2012 news
JANUARY  |  FEBRUARY  |  MARCHAPRIL | may  | JUNE
JULY  |  AUGUST | SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER | NOVEMBER

archive NEWS: 2011 NEWS  |  2010 news2009 NEWS | 2008 NEWS |
2007 NEWS | 2006 news |
2005 news


DECEMBER 2012

To Our Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We want to wish you a very Christ filled Christmas and a joyous New Year! I know it’s still a few weeks away but this is our only opportunity to do so before the blessed date arrives and it always gets here before we’re ready. Preparations are in full swing for the programs in the churches and we’re looking forward to seeing them this year, as last year we were in the States during Christmas.

The monsoon rains came on strong for awhile but have now subsided. I’m sure that they will come back later this month. It’s nice to not need to water plants everyday and not worry about the well water level.

The end of November was term and year end tests at school, so the kids have been really hitting the books. We’ve seen a big change in Vijay over the last few months--God has really been working in him! There has been change in overall attitude, involvement in church, and study habits. The problem is in the studies it may be “too little too late.” He takes his Ordinary level exams this month, and scores on these exams determine if he can continue with Advanced level. Time will tell but he will have to make some life decisions very soon.

Our thanksgiving to God and for you continues even though Thanksgiving Day is past. We know that God has blessed us with supporters who pray for us and care about us and this ministry. We’ve received cards, letters and emails from many of you wishing us well and we do appreciate them so much! We know God is working through your prayers and support for this ministry, making possible the monthly expenses and special programs we do here. We pray that God will continue to bless you for the blessing you are to us!

In deepest Christian love,

Steve and Shanthi

Christmas Gifts

Many of you have blessed us with extra Christmas gifts for the Sunday school children’s Christmas programs and gifts. We give God thanks and praise for that! We have also had several schools in the area come to us asking for help for their local school programs as well. Some of the schools we simply can’t help due to lack of supplies, but for the schools where we have children in attendance we try to give something for their programs. The “plus” is that we are then asked to come and share a short message so we can tell what Christmas is really about. Everyone here celebrates Christmas even though most don’t believe in Jesus Christ. So we’re glad to help where we can with these programs.

Briefly I’ll explain what we do for the churches’ Sunday school programs. Every child who has been in attendance receives a Christmas gift. These gifts are based upon their attendance in Sunday school over the past year. There are four gift levels: the first is a full set of good quality clothes, second is a full set of lesser quality clothes, third a half set (shorts or skirt), and fourth a towel. This way everyone receives a gift. This year we are also giving a certificate for perfect attendance along with a few school books. This is the first time we’ve done this for perfect attendance, and we have several children from all the churches that have achieved this!

We will have gifts for about 650 children again this year, and we also buy a nice set of clothes for the Sunday school teachers to show our appreciation for their involvement with the kids, so this is a pretty hefty expenditure. The benefit we’re seeing is more children staying involved in the churches when they become adolescents, and some of their parents are coming to church as well. There is also a message given at every program which is attended by parents and extended family members, so the Gospel is planted in their hearts as well. Please pray for these outreach programs and for the preachers and workers to take advantage of meeting new families.

Several Funerals

This past month has been busy with funerals. None were from our churches, but they did involve family members. One was Shanthi’s cousin’s husband. He was an OB/ GYN doctor and had been very helpful to us when Shanthi and I were first married with wedding expenses, as well as over the years with free medical visits. Complications from a surgery and infections brought about his death. The saddest part was that he did not know Christ.

Then Shanthi’s uncle’s wife died unexpectedly. She had been at the hospital praying for and sharing Christ with cancer patients the evening before. The morning of her death she was up, fixed breakfast for the family, went to take her bath and dropped dead, evidently from a heart attack. Her funeral was attended by over 5oo people, the most I think I’ve ever seen at a funeral, which was a testimony to how many people she had impacted over the years.

What a difference there was in these two funerals! One was very sad, people were openly distraught, and you could actually see the despair in their faces. The other, while there was certainly grief at her passing, there was also a calmness and comfort in the faces of the family. The difference was in knowing she was in Christ and was now at rest in heaven. What a difference being prepared to meet God makes when this life is over! This is why we are here sharing the Gospel. We want people to know Jesus Christ so that when this life is past there is assurance that heaven awaits them.

Release of Christian CD

One of our young men, Niranjan, who is very involved in the ministry with us, is releasing a CD of songs he has composed. He has been writing songs for some time now and decided that God wanted him to share them with others as well. He has planned a program with dramas, dances, and a message, along with the songs he has written. We’re very happy for his witness and desire to be used by God in this way.

 

Special Visitors

Next February my brother David and his wife Kathy who minister in Tyro, Kansas are making plans to come here for three weeks. This will be the first family from my side to come to Sri Lanka. They are not coming just for a visit, but to see the ministry and to help with preaching and teaching during their stay. We and our workers are thrilled that they will be coming to help!

Prayer Concerns

  1. For the Christmas programs to honor God and that people will come to know Jesus in a personal way through them.

  2. For our family members who are grieving aver the loss of loved ones.

  3. For God to be glorified through the release of the CD.

  4. Our preachers and workers to be faithful in the task of sharing Christ.

  5. David and Kathy to be used by God to help build the kingdom of God here when they arrive in February.

     

NOVEMBER 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Here we are in November--the year is flying past! Our weather has taken a dramatic turn recently. Normally we begin to see occasional rains the end of August and during September, but it just stayed hot with very little rain. October we have had quite a lot of heavy rain. This has helped our well water situation, but has come about a month early. Maybe we won’t have monsoon rains during Christmas time this year! It is much cooler now so I enjoy that, but it does make it difficult to wash and dry clothes as we have a solar powered clothes dryer (also known as a clothesline--we’re very eco friendly).

