DECEMBER 2007 NEWSLETTER
Merry Christmas from
Lamp Lighters World Ministries
December 1, 2007
Dear Fellow Laborer in Christ,
Merry Christmas, Steve & Shanthi
IT IS ABOUT THE ECONOMY
Right now island wide there are shortages of necessities and
almost daily increases in prices of everything. Whether they are real
shortages or "man made" we don't know but the effect is the same and
doesn't seem to be any relief in sight. .
ĒDo not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.Ē Luke 2:10,11
The Staff and Directors of Lamp Lighters wish you and your family a Joyous Christmas!
NOVEMBER 2007 NEWSLETTER
At this writing we have now been in Sri Lanka for one year, it just doesnít seem possible that half of the time we expect to be here is gone.
In looking back there have been lots of things we wish we had done differently but thatís true with life anywhere and may frustrations as well. God has been faithful to us in providing all that we needed in every situation! Sometimes it is only in looking back that we see how God worked things out. Sometimes we must trust that in all things He works for the good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. In all things let God be praised, for He is good!
We are presently getting ready for Christmas programs at least in the discussion stages but I think each church has begun to do some practicing of songs etc. that will be used in their Christmas programs. Yesterday we were pruning one of the trees in our yard and I said save these branches they will make good shepherd staffs.
As we do in every letter we want to thank you for your faithful support in prayer and finances for this ministry. Without both we could not continue our work here. Daily we thank God for you and your partner ship with us and ask him to bless you abundantly for all you do for His honor and glory.
In Christ, Steve & Shanthi
1. More workers to enter the harvest with us and establish more churches.
2. Faithfulness for our church members in their daily walk especially the youth.
3. Property search for Onthachimadam church.
4. Praise for how God has enabled us throughout this last year & open doors for the next year.
5. Marriage partners for the young ladies in our churches, especially for Nona.
TSUNAMI HOUSE CONSTRUCTION NEARLY FINISHED
We had planned to build 2 more houses but looks as if we will only be building one as things turn out. And the Lord willing it will be completed within about a week and given to the family that is to move in.
One of the big frustrations we have had is keeping the recipients motivated to do their share of the work on these houses. They are to cook meals for the work crew, fill the foundation with sand and dig the pit for the toilet as their share in the building process. This has been a real headache for us and very time consuming as well.
The other five families have all moved in and have put fences around their individual properties so they can plant things in the their yards without the cows coming and eating them. Here you have to build a fence to keep the cows out not in as they roam freely even in the towns and cities.
NEW CONSTRUCTION PROJECT PLANNED
Even though we are tired of building there seems to be a never ending need to assist people in this way.
The village of Nagapuram had another organization come in that built toilets for most of the homes. I say most because the man in charge of making the village list is of course a Hindu and he hates Christians, even though his own daughter is married to a preacher. So anyone who is Christian didnít get put on the list, just another example of how these people suffer at the hands of Satan working through men.
We have seven people on our list to build toilets for and will begin those most likely this week. We had considered in the past doing this or a well for the people of the village as a way of reaching out to them for Christ. What we have found though is that they we willing accept everything we will give them except Christ. Out of all the relief work we did and items we gave away after the tsunami we can count on one hand the people who have accepted Christ and remained faithful and this is true for all the villages where we work.
So we feel that our time is better spent in teaching and preaching the Word rather than doing social work in hope of reaching them.
Iím sure we will continue to do things to help people but as a general rule these type projects donít accomplish what we want and expect them to.
NEW GROWTH IN CHURCHES
This past August all the churches held a VBS program and from this we are seeing fruit now. Each church has new young people coming for services and even some adults have begun to come as a direct result of these programs.
We are expecting some baptism within the next couple of weeks in two of the churches for which we are praising God!
LOOKING FOR PROPERTY
We are still looking for property for the Onthachimadam church and house for Asirvatham and Grace. Where we are presently meeting is off the main roads and so getting to the property is difficult. Please pray with us as we continue this search process for God to lead us to the best place to build.
THE STRUGGLES OF RAISING CHILDREN
Although we do thank God for bringing these kids into our lives there are always difficulties with them as you who have or had children can testify. There are times when I think, how did my Dad and Mom do it?
We are going through another round of disobedience and running off with Vijay. This time though we took him to the police station and made an entry there. This may sound extreme but as we have court custody of the children until they are 18, if anything should happen to them we would be held responsible. So we decided this was the best course of action.
Although he didnít want to go he did and he found out that everyone was on our side and tried to persuade him to stop running off and stay with for a couple more years and then he can leave legally.
He finally came and said he would be obedient and that he was sorry, which we accepted but we still wonder if it will happen again.
NEW SUNDAY SCHOOLS DOING WELL
Nona, who is pioneering 2 Sunday school programs in Periya Kallar the next village south of us, is working very hard. She goes there to visit almost every day and holds the Sunday schools on Sunday afternoon in 2 different locations.
In the 2 programs she averages between 15 to 25 children each week and is now reaching out to a few youth in the village as well.
