Below is the latest news on what’s been happening in the Philippines and Myanmar. It has been summertime in Myanmar and in the Philippines, and much has been going on.
TRIP TO MYANMAR
I spent much of April in the country of Myanmar. I have detailed in other updates about how the country has changed for the better because of a recently changing government. Greater economic freedom and greater religious freedom have made it easier to share the Gospel, though places of government corruption and a 90% Buddhist country still make things somewhat difficult.
Working alongside our partner in Myanmar, Pastor Robin Kung and his team with Christ for Asia, we: 1. Held a church training day 2. Held a revival service night 3. Held a week-long youth camp 4. Visited the existing Sidewalk Sunday School program 5. Visited and shared in several small group locations 6. Preached in the main church in Yangon 7. Spent time with the children’s home kids 8. And spent much time encouraging Robin and his team of leaders.
We also scoped out the location for the two-story building project we have been planning for, which will house the main church in the big city of Yangon, Myanmar, the leadership training school for future leaders and church planters, and the children’s home.
Above is Wai Wai, who is a business woman who owns the pictured hotel and restaurant, has been attending the Yangon church. To the left is Robin Kung, senior pastor of the Myanmar ministry and to the right, James Aung, is associate pastor of the Myanmar Yangon ministry.
Below is me speaking at the youth camp with Pastor James translating.
Below is Robin Kung, teaching the Gospel to a group of Buddhists attending the youth camp.
Below is the total group picture from the youth camp in Myanmar.
MIRACLES IN MYANMAR
To the left, is a young pastor of one of the village churches with Christ for Asia Myanmar. (Christ for Asia Myanmar has the home church in the city of Yangon and 4 village churches. A team is currently working to plant a 5th village church). The older gentlemen to the right was a former Buddhist, who has been a Christian for about a year. He lives in the village of this pastor. One day he came upon the scene of a boy who had drown. The boy reportedly had been under water for about 30 minutes and was dead. The man went up to the boy, leaned down and put his hands on him and prayed for him. The boy came back to life. There were multiple witnesses as a crowd surrounded the scene and news about Jesus spread in the village because of that. That was one of the many great stories I have heard about what God is doing in Myanmar. I will try to share more in the future.
SIDEWALK SUNDAY SCHOOL
To the left is Dim Lam Kim, from a wedding she attended. She leads the Sidewalk Sunday School for the ministry in Myanmar.
Also, above and to the right is a picture from the Sidewalk Sunday School that took place during Youth Camp. Because of your partnership, Encounter Generation has been able to invest in hiring up to two more workers to help Dim Lam Kim and to expand Sidewalk Sunday School into the village regions to reach children and their families with the tangible love and truth of Jesus Christ. You are making that possible!
Youth camps and Vacation Bible Schools have been abounding in the Philippines in April and May. As school gets ready to start back in June and rainy season begins to set in, I will update you in the June update on happenings here.
Thank you for your love for God, your prayers, your love for lost Asia and for believing in me, Encounter Generation and our partners in Asia as we work together to advance the Gospel and to see God’s Kingdom come and His will done in Asia as it is in Heaven.
Joy, bottom left, and the Sidewalk Sunday School team at the new outreach location
MARCH 2017 UPDATE
In our ministry in the Philippines, the Sidewalk Sunday School outreach called K.I.C.K.ers (Kids in Christ’s Kingdom) is reaching out to a new neighborhood in Trece Martires, Philippines. This has allowed us the opportunity to feed children (often from very difficult circumstances) and to provide for them a fun environment to meet friends, play, sing, learn practical life values and learn about Jesus and HIs love for them. Joy, (pictured front left) was a graduate of our School of Ministry last year, and she continues to lead this ministry very faithfully and skillfully. She incorporates other adults and youth into the team which ministers to these kids and their families. A new weekly Bible study was launched in this community as well through the work of this outreach. The reputation Joy has developed leading this program has also opened doors for her to lead and coordinate children’s programs and outreaches on mission trips to the northern mountains of the Philippines and other places for the ministry I had a chance to serve and help pioneer 12 plus years ago, Acts 13 Initiative. (Now know as Project Acts Mission Challenge and fully Filipino-led).
