In February 2017, Pastor Daphne, Aileen, Priscilla, Annie and Zoie, visited the Akha Outreach Foundation in Chiang Rai, Thailand, to minister at their annual Akha Women’s Conference. The conference seeks to empower the Akha women and to serve as a time of refreshing and encouragement for many of them. Each year when we return, we hear of testimonies from the Akha women about breakthroughs that they receive the year before and the greater things that they are expecting the Lord to do!
Below is a short recount from Annie Boon, who is currently volunteering in church, about her trip with us to the conference:
When Aileen first asked if I would like to join Pastor Daphne and a team of ladies to minister at the Akha Women’s Conference in Chiang Rai, I did not know what to expect but was excited. To prepare for the trip, I asked Aileen a few questions beforehand as I felt that I needed to manage my expectations; particularly on accommodation, whether we would be staying in the village or in a hotel.
This trip opened my eyes to see missionaries reaching out to the tribes; it really encouraged me to see missionaries that were so obedient to the Word of God! As I have never visited a tribe before this, it was amazing that God is showing me how He is using available vessels for His good work to serve Him. It was heartwarming to see the Akha women coming together for the conference from their various villages. I could sense such a freedom in worship in these women and their strong trust in the Lord. They were being set free and filled with the Spirit of Joy! I will always remember their joyful hearts and the smiles on their faces.
I could see that the conference was a brilliant avenue for these ladies who come from the different villages to bond and encourage each other in the faith. Looking back, I realized that it was the simplicity of these women’s trust in God that causes them to receive God the most. This is especially pronounced when there is very little access for medical help in the villages so they have to depend on God and trust that He will heal them.
It is a privilege to be able to join this trip as I had learned many things about missions, the culture and what the Lord is doing in a nation apart from Singapore. As long as you are an available vessel, God can use you! Go, expose yourself to missions and see what God is doing in the nations!
Two months ago, we sent Tim through the Cornerstone Overseas Volunteer Program (COVP) to Uganda. Though the program is met for individuals to minister overseas from 3 months to 1 year, Tim’s desire is to be a long term missionary. Recently, we connected with him and asked him to share his journey as a missionary.
Worship at CSCC Entebbe.
Cliff: Now that you’ve been in Uganda for two months, what are some of the memorable moments you experienced?
Tim: There was the rain-fly invasion on my first night. It was scary and I killed them all by flicking from the safety of my mosquito-netted bed like an arcade game.
The nightly news is also shocking. People can be really bad to one another. This reflects the depravity of human beings as a whole. I’ve heard of child sacrifices and frequent riots. It is brutal.
I was checking out a car the other day and suddenly I heard gun shots and teargas blew up about 15 metres from me. The police tried to arrest a guy and the mob formed against them. So they fired warning shots in the air and launched teargas to disperse the crowd.
Police after dispersing the crowd.
Cliff: What have you been doing?
Tim: It’s surprising how long it takes to get settled in a new place. The bulk of the two months were spent learning the local language and observing the habits and communication styles of Ugandans. It’s so important to be able to understand people, and even though some things are the same, many things are different about the way people interact here.
I’ve also been learning how to use the public transportation, buying food, setting up internet and phone, and acclimatising to local cuisine. There are also many other adjustments I have to make.
The food is prepared by the Bible School students.
Taking a selfie with a passenger in a taxi.
Work-wise, I’ve been travelling to our three Cornerstone Primary schools to help them manage and track their accounts as well as teaching in the Bible School (Zion Ministerial Institute).
It’s definitely not been a boring two months!
Cliff: What do you give thanks to God?
Tim: There are four things I want to give thanks to God.
1) The Internet! Thank God Uganda’s telecomm industry is more developed than it was a few years ago. I actually have “4G” access. It’s not that fast and it’s quite expensive, but it largely WORKS and that’s so important because it helps me connect with home. I’m alone here and being able to connect with people who KNOW and UNDERSTAND me is so important.
2) The people back home who are messaging me and sending me their love via Skype, Whatsapp and Facebook. I would feel a lot lonelier if not for them. Their communication is also important because it helps me process my thoughts and feelings on the things I face here. They give me an outlet and as an extrovert and an external processor, I need that outlet to function in the way that God made me.
