Sri Lanka Mission Messenger July-August 2013

Date: Saturday, 31 August 2013
Author: Rev Shanmugam N V Partheepan

Dear friends,

REFORMED PROTESTANT MISSION (Trust) LANKA MISSION MESSENGER
(July - August Update)

Greetings from warm Sri Lanka! What a wonderful opportunity to share what God is doing for His glory in Vavuniya and how He is using us in the work of His Kingdom. We are very thankful in the way that the Lord continues to bless us according to His perfect will.

Family:

By the grace of God, my wife and I are doing well. He continually shows His abundant love and care for us. We are happily learning many things from God and every day He is teaching His truth to us in many ways. When we came to Vavuniya we had some human fears such as; “How are we going to cope in this new place?” But now we have an answer for this question: “in Christ!” We have grown to love living and working in Vavuniya, and we have a love for the people of Vavuniya as well.

Ministry:

Ministry of the Word:

We worship our Almighty God every Sabbath morning and evening. Eighteen people attend the service in the morning and twenty attend in the evening. We thank God that the same people continue to attend the services faithfully. Two new people have started to attend in the morning recently.

I would like to share one story with you all. One of our friends from the Netherlands stayed with us during the first week in August. When they were with us, we went to a restaurant close to our home for dinner. As usual, we prayed before the meal. After we had the meal, a waiter come up to me and asked, “Are you a Christian?” “Yes” I said. I then asked him; “Do you have any church connection?” “Yes” he replied, “my parents had - but I am not going to any church now.” I invited him to our worship services, and he has came the last three Sabbaths. How wonderful it is that even our praying in public places can be a witness used by God.

In the morning I am preaching from 1 Thessalonians 5 v 14 - 18, a series which I have titled: “The will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. In the evening I am preaching through the life of Elijah. It has been a great blessing for both our congregation and myself.

In our prayer meeting we continue to study the Heidelberg Catechism, it has been a real blessing for us. I felt that God very clearly spoke to us and gave us more encouragements through this study.

On occasions, Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church ministers supply my pulpit when I have needed a rest. I am very thankful to those who have come. Last week one pastoral assistant (Anton) from a baptist church preached for us. It was really nice time to have him. He is a very good man and is willing to learn sound theology. Please pray for him and his wife, Vinnu.

Mrs Maran, continues to teach the children in Selvanager where we run the pre-school. Every month student numbers are increasing and some of their parents are showing an interest in attending our church. As some of you already know, five boys from this work already attend our worship services.

Thank God for this and please also pray for Mrs Maran and the assistant teacher, Kasthuri.

We would like to thank the Partick FCC Sunday school children for the priceless gifts they sent to the bible class children in Selvanager. I have included a photograph on our denominational website. What a wonderful way the Sabbath school teachers are encouraging practical Christianity to the children from their youth!

We have printed and distributed good Christian books around several different places. Also, in the Northern parts of Sri Lanka we have distributed a quarterly Tamil magazine from New Zealand called ʻBible lampʼ. This magazine has lots of doctrinally sound truth in it.

God willing, next month we hope to print a Tamil translation of “Duties of Parents” by J. C. Ryle.

Pray for this ministry; that the Truth would make the people free. Please also remember Rev. R. Bala who undertakes this wonderful ministry of translation (he is also the editor of ʻBible lampʼ).

Practical ministry:

As you all know Ceylon Christian Care (CCC) is greatly helping the practical ministry in Vavuniya. This is a very needy work in Sri Lanka. CCC are helping the poor and needy according to the word of God. I am sure the Lord will bless them according to His richness.

The pre-school ministry is running very smoothly and we are satisfied with the way the teachers and students are getting on. Mr Bert and his team from the Netherlands visited our pre-school and they were really amazed the way the children behaved. The children were in a very poor state when we started, but now they are attaining a good standard of education. I am sure the teachers have worked hard. CCC have also supported nutrition projects in Selvanager and provided diaconal support to our church. We are very thankful to CCC.

Last month we printed 1,000 copies of A. N. Martinʼs book, and as mentioned already, next month, God willing, we hope to print 1,000 copies of J. C. Ryleʼs book. CCC are paying for all the costs associated with the printing of the books. We very much appreciate the wonderful support of CCC to this ministry.

Mr Bert (one of CCCʼs directors), and his team stayed with us and visited all the families who attend our church and helped them according to their condition. Not only our church families, but also some needy areas too. They donated a neck collar to the general hospital in Vavunya and milk powder to poor children in hospital wards. It was a real testimony that the Church seeks to practice what it preaches.

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Upcoming events:

1. God willing, we are hoping to have the youth outing on the 6th and 7th of September. The focus of the weekend will be on the youth who are unconverted. We have five young people from our church attending, and they are bringing their friends along. Also, some others who we know who attend other churches will join with us. They are providing the bus for our trip to Trincomalee (on the East coast). We are expecting 30 young people to attend. The topic for the outing is “Do you believe you have a soul in you?” Please pray for this event: for wisdom for the preachers and for the conversion of young people.

2. God willing, we are hoping to start bible class modules for local ministers and leaders on the 9th and 10th of October. We have already advertised this ministry around our neighbouring districts. We are hoping that around seven students will come. CCC is willing to support this work financially. I am begging you to pray for this ministry. This is a good way to spread the sound gospel and build up a Christ pleasing bride in Sri Lanka.

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General matters:
1. As some of you are aware, the lawyer who was doing the registration work of the ministry passed away some time back. Now his daughter is trying to close all the pending works of her father and I will be in Colombo to meet her during the coming week. We hope and pray that the registration work will be finalised soon. 

2. While we were hoping and praying for the registration process to go smoothly, we came across an area of land for a potential future site for the construction of a church building. God willing, He will make all things possible even the purchase of this land. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the reasons why we are considering the purchase of land for the church:

It would be better to have a permanent place to conduct the worship services.

At the moment some young boys come from Selvanagar where CCC is supporting the pre- school work. There are also some other young people who are willing to attend. However, the space in, and the location of, our home is a constraint to them.

The childrenʼs ministry is growing and we are planning and expecting to bring more children to Sabbath school classes. If we have our own land with even just a roofed hut, it would be possible to do more work.

When we gather at our home, we feel that some people find it inconvenient to come for worship. Furthermore, when we evangelise, it is difficult to invite people to come to our home to worship.

This land is within 2 km distance from the town of Vavunia and therefore it would be accessible to most of the people.

The land value appears to be a reasonable selling price.

At the moment there is no Hindu temples close to this land and therefore there will be no noise interference during the Hindu's festival seasons.

If we even have just a small roofed hut to conduct worship, it would be a permanent venue. So that if we need to move out of our home due to our changing rental circumstances, the building where we worship will not have to change.

The size of the land is close to half an acre, so with good planning it can be utilised for a theological seminary too (for which CCC are willing to help).

When we discussed the potential of this with those who currently worship with us, they were all fine with the location of the land and some said it would be more convenient for them.

Please pray for this move. Thank you.
Parthee