Neil, one of our youth volunteers & a student in the School of Ministry, helping Sidewalk Sunday School
As most of you know, we have a network of three churches covering three cities in the province of Cavite, Philippines, just south of Manila. This network includes the Sidewalk Sunday School outreach to children, referenced above. It also includes our School of Ministry that trains up leaders and pastors from our three churches as well as from one church from outside our network. The School of Ministry has finished up its first trimester and is already moving into its next one with around 17 students, including two of our associate pastors, who are faithfully investing their time to grow and develop as spiritual leaders. Pastor Dion, also a graduate of our first batch of students in the School of Ministry, pastors the church in Trece Martires and now serves as the Assistant Director of the School of Ministry. So he leads the school when I am away. We have seen God take us from around 7 leaders in the initial church in the Philippines to currently 40-plus leaders who are serving in some capacity in our network. We are seeing God’s faithfulness and the fruit of intentionally equipping and mentoring leaders.
As I returned from time in the states, things were running quite well in the Philippines. This and the number of leaders we have in our team here have freed me to expand into new opportunities. I am starting to travel out and speak other places much more.
On April 3, I travel to Myanmar for two and a half weeks to speak at a youth camp, to hold a revival service, to speak in churches and small groups and to survey the situation as we begin the building project there with our friend and church planter, Pastor Robin Kung. Our largest project for the year is a two-story building that will allow Robin and his team’s ministry in Myanmar the following opportunities:
- Provide a training center to equip and raise up church planters, pastors and future church and community leaders.
- Provide basic training for life and job skills to a community where training can improve the opportunities and lifestyle for many.
- Provide a permanent home for the base church in Yangon.
- Provide an orphanage for children, many who were displaced because of Civil War.
- Reach out to children in holistic ways through Sidewalk Sunday School.
- Hold revival services, training conferences, youth camps, mentor and equip leaders and much more!
This is such an exciting opportunity for us to come alongside Robin and see happen. We believe it will not just meet so many practical needs. We believe this will help facilitate opportunities for the Kingdom of God to be demonstrated throughout Myanmar.
Please pray for me as I travel to Myanmar, for fruitful ministry, good health, energy for a busy schedule, divine connections and meetings and the demonstration of the Kingdom of God so that people would meet the King. The King is why we do what we do in this ministry. Abundant life, eternal purpose in life and life everlasting is found in Him. Thank you for your prayers for me and all our team and connections in Asia and in the U.S. and for all you do to make this ministry possible in Asia. None of this happens without partners like you.
If you would like to partner financially with our trip to Myanmar or our work in the Philippines or anything else we are doing, you can do so by clicking on the Give button above for online giving or instructions on other ways to give. I’m very grateful for your prayers, partnership and part in all the Lord is doing.
Pictures above are of the land where Myanmar headquarters will be built and Robin Kung and his family. Wife, No Mi. Children, Olivia, Anna, Bella.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20
DECEMBER UPDATE 2016
A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Below is the latest news on an important and exciting opportunity before us.
A WINDOW OF GREAT OPPORTUNITY
Addressing this window of opportunity, a missionary of 25 years in Asia said, “If you are going to invest in missions in Asia now, invest in Myanmar.” Myanmar is wide open for a move of God! Let me explain…
The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the ultimate collapse of the former Soviet Union opened up a window of opportunity for the Gospel in Eastern Europe in ways it once had not known. Suddenly, the Church saw open doors which were previously closed to meet the tangible needs of hurting people and to proclaim the Gospel among those who did not know Jesus.
An open door stands before us in the country known as Myanmar (Burma), where a communist military dictatorship ruled the people from 1962 to 2011. Myanmar is nearly 90% Buddhist and is the third poorest nation in Asia, dealing with many issues such as extreme poverty, human trafficking, forced child labor and civil war. In 2015, the National League for Democracy won power, led by a woman who lived under house arrest for many years under the brutal military regime. I recall driving by the home where she lived under house arrest in 2003. Now she helps lead the nation.
