Monday, March 28, 2011

Update on Japan Earthquake from BGR

We experienced 6.9 - 7.0 intensity earthquake here in Mae Sai. The epicenter was located in Tarley, Burma  a few kilometers from Mae Sai. There is no serious damage in the Thai side of the border.  There is a report that an unfinished construction collapsed and one person died. However, it is different story in Burma, buildings and houses are damaged and 150 people died.

This recent event made us realize how bad the earthquake was in Japan. Here are some of the excerpts from BGR report about the situation in Japan. Continue to pray for the people of Japan and the rescue and relief effort that have been going on. Read here for further details.

This document attempts to summarize the recent events of the past 10 days and can serve as a talking/summary point to where BGR personnel and volunteers are in their efforts to respond to the devastating March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami. While the major event was the earthquake (one of the strongest this century) the ensuing tsunami coupled with the disabling of the cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear power plants, has turned this tragedy into a very complex humanitarian event.

  • Major event – 9.0 magnitude earthquake (Fifth largest since 1900)
  • Secondary major event – Resulting tsunami
  • Tertiary major event – Radiation hazard from damaged nuclear power plants

Statistics/Numbers of interest as of 20 March, 2011:

  • 8,199 people confirmed dead and 12,722 officially missing  (total dead + missing = 20,921)
  • Myagi prefecture hardest hit. Confirmed dead = 4,882 but authorities believe this number will rise above 15,000.
  • There are currently 367,141 people living in 2,300 evacuation centers. About 10,000 per day are returning to their areas as power/water is being restored.
  • Already 21,000 people have relocated to other areas of the country living in secondary places such as with family, friends, vacation houses, etc.
  • Government has initiated rebuilding of 30,000 homes. Standard specs are 30 square meters and about US $30,000 per house.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Spirit is Love

The Spirit is Love: "Therefore anyone who enters into love, and through love experiences inextricable suffering and the fatality of death, enters in to the history of the human God, for his forsakeness is lifted away from him in forsakenness of Christ, and in this way he can continue to love, need not look away from the negative and from death, but can sustain death.

Moltmann totally agrees with Hegel:

This is the form which the history of God's manifestation takes for the Church; this history is a divine history, whereby it reaches a consciousness of the truth. It tis that which elates the consciousness, the knowledge, that God is Trinity.

The reconciliation believed in as being in Christ has no meaning if God is not know as Trinity, if it is not recognized that He is but is at the same the Other, the self-differentiating, the Other in the sense that this Other is God Himself and has potentially the divine nature in it, and that the abolishing of this difference, of this otherness, this return, this love, is Spirit.

The of the closed circle Trinity should not be conceived as a closed circle of perfect being in heaven. This was in fact the way in which the immanent Trinity was conceived of in the early church. Barth also uses this figure of the 'closed circle' for God.

In contrast to this, though, one should think of the Trinity as a dialectical even, indeed as the event of the cross and then as eschatologically open history. The Spirit, love, is open to the future for tholw of forsaken humanity; in positive terms for the new creation. The one who believes and loves and loves first experiences an arrabon, an anticipation of this Spirit.

(Via .)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The faithful love of the Lord never ends

The first quarter of the year of our sixth year here in Mae Sai will soon be over. Just as soon as we thought that we have nothing more left to go on, God gives us the calm assurance of his constant presence and provisions.
"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." (Lam. 3:22-23)
We are sharing to you few recent interesting ministry developments.

First, we are happy to be invited to join the effort of unifying all Christian churches and ministries in Mae Sai for the sake of the gospel. I was asked to preach at the initial prayer gatherings of the group. It was a gathering to pray for big evangelism project this coming May.

Second, organizing, planning and preparing for the English Camps; Music camps, SEE training and seminars are keeping us busy at the moment.

Third, it has been a privilege for us to work with YWAM teams. Two teams from Madison, WI and Muizenberg, South Africa came one after the other to minister and share God's love to the children and young people in Mae Sai and Burma. We are more than happy to pick up where they left off.

Fourth, we are looking forward to working with SEND-Phils. Their consultations with us has helped them to decide to send a mission team this coming May and eventually a long-term missionary who will do church planting work among the Shan people.

