Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:23 “But we preach Christ crucified…” (NASB) and in 2 Corinthians 4:5 “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord…” (NASB). The cross, the death and resurrection of Jesus, is the core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The cross not only demonstrates but reconciles God’s holiness, love, faithfulness, just, covenant and grace. Moreover, the cross is the root of Christian faith, hope and love. The cross is the heart of Christian baptism, communion, fellowship, leadership, worship, and mission. Without the cross, Christianity is no different from any other religions: Buddhism, Islam and etc. The cross is the essence to Christianity.
In the past month, Stephen was blessed to attend a Lisu conference in Tengchong, Yunnan province, China. Yunnan province was actually where Missionary James O. Fraser first went and evangelized to the Lisu people and developed the Lisu alphabet in the early 1900s. Now a days, many Lisu people in Yunnan have migrated down to Myanmar, India, and Thailand, leaving a trail of Lisu relatives throughout these countries. After a century, there are only 2000 Christians (mostly Lisu) remaining out of the 620,000 people living in Tengchong. Actually, Tengchong is where the Lisu practice of evil spirit traditions originated, and today, many non-Christian Lisu in this area still practice these traditions such as razor sharp sword ladder climbing. Stephen was invited to this Lisu conference by the Lisu in government positions in China. During this conference week, the Chinese government officials took Stephen to see churches in the area and even allowed Stephen to preach at these churches. Praise the Lord! Some of Stephen’s former students have already evangelized in some of these areas because the people are hungry for the Word. One of Stephen’s hopes, through God, is to lead these Chinese government officials and the non-Christian Lisu in these areas to Christ, as God did through missionary Fraser 100 years ago. Please pray that God provide more workers to help us in evangelizing especially in China.
|Stephen speaking at the Lisu Conference|
|A picture with the group of Lisu from Myanmar|
|The speakers at the Lisu Conference|
|The attendees of the Lisu cultural exhibition (the view behind Stephen)|
|The attendees (left side)|
|The attendees (right side)|
On top of being able to preach at many different churches in China, Stephen has yet another great big thanks to God because now his Bible commentaries in the Lisu language is allowed to enter into China without a problem. Now that Stephen’s commentaries are able to reach China, many Christians in the area from all different denominations are seeking to acquire the commentaries in order to use them as tools to study the Word. Stephen’s former students who studied at Asia International Seminary are also currently taking trips to China in order to help teach the Bible using the commentaries. This commentary ministry has led to more opportunities for evangelism in Myanmar and China. Stephen’s commentary on the book of 1 Corinthians written process is almost complete. Next month, 1 Corinthians commentary will begin the publishing process of proof reading and editing. To publish 1 Corinthians commentary, we will need to raise $4000, for proofreading, editing, printing, and distributing them throughout Myanmar, China, and Thailand.
After the Chinese conference trip, Stephen was asked to teach at several youth camps in Myanmar, just on the border of China and Myanmar. Stephen arrived on the Myanmar side and taught at a youth camp with over a hundred youth. Stephen taught them the basics of what it means to be a Christian and how important Jesus’ death on the cross is for Christians. Many of the youth have been ingrained that works and merit is the way people get into heaven, but Stephen focused on God’s grace, especially on the cross. This led many churches, especially Baptist denomination, to request Stephen to publish his commentary on the book of James. At the end of the youth camps, Stephen encouraged the youth to go out and evangelize to non-Christians about the Salvation we have through Christ. If the Lord is willing, this group of youth will be the new generation of missionaries that will be able to evangelize in Myanmar and also in China.
At another youth camp, Stephen and a few of his former students taught English by using the Bible to around 50 students; Christian songs were also taught at this English youth camp. This was the first trial run for a youth camp using English as a means to reach out to more people in Myanmar. English is a much requested skill in Myanmar; in the future, if the Lord is willing, this can be a huge ministry to encourage Christians and also reach out to non-Christians in Myanmar and China. We would need English teachers and Bible teachers from America to come help with this ministry. Please pray for this ministry.
|Teaching English by using the Bible|
|The youth at the English Youth Camp|
As you may know, because of the fighting in Northern Myanmar between the Myanmar government and the Kachin Military, many Lisu have been forced to leave their homes and are now displaced and are labeled “refugee” in their status quo. The Lisu have also been subjected to mistreatment because of jealousy and hatred from violent people groups since the Lisu people are dubbed as the most peaceful people group in Myanmar.
