Pastoral 2015

Gethsemane BPC, Ethiopia, is 9 years old!

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 14 June 2015

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Our Ethiopian mission church has just held their 9th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service. We have received a brief report and some photos of the event, which are published below.

Our preparation for the Ethiopian mission began in January 1999, when Bro Ephrem Chiracho came to Singapore as an FEBC student. As he pursued his theological studies in FEBC, he attended Gethsemane BPC. Later his wife, Sis Gete, also joined him here in Singapore. Together, they were trained in FEBC and served amongst us till 2003. Upon the completion of their theological training, they both went to serve in Bible College of East Africa, Kenya, for two years.

In August 2005, they returned to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and began the Gospel work there. The church was inaugurated a year later on 28th May 2006. A mission team from our church, made up of Eld & Mrs Mah, Bro Eddie Ng, Sis Melissa Mah, my wife and I, went to participate in the inauguration service. Later, on 28th November 2007, in our Second Missionary Conference held in Cebu, the Philippines, Bro Ephrem and Bro Reggor were ordained as pastors of their respective churches.

Pastor Ephrem, and his work. The Lord gave two more preachers to colabour with him, namely Pr Imane Dola and Pr Engida. Another Gospel station, Alem Gena, was started in January 2009. In this place, we have a church and a Bible Institute. Let us continue to pray for and support all the preachers, churches and their Gospel work, as well as the 15 full-time students currently in Gethsemane Bible Institute. The brethren in Ethiopia face many kinds of opposition, threatenings, violence. Pray for the brethren that they will grow in faith and in the knowledge of God’s Word.

 

 

Email from Rev Ephrem Chiracho

Dear Rev Koshy,

Greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

How are you doing with your family? How is your health?

Over here, we are fine by God’s preserving grace. By His grace, Gethsemane BPC, Ethiopia, has just celebrated God’s goodness, mercy, protection and providence for the past nine years and His blessings over GBI for the past three years. Truly, Psalm 103:1-5 is the song of our soul to the Almighty God. He has been faithful to us through all the ups and downs which we went through these years. He has been with us as we walked through “the valley of the shadow of death”. His hand has prospered, protected and provided for His work here in Ethiopia. We stand in His presence with a great sense of indebtedness and gratitude for all that He has done in us, through us and for us.

In this anniversary, we had 6 adult and 4 infant baptisms, besides 4 who transferred their membership. The GBI students had the opportunity to serve in singing hymns and spiritual songs. All glory to God!

We also take this opportunity to praise God for Gethsemane BPC, Singapore and the Gethsemane B-P mission churches and all likeminded brethren who stood with us all these years to support God’s work in Ethiopia. May the living and true God of Israel bless all your works for His glory.

Have a blessed week of service. Please convey our heartiest regards to all.

Yours in Christ’s service,
Rev Ephrem Chiracho

Testimonies of Mission Trips to The Philippines

Pangasinan

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:1-2).

The Philippines, a land steeped in Roman Catholicism and in the fetters of idolatry and witchcraft, is made up of 7107 islands, of which the Lord has been pleased to so graciously open Gospel doors to our church in the islands of Cebu (Cebu City, Bogo, San Antonio), Bohol and Luzon (Dagupan of Pangasinan province). May the Lord also open more doors to other of the numerous islands of the Philippines!

When I first heard of the two planned mission trips to visit our Filipino missionaries and to conduct DVBS for children, I decided in my heart that I would be going to Pangasinan. But first I had to overcome the hurdle of breaking the news to my parents. They had always warned me against travelling to the Philippines due to a spate of news reports concerning many natural calamities (like typhoons, earthquakes), as well as terrorist groups kidnapping foreigners. My mum was also sceptical of our church organising so many trips out of Singapore this year; moreover, my dad’s attitude was: “No need to serve in other countries. Just serve in Singapore, that will be enough.” Hence, I hesitated a few times before informing my parents of my mission trip to Pangasinan. To my surprise, when I broached the subject one morning while having breakfast, there was not much resistance from my mum this time round. All she said was: “Since you have already decided to go, so what can I do?” After informing them of the trip, I went ahead to book my plane tickets, etc.

