By Mr Lim Eng
Somehow, the keys on my Mac felt heavy and reluctant. My muddled thoughts and mixed feelings as I reflected on the EquipAsia (EA) journey thus far, must have its causal effects. EA turned 5 in March this year. It is an occasion to celebrate, to share its progress and assess the impact. But my soul feels somewhat weary.
Just the other day while undertaking my weekly supermarket routine, I received an urgent prayer request. One of the members of the Mongolian EA team, who was slated to fly out that day to conduct Part 2 of the in-country training, had to undergo an emergency surgery earlier on. His second Covid infection affected him badly. In fact, the whole Mongolian team had been infected, with 2 members twice over. The team was concerned for this brother and anxious about leaving without him. In early February, we received a recorded voice message from one of the Indonesian team members informing us that the training that day had to be cancelled. All 3 members of the team were unwell. His voice sounded weak and feeble.
Over the last 5 years, some of those whom we have trained left us. It is painful to see promising individuals derailed from their calling. One was incarcerated for more than a year by the local authorities for preaching the Gospel. Upon his release, he must keep a low profile as he is still under surveillance. Yet another just attended the first phase of the training and decided not to continue. Maybe our recruitment had gone awry. For a while, the prospect of sustaining the EA ministry in Laos and Bhutan seemed suspect. Indeed, being God’s people and doing His work do not exempt us from pain, suffering, sickness, disappointment, and even death. My heart was heavy and cast down. Then I recalled, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!”, and that gave me hope.
Good Friday is, in one sense, a misnomer. All the bad things happened that day. Our Lord Jesus was betrayed, wrongly accused, scorned, condemned and crucified. Evil and death mocked the Son of God momentarily. But on Easter, Jesus rose, triumphant, defeating death, sin and evil. Consequently, we are a redeemed community, learning corporately and individually to live the Way, the Truth and the Life. Ours is a story of the Great Reversal, epitomized by our Lord’s life. The kingdom of God belongs to those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, who are hungry, the weak, the persecuted and the downtrodden.
Therefore, I shall give thanks for the countless evidence of God’s faithful hand at work. On 5 March 2017, the first batch of 9 EA participants gathered in St Andrew’s Hall which has the telling inscription “No one is here by chance” on one of its walls. They were from Bhutan, Laos and Cambodia. To-date, we have equipped 11 master trainers from these 3 countries.
Covid disrupted our ability to host physical training sessions in Singapore. But God enabled us to launch EA2 last year through hybrid arrangement; participants from the same country (Mongolia, Indonesia and India) gathered physically in a single location while trainers from Singapore taught via Zoom.
Through the course of the last 5 years, some 130 leaders, church planters and pastors have been trained. Another 100 or so are currently being trained in Laos, Cambodia, India, Mongolia and Indonesia. Although the Bhutan and Laos teams almost hollowed out, God stirred up one of the Laotian participants, who attended only the first phase training in 2017, to rise up and press on. To bolster the team in these 2 countries, 4 new participants from each of these 2 countries will join us for the second phase of the EA2 training from 17 April to 6 May this year. The persevering work of the Cambodian team, the zeal of the Chennai team (India) and the ongoing efforts of the Bali and Mongolian teams spurred us on.
We know full well that unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. We are but privileged co-partners in the Lord’s work. We are thankful for 3 new teachers who will join us for this run – Yeng Wai, Henry Toi and Bong Lim. Together with sister Chye Tin, Ps Kok Wah and Ps Gift, they will team up to co-teach the 3 modules for this run. God moved the hearts of individuals to pray and give generously for EA and attendant needs. For the indefatigable support of our church leaders and our church community, we express our heartfelt gratitude. Five years on, where would EA be? Only God knows. But “Because He lives!”, we shall trust and obey each step of the way. To God be the glory!
We enjoin you to pray the following items together with us in preparation for the EA2 training from 17 April to 6 May:
That God will enable the in-country participants from the 5 countries (Mongolia, Indonesia, India, Bhutan and Laos) to come together for mutual learning and bonding.
That God will protect these participants and the teachers physically and spiritually as they avail themselves.
That these EA participants will be committed and faithful thereafter.
That the Holy Spirit will equip and empower the teachers and grant humility and a keen heart to learn in all the participants.
That the additional programs and devotion talks (Monday – Thursday) will be helpful and transformational.
That God willing, we will be able to gather all the participants in Singapore for the last phase of training next year.
That God will grant the EA leadership team wisdom and discernment to make judicious decisions to support this work.
If you wish to receive regular WhatsApp prayer updates regarding the EquipAsia work, please email Amelia Ng at firstname.lastname@example.org and to include your contact number in the email.