With this being Thanksgiving month we are especially reminded of all the blessings we have received through God’s hands over the last year. One of these blessings of which we are constantly aware of is you, our supporter. I know we say each month that we are thankful for you but we truly are blessed by your faithful prayers and gifts to the ministry! We realize these are difficult financial times for everyone. God has continued to bless and provide for our needs and for the funds necessary to do this work. For that we praise Him and give you our heart felt thanks as well. May God continue to bless and use you throughout this month of Thanksgiving!

Your Fellow Workers in Christ,

Steve & Shanthi

YOUTH CAMP 2012

With the unexpected rains this last month, our prayers were for good weather during the camp. God blessed us with sunshine for two days. The last day it rained hard, but during the times we needed to be out and about the rain stopped. We had to rent a couple of tents in order not to be crowded during the sessions, but they leaked terribly so everyone was pretty well “packed in” the last day but we survived. We had 83 youth plus all our staff and their families.

Our theme for the camp was “Fear Not”, and focused on having faith in God because He is in control and He cares for us, rather than fearing what “might” happen in life. The main session topics included Moses and the crossing of the Red sea, Elisha when the army had surrounded him, Jonah, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and of course faith in Jesus. I spoke and we had two guest speakers, Pastor Chandren (a life long friend of Shanthi’s), and Nereus Fernando. The young people were truly touched by the messages, and we had several who made decisions for greater commitment and a desire to work more faithfully in their local congregations, and the testimonies on the last day bore this out. In fact most of the young people came forward for special prayer. Even though several in attendance have not accepted Christ we’re looking forward for those decisions soon at their home churches.

Brother Nereus and his wife, who is also named Shanthi, also shared in two workshops. One was on relationships (particularly boy friend and girl friend) and getting involved with non Christians, and the other on worship and worship leading which is something that many of the youth are involved in currently. Even though they really didn’t hear anything “new” in the workshops, as we and our preachers speak about these things frequently, it came from someone else so the youth were more receptive to the message. We’re already making plans to bring Nereus and Shanthi to our churches next year to have seminars with the youth and also with our Sunday school teachers, which is their area of expertise.

Overall we are very pleased with the camp and the type of decisions made. We give praise to God for how He worked in the hearts of our youth.


Camp Photos 2012

Main Camp Building

Fear Not” Banner in Tamil

Main Session Worship Team

Main Session

Game Time”

 

CHRISTMAS TIME

Before we are ready Christmas will be here. As always we will have Christmas programs in the churches and give gifts to all children who have come to Sunday school over the last year. This is always a big expense but it is definitely worth it because it encourages faithfulness in the children and demonstrates to their parents that we are concerned about their children as well. We always give clothes (which the kids love to receive) and will include a few school books as well for some of the children. Many of you have helped financially with this project in the past, and if you want to help again this year, NOW is the time to begin since it does take a considerable amount of time for the funds to finally reach us! If you choose to help, please mark your gift for “Christmas”.

SOME CLARIFICATIONS

We had some confusion about something I said last month concerning the unrest in the Muslim world and trouble here. We were not arrested! I simply meant we didn’t go anywhere by our own choice during that period of time. Sorry for the confusion that my choice of words caused, but thanks for the prayers that were offered!

Secondly an incorrect email address is being used our email here is: lamplite@sltnet.lk

PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. Decisions made at youth camp will be sincere and they will truly trust in God more.

  2. Our Christmas programs for God to be exalted and doors opened for the Gospel.

  3. Our preachers and staff to faithfully carry out the work of ministry.

  4. The girls who work with us, for faithful husbands who will labor with them in ministry.

  5. Our health and strength to carry on the work here.


OCTOBER 2012

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Well, fall is here well (maybe I should say “there”). This was always my favorite time of year being raised on a farm; harvest was what we had prayed, planned, and worked for all year long. Plus it meant football season, but now my knees don’t appreciate having played football in Junior High and High school!

We’re beginning to receive some rain for which we are thankful, but still not enough to raise the water level in the well. At least we’re not having to water plants and flowers every day (nice to have kids around for that job)! We’ve heard of some people in town whose wells have dried up so I’m not complaining too much!

Our days of late seem to be filled with going to funerals, and there have been several. Here it’s a month long mourning period. On the eighth day after the funeral the family will invite people to come for what is called alms giving. Even though you gave a memorial gift at the time of the funeral an additional gift is expected then as well. Then on the thirty-first day anniversary the family invites family, friends, and others as well to come for another remembrance gathering and a meal provided by the family. There have been so many funerals this month we simply couldn’t make it to all the extra days. One was particularly sad as he was a young man. He had a motorcycle wreck on his birthday and died on the spot. All of this makes me think of these points: as Christians we need to be praying, planning, and working for the harvest of souls. There are so many people everywhere who have not heard about and don’t understand God’s great gift to mankind. Just as the rains bring refreshment and life to the earth so Jesus Christ is the only one who can refresh and renew our spirits and give us eternal life. And lastly life here is so short and uncertain we need to be ready!

We always remember you in our prayers, thanking God for your faithful prayers and financial support for us and this ministry. We are continually reminded of how God works through you to supply all we need. Our prayer for you is that God will continue to bless you and use you where you are for his kingdom and his glory.

In Christian love,

Steve and Shanthi


(Note from Ron and Penny—Shanthi’s birthday is November 1. If you would like to send her birthday greetings you can e-mail her at: lamplite@slt.lk)

CONTINUED PLANS FOR THE YOUTH CAMP

Almost everyone is getting excited about camp now that it’s less than a month away. We’re expecting around 100 to 120 youth and workers for the camp.

Our young people have really started to catch on fire for the Lord since family camp back in April, so we’re glad we decided to do a youth camp this fall too. We are hoping to build on that with a theme on faith, how God worked in and through people in the Bible who were facing times of great trial and even fear. This camp will be entitled “Fear Not”, using Deuteronomy 31:6 as the theme scripture, ”Do not be afraid…for the Lord God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

We’ve invited two guest speakers--one a preacher friend of ours and the other is director of “Back to the Bible”, here in Sri Lanka. We are really looking forward to how God will use this time to his glory. Please pray for God to work in the hearts of the young people who will attend!