Weíre also looking for a place more centrally located where they can meet and make things a little easier for her.
Another of the things that makes it difficult is she is a single young lady. In this culture you just donít find young ladies out going from house to house doing visiting on their own. We have tried to involve several other girls to go along with her but as of yet no have remained faithful to the task. But even this doesnít stop Nona from going.
Her desire is to do ministry and one day possibly marry. We are praying that God will send a committed Christian young man who can marry her and work with us in ministry in Periya Kallar to establish a church there.
OCTOBER 2007 NEWSLETTER
hope and pray this letter finds you well and happy in the service of
our Lord Jesus. As always we have managed to stay busy with all that
is going on. But we praise God for how He continues to work in and
through us, I think many times in spite of us.
Steve & Shanthi
TRIP TO MOUNTAINS A BIG HIT
CHANGES BUT EVERYTHING IS THE SAME
FOR PROPERTY IN ONTHACHIMADAM
CROCODILE STRIKES AGAIN
TSUNAMI ON EVERYONE'S MIND AGAIN
HOUSE CONSTRUCTION BEGINS
Shanthiís Birthday is November 2nd.
Below is the Shanthiís address if you would like to send a card:
SEPTEMBER 2007 NEWSLETTER
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ:
Lots of things have been happening this past month as far as
ministry for which we are praising and thanking God for how He has been
at work. It seems at times circumstances are out of control, we praise
God that He truly is in control of all that takes place! It is such a
blessing to know that our God holds our present and future in His hands,
it's not left to "fate" or chance or luck as the world believes and
practices. His word still stands true regardless of what men may say.
JULY 2007 NEWSLETTER
Dear Fellow Laborer in Christ,
How quickly the days slide past! I guess itís that way for everyone but, when we know our time is limited here it seems more pressing. Maybe we should all take that view of our time on this earth. There is so much to do and time is so short we must make everyday count for Christ! Lots has happened this month some good some not so good but God is over all! We thank God for your concern for us and our ministry and thank you for your prayers and support for us. We especially covet your prayers as we are in a constant struggle here against Satan and his forces! May you and your family have safe and enjoyable Independence Day holiday! In Christ, Steve & Shanthi
TEAM TO GO TO TRINIDAD
July 7th - 15th a group of young people and adults from the Tyro Christian Church will be heading for Trinidad. They will hold a VBS program in the church with our preacher Rennie and help with some simple repairs and improvements on the church building and grounds. The kids really love it when others come and share in programs like this. The VBS programs held there in the past have had positive affects on the church as a whole not just on the kids, as there is greater involvement and commitment seen in the adults as well as a few people who are reached for Christ too. Please remember this group in your prayers as they go there to encourage and hopefully inspire the young people to live for Jesus Christ.
PHASE ONE OF TSUNAMI HOUSES COMPLETE
The reason I write ďphase oneĒ is that we still have 2 more houses to build, but we are praising God that the first five houses are complete and the families are ready to move into them. When we came back to Sri Lanka last November the houses had the foundations in and that was all. So in 7 months we have built them excluding painting which we are leaving for the homeowners to do. In addition to this we built the Mahiloor church and quarters for the preacherís family. This has been a major undertaking for us to coordinate this work and drain on finances but, God has provided through His people so we could complete this work. With the knowledge gained from the first 5 houses the last 2 should go somewhat smoother although it hasnít seemed that way as yet. Making the cement blocks has been a real struggle keeping a crew together that would do a proper job, the electricity coming and going with no advance warning sometimes for days at a time, and the block machine itself needing repairs has made it difficult. This too shall pass and we are confident construction will begin again soon after we have the blocks made.
LIFE IS SO UNCERTAIN
This is true for anyone, anywhere, regardless of your status or life situation. This past month one of our church memberís sister died tragically. Here women and sometimes men use a mosquito net and seine the river and lagoon for tiny fish and fresh water shrimp and in this way they support their families. Indarani and her sister had gone out as usual to fish. When they came to the area where they normally fish there was a crocodile sleeping on the bank so they moved further away and began their work. Without their seeing it the crocodile awoke, slid into the water, swam to them, attacked and drown Indaraniís sister. Her sister was not a Christian so that made the loss even more difficult for the family. Indarani is a fairly new Christian so she is struggling with understanding why these things happen. It would be the same for you or me if we were in the same situation. Please pray for this family as they deal with their loss, and we try to minister to them.
A TRANSFORMED LIFE
A few months after we got custody of the kids in 2004 we hired Rasathy, one of our village girls, to help with their care. She was Hindu and said, ďI wonít change my religionĒ, to which we said, ďThatís okay you come anywayĒ. So she joined us and began cooking and cleaning and helping with the kids. Within a few months she gave her life to Christ and has never turned back. As she has grown in her faith her desire to do ministry work has increased as well. Now she is going with Nona to Periya Kallar for visiting almost everyday, does visiting in Koddai Kallar, assists in the Sunday school program at Periya Kallar, teaching Sunday school in the Koddai Kallar church each week, and leading Sunday morning worship occasionally. The only problem is this puts more burdens back on Shanthi and me as far as the everyday things with the kids. Weíre not complaining but it makes scheduling a little difficult at times. We are praising God for we see his amazing power at work in Rasathyís life from housekeeper to ministry worker.