3) The support community in Uganda has been very welcoming as well. I’ve begun to make friends in the Cornerstone Churches in Entebbe and Bunamwaya. The pastoral families, staff and congregants have made me feel very welcome here. On the whole, Ugandans are a friendly bunch, but especially so with our Cornerstonians. I feel like if there was ever an issue with anything that I desperately needed local help for, I could easily approach someone and I know they would try their best to help me.
Having a meal with Pastory Henry Mukisa (one of our CGN members) and his family.
4) My living environment. God has really gone before me by preparing a missionary couple here to receive a “new missionary” who needed a place to stay. I now live in a two-storey house, in a safe district, on a hill, overlooking the most beautiful vista of Lake Victoria and the surrounding estates. This is something only God could have prepared. The environment is SO critical because without it, functioning and doing daily tasks would just be much harder, from simple things like preparing breakfast to laundry to having a table to sit at while I work. God has really come through for me on this! Hallelujah!
Have you ever flipped through the Couriers Mission guidebook and thought, “Yes, it would be great if I could be a part of this trip”? Then you start to curb your enthusiasm, or even give yourself excuses like “Oh well maybe next time,” or, “Aiyoh, who will look after my grandkids when I am not around? Never mind better let the younger ones go… they have more energy any way.”
You know what? You’ve missed out. I am over 60 this year, and over the last six years I have gone on four Couriers mission trips – I have crossed a river on a bridge fashioned from a single bamboo pole; ridden pillion on a motorbike through two streams; drunk warm milk fresh from a cow; taken a 14-hour bus ride teetering off roads that were cut around the hills with nothing between us and a steep drop to nowhere; played with a little piglet that we named (hoping that he was not our lunch); and experienced one bad bout of food poisoning. I have zero regrets, as having witnessed many miracles, I have been blessed with a lifetime of memories that I will treasure.
My first Couriers trip was to Surabaya, Indonesia – and what affected me most, was the big pleading eyes of the children, hungry for love.
God has put a love for Myanmar in my heart, and I have made three Courier trips there. My first trip to Yangon was special. I got to minister with my two daughters and their cell group. One hour after we arrived from the airport, we had to jump off the back of a truck, and I had the daunting task of being the first one up to share in the main church service, while all the younger ones adjourned to do children’s ministry, leaving the team leader to support me. I also made my first big blunder of not giving an altar call! But our God always gives us second chances.
On that first trip to Myanmar, my daughters and I really connected with a lovely little girl, Rebecca at Ps Nandar’s Orphanage. She was then about 13. Two years later, on my second trip to Myanmar, I was waiting under the shade in the orphanage, when Rebecca saw me from afar, and ran up to me to give me a big hug – melting my heart, knowing that she still recognised me.
This second trip was slightly different. Half the team as well as the team leader were members of my cell group. We spent more time encouraging pastors of our affiliate churches. It was so good to go into the villages in and around Yangon. I remember one village head invited a whole group of Karen Christians and we prayed for them to be born again and to be Holy Spirit baptised!
On my last trip to Dawei, Myanmar, in December 2015, we were privileged to be the pioneer group from Singapore. Dawei is a 14 hour bus ride from Yangon. In preparation for the village outreach we were told to wear slippers and not shoes as we had some stream crossing to do. Little did we know that after our truck dropped us off, we were still 1km and two streams away from our destination. The high humidity and the slippery, muddy path, proved to be quite a challenge.
As usual, Jehovah Jireh was my Provider, and He gave me a knight in the form of the Assistant Pastor who pulled up alongside me on a motorbike and asked me to hop on. This was a memorable first motorbike ride for me along slushy paths and across two running streams. Christmas outreach was fun and we were richly rewarded with the stretching of 70 gifts being distributed to over 100 villagers! We were also blessed with 20 salvations and many new friends! We had also packed bags of groceries for the poor and it was such a joy as each team member took turns to share the Good News. Once again God favoured us with another 20 salvations!