Another hurdle that potentially stood in my way was a new project that I was assigned to take care of by my company in the month of April. Two staff were needed for this project, but when 1 of them resigned, as the project’s manager, I had to stand in and work full-time on the project. In addition to the added work demands, I had to keep up with the GBI and FEBC night classes. During that trying time, I returned home every night feeling extremely exhausted. My health was affected and I was afraid that I may not be able to travel. During this time, I thank the Lord for Pastor’s sermon (on the book of Matthew) concerning the folly of worrying for tomorrow and the Lord’s promise to take care of our tomorrows. I rested on this promise given in God’s Word, and (praise God) on 18 May, the Lord provided the 2nd staff so that I was able to go for the mission trip with peace of mind.

On the eve of our departure, early morning on 22 May, my mum (during her sleep) fell from her bed to the floor and sustained a big bruise on the back of her head. As she is on aspirin (which is a blood-thinning agent), any internal bleeding could result in blood clots in her brain following a fall. So that morning, she requested that I accompanied her to NUH Emergency unit. The doctors there gave her a CT scan and kept her in the E-bay for observation for 8 hours. Thank God the CT scan showed that everything was normal and she was discharged on the same evening.

That was not all. On the morning just before departure (i.e. 23 May), my father tried to dissuade me from going, citing a Straits Times report of the deaths of 2 persons in the Philippines because of the heatwave. I told my dad that my going was firm and instead requested that he be praying for me. Clearly, through all these incidents, I believe the devil was unhappy with my going for the mission trip, hence all these hurdles in my way. But thanks be to God, He has overturned all these seeming hindrances to enable me to still go for the mission trip.

Furthermore, I thank the Lord for Sis Joanna’s timely encouragement to me and I believe to the rest of the team as well. Her coming, together with the last-minute addition of Brother Kenneth, has added much strength and support to the initial team of five. I believe Kenneth’s presence has lightened the load of teaching for Sis Gina and Sis Sarah. His assistance in providing music accompaniment during singspiration, as well as Sis Sarah compiling the songs and lyrics for the singspiration sessions and acting as slide-clicker, and Sis Dorcas recording the music (ahead of time) for the songs, were all tokens of God’s blessings on the team. Not forgetting the provision of God’s servant, Preacher Jeremiah, who preached a message on unity during the Sunday worship service, and shared devotions during the 3 home visitations that followed.

Thank God for the warm fellowship with the Filipino brethren for the Gospel’s sake and the hospitality extended to us by the Filipino brethren, who cooked our meals daily in the hot and stuffy kitchen. I thank the Lord for Pr Donald and Sister Sejin who cleaned our rooms and went the extra mile to provide all the necessities that we may have a comfortable stay. We were encouraged by the many children whom God brought to our 1st DVBS in Pangasinan (including the parents who came) to listen to His Word and the Gospel message. May the Gospel seed that was planted in their hearts germinate and grow and bear fruits according to the timing of our Lord.

May the Lord continue to bless the work in Dagupan, Pangasinan and may many more living in the land of the Philippines be ushered into God’s Kingdom through the Gospel call. My prayer is also for our young ones to rise up and go and proclaim the Gospel wherever the Lord leads them, in fulfilment of the Great Commission. Amen.

Violet Quek

Cebu

Praise God for the opportunity to visit our mission station in Cebu, the Philippines, again, 8 years after my last visit (which was during the 2007 Missionary Conference). It was a joyful and satisfying experience to minister to and be ministered by the brethren there.

Thank God for His enabling grace and strength to accomplish the tasks He had laid upon us, for His unfailing love and care extended to us through His people there, as well as for safety, good health and the added bonus of refreshing fellowship throughout the 6 days.

young children in the church being trained up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Indeed, most conducted themselves well with godly fear, and showed themselves to be knowledgeable in God’s Word. Many of them had set good examples for the new DVBS participants, some of whom were still unsaved. I pray that the lessons of faith from the Book of Joshua will remain in their hearts and minds, and follow them through their lives as they grow in age and in faith. May God also continue to bless the humble efforts of the parents and be gracious to preserve this young generation for the furtherance of His kingdom in Cebu and beyond.

Praise God also for the opportunity to be fed with spiritual food during the 3 nights of GBI lectures conducted by Pastor on the theme, “Communion of the Saints”. It was promising to note that many church members came with their families to hear God’s Word. Truly, our constant prayer (in line with what we have learnt through Pastor’s lectures), is that God be pleased to continue His “sanctifying” work in the Cebu congregation, that their “sainthood” may be voiced abroad and His name be praised.

Dorcas Koshy