Amidst the upheavals in world history, the purposes of God remain unchanged. For it is written, “But our God in the heaven, He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa 115:3).
Compared with previous years, this year there were more frequent visits to local assemblies in Dharan (Nepal) and Salbari (Bengal, India). The national brethren needed more help in the preaching and teaching from the Bible, especially in Kathmandu and Dharan (both in Nepal).
Through His grace, I was able to minister from His Word and preach the gospel with the saints in these places. National workers, Messrs. Vikram (Nepal) and Raghu (India) partnered with me in the gospel work in Kathmandu (Nepal) and in the plantation villages of Siliguri, in various villages in Jharkhand, and in the outskirts of Asansol in Bengal (India), respectively.
This year, the local assembly in Salbari, enjoyed teaching on the types seen in the Tabernacle, and from the Acts of the apostles. At Asha Kendra Primary School, a school run by brother Raghu and his wife Lydia, I taught the students Bible stories during the Moral Education periods at different class levels.
At Mahbert High School, a mission school, gospel stories from the Bible were preached to the students who come voluntarily for 30 minutes during their recess time.
The gospel was preached, with the help of saints from Belgachi and Amjamani assemblies, at the plantation villages of Chengabusty and Sathbhaiya.
In the last few years, Mr. Raghu and I have been traveling to Jharkhand during the months of January and September, for Bible ministry and gospel work. We normally travel by train at 11pm on Sunday from Siliguri to reach a station by 5am for transit to Teen Pahar at 7:30am. After a quick breakfast, we leave for the hall in Tal Jari, a one-hour, punishing drive on rural roads. This year Mr. Raghu ministered from the first epistle of John, and I gave ministry from the epistle of Romans.
Early this year, I was taken to visit other areas in Jharkhand. My host and I visited Dhoby Ghat in Sahibganj, where a friend has opened her home so that her neighbors may hear the gospel. The next day, my host and I rode his motorbike to a remote place on a hill to visit an aboriginal tribe of Maltos in Karanpura. They dwell on the hills living off the forest. However, the forest is being depleted by unscrupulous men cutting trees illegally for profit. As a result, they are facing hardship in getting food and are compelled to go deeper into the forest to make a living. With only foot tracks, the ride up the hill on the motorbike, with the metal rim at the back seat hitting against my back, made the journey a ride to remember. When we came to the summit, we had to walk up, as the ascent was too steep on the motorbike. This was, by far, a less painful option.
Here we were greeted by the smiling faces of several in the village. The first believer in the tribe was Daud (David). He was saved in 2004. Subsequently, his nephews, Pathros (Peter) and Samuel, were saved. David was called home some years back. There are now about five families who are saved. Apart from Peter and Samuel, most of them are illiterate. My host mentioned that, when he first met them, they were not properly clothed and were filthy. Their homes were also dirty. Now all that has changed, with the help of the saints from Tal Jari.
In Kathmandu (Nepal), the gospel was preached from the home of a brother in the Lord. Among the few believers there, unemployment and the prospect of jobs (usually offered by deceitful employment agents) continues to be a hindrance to the growth of the gathering in Kathmandu and brings with it great weakness. At the gospel meetings, there were the usual visitors but none have professed faith in the Lord Jesus. Three years back we visited a large family of 15, which included the patriarch and his wife, (both in their 90s) their children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. The patriarch and his wife are Hindi; however, the children in the makeshift home (damaged by the earthquake in 2014) are nominal Christians. One of the grandsons has shown interest in the gospel and comes regularly to meetings. We are praying for salvation for him and for the large family he represents.
The responsible brethren have found a suitable house for gospel work and meetings for rent in Kathmandu. The house is in a good location. They will be making a considered decision in the next few months.
In Dharan, the local assembly continues their testimony to the Lord, by His grace. We thank God that He is drawing both newcomers and repeat visitors to the meetings to hear the gospel. Since there are a good number of educational institutions in Dharan, the local assembly sees students coming in from time to time for gospel meetings. On 27th November, five believers were baptized. Please pray for their continued growth.
We earnestly request prayer that the places we visit will become the “birthplace” of many souls and the saints may walk faithfully according to the Scriptures for the glory of our Lord Jesus.
Back in Singapore, during the year-end school holidays, we conducted our annual three-day Vacation Bible School, with the theme of “Sailing with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee.” I had the opportunity to present to the children (aged 5-12 years) from the Bible the various occasions that the Lord Jesus was with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee. There were about 75 children, most of whom do not attend any church. On the last day, we gave out prizes, and parents were invited. We showed slides of the various activities the children took part in during the three days. Shortly after, a brother from the assembly preached the glorious gospel to all there. We look to God for blessing in salvation in the gospel outreach work of our local assembly.
In October, a brother from Canada and I visited a family in Manila in the Philippines. We managed to establish contact, witness the gospel to some in the family, and present Bible stories to many children in the neighborhood. One night we preached the gospel to about 20 family members and neighbors. We look to the Lord for the salvation of souls, and for the establishment of assembly testimony in that area.