The churches in Derek’s area have recently been suffering inner turmoil. Some among the leaders have risen up and called Derek and those who agree with him “cultists” because they are trying to apply Scripture to how they govern the church. Derek says that these opponents are motivated by self-interest. They have been trying more subtle means for some time to draw the people away to follow just them, but recently they have become more brazen. Derek has been pleading with them about the error of their ways, but they have not been willing to listen. He asks for prayer as this is threatening to split the church.
*Name wrongly put as Doug, changed to Derek
We recently had opportunity to see Greg again. Thank you for your prayers! Our God hears and abounds in compassion! At a ministers retreat Greg shared with tears to a group of 70 men of the hardships he has faced over the last couple of years. He testified that God graciously held on to him when he was down and discouraged, and enabled him to press on even while he was heartbroken over the ungodly behavior of so many of his former coworkers. Moreover, in God’s kindness, the harassments he had been experiencing have dwindled almost to nothing. As a result, he and those with him, a group of only about 12 brethren, are enjoying a season of respite. They are trying to take advantage of this time to evangelize the lost and to press forward towards constituting a church.
- that God would bless their efforts in evangelism by bringing in a harvest of souls, and
- that He would give them wisdom and a spirit of unity as they move forward in their thoughts and plans for constituting.
Doug ministers in NA province in the countryside. He and his wife have a model relationship of love and respect, something very unusual in their area of the world. God has done a mighty work in their area so that, under Doug’s leadership, three groups of believers from different villages who formerly held different doctrinal convictions have come together to form one reformed baptist church. There are over 60 members presently. They recently collected enough money to build a church building. The brethren there are grateful to God to be enjoying a season of peace and are hopeful within a year to have elders elected and installed. Please pray with them that God would direct and bless in this matter as they seek to proceed forward in ordering their church according to Christ’s will.
“We have preached the gospel and planted churches, but our leaders don’t know how to shepherd the churches. We need help with training our pastors!” Again and again we have heard this plea from all around the country. Thousands of churches with hundreds of thousands of believers, but so few men well equipped to lead the flocks.
Asia Reformed Evangelical Seminary (ARES) seeks to respond to this need. Our aim is to assist churches nationwide by training their men to better fulfill their calling. To do so we seek to instruct the mind, mold the character, and enhance the abilities of each student. We unapologetically provide a strenuous and comprehensive theological education, believing that the faithful administration of one’s ministry requires a man be sufficiently equipped in all the elements of his vocation. None of this is done quickly, easily or cheaply. Diploma level students require three years of full-time study to complete their program, while Bachelors and Masters levels require four.
This Fall ARES will move to a new location closer to where the majority of our students come from. We will also receive a new class of 50 students. Such changes and additions are financially challenging and far surpass our current budget. We are seeking financial partners to assist us in this growth and expansion. Would you prayerfully consider joining us by investing in the next generation of leaders for the churches in Asia?
One-time gifts for ARES move and set-up:
$100,000 total needed for items such as:
- Training facility (1-year rent due up front)$36,000
- Vehicle 15,000
- Computer lab for students 7,000
- Computers for staff 2,000
- Classroom and Office Equipment3,000
- Facility set-up
- Family move
Increase of ongoing monthly needs:
- Employee salaries (4 employees)$4,000/month
- Facility rent 3,000/month
- Student tuition scholarships 1,063/month
- Student life scholarships (room/board)1,063/month
Funds are needed by the end of September 2014. Please contact us with any questions you might have.
We are grateful for your partnership in the gospel.
The Team at Asia Reformed Ministries
Greg had come to our training with some measure of suspicion, unsure what the “reformed faith” is all about. As time has gone on, God has blessed the ministry of His Word to Greg’s heart, and he has now fully embraced the doctrines of grace. This has not sat well with most of his coworkers. There has been murmuring among many of them for months, as, having failed to persuade him to recant of these “new” doctrines, they have tried to figure out a way to oust him from his position of leadership. Last year, an issue with a coworker’s son finally gave them such an opportunity. The son, in his mid-teens, had committed some sins that had become scandalous in the church. Greg recommended his coworker step down from ministry, but she responded with anger and quickly took the matter to other sisters, misrepresenting Greg by saying that he looked down on women. They then privately took the matter to church members, making the tale larger and larger until it reached the point that they were calling Greg “the worst of the worst in the church.” Finally he just stepped down. He is now ministering to a small group of believers in a city nearby his village, but even there he is experiencing trouble, as his former coworkers have followed his trail to the city and have spread the rumor that the seminary Greg attends is Eastern Lightning (a Chinese cult somewhat like the Branch Davidians), creating concern and some measure of distrust within this new group towards him. Please pray that God would give Greg grace in the midst of his trial to hold on to Christ and find rest for his soul in Christ’s love. Also pray that God would thwart the efforts of those troubling Greg so that he might be able to continue to minister in the city where he presently resides. Finally, pray that our Prince of Peace would sustain the new group in His peace and promote growth in spite of the mischief of those who oppose.
A group of about 20 believers in YK was without a leader. Having no direction and in peril from the many false teachers around, they were unsure what to do. When they found out about Brother Palmer, a student at our seminary, they took some time to get to know him, hopeful that he might be an answer to their prayer for leadership. At that time, Brother Palmer was a member of the YK church with which we have been associated, and so he asked Pastor Leyland about the matter. Pastor Leyland, knowing Palmer’s heart to pastor, and believing him ready and able, encouraged him to pursue it. Palmer was upfront with the people from the beginning about his reformed and baptistic convictions, and after discussing what that meant, the people all said they were in agreement and would be thrilled to go forward with him. He has been working with them now for about 9 months, and they are hoping to constitute by the end of the summer. Please pray that God would indeed establish them to become a church that shines brightly for the honor of Christ.
Brother Gary has watched as those about 10 years older than he – his former teachers and spiritual big-brothers – tried to bring change into their church network. The older generation, however, was not keen on this, and refused to adopt needed changes so as to better align with Scripture, preferring instead to hold on to tradition and the advantages it afforded them. After much scuffling, Gary sadly watched those former teachers and big brothers fall into doing things the way the older generation has done them. Gary has wanted to avoid this pitfall, and so, after much prayer and counsel from several other pastors from the abroad and myself, he has peaceably pulled out to begin a new church plant. Myself and another missionary are presently providing assistance and supervision.
Right now there are 10 in attendance – 3 couples and 4 singles, two of the singles are not Christians but are “seekers.” Gary has also started a Thursday night Bible study as an outreach of the church plant effort with 12 in attendance.
Please pray that God would draw more sinners into the fold through His gospel, as well as draw in many believers in that area who are in need of biblical shepherding. Also pray that the Lord would give Gary much wisdom and strength as he presses on through the challenges of the initial steps of church planting.