Couriers is for everyone. Age should never be a barrier. And the challenges? They are there for you to overcome. It really is easy to be part of Couriers. Just look through this booklet. Select where you want to go and when you want to go. Training sessions are provided and planning meetings are held to help you assimilate yourself with the other team members before heading out. Remember, there are endless opportunities waiting for you and it is really a beautiful experience to travel with the younger members of our Cornerstone family!
It is often said that wisdom comes with age. On this note, I would like to share the Lord’s reminder to me in Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
By Ruby Chew
This is part of a three-part article, “Missions is for All Generations”. You can find the full article here.
Cornerstone Couriers 2016 is launching this weekend in all of our Cornerstone services. Our theme this year is “Beautiful Feet”. This theme is taken from Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
How can we truly have these beautiful feet? The answer is by preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. When we go to nations near and far and proclaim the Gospel, we bring the beauty of Christ with us, and His beauty is imparted to us.
This year, we will be sending 550 people on 58 short-term mission trips to 14 different nations. We will be sending more people out this year than ever before, and we invite you to be part of it!
You can register for a trip or by visiting our counter in the first level of Odeon Katong after any of our weekend services. Registration closes on 15th May, so don’t wait – register today!
Make your feet beautiful by spreading the Gospel in the nations this year!
A loud “Woo-Hooooo! Woo-Hooooo! Woo-Hoooooo!” broke the strains of our melodious choir. I jumped. Whoa, what’s that? I turned toward the sound, only to find Esther on her hind legs, in upright posture right next to me, “singing” in rhythm with the girls at Shalom Home.
The dog at the Home truly lives up to her calling. Like Esther in the Bible, she barks and howls excitedly whenever the girls at the Home belt out her favourite songs.
Our mission team—Sri Lanka 03—comprising eight adults and two tweens were amused at the singing dog, but more surprises awaited us the next few days.
Our Mission / Prior to our Trip – Pray and Prepare
Our team spent five full days with twenty-four girls, between the ages of two and seventeen, at Shalom Home, Maskeliya, Sri Lanka. Prior to our trip, the team met about five times to worship, pray, plan, practise and pack. The time spent seeking the Father aligned our hearts with His and guided our planning. One of my greatest takeaways from these meetings is the reminder that “the more we seek God, the greater is our ministry.”
A New Lease of Life at a New Home with a New Family
The twenty-four girls have been abandoned, orphaned or come from families with a history of abuse and domestic violence. Shalom Home is aptly named and surrounded by tea plantations. It provides the girls with a tranquil, peaceful, safe and secure environment. It is an ideal place for them to start on the path to their new life, and it is a place where they get to know the Abba Father and be immersed in His love.
It is heartwarming when we spot the older girls helping and comforting the younger ones. The care and love they shower on one another exemplify the meaning of family. Despite the adversities they have faced, the girls, having witnessed the love that the matron and the founders of the Home shower on them, do likewise.
One of our team members, Adrena Yeo, said, “Personally, it’s the amazing assurance that God won’t leave nor forsake His children, no matter how remote a place they are in! I’m comforted to know that the girls are safe in Shalom filled with peace, love and joy, rather than in an unhealthy environment.”
A Home of Songs and Prayers
A Life of Worship
The girls practically live on songs. They have a broad repertoire of Christian songs in English and Tamil. Grace is sung before and after each meal. A “Good Night song” is sung before they turn in for the night. Singing about Jesus lights up the faces of the girls, and they lapped up the new action songs we taught them. The best is always reserved for last, so it was a privilege to serve as His mouthpiece to sing the Aaronic Benediction—a priestly blessing—over the girls. I watched their faces fill with quiet assurance as they listened intently to the lyrics or simply let the music wash over them.
Team dancing with the girls
If singing is part of their lifestyle, then dancing to Christians songs is their favourite pastime. The older girls choreograph their own upbeat dance moves— a mix of classical and hip hop— to the music of Christian songs. One of their and our favourite dance routines is Kiruba Kiruba, a catchy song about His mercy and grace. Surely, I had to ask for a double dose of His grace and mercy to descend upon me when the girls taught us this fast-paced, funky dance.