SEVERAL BAPTISMS AT PERIYA KALLAR CHURCH

This month there were six people who were baptized into Christ at the Periya Kallar church, as well as a possible seventh to be baptized later. We are praising God for how he is working in people’s hearts, and for the faithful work of our preacher Selva and his wife Thevi.

The church is growing in number and there are almost always non-Christians who come for the Sunday worship services. One young man who is the husband of one of the members has been a drunk for years, and with lots of prayers for him by the family and our preacher he is now coming to worship services. Please pray that God will work in his heart to accept Christ and give up his drinking.

MUSLIM VIDEO BRINGS TROUBLE HERE

I’m sure that you are aware of the video which was derogatory of Mohammad and Islam. This has sparked outrage among Muslims world wide including here. While I’m definitely in favor of free speech, sometimes the exercising of it creates difficulties and problems for others.

The Muslim communities in our area, of which there are several, have had demonstrations and some even close to riots relating to this video and the preaching of the imams in the mosques. Roads blocked, bus service stopped, tires burned, businesses closed, rocks thrown at vehicles, numerous demonstrations in front of the U.S. embassy in Colombo, and even people injured in attacks (none were American). We heard of one Muslim man who works for an American non-government organization taken and beaten simply because he works for an American company.

Because of the close proximity, better selection and cheaper prices we do a lot of our personal business in a couple of these Muslim communities. Most everyone there recognizes me and our van, they all know I’m an American, that I’m here doing church work, some know where our churches are located, and some even know where we live. So since all this erupted I’ve been under “house arrest” so to speak. Some of our preachers and family members who live close to or in some of these Muslim towns called and warned me to stay at home. Not wanting to get the van destroyed or to get beaten up I took their advice and I’ve stayed home for awhile. Even though I have a pretty good relationship with many Muslims I felt it better not to test this relationship in this way. Please pray not just for my safety but that of Christians and Americans around the world.

People in many other countries simply do not understand freedom of speech and they feel the people responsible for this video should be punished. I’ve not seen the video, only what I’ve been told. But this I do know it goes contrary to the scripture in this point; it does not speak the truth in love, Eph. 4:15. While we must stand for the truth when we speak it must be in love.

Time will tell where all this will end up for us personally and for our world, but we will never win the Muslim world, or anyone else for that matter, by condemning their belief system. All that does is drive them further away and closes the door for opportunity to share with them the truth found in Christ.


PRAYER CONCERNS

1. Youth Camp October 25-27 for God to work in the young people’s hearts.

2. Our preachers and church members to be involved in the work of evangelism and mission of the church.

3. The new Christians at the Periya Kallar church and more people to come to Christ.

4. Safety for us and other missionaries and Americans around the world, especially those in Muslim nations.

5. For doors of opportunity to open to share the Gospel of Christ and people to respond.

SEPTEMBER 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are beginning to receive some rain which is very welcome. Our well is at the point we have to run the pump to fill the supply tank several different times to allow the water level in the well to recover. Of course in three months, if all is usual, we’ll have water standing in our yard because of monsoon rains. I guess we’re never happy with the weather! And because a particular palm fruit is in season now we have swarms of fruit flies to deal with as well. Can’t imagine what it was like in Egypt when God sent the plague of flies, what we have is bad enough!

This has been a month of trials with physical things it seems. Our computer crashed once again and the backup I had didn’t work correctly and so I’ve lost all my records, documents, and photos I have been taking. We had lots of pictures of VBS programs to choose from, but now only a few.

We’re especially very saddened by the sudden death of my niece Bethany on August 27. She had a brain aneurysm which evidently burst during the night and she died the next day. She was Dick (my brother) and Flora’s daughter, only 36 years old. In all things we glorify God--one day He will make everything new, and that is what we all look forward to!

We continue to thank and praise God for how He provides for this ministry through you and we ask that God would bless you abundantly for the blessing you are to us. Please do remember us in your prayers each day as without them we could not function!

Yours in Christ, Steve & Shanthi

VBS ATTENDANCE EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS

This month has literally been filled with VBS programs in all five churches as well as the two new church plants. Even though we have not been personally involved in them we have been busy with advice, planning, and promoting.

All the churches had a three day program this year. We’re trying to get to a five day program (maybe next year). Our biggest problem is having people who will work for an entire week--we struggle getting a commitment for three days!

Every program had more than the anticipated number of children. I guess that’s a good problem to have, but it can be trying to say the least! At this writing there is still two more to finish today and one more program that begins tomorrow so we don’t have a total number of children who attended.

We try to use VBS as not just anther program, but for the preachers to use this as a spring board to get into people’s homes and plant Gospel seeds in the hearts of the families. This has become a very important program for our churches.

MORE CHARMS FOUND

Last month we wrote about the charms that had been found on our property. One of our church members thought they were having the same trouble, so our preacher Vijay suggested they contact Sutha our nephew again. Both Sutha and Vijay came for fasting and prayer one day to the believer’s home, and once again God revealed where the charm was located. They dug next to their driveway where Sutha said it was buried, and there it was. There were more words than symbols on this charm, and each member of the believer’s family was named personally. This family just visited us this morning as they were traveling to Colombo and told us of the great change that has taken place in their home since the removal of the charm! God is good and has protected them from the attacks of Satan.

Our preacher Illongovan also told how he had a dream one night about a cobra (yes, the snake!) in their home. Their family fasted and prayed for three days and then found the cobra inside the electric meter box. When the neighbors saw them about to kill the snake they shouted not to harm it (they are Hindus and the cobra is one of their gods)! The next day the cobra was found at the neighbor’s house under some metal roof sheets, and they called their Hindu priest to come. When the priest arrived, Illongovan overheard the priest say to the snake, “this is not where I sent you--go to the place I told you”. They have seen the snake numerous times since then, but it never has returned to Illongovan’s property.

I know this all seems strange to you in America, but this is what we encounter constantly! This is why we and our preachers need your prayers! Satan is powerful, but NOT all powerful—God protects His people!