Around 3000+ Lisu refugees in the city of Myitkyina are living through aid from the churches in the area and outsiders. The churches in the area have also loaned money to some of these displaced people in order to build homes. Some Lisu refugees have bought a small plot of land that they have made into a little village. This village is very simple, all houses even the Church are made from bamboo, tent/tarp material. Praise God, at least they have shelters to live in! But please continue to pray because they still lack the basic of essential needs. They need land for farming so that they can get back on their feet. Over in Danai area, another 2000+ Lisu are displaced. In Danai, the Myanmar government had given the Lisu people land but they would have to cultivate and find funds to develop farms and homes by themselves. The Lisu living in Myitkyina and Danai are facing difficulties with development, amidst the escalation of war in Northern Myanmar. Apparently, there are several hundreds of children who have become orphans because of the fighting. Many are still without education, homes, and family. Please pray!
We are teaming up with the churches in the area to come up with plans to help them. We believe that if the Lisu are stuck in this refugee status, many will turn to drugs or alcohol. On top of that, like many refugee situations in the world, we fear that the Lisu community in Myanmar may be stuck in only relying on relief money rather than grow and develop and raise their standard of living. Asians for Christ is focusing on a Wholistic ministry, because we view that a person must be restored in spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental needs. Above all, people need the Word of God. We try to make a whole person as complete as possible so that His Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Here is our strategic plan. We will raise funds for buying land for these displaced people. Rather than freely giving to the people, we will put all the fund into a central system, where the churches in the area will manage. This money would be a developmental fund that is used for projects in order to attain land, tools, seeds, etc. to kick start the income for the displaced Lisu. After they are able to get on their feet, these Lisu would pay the money back to the development funds and then this fund would be loaned to others in need. Please be praying for us as we partner with the churches in the area and also some consultants in order to set up a developmental plan and then start fundraising. It saddens us a lot to see anyone suffer, but this hits home even more because they are our people, many of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and the people we have developed great relationships with through sharing the Word of God.
|Shelter for the displaced|
|Children at the refugee site|
|The church at the refugee site|
The family is doing very well! John is back in Thailand for the summer, so our family is all together for the first time in almost a year. The first Sunday that John arrived, Stephen, Mary, and Nick took John to preach at Meca Lisu Church. The congregation loved the message that God spoke through John. Becky is teaching English in our neighborhood and many of her former students even came back and said how their English has improved all thanks to Becky. Isaac’s school started this past week and he is very excited every day to see his friends and study science. Mary is busy tending to the chickens that we raise at the house and ready to harvest her summer rice-crop. Nick has been meeting with several friends that have worked in nonprofit organizations to understand more of what we can do for the Lisu people in Myanmar. Stephen is working every day in the office, focusing hard on completing the commentaries. We are all so thankful for family and the ministries that God gave to us. We also constantly thank God that he has placed so many great partners in our lives to help with the ministry that has been able to preach and evangelize freely in Thailand, Myanmar, and even China. We definitely need more people to come and help us on the mission field, so please pray for that, and if you are interested in helping here, feel free to let us know.
|John is back in Thailand!|
|Stephen, John, Mary|
|John preaching as Stephen interprets|
|John preaching at Meca Lisu Church|
|Stephen working on the commentaries|
Jesus Christ dying on the cross and raising from death in order that all may be saved if they believe in Him – this is what our ministry is about. This is what our family believes. This is why James O. Frazer evangelized to the Lisu people in Yunnan, 100 years ago. This is why we teach the Bible to the old and young. This is why we are trying to help the refugees in Myanmar. This is why we risk our lives to preach in China. For Jesus dying on that cross and rising on the third day, this IS why we are proclaiming the Gospel!