Generals and Prayer Warriors
The Father showed me that He has called them to be Generals and Prayer warriors. Prayer is a common sight in the Home. Girls as young as eight and eleven- years old volunteered to pray during our daily devotions. Four of the girls, sitting for their O levels, prayed in a corner before setting off for their exams. Before we set off for our one-day trip, their Matron also rallied them together to pray.
One of the girls told me on that on her 2nd day upon entering the Home, one of the older girls showed her Psalm 91 and encouraged her to memorise it. She said that for the seven years she has been in the Home, Psalm 91 has seen her through her fears. Psalm 91 is about seeking the refuge of the Father, our Protector. This speaks volumes about the girls’ situation and how they cope with the challenges they face. Her sharing makes me wonder how many people have tried memorising a chapter, not verses, of the Bible? By the way, Psalm 91 only has sixteen verses.
The Father’s Heart: Dance with the Father
The overarching theme of our programmes was the Father’s Heart. Each day our Biblical stories, games, art and craft activities quizzes, puzzles and colouring activities and devotions revolved around different topics of the Father’s Heart: the Father’s Promises, the Father Provides, and the Father Protects.
Sharing the Gospel using stickers!
Girls learning to make a loom band cross
Loom band cross
One of our memorable moments was the sermon shared by our team leader, Cheryl Lek. She shared her experiences about the Father’s heart and how at her last birthday, she asked the Father for a gift: A Dance with the Father. The preaching was followed up by an altar call. Every girl responded including the live-in staff. A blessed time for us to pray words of encouragement and to speak prophetically into the lives of the children and the live-in staff!
Cheryl, the Preacher!
Our evening devotions built on the theme of the Father’s Heart, with the last day culminating on the topic, “Forgiveness”. Breaking into our smaller devotional groups, the girls shared their fears and their dreams for their future and on the last day, they spoke about their loved ones whom they would like to forgive. I believe the team found these sharing moments with the girls immensely moving.
And we ministered to the girls, once again, to ask for forgiveness for those who have hurt them.
We went to Bless, but they Blessed Us
We went to bless the girls, but they blessed us instead. On this trip, members of the team including myself encountered several firsts. I thoroughly enjoyed my endeavour in painting, not on canvas but on walls and sculpting new balloon models, neither or which I had done before. Most of all, this trip has sharpened my prophetic lens. Throughout our stay, I received revelations from the Father about Sri Lanka and confirmation of my new divine adventure. So this mission has unexpectedly geared me up for the brand new year ahead!
This trip has encouraged missions’ first-timer Adrena Yeo to “look forward to serving on the next mission trip”. She added, “I can’t wait to witness His mighty works! I’m blessed by the children’s purity, love and joy despite their backgrounds, all because they have been saved.”
Kek Lay Yan, having gone on several missions, said, “The girls at Shalom Home are a blessing to me. I am so touched and amazed at their love for God. The Father loves all of his children, and he looks after them. I am so thankful for the short time spent at Shalom and the opportunity to share some of the gospel stories with them. The keen looks on the children’s face not only encouraged me but also added joy to my teaching. It is not about how much we can do, but how much God can use us and bless us through it all.”
Pastor Cameron Walcott recently visited Maranatha Ministries in India. While there, he stopped at the ministries’ three bases, in Hyderabad, Visakhaptnam, and Vijayawada.
The first stop on my visit to India was Hyderabad, where I met Pastor Moses Choundary. Pastor Moses is the leader of all Maranatha Ministries and traveled with me throughout the 5 days. He is well-respected in the nation, and is often stopped by people in public who ask him to pray for them – he has a Christian television program and as such is known by many people, both believers and unbelievers. It was a great privilege to travel with him and hear his wisdom! Maranatha has bases in three different cities in southern India – Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, and Vijayawada, and a different pastor is in charge of the ministry in each city.
I did not have a long time in Hyderabad as I arrived late on Wednesday evening and had to fly out Thursday afternoon, but I did have time to teach in the ministry’s Bible school on Thursday morning. There were about 60 students present at the morning meeting, and they were receptive to the message. The school was very well-organized, and I received a tour of the Bible school premises.