FENCING OF ONTHACHIMADAM PROPERTY

A major project this month was to fence the Onthachimadam church property. This cost more than expected because the man who owns the property behind ours wanted us to leave a ten foot wide road through the property unfenced (which was in the deed--like an easement in America). So we ended up having to put in an extra 375 feet of fence (fencing both sides of the road) that we hadn’t planned on. At least this project is done now; it looks nice and also helps to protect the property.

REPAIRS AT NEW PERIYA KALLAR CHURCH STARTED

We began doing some of the necessary repairs on the house we will use as a church at our new property. We are planning to move church services to this property in a few months (we hope). There were several roof leaks, some which required a carpenter, and then we used a mason to do cement work as well. We don’t want to spend a lot of money, but we do need to repair the roof and some other things as we will be using this building for at least another year or two until the church outgrows the house and we can make plans to build a larger building.

PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. Pray for our safety and that of our preachers and their families against Satan’s attacks.

  2. For the preachers and those who worked in the VBS programs to make the visits with families contacted through the programs.

  3. Husbands for the three young ladies working in ministry with us: Logi, Shanthi, and Vijiya.

  4. The two new areas where we hope to plant churches: Eruvil and Kirumenvely.

  5. Our kids as they begin their third school term September 3rd.

 
AUGUST 2012

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

LOTS of things have happened this month, but before we get to them we want to say, Thank You! Every month when I type the newsletter (and many times in between) I’m reminded of how good God is to us. We are grateful for your prayers that go to Him on our behalf, and that He supplies what we need through you, our supporters. Truly we could not do what we do without your faithfulness in these areas! So once again thank you for your prayers and your gifts. Now—on with the news!

PROPERTY PURCHASE IN PERIYA KALLAR COMPLETED

We feel God has truly blessed us with this property in several ways. The price was very reasonable compared to what we had been looking at. It has a house on it which can be used at the present time for preacher’s quarters and church meetings, although eventually it will need to be replaced. The property is centrally located in the village and on the main road so it is very visible. I will try to have a couple of pictures next month in the newsletter.

WALL AT PERIYA NEELAVANAI CHURCH ALMOST COMPLETED

This was a much needed project as the fence was practically gone, and the job should be completed this week. The biggest need here is to protect your property from encroachment, which happens on a regular basis. The new fence looks much nicer, and it protects the children and provides privacy and noise abatement from the traffic on the road.

A STORY SOME OF YOU WON’T BELIEVE

We always close our newsletters with prayer requests and praises. Still most of you really don’t realize how deeply entrenched Satan is in this country and how much we need your prayers.

Shanthi’s brother Vijith has struggled for several years with spiritual and mental problems. We have held countless prayers on his behalf and he has been coming to church, but he has continued to struggle, so much so that he was treated for mental illness and had to discontinue working as a male nurse.

Two weeks ago Shanthi’s niece and nephew came for the express purpose of praying for Vijith. Another brother came from Trincomalee (a 4 hour bus ride) to join in the prayer time.

Here begins the part some won’t believe. Shanthi’s nephew, Sutha, often has visions during these prayers concerning “charms” that have been buried on a person’s property. During our prayers he had one of these visions and said that there was a charm in Vijith’s toilet pit. No one would try to remove a charm placed in a toilet pit so it would most likely be there a very long time. We brought a “septic” man to clean it out (no machines here to do this). After we removed the lid Sutha said, “Check that spot right there”, and when the man cleaning the pit stuck a pole at that exact spot a small bottle immediately came to the surface. We removed the bottle and inside there was a stick broken into three pieces along with ash from a human cremation. When the “voodoo” man makes the charm he will repeat the name of the person it is supposed to affect and then he breaks the stick and seals it in a bottle. After this charm was removed there has been a dramatic change in Vijith, and everyone sees the difference in him!

The following week Sutha came to our home for a time of prayer as earlier he said he felt there may be charms on our property too. During the prayers God showed him three charms and their locations. The first one was inside our garage behind some left over floor tiles. It was a piece of black paper wrapped around a burned banana leaf wrapped around a small copper sheet which was wrapped around a 2” nail. The nail had begun to corrode and a couple of pieces had come off of it, yet the copper was still bright and shining. On the copper was engraved a picture of the demon who lives in the cemetery (according to Hindu belief), and a trident. Sutha said he felt it was to bring “corrosion” and maybe even destruction to our van. He did not know that in the last two months we have had the van in the repair shop several times and even had to make return visits to redo the repairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second charm was buried under our clothesline. When we dug it up there was a dried and broken egg shell (often whole eggs are buried as part of the charm), and something wrapped in black plastic. When opened it was a small bottle sealed with wax, and wired to the bottle was a small stone. Inside was another burned banana leaf wrapped around a small copper sheet with engravings on it. This one had a woman’s face, a man’s face, a cobra, and a star on it. Sutha said this is to bring division and death. It was to represent Shanthi and me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third charm was dug up right next to our sidewalk and was about two feet deep. This was bone fragments from another human cremation, and was meant to bring death to us. All of these were exactly where Sutha had been “shown” in the visions.

The reason we have not been affected (or in the case of the van only in a limited way) is that we pray daily for protection from these types of things. We claim Isaiah 54:17, “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me”, declares the Lord. We do not pray out of fear but in faith knowing God will defend and deliver us from Satan’s power! I am NOT turning “charismatic”, but God uses people in different ways. And don’t ask me to explain what has happened here--I can’t, but I do know that Satan is more powerful than we often give him credit. But the Lord Jesus Christ is all powerful and he has protected us!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cremated Human Remains

 

PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. Praise for our protection and Vijith’s deliverance.

  2. More people to have their eyes and hearts opened to the Gospel.

  3. VBS in all our churches and two new locations this August.

  4. Praise for the purchase of the Periya Kallar property.

  5. Praise for completed construction projects.

JULY 2012


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our month has gone past quickly as we have been busy searching for a property in Periya Kallar for the church.