LOOKING FOR PROPERTY
For over a year now we have had a church in Onthachimadam. Presently they are meeting in a small hut we built on a piece of property that we personally own. The church is growing and in need of a more adequate building. We have decided that a better location will be necessary so we have begun looking for a property which is on the main road and more easily accessible than what we are presently using. For the culture here meeting in a home or small hut just doesnít cut it they want a building which is designated as their church and doesnít look like what some of them live in. Please pray for this process for Godís direction. Along with this, the preacher and wife in Onthachimadam, Asirvatham and Grace are expecting their first baby on the14th. More adequate housing is needed for them too. Presently they are living in the upstairs of the Koddai Kallar church in one of the Sunday
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PRAYER REQUESTS AND REJOICINGS
1. For all our coworkers: Rennie & Christine in Trinidad, Vijay & Ananthy, Sydney & Rani, Dene & Vino, Asirvatham & Grace, Nona & Rasathy, Rajiswary & John
2. The team from Tyro, Ks. going to Trinidad
3. More workers to join in the harvest here
4. Rejoice over the completion of the houses and church in Mahiloor
5. Godís wisdom for us to know the best direction to go.
JUNE 2007 NEWSLETTER
Dear Fellow Laborer in Christ,
This has been a month of good and tough things; I guess you might say it's been life. Thanks to God that this life, with all its difficulties, is but
a moment in comparison to eternity! And also we know that God will never
leave us or forsake us in even in the tough times! Whenever we go through
tough times it makes it easier to know that people who care for us are
praying for us as well.
We remember you in our prayers and thank God for you and your faithful
prayers and gifts to the ministry. We hope that your life with its ups and
downs is held securely in the Father's hands.
Steve & Shanthi
MORE REFUGEE WORK
This month we saw many people that were living in the camps returning to their own homes. However, some knew what was ahead and actually did not want to go back.
If you knew that you were most likely returning to a shell of a house with no way to support your family adequately you probably wouldn't want to go back either.
We have been working in two different camps right now supplying things that no other organization is giving and we hope giving them some real hope in the message of Jesus! One is located in Mahiloor and other in Kaluwanchikudy about 3 miles from us. Although we are not supposed to openly evangelize in the camps they know that what they are getting is from the church!
Some of the funds have been given from our own church members but, a large share was sent to us from the Sri Lankan churches in Holland and Belgium where Shanthi's brother in law and sister live and work.
We have distributed baby clothes and items, milk, cookware, canned fish, and school books. Even though most of the kids have no where to go for school when they return home, probably in a couple of weeks, they will have books in hand to start school there. Most likely there will not be anything like that available for some time in their areas.
Pray along with us that these people will see the love of Jesus in what we have done for them and their hearts will be soft toward the Gospel.
FIRST WORSHIP SERVICE IN MAHILOOR
We were thrilled to be a part of the very first worship service in our new building. There was a larger crowd than expected as some people from another church came as well as some people who had never come to church before. One was one of our carpenters who has been working on the buildings.
The building is not completely finished. It still needs the painted and the electrical finished, even with that we had a wonderful service!
We have been looking forward to this day for almost three years now so it was truly a blessing as we thought back and saw how God had worked to bring this day about.
Dene and Vino (the preacher and his wife) are in Mahiloor everyday visiting and evangelizing which is evident from the number of new people coming each week.
We praise God for how He brought them to work along with us and for how He has provided funds through his people to build this building!
BEING A PARENT IS TOUGH
I know for most of you this is not real news! We've had some real struggles with the kids here in our home this month though and hope you will continue to pray along with us for these kids.
Vijay the oldest boy now 15 is definitely a teenager with all the same problems teens in America face. What seems to make his situation even more difficult is that he is 4 years behind where he should be in school so this adds to his frustration at times.
Anyway he sent word home after school with one of his sisters; he was
going to Mahiloor to visit his grandmother. Of course this was without our knowledge or permission so we went to find him.
Once we located him he didn't want to come back with us. Only after a lot
of begging by his grandmother and some cousins who live there did he finally come back with us.
Seems he has been telling different stories to different people many times
that we beat him everyday which of course is not true but helps people feel sorry for him. Problem is since I'm a foreigner this could create major problems for us and my being able to stay here, so this is no small thing.
We've talked with him and told him we haven't been happy with his behavior but that we understand if he doesn't want to stay with us we will not force him to stay. Of course his own family especially his own father wants nothing to do with any of the kids. Their father has not been to see them in almost 2 years now, and none of the rest of the family has come ever.
We pray that Vijay will see that we do love him and he will see that even
though this is a much different life than what he had before it is in his best interest to stay here with us.
WHY ARE YOUR EYES SO RED?
