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22 & 23 May 2021 (Pastoral Page) FAITHFUL UNTIL THE END…

By Mr Lim Eng

At about 7.15 pm on Friday, 14 May 2021, EquipAsia 2021 (EA2021) drew to a close. God’s unequivocal faithfulness reverberated in the hearts of those present in The Well. The just-announced tightened Covid-19 restrictions commencing 16 May would have rendered our EA2021 run messy, if not untenable. God’s timing is perfect!

At the outset, the Chennai/India team was not included. But by divine appointment, Asst Ps Gift met Ps Luke in Chennai when he visited his dying mum end of last year. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia was in lock-down mode from 10 to 25 April. On 24 April, the restriction was lifted and on 25 April, EA2021 was launched. Myanmar was in our original plan. But the military coup and subsequent Internet access control prevented their entry. Just days before 25 April, Ps Daya from Chennai was unwell and was tested for Covid-19. By Thursday of the first week of training, he joined us and participated fully. We exited EA2021 with Chennai experiencing lock-down. We could only marvel at God’s sovereign plan and providential care!

That EA2021 was fraught with uncertainties is an understatement. We lived through technical glitches, server trips and power failures. Each unfolding situation necessitated prompt decisions and adjustments. Teachers adapted to the vagaries of teaching and interacting via Zoom. We overcame the concerns for supervising daily translation workshops and assessing weekly practicums. God provided us with 4 committed teachers – Jiak Choo, Paul Lim, Geok Seng and Yoke Yin. They kept faith in our faithful God. And so did our technical team, comprising Carol, Eugene, Bernard, Cheng Peng, Jia Hui and Dexter. They were the first to arrive and the last to leave.

Apart from the main curriculum, we began each morning (Monday to Thursday) with devotion focusing on 2 Timothy. Speakers from within and outside challenged our participants not to be timid and ashamed, to be God’s approved worker, to preach the Word regardless and to remain faithful until the end. We were especially encouraged when Dr Alvin Low, author of our EA teaching material, anchored the concluding devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:9-22 from Colorado, USA.

The “Culture & Gospel Sharing” programme was unique. Dressed in their native/national garb, we were introduced to Tamil, Balinese and Mongolian culture and Gospel work in their respective community. There were songs, dances and moving testimonies. Asst Ps Gift quipped, “there is no cultural programme in India without a dance”. Our EA participants’ passion and energy came through undiminished despite our physical separation. Though different, we are all one in Christ!

Our hearts were filled with thankfulness when we reminisced our 3-week journey during the closing session. One participant suffering from burnt out was recharged, others shared their participation was by divine appointment. All affirmed that they benefitted from the teaching, pedagogy and the practicum. The camaraderie forged during the time spent together in-country and with fellow participants overseas was telling.

The end of EA2021 is but the beginning of the equipping journey for the teams from Mongolia, India and Indonesia. The hard work has just begun. Covid-19 is still ravaging India and disrupting many countries including Singapore. The participants would have gotten back to their daily routine and responsibilities by now. How would EA2021 transform them and fuel their commitment to equip others? Would our pining and hope, “Singapore, next year” come true? Regardless of the outcome, we shall rest in God’s faithfulness. EA2021 would not have been possible without God’s enabling. God heard our prayers, especially those of you who interceded daily before our Father’s throne during the 3-week run.

Asst Ps Gift and Suzanne painstakingly tilled the ground for the last few years. The teachers sowed the seed. Some would water the plants. But it is God who will give the increase. Will all our participants be committed like the soldiers, disciplined like the athletes and diligent like the farmers (2 Timothy 2:3-6). Only God knows. But we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, let us remain faithful until the end for He who called us is faithful!

We covet your prayers for the following:

  1. God’s providential care and protection for our EA participants living under Covid-19.

  2. That God’s word would continue to spur and transform our participants’ lives.

  3. That EA2021 participants develop and act on their Ministry Development Plan to equip others as soon as possible.

  4. That God would bring CARE Groups to befriend and interact with the current EA cohort.

  5. That God help us to plan for the 5th module training and the 2022 run.

  6. That we would learn from EA2021 and improve.

  7. That our members would continue to support the EquipAsia ministry for the extension of God’s kingdom.

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