We have also decided that we would be much healthier if we started walking so we’ve done that and are now up to 2.4 miles per day. Can’t believe we’ve not missed one day since we started but had to walk in the dark a couple of times. We found that we can’t walk in town as everyone we meet wants to stop and talk so we drive out to the beach road and we walk there. Doesn’t make sense we drive 2 miles to walk 2 miles, but that’s how it is. It’s a dead end road so not much traffic and we get to see the ocean each day.

We are getting slightly, and I emphasize “slightly”, cooler temps in the evenings. In fact we had two nights we didn’t run the A/C in the bedroom. It was a little warm but not too bad. By God’s grace our water well has remained fairly consistent--low but it has always had water even with no rain now for two months. This is always a concern during our summer months.

We thank God continually for your prayers and support for this ministry. We realize that the economy continues to deteriorate in the States and around the world, and so we are especially thankful that God continues to provide through you everything we need to do the work here. May God richly bless you as you continue to labor there for his glory!

Yours in Christ, Steve and Shanthi


PROPERTY SEARCH COMPLETED

We spent quite a lot of time this month looking for a property for the church in Periya Kallar. That was not what we wanted to do right now, but the way things are it was a “must do” project.

The property where we are presently meeting is for sale, but the owners jumped the price from $40,000 to almost $100,000. Every property we looked at all had increased their price significantly, and in spite of that people were buying. So we decided that we needed to find something now rather than later as the prices continued to climb higher.

We have made a verbal agreement on another main road property which is great for visibility and also still centrally located in the village. We’re waiting for the lady who owns it to come from Canada to finalize the papers and make the purchase. She actually is a distant cousin of Shanthi’s and sold it to us at a very reasonable price compared to everything else we had seen. With the exchange rate we have now, which benefits us, it will end up costing $27,000. There is a large older house on the property which can be used by the preacher and his family as well as for a meeting place for the church. The property is large enough that when the church grows we will still be able to build a church building and a preacher’s house (but will most likely have to cut some trees to do it).

We are praising God for directing us to this property and for his guidance through all this! Please continue to pray that all goes as planned and later this year we can move onto our own property.

NEW WALL AT PERIYA NEELAVANAI

We have hired a couple of men in the church at Periya Neelavanai to make the blocks for the new wall, and by the end of next week that should be complete. Then it’s a matter of tearing out the old fence (what’s left of it), and starting the construction of the wall around the property.

Things are done differently here and everyone builds walls around their property to keep the “honest” neighbors from encroaching on the property line. This happened to us in Koddai Kallar years ago. We came back to Sri Lanka to find our neighbor had built a new wall three feet onto our property. Even with discussing it with him and our local public official we were stuck. It’s not right, but that’s life in Sri Lanka. So that is why we are building the wall.

The money for this project was raised last year at a VBS in Tyro, Kansas. We’ve waited until now as sand was too expensive during the rainy season when we first returned to Sri Lanka to start. Now that it is plenty dry we’re ready to do it!

We’re blessed in that we have some masons in the church so it makes the project a blessing for them, and they take some ownership in the project as well.

DISCIPLESHIP PROGRAM GROWS

We had our first training program in the Periya Neelavanai church in early June. This included the Periya Kallar church also. There were over thirty who came and there are supposed to be more this month. We are really happy with this program as we can do more training and encouraging them in the work of the church ministry.

There is an average of thirty five in the other program which includes Mahiloor, Onthachimadam, and the Koddai Kallar churches.

OTHER CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

We also built a toilet for one poor family in Koddai Kallar and put a new roof on a small house for another poor family in Mahiloor this month (both of these families are members of our churches).

We don’t do many projects like this as sometimes it creates more problems for us because everyone then comes and wants us to do something for them. This could very easily lead to us spending too much time and money on projects rather than teaching and evangelism, so we try to limit how much we do.

Both families were in real need and so we felt we should do what we could to help.

FINANCIAL REPORT JANUARY-JUNE 2012

Office Expenses:

(Telephone, Utilities, Bank Charges, Postage, Office Supplies) $2892.85

Trip Expenses: $3000.00

Overseas Projects:

Family Camp $6000.00

Building Projects $11148.92

Property Purchase $30000.00

Payroll:

Steve $15000.00

National Evangelists $4880.00

Total Expenses: $72921.77

Total Support: $48213.00

PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. Completed property purchase in Periya Kallar.

  2. Training programs in the churches, and new people who are getting involved in the work of ministry.

  3. Preachers and families for health and strength (some have been sick this past month).

  4. Church growth and new plants by the Bible college girls.

  5. VBS in August, for outreach to new children and their families.

JUNE 2012


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Well we’re not enjoying the heat here but that’s just life! I must say most of the people here are saying it’s hotter than usual so it’s not just us. By God’s grace we have had electricity to use the air conditioner most days—there have only been a couple of days without it, so that’s not too bad (especially for here)!

Shanthi and I took a couple of days for a dual purpose trip this past month to Kandy which is in the central part of the country in the mountains. Although it wasn’t much cooler there during the days it did cool off nicely in the evenings. The primary reason we went was to take a couple days off and celebrate our anniversary which we didn’t get to do in March, and secondly we went to see two different campsites for future use (specifically the youth camp we plan to hold later this year).

Some of you may know we actually celebrate two anniversaries each year--the first was when we did the legal marriage, March 12th, and the second, May 21st was the actual church wedding. So we got to celebrate the May anniversary in a special way. We had a good time and had a little time to sight see some of Kandy. It was a good thing we went to see the camps since one wasn’t much of a camp, but rather just a big building with beds in it; over the phone the managers make it sound so different!

We thank God for your continued interest and support of this ministry. We most definitely need your prayers as we face so many difficulties here that only God can overcome! And the financial support you give also enables us to work here and support the ministry in Sri Lanka.

We pray for God to bless you for your support and use you there where you are!