This past month we've all endured another of life's joys??? We have all had pink eye except Rasathy our house helper and Nona who works in ministry with us. I was the first to get it and then all the kids then Shanthi who is still having some trouble.
The kids were not allowed to go to school as it is so contagious, which is understandable. I can honestly say that is one of the most miserable diseases I've ever had and hope to never have again!
It's not just us it is almost epidemic in the area. One other thing that is going through the area is diarrhea. This is due to low water levels in the wells, poor sanitation etc. We've not had any trouble in our home with this by God's grace. Everyone is back in school now and doing okay.
1. Our workers here and in Trinidad.
2. Opportunity to reach out to the refugees while they are here.
3. Completion of the Mahiloor tsunami houses, church and preachers house.
4. For the kids in our home, especially Vijay
5. More workers to come and enter the harvest with us.
Steveís Birthday is August 15th!
Drop him a note by Mail at:
Koddai Kallar (EP)
Or by E-mail (reminder do not send pictures just text)
MAY 2007 NEWSLETTER
Dear Fellow laborer in Christ,
It has been a good month in many ways for us. God is blessing our efforts
and we give Him the praise for all He is doing through our ministry. We
continue to be reminded that God will always enable us to accomplish all
He wants done, regardless of how impossible it may seem to us at the time.
We pray that all is well with you and that you are busy in the Lord's work
as well. We want to thank you for your prayers and your financial support
as our partners in this work. We thank God for you and your love for Him
and His work!
In Christ, Steve & Shanthi
REFUGEES HAVING DIFFICULTIES
This past month we were involved in more relief work with refugees. These are not from the tsunami but from being displaced by the bombing of their
villages by the Armed forces. They have been given a name IDP Internally
Displaced Persons by the government.
Some of these people were also affected by the tsunami and so this
increases their difficulties by having to leave their home areas and live
in tent cities with hundreds and even thousands of other families. It
became even more difficult when this month we had 8 days on hard rain,
this is our dry season, which flooded many of the camps.
What we have seen and heard breaks our hearts as these people continue to suffer for no wrong doing of their own.
This month we have distributed school supplies to children, mosquito
coils, boxes of cookies, and rubber slippers for the children in some of
the camps in our area. Sad to say though there has been announcements that
churches cannot share the Gospel with the people inside the camps. This is
so no one will change their religion in order to receive goods, which
actually is a good thing too.
We have several families who are now attending worship services, some were already Christians, and have given a few temporary jobs in our
construction at Mahiloor. Please remember these people in your prayers and
that we may reach out to them with the love of Christ.
SOME SCHOOLS REOPEN
Many of the schools in the area had closed due to refugees living in the
buildings some of these have now reopened including the one our kids attend. The main school in our village is still closed though as the rains forced refugees to come back there to live and they have not left.
This school is actually still under reconstruction from the tsunami of 2004 things did not go well in the construction and it has been sitting for months in a half completed state even with that they were holding classes until the refugees moved in.
This month even with the rain we were able to continue the work on the
tsunami houses, preachers quarters at church in Mahiloor. We're hoping that within this next month everything will be completed.
The tsunami houses have all the cement plastering inside and out finished. Cementing the floors, installing doors and windows, hooking up the toilets is what remains left to do.
The preachers quarters in pretty much at the same state and the church
building has a roof, floor filled, and ready for plastering.
The big thing was the fill required for the church and quarters. We knew
it was going to take a huge amount of clay to do this and because of the rain the areas where they dig clay was inaccessible. But God knew what was needed.
The construction of the new causeways into our village was at a point where the temporary bypasses could be removed. These had been built with clay. We talked to the head engineer about the possibility of buying clay for the church. He said NO, you cannot buy the clay but, we will give you all you need.
We hired tractors with trailers and crews and began hauling the clay to Mahiloor. We were able to get more than enough to fill the foundations and also to build up the road to the Onthachimadam church. God provided all this when we were wondering how we could continue the work.
NEW WORKERS DOING WELL
Our new workers Dene and Vino have begun their work in the Mahiloor
ministry. Within two days of the their arrival here they began to go and meet church people, Sunday school kids and other families.
Their joy in serving God is contagious and everyone remarks about how well they are fitting in and all they are doing. They are an example to all the other workers in their enthusiasm and spirit.
Dene's parents are also living here as well and they have joined in with
the work being done at Mahiloor, cooking for the work crews and supervising some of the construction work. We thank God for their commitment to Christ and willingness to jump right into the ministry work.
They will begin holding Sunday morning worship services in the new church
building, even though it is unfinished, on May 6th. They have already taken on the Sunday school program there this past week and are excited about building God's Kingdom in that place.
PERIYA KALLAR MINISTRY STARTS
Nona who was working in Onthachimadam in the Sunday school program and youth has begun doing ministry in Periya Kallar. This is the next village south of us. God had opened doors for work to begin there and Nona very willingly stepped up to the task. She is the one who pioneered the Onthachimadam ministry where Asirvatham and Grace are now working.
