Volume. XVIII, No. 44
Sunday, 02 May 2004

From the pastors heart: no complacency

I had the privilege to have ministered to Faith Presbyterian Church during Easter. Rev. & Mrs. Eroll Stone were kind and generous hosts for me, and their church families were exceptionally hospitable. It was nice to see many young people who were the first time visitors to FPC, and many of them were non-Christians. Among the campers, I have a very fond memory of one gentle man, John, who was a Vietnam veteran. He was planning to be with us right from the beginning during the camp. However, he lost his way somewhere, and it took him nearly six hours to find the camp site for a distance of just over an hour. However, he was not discouraged and finally came into the conference room with big smiles. He used a stick to support him as he walked. He smiled to everybody. Later I found that he was a cancer patient, and obviously he was not a young man any more. Despite his handicaps, he did not want to lose a minute from hearing God’s Word. He was enthusiastic to listen to every single word I spoke from the Bible. The last message was finished at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, and he hurried to return to Perth. It was not because he was tired and wanted to rest in his home, but because he was scheduled to receive chemotherapy that afternoon. I felt so sad that he had to go through such difficult stages in his life. The following day, the first service started at 9 o’clock in the morning. I really did not expect him to be able to be in the service. But, he came to church with a wheelchair and again had a big smile on his face. It was such a huge relief on my part to see his smiles again. John shared some of his thoughts with me during the camp. One word he kept on saying was that he had been too complacent as a Christian. He rededicated his life to the Lord and said that he would not return to complacency. I have thought of him from time to time. His word, “complacency,” has echoed in my heart once in a while. I am just wondering how many of us need to learn from John. Are we faithful to our Lord, or are we too complacent to serve Him with love and truthfulness? With this thought, I have read a few stories written in different editions of ‘Voice of the Martyrs’ magazine. There are stories after stories about Christians who were brave enough to stand firmly on their faith against threats, dangers, and trials. As far as I know, VOM does not take the Biblical separatists’ position. However, its magazine carries heart-aching and moving testimonies for the Lord from various countries. I called its office on Thursday and asked for permission to use its articles in order to stimulate your and my spiritual impulses. Thus, the following testimonies are from VOM. Hope and pray that these testimonies help us evaluate our spiritual temperature.

Story 1 (link)
Hetty Sigiora [Indonesian] is a 40 year old Christian mother of two who has suffered much for her faith in Jesus Christ. Hetty woke early to the sound of the gunfire and bombs that were raining on her village that day. It had become an all too common occurrence. Laskar Jihad warriors attacked in their thousands and from all directions. Hetty, with her two children ran to find protection. The local Christian men attempted to defence their village, but were defeated. It was a scene of chaos and bloodshed. Tens of villagers were dead and hundreds wounded. Smoke from the houses and the church building billowed upwards. Hetty ran into the jungle with her children, Imelda (15) and Klemensia (4). While pulling herself up a mountain, Hetty grabbed hold of a root, but it snapped off and she fell. A warrior met her as she landed. Her two frightened children continued to flee, presuming their mother would be killed. Without a word of warning a machete cut into Hetty's body, slashing her lower back, her forehead and her stomach. Her intestines spilled out from a severe stomack wound. After the onslaught Hetty was asked if she would like to become Muslim. "No, I'd prefer to stand firm in my faith than follow you, just bury me here," Hetty said. The Jihad warrior ran to call a friend. When the warrior returned with his friend, Hetty could not be found. Hetty lay in the dried mudhole where she had dragged herself and eventually heard the sound of Christian singing. Hetty cried out and they came to help. After two weeks' treatment in hospital Hetty was told she could go home, but the attack had left her homeless. Hetty stayed in other Christian homes until she moved into a refugee camp half an hour from her village. Pray for Hetty as she courageously clings to Jesus despite the cost. Pray for her attackers.

Story 2 (link) 6 June 2003
Servant's Heart, an American non-government organization with whom VOM partners in southern Sudan, informed VOM on June 3 that Government of Sudan-led military forces recently attacked ten villages in Eastern Upper Nile. . . . Using a combination of rocket-propelled-grenade launchers (RPG's), .50 caliber heavy machine guns and assault rifles, the government-led forces attacked the village of Longochok and nine nearby villages in a night assault during the evening of May 22, catching most villagers asleep in their grass homes. Many of the homes in the ten villages were set on fire by the attackers, with many of the slain burned alive in their homes. Reports from Sudan indicate that Regular Army officer, Second Lieutenant Mohammed Idris, led the attack. During the attack, the government-led military forces also rounded up and abducted ten young children (six girls and three boys) and six women. Pastor Jacob Gadet Manyiel of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan, his wife and four children were burned to death as the government soldiers stood outside their house and threatened to shoot anyone in the family who tried to escape the flames. . . .

Story 3 (link) 12 March 2004
Christians in Laos have been told they will be killed if they do not give up their faith or leave their village. The Christians were told by a Laos government official at a village meeting: "If you do not give up your Christian faith, leave the village; if you do not give up your faith or leave the village, you will be punished by death". This shocking ultimatum was delivered at a meeting in Donthapad village, Sanamchai District in Attapeu Province, southern Laos on February 19. Christians in Laos have been subject to a particularly harsh wave of persecution since 1998. Many have been imprisoned and widespread pressure and persecution has been implemented across the country. Believers have been coerced and forced to sign forms abandoning their religion. Some have been forced to prove that they have given up their faith by participating in animist rituals, smoking and drinking alcohol and blood. International attention has helped bring about a reduction in the pressure on believers, but persecution continues and has been especially harsh in Attapeu of late. Are you a complacent Christian? Think again and be alert.

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 47: What is forbidden in the first commandment? The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshipping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.

Please continue to pray for Sis. Myung Ki, Rev. Peter Clements, Bro. Surish Dharmalingam, Sis Susan Varadi, Sis. Aranka Rejtoe, Sis. Irene Turner and Life Bible School (Kompong-som). “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Philippians 4:13.

Thank God for granting journey mercies to Dn. Edwin D’Mello, Sis. Wendy Wong , Sis. Jasmin Chua, Sis. Emmelin Teng, Bro. Jason Teng (Adelaide), Sis. Sooi Chin Gong (Alice Springs) and Bro. Winston and Sis. Christabelle Selvanayagam (Sri Lanka).

Please pray for journey mercies for Pastor Ki and Sis. Serene Wong (Singapore), Sis. Sooi Chin Gong, Bro. Lincoln Law (Adelaide).

Heart Felt Condolences to Sis. Peng Ha Yeo and her family on the passing away of Sis. Peng Ha’s mother. May God comfort the bereaved family members.

Cambodia Missions - Missions to Cambodia in May 2004 has been cancelled. Anyone planning to go to Cambodia, 10-31 Jan 2005, please see Ps Ki or Dn Michael D Lee ASAP.

Ladies’ Fellowship Lunch for all mothers will be held next Friday. Please see Sis. Giok Yeo for further details.

First Men’s Fellowship Meeting for the year. All men are welcome to attend.

Session has appointed Dn. Tony Law and Bro. David Yeo to audit church finance.

Looking Ahead: Hope B-P Anniversary Service on Sunday, 6 June 2004. Guest Speaker: Rev. Peter Chua. Please invite your friends to come.

Looking Ahead: YAF Retreat from 9-11 July 2004. Venue: Boomer Beach. Please keep these dates free.



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