These recent changes have paved the way for more opportunity in the nation and for freedom of religion. Though strong persecution still comes against Christians from devout Buddhists, the changing government and resulting changes in society have opened a window of great opportunity for meeting the needs of hurting people and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In partnership with Robin Kung and Christ for Asia Myanmar, the goal of Encounter Generation is to develop a headquarters in the largest city in Myanmar, Yangon. We are looking to raise $50,000 for this headquarters which would allow us to:
¬ Provide a training center to equip and raise up church planters, pastors and future church and community leaders.
¬ Provide basic training for life and job skills to a community where training can improve the opportunities and lifestyle for many.
¬ Provide a permanent home for the base church in Yangon.
¬ Begin building an orphanage for children, many who were displaced because of Civil War.
¬ Reach out to children in holistic ways through Sidewalk Sunday School.
¬ Hold revival services, training conferences, youth camps, mentor and equip leaders and much more!
This is the biggest project EG has ever undertaken because I believe in the opportunity before us. Every gift counts. No amount is too small or too large!
Our expectation is that reaching this goal will not only position the ministry in Yangon, Myanmar for greater impact, it will position us to plant multiple churches in unreached Buddhist villages across the nation in the coming months and years, where people live in poverty, some often in the wake of civil war, and where they have no opportunity to hear the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to experience the demonstration of His Kingdom in their lives…We want to change that!
You can be part of this in multiple ways.
¬ We greatly need your prayers.
¬ We also need financial partners who will join with us to see these goals met.
¬ If you have a small group, Sunday School class, club, or would host a group in your home, we would love to present this window of opportunity to you and talk about how, together, we can see the story change for many people living in hopeless situations in Myanmar.
Thank you for your prayers and partnership in the Gospel and for all you have done in 2016. Will you join me to advance together in 2017 for the glory of God in unreached Asia?
Thank you, thank you to those of you who have already been partnering with us! We are grateful and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
To Partner With Us Financially Send Tax Deductible Donations To:
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354
Or Give Online on this website by clicking on the Give Tab at the top of the page above and follow the directions to donate securely online and even to set up monthly recurring donations.
Kids from Children’s Home
Village Pastor and Family
Robin and Me
Leaders in Training
Robin and His Family (Naomi and the Children)
Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me and our team in Asia and in the USA.
IN THE U.S.A. FOR A WHILE
After a 14-month stint in Asia (except for a quick trip to take care of taxes/business in February), I am just recently home in Virginia for about 3 to 4 months, where I will be reconnecting with relationships here. I will be traveling and speaking to churches/groups, casting vision, doing some writing and updating everyone I can about what has been happening and where we are looking to go in the future. It has also been 3 years since I last spent Thanksgiving and Christmas stateside, so it will be a blessing to be near family and friends this year. I desire and hope to see you while here. Also, if you have a group you would like me to speak to, we are glad to come and share!
UPDATE ON THE PHILIPPINES
It has been exactly 3 years since I first went to the Philippines to scout and began the process of pioneering there. As Encounter Generation partnered with the City Disciples Church there, we have seen the Lord grant a harvest of good fruit. You have been a huge part of it. Here is a report of what the Lord has accomplished over the 3 years:
- 1 church has grown to a network of 3 churches.
- We have seen around 60 baptisms of people professing to follow Jesus.
- We have grown from 35 attendees in the church that was there to a combined total of around 200 plus attendees on Sundays.
- One group of 5 students has graduated from the School of Ministry. The next group of 20 is studying now with Pastor Dion facilitating. He is a graduate of the school and pastor of one of our churches and he is helping lead and direct the school now, which equips and trains our leaders.
- We have grown from an initial team of around 7 leaders to a team of around 45 combined leaders from the three churches.
- Each church has elders and deacons and core leaders working together.
- Structures and systems are in place, along with facilities and equipment.
- The Sidewalk Sunday School ministry continues to reach out to children in our communities.
- An Overseeing Board to give oversight for the whole Philippines ministry has been formed to provide guidance, encouragement and accountability.