Yours in Christ, Steve and Shanthi

MEETINGS WITH MINSTRY GROUPS

As we shared last month we had 42 people who attended the family camp who made decisions to get involved in the ministry of their local congregations. We must say we were amazed at the number, but we praise God for how he is working in their lives! This past month has been busy as we met with this group, and even some others who had not gone to camp but wanted to get involved as well. Prior to this we had given a questionnaire to each one to fill out to see how they want to participate in the ministries, and also to help them understand the commitment they were preparing to make. There were a few surprises to us (and even the preachers) with some of the ministry areas people were interested in. This meeting was the first of many more to come. We then scheduled meetings at each church with the preachers and groups to discuss and encourage them to be faithful in their commitments. As we all know it’s easy to say we want to be involved but another to actually do it! So far we are pleased with the response and enthusiasm of all the groups.

This is something we have been praying for and working toward as up to now it has mainly been the preacher and wife with a few others doing everything in the churches. So to see this number of people wanting to get involved all at once has been a little overwhelming. It will also be an adjustment for the preachers as they will need to learn to train as well as trust these people. This in itself is a real challenge for which we need lots of prayer!

DISCIPLE TRAINING PROGRAM TO EXPAND

For the last couple of years we have been holding a one day training and study program each month for anyone who wanted to attend. This was actually geared toward youth and adults, but we have had a few older children who have come as well. It lasts most of one day so we provide a simple lunch for all who come.

There are several purposes in this program. The people spend most of the day in a specific study which Shanthi and I lead, which allows us far more depth than just a 30 or 40 minute Bible study. And it was with a specific goal in mind--to give them evidence for their faith in Jesus Christ and to learn how to put this into practice. The last two months we have discussed the purpose of the church and our part in it. This of course is to reach out to the lost, the mission of the church in general, and the people’s own responsibility to share their faith with others. Earlier we have studied God, Jesus as his son, faith, the reliability of the scriptures, and other subjects, but everything leads specifically to teaching them to share their faith.

The study this past month was so different than what we usually do that I think it took most of them by surprise. First they prepared a short list (3-5 names) of people they knew who needed to hear about Christ. Then they were told how to pray over the next three weeks. The first week was to pray for everyone on their list to come to a sense of their need for Jesus—their “lostness”. The second week was prayer that God would use them as an instrument to share his message, and the third week was prayer that God would give them the opportunity to share with these specific people. We had them write out three different testimonies they could use when talking with someone about their faith. Then they paired up with someone else and they shared with them as if they were sharing with a non-Christian. I think they had some fun doing this as well. I’m realistic enough to know that some, maybe even many, will not follow through, but if even a few do it’s more than we have witnessing and sharing about Jesus now!

We are getting ready this month to launch the second study group, so we will have two each month in different locations. This second “beginner” group will begin with the basic teaching and will hopefully get to this same point of maturity--sharing their faith. The first group we will continue to meet with teaching more on doctrine and “how to” basics.

Some of the things I have observed over the years is that here the preacher does it all, and for some this is a real ego trip which we want to avoid. The churches that don’t involve their people in ministry grow to 50-100 because that is all the preacher can keep under his thumb so to speak. The churches where the members are involved in ministry and witnessing continue to grow and reproduce themselves by establishing other churches. These things are actually true whether you’re in a foreign country or the States. We are convinced we’re on the right track and will continue with these programs so we can have stronger churches.


TWO NEW CHURCH PLANTS

Our three graduate Bible college girls are taking on new ministry opportunities. One began as a Sunday school program that has developed over the last few years and we feel it is now ready for a church plant. This is in the village of Kirumanvely, and Vijiya, a member of the Mahiloor church, will be leading in this.

The other new plant is in Eruvil where a worship service was started earlier but has since been discontinued. Two more of our graduates, Pushpalogini and Shanthi (not my Shanthi) will be working there along with several others. Pushpalogini is the girl who has lived with us since the tsunami of 2004 helping in our home and also working with the church. She has had other experience starting Sunday schools and worship services in Onthachimadam and Periya Kallar. Shanthi is a member of the Onthachimadam church. They will assist each other as part of the team effort in Eruvil.


POSSIBLE PROPERTY FOR PERIYA KALLAR CHURCH

We have been looking at a few properties in Periya Kallar to purchase for the location of the church. Presently we are renting the house and property where the congregation meets and the preacher lives. This property is for sale but they are now asking $100,000.00, but it is doubtful that anyone will be able to come up with this much money. Until then we are continuing to look for property to buy.

PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. New church plants in Kirumanvely and Eruvil and the three girls working there.

  2. The training programs for ministry work and witnessing.

  3. Property search in Periya Kallar.

  4. Our preachers and co-workers for their faithfulness and continued labors.

  5. Plans for VBS in August and the youth camp in October.


MAY 2012


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We hope that you had a good Easter--we did here! I’ve always thought it somewhat strange that Good Friday is a public holiday here but Easter is not even on the calendar. Maybe it’s just one more of Satan’s ways to keep the focus off the resurrection and its message of life and to focus on Satan’s very temporary victory in the crucifixion.

This month was school term break so all our kids were home and we had others as well so our house was “running over” with kids most of the time. Now the second term has begun, and the kids are back to school so the house is very quiet right now. During the term break Shanthi was busy helping our kids with catching up on their studies. Vijay did horribly, which we expected, as he just won’t study, but he is doing a better job now. Sowmiya wasn’t first in her class this time like last year because of math, but still did pretty well. We’ve finally found a tutor in Periya Kallar who is very good so she and Vijay are both getting help there. Darsha had a few low marks but not bad. Darshini continues to struggle--I’m convinced this is from her extreme malnutrition and near death when she first came to be with us. Prashanth did okay but not good, he’s another one that doesn’t like to study. Some of his problem, though, is he simply doesn’t understand some things and so he gets further and further behind until he’s completely lost in school work. Shanthi spent a lot of time with him and now he is really studying well (hope it continues). Our problem is I can’t do much to help, and along with ministry concerns Shanthi is overburdened trying to help the kids and we can’t seem to find anyone who will spend time with them and do a good job.