Nona has already held 2 days of Sunday school, one on a Tuesday the other on Sunday last week. She had 1 youth and 14 children on the first Sunday meeting. In addition to this she is witnessing to the family where the Sunday school meets as they are Hindu.
Periya Kallar is a much larger town than Koddai Kallar and very little evangelism is being done there. We praise God for opening doors to start a work there.
1. For all our co-workers here and in Trinidad. For faithfulness to Christ
and the task of ministry.
2. New work in Periya Kallar
3. Construction on the houses and church to be completed.
4. More workers to enter the harvest field.
5. Refugees from the war, that we can reach them for Christ, and their
return to their homes.
6. Team going from Tyro Christian Church to Trinidad in July for VBS and
APRIL 2007 NEWSLETTER
April 1, 2007
Dear Fellow Christians,
We praise God for you and do remember you in our prayers. We want to say thank you as we do each month for your prayers and financial support. God is using you in a special way to reach out to people who are lost and dying without Jesus Christ. So we know that He will bless you for your being a blessing to us.
This past month was a real test for us in many ways but God chooses the people and the ways to take care of us all we have to do is trust him. We are of much more value than the sparrows, the Word tells us, and God knows when one of them falls to the ground.
We know it was the prayers of people that helped us through a difficult
time and God never failed us!
Steve & Shanthi
NEW WORKERS TO JOIN THE MINISTRY
For months now we have been praying that God would raise up workers from within our churches and that He would bring new workers to help in the ministry here. God has answered these prayers in both ways. We have several people now who have come and said they want to get involved in the ministry. We have immediately put them to work assisting in different ways.
God has also brought a young couple to work with us and they will join us this last week of March.
Denesan and Shanthini are from the north of Sri Lanka but he came here to work in ministry with another congregation. This church was following a lot of unbiblical doctrines and when he tried to teach the truth those overseeing him said you have to follow the doctrines of the church regardless of what the Bible may say. After hearing that he remained for awhile then left the church and began working on his own.
Another preacher friend of ours told him we might be looking for someone to work so he called us. Shanthi set an appointment for an interview and he came to discuss the ministry with us.
Within the very first few minutes we sensed a
New Workers - Dene and Vino genuine desire in him to serve Jesus Christ with his
whole heart. Deni and Vino, were just married last week, this was an arranged marriage. He called and talked with us a few days after their wedding and shared with us how all ready his wife was a blessing to him and she also was looking forward to coming and working along with us.
Our plan is to have them work in Mahiloor as at present Sydney and Rani who work in Koddai Kallar do double duty there. We praise God for their coming to join us in ministry.
CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS IN MAHILOOR
We have continued the construction by God's grace on the 5 houses and have even begun the construction of the church building and preachers house there this past month.
Even though we didn't have money to pay the masons they agreed to continue to work knowing we would pay them when the money finally arrived. They have worked with us over the past few years on other projects so they have grown to trust us.
The houses are getting interior plastering, wells and toilet pits. The church cement block work is complete and waiting for the steel trusses so the carpenter can do the roof. The preachers house in built with roof on and now ready to fill the floor and have electrical work done.
In all our spare time we have been caring for the kids, preaching, teaching and encouraging the churches here.
WAR ESCALATES IN SRI LANKA
The war has always been a source of problem here but right now things are pretty bad. Every night for over a week now we listen to the artillery shells landing about 10 -15 miles from us. Govt. continues to bomb civilian areas saying LTTE is using the villages as a human shield. Of course they don't bother to tell you that most of their camps are within villages, towns, next to temples and schools and hospitals, pot calling the kettle black. UN and US have both condemned their action to which the government publicly replied we'll do as we want we are an independent nation. Each night we lay awake listening to the artillery shells landing about 10 miles from us. .
Right now there are tens of thousands of refugees absolutely everywhere! No proper food, shelter, water, toilets Etc. Government is making big promises but as always is falling very far short of what needs to be. World Vision and Red Cross are helping alot. Most of the schools in the area are closed as the refugees are living in them with no where to go. They closed our schools yesterday as kind of protest against the govt. I guess but I'm pretty sure that they will have people in them within a few days. The government has set up a few camps which have no water, toilet or shade so the people are alive but miserable. Shelling goes on all night and even during the days sometimes now.
There was some kind of bomb that destroyed a main transformer south of us, which the electricity board says they will not replace for 2 = 3 months. We get electricity sometimes during the day time. yesterday all day then no current during the night as the supply is inadequate. Village one mile south of us has current, just our immediate area. And they are now saying that the reservoir which less than 2 months ago was in danger of breaking because of so much water is no going dry due to drought and after 3 months they are saying we will have no electricity at all. Many of the schools in the area have had to close including the ones in Koddai Kallar, due to the war and refugees living in the schools. We have a couple of camps in our village and our workers have begun doing ministry among them this past Sunday we had 4 families who came to church.
TRINIDAD CHURCH TO GET WORKERS
A trip has been planned by the Tyro Christian church to send a youth team to Trinidad this July. They will be involved in a VBS program, some evangelism and some small work projects on the church building while they are there.