Fifth, after much prayer and lot of thinking, we decided to get our volunteer visa from Hands of Hope Foundation (a.k.a. People to People), a charity arm of Indo-China Missions. We have chosen it because its purpose is very similar to what we are doing, hence, it can provide us legal covering for our orphanage ministry. We are also helping them with their Indo-China Missions Training Center project. Related to this, the officers of the Foundation invited us to join the Conference and Camp on April 3-6. Narlin and I will attend the conference and our children will join the camp. We praise the Lord for this opportunity to have a time of R&R for the whole family after three years.

Sixth, Narlin is invited to attend and share about our ministry here in Thailand to the delegates the Philiipine Women Missionary Union Triennial Meeting in Baguio City this coming April 13-16.

Lastly, we are happy that a family reunion of sort will happen in April. Narlin's mom, sister and nephew will come. Joey's sister with his family and another sister with her friends are also coming to join us this summer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pray for Japan

I received an email about BGRi's effort to help people affected by the disaster in Japan. I asked permission to share this information. If you want to make a donation please visit their site here.
"The Japanese government is very strong and able to respond and is not asking for private help from outsiders," said Jeff Palmer, BGR executive director. "However, BGR working through our Japanese brothers and sisters, we will be able to mount a response that will be effective, meet needs in overlooked areas and help strengthen the witness of Japanese believers to hope in Christ. Please pray for the response. Please pray for wisdom and knowledge as we try and discern how to best help. Most of all, please pray for Japan: physically and spiritually."
"The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan," Prime Minister Naoto Kan told reporters. 
Baptist Global Response has partners in the affected region who are moving to assess the damage, said Ben Wolf, who with his wife, Pam, directs work in the Asia Rim for Baptist Global Response. An initial allocation of $100,000 has been made in preparation for the initial response.
“We hope to have someone on ground tomorrow for an initial assessment and contact with Baptist partners there,” Wolf said. “We have great Baptist partners that we will contact and see how we can initially support them with resources and expertise in the response.”
Concerned individuals are asked to pray for families affected by the disaster and for humanitarian workers who are mobilizing assistance, Wolf said. Prayers should be offered that God would move through these circumstances so people would experience his love and discover the abundant life he wants them to enjoy.
Whether Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers will be needed remains to be seen until the assessment is complete and a relief strategy has been defined, said Jeff Palmer, BGR’s executive director. 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Thoughts on Christian unity

I was asked to speak tomorrow in gathering of Christian leaders from different churches in town. The message will be based on John 17:21-26.  Here are some thoughs from my readings:

The Letters of John reveal the existence of deep divisions within the Johannine communities; while there is no hint of reference to them in the prayer it is scarcely conceivable that the Evangelist did not have them in mind as he penned the prayer. Christians from Pentecost on are called to give expression to their unity in Christ, as truly as they are called to give expression to their new life in Christ, and in both cases this has to happen before the eyes of the world. 
The re-creation of believers as one Body in Christ should determine their common life. It is a principle which requires us to begin within the life of the local church, then extend outward, both to relations with communities of the same order as ourselves and to fellowships of Christians of other confessions. In the light of the divisions that have arisen between Christian churches through the centuries, it was inevitable that a movement should arise to call the churches to reverse the trends of the centuries and to seek to experience and express anew their unity in Christ. 
It was equally natural that this movement should begin within the missionary agencies of the churches (as at Edinburgh, 1910), since the divisions were hindering the carrying out of the missionary task; the nations frequently saw the reconciling power of the gospel less clearly than its divisive power. That the World Council of Churches in process of time has made mistakes, and at times even adopted policies that have alienated Christians rather than brought them closer together, is a reminder that churches are composed of sinners saved by grace, and sometimes the sins are more apparent among them than the grace. For this the churches and their agencies have need to repent—again, and again, and again. But they also have need to listen to the prayer of Jesus—again, and again, and again! 
For reflection on the prayer of necessity leads to urgent consideration how the unity which embraces all Christians within one Body can be expressed within their mutual relations, and how it should become a principle of action in the churches’ mission to the world. Perhaps then reflection on the fact that the unity of the Church was the subject of Jesus’ prayer to God rather than exhortation to disciples may drive us to our knees in prayer for grace that his prayer may be answered in us, and in our own churches, that the world may be able to perceive in us the reconciling power of God in Christ.
Source: Word Biblical Commentary (New Testament)