Other than the heat we’re doing well--tired from the family camp and trying to get the kids ready to go back to school, but by God’s grace we’re doing okay.

We always want to say thank you for your prayers for us and this ministry and for the faithful support you send. We are blessed to know that God is providing and people are concerned enough to pray for us! May God bless you as you labor for His glory!

Yours in Christ, Steve and Shanthi

FAMILY CAMP--ROUGH START, GREAT FINISH

It seems there are always adjustments that have to be made in anything we plan and family camp was no different. During the last week we went from around 195 registered to over 240, and ended up with 254 counting our guest speakers. This was a good thing as more people came for the camp, but it sure put things in a bind at the start! We had to find a fourth bus and rearrange how to fit the other churches into the other three buses. Again it was a pretty tight fit but everyone got on. One bus was late arriving at one church and so it got left behind the first three.

We had already gone to the camp with a prayer team and work crew the day before to get things ready for the arrival of the families. We were pretty much ready and waiting for the buses when we heard the news of the earthquake in Indonesia. We were safe as the camp buildings were three stories tall, but the buses were all traveling the highway which borders the ocean well within the reach of a possible tsunami. There was no way to turn back--all they could do was keep coming. We were frantically calling each bus to let them know; some already knew about it by text messages on their cell phones, but the last bus couldn’t be reached. I was about to go crazy--if there was a tsunami we would lose almost all our church members from all five churches, and our kids were on one of the buses.

We were all praying and I called my sister Penny in the States (well actually it was Ron I talked with) but I was so distraught I could barely talk and we had a bad connection on top of that. Anyway they began calling people to pray for the situation.

Finally we were able to get in contact with the fourth bus and supposedly the police had rerouted them along a different road so they would arrive about three hours late. But for some reason they came on the same route as the other three buses. Finally everyone arrived safely at the camp and we were praising God although the tsunami watch had now become a warning.

The police arrived at the camp ground before three of the buses left and said we had to evacuate the camp ground and go to higher ground. So everyone loaded onto three buses now and we moved to a church there in Trincomalee which was in a safe area. We went back to the camp to bring the tea that had been prepared, but still had to buy tea, milk and sugar to make more. We finally got somewhat settled in and decided as we were going to be there for some time to go ahead and have the evening service there, which we did. Thankfully the building was big enough to fit everyone inside.

After the all clear was given two buses were to return to help transport us back to the camp but it was late now and they didn’t want to come back. So we called the camp as they have a small truck and between it making three trips and our van loaded to the hilt making five trips and a large group walking we made it to the camp to eat dinner at 10:00pm. This made for a pretty late night but everyone dealt with it pretty well all things considered!

Camp went on with more adjustments made for the larger number of people, including sleeping arrangements, session locations, and eating arrangements--what a mess!

But in spite of all the trouble, headaches, and fears God blessed the effort! There were 42 people who made public decisions to get involved or more involved in the work of ministry in their local congregations, and most were first time decisions! This was our purpose in this camp and because of a lot of prayer prior to and during the camp, God blessed! It turned out to be more of a revival than a camp! Either way we’re praising God!

We are now planning a meeting with all of the people to discuss their decisions and get them plugged in to the work in their churches as quickly as possible. This has been one of the struggles over the years, as the churches have been small and few people were really involved. Now we see opportunity for some growth both spiritually and in number!

We really need your prayers for us, our preachers, and for those who have made decisions that God will use these people to further His kingdom.

Also the youth are begging for another camp yet this year--I said not again! (Just kidding!)

Main Session of Camp

Kid’s Session at Family Camp

View more family camp pictures on the website


PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. Praise for the safety of all who came to the camp.

  2. Praise for the great response of people to get involved in the ministry.

  3. Real commitment on the part of those who made decisions.

  4. More people to come to know the love of Christ through their efforts.

  5. Our kids and their studies.

  6. Our sanity in trying to plan another camp for the youth this year.

  7.  

APRIL 2012


We knew it would happen sooner or later--it’s getting hot! Actually it really isn’t too bad yet since it is still cooling off during some of the nights which is nice! And we have even gotten a few rains during the month which has helped (except the humidity is very high).

First term school exams have begun so the kids are really busy with cramming for their tests--oh how I remember those days. I have helped a little with some of the English, but I don’t know enough Tamil to help explain what we do with our English words (plus English grammar was never a strong subject for me as is evident from the newsletters).

We’re gearing up for the family camp which is the 11th – 14th and we would appreciate your prayers for our last minute preparations and also for the camp itself. We have really tried to make this enjoyable but the main focus is teaching the word of God. We’ve asked Shanthi’s brother-in-law to come again since everyone really enjoys his teaching and always wants him to come back. His wife Dilo will again do sessions with the Sunday school age kids. This is a big help as this allows our Sunday school teachers to participate in the youth and adult sessions. We have another preacher friend who is a very spiritual man and an excellent evangelist who is coming also. And then yours truly will be speaking as well.

Two months have already passed and it’s just a reminder to us of how much there is yet to do here and how quickly the time goes.

We always remember you in our prayers as you have partnered with us in this ministry, and how we need your prayers! We also want to say thank you for the financial support you send so that we can be here and have programs with our churches like the family camp. We pray God will bless you abundantly for the blessing you are to us!

In Christian love, Steve and Shanthi


FOUR BAPTISMS AT KODDAI KALLAR

This past month the church in Koddai Kallar had four young people who were baptized into Christ. There were supposed to be seven but three decided not to accept Christ at this point. They struggle so with this decision and while we continue to encourage them to make this decision we don’t force them at all. So many times we have seen people who are baptized but they are doing it for the wrong reasons. Even after the teaching sessions we wait to see where their heart is before we baptize anyone.

One was our daughter Sowmiya, another was Prashanthini a girl we’ve had custody of since she was six but has been in a girl’s hostel for a few years now. This is due to the fact we have other teenage boys living with us and the culture frowns on mixing boys and girls from different families. And one was Shanthi’s nephew Joshua. Of course we were thrilled to see all of them immersed into Christ!