Bob Litz, who was a missionary working in the neighboring island of Tobago, will also be going. Bob's purpose is two fold: he knows the preacher, the culture, and the area, so is able to work as the point man to get things ready for the team before they arrive. This is another answer to prayer that Bob would be able to go and help in this way.
The second reason for his going is to encourage Rennie and Christine in the ministry. Because most of our time is devoted to the ministry in Sri Lanka we're not able to go to Trinidad as often as needed or we would like. Bob has graciously agreed to go to help motivate, encourage, and teach Rennie. He is not going there to take over the ministry.
Rennie has a difficult time as he works alone and doesn't have people around to help him get through the tough times so Bob's going will be a real boost for Rennie and his family.
Bob plans to be there for about a month and then return home to the States and then a return trip may be planned after several months have passed.
1. Praise for the new workers, and pray for our other co workers
2. Praise for how God provided for us in a difficult time.
3. Construction progress and completion.
4. The war to end and God to use us to help the refugees
5. God to use the team as they go to Trinidad
MARCH 2007 NEWSLETTER
March 1, 2007
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
Summer has definitely hit here, temps in the mid 90's but at least we have some breeze blowing. I know some of you are really suffering with the cold right now so just pack a bag and come on over.
It seems we have so much going on right now that we don't know which way
to turn next. God is faithful and gives us the strength and wisdom we need for each circumstance and surprise!
We thank and praise God for you and your faithful support for us through
prayer and finances. You are a blessing to us and we pray that God will bless you as well.
Each month we always put prayer requests at the end of the newsletter so
that you can cut it off and stick it to your refrigerator, or mirror, or put it in your Bible so that you can remember the specific things to pray about. Please don't ever think that your prayers won't be missed, we need all we can get!
Steve & Shanthi
In case you had forgotten we are currently building 5 houses for tsunami families which are continuing at a good pace right now but, really keeps everyone hopping. This month our masons completed all the block work and the carpenters have just completed the roof system. Now the masons are returning tomorrow to put on the roof tiles, build wells, toilet pits, pour floors, and do interior and exterior plastering. In between all this
we have to install conduit for electrical wiring.
Things here are done a little differently than in the States as we must provide the meals for the masons that's just the way it's done here. We provide the food and the meals are cooked and delivered to the work site by the homeowner whose house is being worked on that day. This is no easy task as we usually have 4 masons and at least 5 to 6 laborers to feed three times a day plus tea twice a day. Just keeping food in stock to be cooked is a difficult task as we don't have enough room in our small refrigerator to store even 2 days worth of food. What that means is more frequent trips to the market to buy fresh food.
After the houses are finished we want to start the construction of the church building in Mahiloor and 3 more houses. This depends entirely upon God's provision of finances in order for us to continue this work.
The church building is a must as we are still using another person's property and the Sunday school there continues to grow. In addition to this the families who will be moving into the houses are from our Koddai Kallar church and traveling here for services would be difficult for them to say the least.
NEW BAPTISTRY GETS FIRST USE
This month we had 16 baptisms, people from all 4 churches. I have yet to figure out why everyone decides to come all at the same time but seems it has always been that way. Most of the people are very shy so I guess they don't want to be the only one.
And I guess some of it comes from whenever we place extra emphasis during staff meetings and house visitation on the people needing to be baptized.
However they come we are really rejoicing! Some were husband and wife, some children of believers, some new members, some had just started coming to church recently. All are precious to our Lord!
We got to use our new baptistery that American Rehabilitation Ministries in Joplin donated to us. This works MUCH better than the kid's swimming pool we had been using!
Every preacher that has seen it wants one. Baptizing is very difficult for us in this area as the sea is too rough rivers, lakes and ponds are too polluted as most are used as public toilets. And when you do have a baptism out in the open there is no place for them to change clothes and
there are always hecklers present.
So having a portable baptistery we can use at the location of our churches
is a real blessing!
UPDATE ON THE KIDS
I keep thinking I'll get a current photo of all the kids here when everyone is dressed decently but seems there is always something else going on and I forget.
All of them are doing well and well in their school work.
If you remember when the first five came to live with us they had never been to school except Vijay who had not even finished first grade. Vijay struggles with school work but continues to improve and is very bright. The girls all love school and get high marks consistently. All except Darshini should be in higher grade level than they are but there is nothing we can do about that now.
We have hired a school teacher who comes 6 days a week and spends 2 hours working with them on their studies. The kids really like her and she has
helped them improve a lot since she started.
Each evening we have prayer and praise time with them. During this they
quote scriptures they have memorized. Even 4 year old Prasanth can recite
Psalm 91, 23 with no coaching.
Like most kids they love to sing and many times you can hear them in their
room or outside playing and singing Christian songs they have learned.
TRINIDAD CHURCH GROWING AND TO GET WATER SUPPLY
Rennie reports that more children are coming to the Sunday school and that
there are more people coming to worship services. They have always had such trouble with people coming for awhile and then leaving many simply going to a church where other family or friends are going. This has always been a trial for Rennie and he is very excited about the new people coming.
