at: http://www.gisthailand.org)   The GIS really needs prayers at the moment and pray also this verdict will not cause any further difficulty for John’s emotion and education.