- A joint, Sunday-morning service of the three churches was held in September as an evangelistic outreach. We called it Encounter. 300 attended with several professions of faith in Christ. Seeing this happen was a milestone for the ministry there and provided encouragement and momentum for everyone as I prepared to travel home.
The Lord has done all of this. He has used a large team of people (Filipinos, Americans and friends from other nations) in seeing this birthed and growing to this point. You are a significant part of the team. Your prayers, your encouragement, your financial partnership, your guidance and insight, have all empowered the team on the ground to see God’s purposes fulfilled. I cannot thank you enough.
PHASE 2 – EXPANSION IN ASIA
We have seen Phase 1 (above) come to fruition with the vision I moved to Asia holding in our hearts as a ministry. Phase 2 of that vision is to expand into other parts of Asia, forming strategic partnerships, with a focus on places inhabited by more unreached peoples.
In the Philippines, though we came alongside an existing Filipino partner, we have played one of the lead roles in pioneering and pastoring the network there. That experience has been vital for preparing us to move into phase two. But in other parts of Asia, the language, culture and government restrictions cause us to adjust our strategy to coming alongside strategic partners in more of a support role, providing what we can to equip, empower and enable those partners to advance the Kingdom of God across their nations.
This is a strategy that God seems to be utilizing a lot around the world at this stage in the history of World Missions, as Western missionaries are coming alongside native Christian leaders to advance the Kingdom in their nations. This is our strategy for these unreached nations in Asia.
Myanmar is around 88% Buddhist and only around 6% Christian. Robin Kung is a longtime friend who has a church in the city, Yangon, Myanmar. They have a Ministry Institute there to train their leaders, similar to our School of Ministry, and they have four churches that have been planted in what were unreached villages in rural areas. They also have a children’s home with around 14 children who have been taken in from war-torn areas of the country and various other situations.
Robin and Me
A Village Pastor and His Family
In 2017, we will continue to work in the Philippines and be involved in the ministry there. But I plan to travel into other parts of Asia a lot more this coming year. We specifically want to begin intentionally partnering with Robin and the ministry there in Myanmar. I am already scheduled to go there in April and plan to go more as I can get visas approved.
Children’s Home Kids
Our Big Project for 2017
The big project we want to work toward is helping build headquarters for the ministry in Myanmar, which would house the home church and the Ministry Training Institute which equips and trains leaders and church planters. It would also house community development such as vocational skills, business training and English classes. Finally, it would house the children’s home as well.
Above is an engineer’s drawing that gives you an idea of what Robin and the ministry there is hoping to build.
We are praying and working to raise a significant amount of what is needed to help see this happen. Based on my time there, I am convinced that this facility would propel the ministry there forward in a significant way and forge a partnership that will hopefully reach unreached people in Myanmar for years to come. We are planning multiple trips there to help train and raise up leaders, to hold revival services, to provide discipleship resources and more to help support the ministry there and to see them continue to move forward in planting more churches in unreached areas as well as take care of orphans and those in need. That is Robin’s heart and it is mine too. So we are excited to partner with him however we can to see God’s Kingdom come and His will done in Myanmar. Most of my time in the U.S. will be casting this vision and looking for partnership that can enable it to happen.
Thank you for your prayers and all you do to partner with Encounter Generation as we work to see the Gospel of the Kingdom transform lives and families and communities in the 10/40 Window.
You can partner financially by sending tax-deductible donations to:
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354
Or give online by clicking on the “Give” tab above.
AUGUST UPDATE 2016
Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me and our team in Asia and in the USA. Your partnership is producing fruit of the Kingdom of God. Here are some stories of what God is doing in Asia and of which you are a significant part.
After an extremely packed summer (April and May) and ministry schedule here in the Philippines, June brought the beginning of kids going back to school and more of a routine schedule. The May graduation of the School of Ministry allowed for a break in that schedule as well. So in July, I traveled to Myanmar, a country in southeast Asia bordering Thailand. Myanmar is around 88% Buddhist and only around 6% Christian.