The church in Trinidad has always gotten their water from rain off the roof. In the dry season a water tanker had to be called in to fill the water tank. Now the government is finally bringing water supply into this area. In order to prepare for it though the church and many others had to put in a drainage channel made of concrete out to the road.
We supplied the funds for this project as the church wasn't able financially to do this. Rennie hired the work done and it is now completed so the water supply will be brought in soon. Having clean water to drink will be a real blessing for the church and for the entire neighborhood as well.
FEBRUARY 2007 NEWSLETTER
February 1, 2007
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
It doesnít seem possible but the first month of our New Year is gone. Already we are seeing some new developments in the ministry here and also some new challenges.
But we know that God is above all and He will accomplish his purpose in us and through us, and we see His hand at work in all these situations!
We pray that in all things you will also grow in your faith this year and that you will be all God intends for you to be.
We do thank you for your continued prayers and financial support for us. It seems more than ever we are in need of your prayers. As things progress Satan is always ready and working to steal and destroy so we say thank you from our hearts for your prayers.
Steve & Shanthi
Jeeva is our worship leader in the Koddai Kallar church. She and her husband Natheer are both lawyers presently living in a predominately Muslim town about 6 miles away. Jeeva was won to Christ by Shanthi while she was living in Colombo working with Campus Crusade for Christ.
Jeeva met and fell in love with Natheer who was a Muslim. He accepted Christ and they were married.
Soon there were problems as Natheerís commitment began to wane due mainly to pressure from his family. This in turn worked on Jeeva to the point that she also turned from Christ and become a Muslim as well.
When we came to Sri Lanka to work in 2000 little did we realize how our coming would impact their lives. With lots of visits and prayer Jeeva slowly began to come back around but Natheer continued to go to the Mosque each Friday for prayers.
Jeeva is stronger than ever before even witnessing to Muslims in the community where they live. But the real change occurred after 6 years of sharing, loving, and prayer for Natheer. During our New Years Eve service he came and in front of all present rededicated his life to Christ!
We donít fully appreciate the difficulties converted Muslims live with daily. Jeeva and Natheer have received death threats, are openly condemned in the Mosque, and rejected by his family members because of their faith in Christ.
Though Natheer is still cautious as most of their clients are Muslim, the change in him, their home, and four children is dramatic to say the least. They never miss a worship service and have started a Friday fasting and prayer service in their home. Their law business, which they were afraid would collapse, has actually grown by Godís grace and blessing.
ADDITIONS TO OUR FAMILY
As if we didnít have enough going on in our home we have two new additions to our household.
One is a 12 year old girl, Prasanthi, who we had placed in the Trincomalee home a few years ago but most recently she was living in a Methodist girls home in a town about 5 miles away. It was not a very good situation as they have 150 girls in that home.
She came to stay with us during the December school holiday. After considering the situation and with much prayer we decided to bring her into our home with everyone else. She is a sweet girl but has not had proper supervision prior to our knowing her and even after so she has some difficulties with telling the truth etc. but, is already much better than before by Godís grace.
The other is Shanthiís 16 year old nephew Prianthan. He has always loved to come and stay with us during school holidays in previous years and has picked up English very well in fact I use him as translator in some situations. His father is very abusive emotionally and physically to everyone in the family.
During the last episode Prianthan took a kitchen knife and was ready to kill his father because of the beating he gave him and his mother. His mother was finally able to get the knife from him and persuade him not to do anything to his father.
Prianthan is a very loving and caring boy actually who has never had a loving father, so he literally clings to me.
Because of the situation at their home we have brought him to live with us so this brings our household up to 12 including Shanthi and myself.
CONSTRUCTION RESTARTED ON TSUNAMI HOUSES
This month we were able to get enough cement blocks made and got our masons here to work so construction resumed on the 5 houses we started just before we left Sri Lanka last April. Progress is good as the weather cooperated with us. We hope to have them completed within the next few months.
We have the need to build three more houses for other families. Pray that God will provide the funding necessary to complete all these homes for these families.
NEW MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES OPENING
We have been praying that God would open new opportunities for us to minister in another village close by or wherever He chooses and He has answered those prayers.
Our preacher Vijay who works in Periyaneelavanai has been invited to come and hold prayer meetings in to more areas, Central Camp and Thuraneelavanai. They have already begun having prayer meetings there and visiting families in those villages.
We and two of our workers through hospital visiting, have made some contacts in Periya Kallar which is the village one mile south of us. One gentleman came to Koddai Kallar last week for church and expressed a desire for us to come and start prayer meetings there also. Periya Kallar is a larger town than Koddai Kallar with only a Methodist church and one Pentecostal church outside of town.
The new Sunday school started in Onthachimadam last month has dropped off considerably which is normal because when the temple leaders hear about it they tell the parents not to allow their children come. But new youth are coming and a few of the mothers have come for midweek prayer meetings and one came for the Sunday morning worship service there.