Pastor Moses and I arrived in Visak on Thursday evening, and soon after arriving headed to the beach for a crusade-style meeting, the first of two nights of meetings we would hold. The open-air meetings were held at a public gathering place that is open to the public, just a few meters away from the Bay of Bengal. Hundreds of people came for the meeting, and crowds from the busy street just above us would stop and listen to the sessions as well. Pastor Moses and I both spoke in both of the meetings, and there was a good response to the messages. Hundreds of people responded for prayer both nights.
For me, it was an awesome experience, as it was a fulfilment of a dream God had given me almost 18 years ago. When I was 19 years old, the first nation I knew God had called me to for missions was India, and the picture I kept getting in my mind was that of holding open-air crusades in this great nation. In the years since then, I have been able to minister in India several times and God has been very faithful to open doors (both in India and many other nations), but this was the first time I got to preach in such a public meeting in India. It was a tremendous reminder that all of God’s promises are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20)!
Preaching at Crusade
Prayer at Crusade
We also had ample time for ministry on Friday morning and afternoon, between the two open-air meetings. On Friday morning we presided over the inauguration of a “Prayer Mount” at the Maranatha Bible School. Following this, I preached to the students and local pastors at the Bible school, which was packed with more than 100 people. It was an excellent time and the people were very hungry for God’s Word.
Inauguration with Pastor Moses and Pastor Silas
Prayer at Bible School Session in Visak
Later that afternoon, Pastor Silas (the senior pastor of the work in Visak) brought me to the Maranatha Children’s Home in Visak and I was very impressed by the behavior and confidence of the children. They all spoke very good English and we spent about an hour talking. I then laid hands and prayed for each one of the children, including some who were in need of physical healing. Our time with the children was unfortunately short, but it was tremendously encouraging to see what God is doing in their midst, bringing these children out of the darkness into His marvelous light!
Maranatha Visak Children’s Home
Vijayawadda 27-28 February
Early Saturday morning Pastor Moses and I took a 6 hour train ride from Visak to Vijayawada. We arrived just after noon and that evening I spoke in the youth service of Maranatha’s main church in Vijayawadda. It was a good service with more than 100 young people present, and nearly all responded for prayer after the service, as they were challenged to seek the abundant life in the Kingdom of God, and not the abundant life of this world.
Sunday morning, I spoke in 2 services at the main church. Both services had about 800 people present, packed both on the ground floor and a balcony that wraps around auditorium. Pastor Prasad is the senior pastor of the work in Vijayawada, and the main church has a total of about 3000 people stretched throughout their several weekend services.
After the two morning services in the main church, we traveled to the outskirts of Vijaywadda where I spoke in one of their outreach churches, to a crowd of about 150 people. They have a total of 8 church plants in the city, so they are making a tremendous impact in Vijayawada for the Kingdom of God. The church is very strong, with a good atmosphere and excellent spirit.
Maranatha Vijayawadda Main Church
Maranatha Vijayawadda Outreach
CSCC Pastors in India
My schedule was packed for these five days, but one real highlight was that I got to meet 10 of our Cornerstone pastors and workers, who came to meet me in Visak Friday morning and afternoon. Most of these men were saved in our Telegu Congregation in Singapore, and are now back in India as ministers of the Gospel! Maranatha is helping us to get Cornerstone established in India, as several of our pastors are attending their Bible school and Maranatha helps coordinate our mission teams from Singapore so they can visit the CSCC churches. It is a very fruitful partnership.
These 10 brothers attended the morning meetings in Visak, and I got to spend focused time with them on two occasions on Friday, praying for each of them. Many of them had taken long rides to come to Visak, but were willing to do so in order to be built up in faith. We had an excellent time talking and I encouraged them to continue to serve in their home cities, letting them know how important they are to CSCC and how much we value them here in Singapore. They seemed to be encouraged and had humble, expectant hearts.
CSCC Pastors in India
God is moving in mighty ways in the nation of India, and he has given Cornerstone an inheritance in this great nation. He has given us Kingdom partnerships and a burden to see the Gospel spread. We look forward with expectation for all God is going to do through CSCC India in the months and years to come!