In Myanmar, I had a busy but fruitful and fulfilling schedule. I taught the end of a day-long seminar on Saturday, July 23, preached a revival service that night, preached two services Sunday morning, taught an English speaking class on Sunday afternoon, took a tour of the ministry there on Monday and spent a lot of good time with my friend and contact there. Then, on Tuesday, I taught at their Ministry Institute (similar to our School of Ministry) for about 4 hours and taught a small group that night before flying out Wednesday morning. It was a fast but wonderful trip, seeing God’s work there and scouting for future involvement.
When I first moved back to Asia in 2014, the vision in my heart was not just for the Philippines, but to see lost people reached with the hope of the Gospel, hurting people healed and helped, churches planted and leaders equipped and sent out in more than one place in Asia. So I went prayerfully scouting potential involvement in Myanmar in partnership with my friend Robin Kung.
My Friend in Myanmar, Robin Kung, and Me
A Village Pastor and His Family
The Children’s Home in Myanmar
Robin has a church in the city, Yangon, Myanmar. They have a Ministry Institute there to train their leaders, similar to our School of Ministry, and they have four churches that have been planted in what were unreached villages in rural areas. They also have a children’s home with around 14 children who have been taken in from war-torn areas of the country and various other situations. I visited most of the ministry, including one of the village churches and the children’s home, pictured above.
It was a joy to see Robin again as he had become a great friend during my first stint in Asia back in 2002-2004. It was great to minister with him and see what God is doing there. I shared my passion and vision and the heart of Encounter Generation for Asia. Robin shared his dreams, and we agreed to pray together about how we might partner together to advance the Gospel of the Kingdom in that nation. Please pray with us as we seek the Lord’s heart for us in Myanmar.
You might remember that I wrote a book a few years ago called Encounter: The Quest for the Real Thing. Robin had it translated into the Burmese language, and the translator liked it. Robin was going to give the book as a gift, but the translator suggested they try to sell it. So 500 copies have been published and will be for sale in Christian bookstores in Yangon. We will see how it does before printing anymore. Please pray God uses that book to impact peoples’ lives in a significant way.
Expansion in Trece Martires, Philippines
We are currently expanding the sanctuary of the church building in Trece Martires, Philippines. Their current room only holds about 40 people, so we are doing some work to allow the place to accommodate 100. The landlord did not want us to change the building at first, but as we all prayed, God was gracious and the landlord graciously allowed us to extend a lease and make the changes necessary for a church that had outgrown its facility. This change will be much cheaper than moving or other options that were available. People are excited at what God is doing there.
School of Ministry Philippines
On Sunday, July 17, we began the next batch for the School of Ministry. Last time, we started with 8 and saw 5 graduate. This time, we have started with 21 student leaders, so I am excited at the hunger of our people to grow as people, disciples and leaders. I have named Pastor Dion Ramos, the pastor of our Trece Martires church and a graduate of the first batch of School of Ministry, as my Assistant Director. He will facilitate and run the school when I need to be gone.
Upcoming Events-Pray With Us
Coming up on August 19-20, we are taking our leaders on an overnight retreat, for rest and revival. We also have a dedication service for the renovated building in Trece Martires on August 14. We have a mass wedding on August 29, which will allow several of our church members to marry who need to and want to. We are scheduled to host a marriage seminar, a children’s ministry seminar, a worship seminar and on September 18, we will have a big Encounter event for our whole network, similar to the annual Encounter event we used to do back in Marion, Virginia. This will be an evangelistic outreach and revival service on a Sunday morning. As you can see, many opportunities are here for people to grow in many different areas of life. Please pray for these upcoming activities, that we will see much fruit, that lost people will be saved, hurting people healed and helped, leaders equipped and that people will grow strong and stable in the Lord.
In the background of all that God is doing, we face plenty of daily challenges. So we ask for your continued prayers for protection, wisdom and power to pray, teach and guide people in the ways that lead to life. Thank you for your partnership in the work of the Gospel in Asia. I wish you could see up close the difference you are making here as we partner together in the story God is writing here.
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354
Robin and Nomi’s Daughter
Myanmar Ministry Leadership Institute