We are praying God will continue to give us and our co workers here more opportunities to share the Gospel.
1. More workers for the harvest field, physical and spiritual strength to carry the Gospel to more people in our existing ministry areas and the new villages.
2. Funds to complete all 8 tsunami houses, and a church building in Mahiloor.
3. Health for us and our workers as fever and flu is rampant right now.
4. People to accept Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives and Godís grace on us to disciple them.
July - December 2006
Office Expenses $ 6,951.71
Payroll: Personnel 10,570.00
National Evangelist 4,380.00
Trip Expenses 17,148.00
Overseas Projects 2,535.32
Total Expenses $41,585.03
Total Support Received $64,718.14
Money towards Vehicle $15,000.00
JANUARY 2007 NEWSLETTER
January 1, 2007
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
Christmas and New Years is past for another year but this has been a good holiday season for us and the churches here!
We had good attendance in all our Sunday school Christmas programs and the kids really loved the gifts they were given. We want to thank all of you
who helped with extra financial gifts for the Sunday school kids gifts this year it was truly a blessing to our ministry.
As we look toward this New Year there are so many things we want to see
done and accomplished. Seeking God's guidance and accomplishing His will
continues to be upper most in our ministry. It's very easy to find all kinds of programs and projects to fill our time and consume finances, but we truly want to do what God wants done this year! This is something that you can pray along with us about as we look to our Lord for direction in what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.
Evangelism of course continues to be top priority for us and our co-workers. If you could ask our co-workers they would tell you that in staff meeting at least monthly if not weekly we tell them, "every program we are involved in and everything we do has to be with the purpose of evangelizing the lost".
We have seen some growth in numbers and spiritually in the churches over this past year and pray that this will continue. This we already know is God's will, it only depends on us and our faithfulness to the task.
We want to thank you for your faithful prayers for us and financial support for us over this past year. We pray that God has blessed you for what you have done for us.
In Christ, Steve & Shanthi
NEW WORKERS ANSWER THE CALL
We are thrilled as we have two new young ladies from our Onthachimadam congregation which want to serve God in ministry. This decision has not been taken lightly by them and already they are at work.
One girl, her name is Sarah, has gotten her family to be more faithful in coming including her father who is a real "rounder". On her own she has gone into her area of the village and invited children to come to her home
for a Bible school and has had as many as 25 so far to come. On Christmas day about 15 some with their parents came to the Christmas morning worship service in Onthachimadam.
This did create some problems as there were refreshments for about 50 and almost 100 were there! We praise God for how He is working in this area through our workers. Please pray for all our workers that they will be
faithful to the call to minister in the name of Christ!
FLU AND FEVER HITS OUR AREA
All of Sri Lanka and even India has been hit with a fever carried by a particular mosquito. It is the same one that carries the dengue fever only this is something completely different.
The fever itself is not what creates the problem, but the other symptoms. These range from nausea, vomiting, to a rash which itches constantly, dehydration, difficulty breathing, chest pain, swelling and extreme pain in the joints. People get any or all of these symptoms and so far the only things the doctors can do is tell them to rest and take Tylenol. We have heard reports of a few people who have died from the fever.
Several in our church have had it or have it and it hangs on for 2 - 3 weeks. By God's grace no one in our home has had any problems but, we have had some flu which is going around too.
BLOCK MAKING STARTED AGAIN
We have a crew of young men making cement blocks again for house and church construction. It has taken several months to get this done but we are thankful that things are finally working out.
They now have about 3,000 blocks on the ground but we need about 20,000 to complete the tsunami houses and our church building in Mahiloor.
One of the challenges of this project is the higher cost of materials and labor. Cement is over a dollar a bag higher and the sand we use to make the blocks is $15 a load more than when we left.
We are thankful though that we can again get things under way and Lord willing complete these projects.
RAIN DAMPENS BODIES BUT NOT SPIRITS
As this is our monsoon season we are always concerned with the rain during our Christmas programs two of which were held outdoors again under tarps tied to poles with ropes.
During our Mahiloor program it started to rain and not just a little. It was actually one of the hardest rains I have ever seen. Everyone was soaked through even though we had the tarps covering us. People stood under them with umbrellas open but to no avail as the wind was blowing so strong the rain came through the seams, off the eaves seemingly in every direction at once. By God's grace the sound system stayed dry!
We were not 20-30 feet from the stage and could not hear the sound system it was raining so hard. What is truly amazing is that after the rain slowed to just a drizzle everyone stayed, normally they would head home to get dried off.
Lots of parents came to all the programs in each village which of course is what we want to see as then we can work more closely with them and share Christ with them along with their children.
1. For us and our co-workers workers to remain focused on evangelism and the task of ministry.
2. More workers to enter the harvest, more people to respond to the message of Jesus.
3. Finances for our construction projects.
4. Health for us, our family, co-workers and families.
Lamplighters World Ministries, 2641 East 6th Street, Joplin, MO 64801-1636, USA
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. 417-624-7078 Fax: 417-624-7085
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