Pastoral Exhortation

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 07 March 2010

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Dearly beloved Gethsemaneans,

As I was reflecting on the present ministries of our beloved church, the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:9 came to my mind – “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” Those words of Paul were about the ministry that God had entrusted him in Ephesus. Though there were many difficulties and opposition, Paul still regarded the ministry as a “great door” opened before him.

Isn’t it the same for us in Gethsemane? I would gladly confess for the glory of God that He has indeed opened before us a “great door.” Not that we face no adversaries. Many difficulties and adversities surround us too. However, God has kept the door opened before us. Even to this day, we are given great and effectual opportunities to advance the work of His kingdom.

I wrote to you in the last pastoral exhortation that no one should slack in the work of soul-harvest, as the Family Gospel Night draws near. It will be here just about a week’s time, on 20th March 2010. If you have not invited anyone yet, then hurry to invite a relative or a friend. Jesus says, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).

Just before that event, from 17th to 19th March, the Bible Witness Media Ministry has planned for a 3day 2night Bible-study retreat. It will be held at Pulai Springs Resort, Johor, Malaysia, a very conducive place for a spiritual retreat (Please take note of the change of venue). You will have an excellent opportunity to study God’s Word in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere; and there will also be plenty of opportunities for rest and fellowship. We eagerly await many blessings through the study of the topic, “The glory of His grace.” The Word of God exhorts us, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). So come and join us. Please sign up quickly, not many places are left.

More “doors” are opened as we prepare to commemorate our 22nd anniversary on the last Sunday of this month (28th March). The Lord has answered our prayers for morning worship; all our Sunday services will be held in the morning (10.30 am) from the first week of April. Sunday School for children and adults’ will begin at 9.15 am. Chinese service will begin at 10 am, and Filipino and Malayalam services at 1 pm. Invite your relatives and friends to come and attend our morning worship services. May God bless us even further. If we continue to earnestly pray and serve Him, the Lord will bless our church. Pray also for your pastor and all who co-labour with him in the ministry of the Word and in the leadership of the church that “the word of God [might be] increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied” (Acts 6:7).

As we press on in the home-front, let us also continue to do our best in our foreign missions. Rev Reggor and Bro Dominino have reported that the worship hall for the Gethsemane B-P Mission Church in San Antonio, the Philippines, has already been completed. As cheerfully as you have given to this work, may you also pray continually for our missionaries and their works in the Philippines.

More and more doors are being opened before us, here in Singapore and around the world. Our Gospel tract, “An Appointment to Keep” is now being translated in Kiswahili by Bro Nelson Were, an FEBC graduate who ministers in Kenya. We are informed that it has been translated into Vietnamese, and ready for print. "An Appointment to Keep" has already been translated into Mandarin, Kalinjin, Burmese, Ahmeric. There is also an effort from some brethren to translate it into Tagalog.

If the Lord permits, I will be on a three week mission journey to Africa in May. Firstly, I will visit Bible College of East Africa on behalf of Far Eastern Bible College, to teach for two weeks. Then I will go on to Ethiopia to join the anniversary of our mission church.

So my brethren, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).

 

Do you know how it all started in Ethiopia?
Rev Ephrem Chiracho Ouchula writes …

Upon the completion of my studies in Far Eastern Bible College, Singapore, and two-year teaching ministry in the Bible College of East Africa, Kenya, my family returned to Ethiopia on 15th August 2005 trusting the God of heaven to prosper His work and accomplish His purpose. After settling in Addis Ababa, we began evangelism. The first fruits of our labour for the Lord were two ladies who confessed faith in Christ. In the course of time, the Lord gave us a team of brethren to start the first B-P church in Ethiopia. Gethsemane B-P Church of Ethiopia was officially inaugurated on 28th May 2006 as a mission Church of Gethsemane BPC, Singapore. Our Pastor, the Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy, Elder Mah Chin Kwang and his family, and Bro Eddy Ng graced the birth of the B-P Church in Ethiopia. All glory to our blessed Lord who calls weak vessels and works through them to accomplish His eternal purpose. The Church that began with six members has grown to thirty-two communicant members besides Sunday school children.

No sooner was the church inaugurated, that the Lord pressed on our hearts to begin working on the Bible college project. After presenting the vision to the Lord for sometime, the leaders of the church sought the guidance and blessing of the mother Church, Gethsemane BPC, Singapore. After serious contemplating, prayer and consultation the mother Church gave us her blessing and allowed us to start raising funds for the building project. Immediately, the mission Church began to receive gifts toward the building project from her members on Jan 14, 2007. “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20). This was our verse.

On 28th November 2007, I was ordained to the pastoral ministry of Gethsemane B-P Church of Ethiopia during the Second Missionary Conference of Gethsemane BPC, which was held in Cebu, the Philippines. The ordaining council was made up of Rev Dr Timothy Tow, Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy, Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo, Rev Dr Mark Kim, Rev Stephen Khoo, Rev Koa Keng Woo, Rev Lee Kim Shong, Rev Errol Stone, and Rev Dennis Kwok. Since then, I was able to minister to the church in Ethiopia in the full capacity of a pastor, especially in the administration of baptisms, holy communion, etc.

At the end of June 2008, God providentially led us to a property located in Alem Gena town (18 kms from the capital) that was being advertised for sale. After consultation with the mother church’s leadership, we bought the property at Birr one million five hundred and fifty thousand (1,550,000 Birr). Leaders and members of the mother Church in Singapore were moved by God to give generously and sacrificially and the property was acquired on 26/11/2008. The property God provided has an area of 9,546m2. That is sufficient to build a church, Bible college, and related facilities. Now God’s people are giving and praying to accomplish this holy task, trusting the God of heaven who is faithful and able to prosper His purpose through the commitment of His people. The final draft of the design for the proposed facilities is being prepared.

We have begun a Gospel outreach in Alem Gena and the Lord is saving souls. Ethiopia has an estimated population of 78 million out of which evangelical Christians make about 17%. Yet, of all ministers of the Gospel in thousands of the local evangelical churches all over the country, those who receive biblical and theological training are about 10% only. Gethsemane has a vision to stand in this gap and meet the needs of training and equipping godly servants of Christ for God’s work in the B-P tradition.

Who is able to accomplish this mammoth task? With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20). Therefore, let us “expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” We greatly appreciate the prayers and support of God’s people to fulfil His holy task given us from the Lord of the harvest.