Just for information sake I’ve noticed that here the young people mature at a much slower rate than in the States. We have never seen anyone under about 15 years of age ask to be baptized. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to do that (I was baptized when I was eight), but it is just an observation from over the years. I think here in Sri Lanka it’s a good thing as they are more certain of what it is they are doing.


HINDU DANCER GETS BEATEN IN FRONT OF OUR CHURCH

This is actually a long story but I think it’s interesting how God works sometimes.

The congregation at Periya Neelavanai had been having a week of fasting and prayer which coincided with the festival at the Hindu temple which is just down the street. The last day the temple always has a big parade down the road carrying their god, and usually there is a man who does a certain dance known as “the Devil dance” in front of the idol all the time it is being paraded around. There will have been a big ceremony prior to this at the temple and the man is actually possessed by demons before they leave the temple grounds.

As they came down the road for no explainable reason he stopped dancing and just stood there motionless. They finally told him to keep going to which he responded “I can’t” and then explained “I can’t cross in front of here.” He was standing at the property line of the church. They began to shout at him and he kept refusing to even walk past the church building. Finally they began to beat him thinking he would finally give in but he never did. They actually beat him so badly he had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. No one from our church had said anything to anyone or done anything--all they had been doing was praying!

About a week later the sister of the dancer stormed into the Sunday morning worship service shouting at our preacher Vijay and the church people. It seems someone had thrown a Christian CD into her yard and she thought Vijay or a church member had done it, but that wasn’t the case. This went on for some time completely disrupting the service. Some of the people wanted to physically drag her out of the church and beat her but Vijay said no leave her alone.

Her last statement before leaving was, “some people are afraid of you and your God but I’m not afraid of any of you or your God he can’t do anything to me”. Two days later they put her in the hospital because she had a heart attack.

Two things I think we can learn from this: there is amazing power in prayer, and God will not be mocked. I thought this was an interesting story to pass on for you to be encouraged by how prayer works!


TROUBLESOME TIMES

If you don’t know Sri Lanka has been in the news, it’s big news here. The international human rights commission has been pressuring the Sri Lanka government to implement more positive change in regards to healing wounds from the 30 year civil war which ended two years ago. Of course our United States is leading the way. There have been (almost daily) large demonstrations mostly in Colombo in front of the U.S. embassy condemning the U.S. This came to a vote in which several nations participated. The final vote was in favor of setting a time table and progress reporting for the government here to make changes. This of course has not set well with the population or the government here. Everyone in Sri Lanka is saying that this commission (and especially the U.S.) has no right to interfere in an internal matter. This is a very brief summary and we have had NO threats here against us but needless to say we won’t be making any trips to Colombo in the near future due to safety issues.


PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. Family Camp this month for spiritual growth in our believers.

  2. Continued growth and faithfulness in our co workers.

  3. God to open doors for new churches to be planted.

  4. Sri Lankan government and our continued safety here.

  5. More people to understand their need for Christ and accept him.


SOME CHRISTMAS PICTURES FROM 2011


Just a few pictures from the 2011 Christmas programs in all five churches. For more pictures you can visit the website:

www.lamplightersworldministries.org


Note the sheep in this nativity scene!






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This nativity has the angels!

MARCH 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We’re finally starting to get back into a somewhat regular routine, although I really don’t know what that is. I can’t even say back to normal for us, because it seems things are in constant change to one degree or another. This time on our return we weren’t faced with immediate resignations the way it has been in the past, which was a relief. Anyway it’s good to be back and involved in the ministry here.

Our weather here has been unexpectedly cool for this time of year. Usually it has begun to get hot, and while right now our days are warm it is cooling off nicely at night, and we even had some rain last night. The lightening however knocked out the power and so we had no electricity until around 5 AM, then it was off again at 6:30 and didn’t return until 10:30, so it was a bit stuffy for Tuesday morning Bible study group in the Koddai Kallar church. All our staff, and anyone else from the churches who are able and willing, come to Koddai Kallar and we spend usually 2 to 2 ˝ hours in study, with a tea break in the middle of course. Right now we are going through the parables which I really enjoy! There is much for everyone to learn, including me!

We are always mindful of you our supporters and we remember you in our prayers. We thank God for your prayers and support which enable us to come here and share the Word of God with people who desperately need to know how much God loves them! We feel a great debt to you knowing that is it through sacrifice that you give! And we pray for God to bless you abundantly for your being a blessing to and a partner with us.

Yours in Christ,
Steve and Shanthi

OUR KIDS

Our kids are back to studying more than while we were absent (which is normal for any kid!) and for the most part are doing well. At first I thought they had forgotten all the English they knew as they would just give me a blank stare when I would speak to them, but they have begun to open up and they are actually doing better than before. All the kids have English as one of the subjects in school.

The oldest, Vijay, really doesn’t care much for school any more because he is so much older than the kids in his class since he started school when he was 12 years of age in the fourth grade. So keeping him motivated is a real struggle, but at least he is back in school for now.

Sowmiya, just turned 16 a few days ago and is doing very well, except math which of course is a requirement even to get into the lowest category of university. She wants to become a doctor, and I think she may make it. She was selected by the students as Senior Prefect of the school which is a real honor and makes us proud too! It is interesting to note that she and the boy who were selected as prefects are both Christians and members of our church in Koddai Kallar. So the church is having an impact on the other children of the area.

Darsha is still the active one and would rather run and jump than sit and study, but she is doing well. She loves to draw and this may work into something she could do later in life.

Darshini, who is the one we didn’t think was going to survive when she came to us, has shown the greatest improvement while we were gone. She is studying well and doing better but still struggles with everything, especially English. The other day she asked me for 150 rupees to buy pin pish. I asked her several times before I finally figured out it was “tin fish” that she wanted to buy (note to all—we don’t have any idea what he means by tin fish—Ron and Penny).

Prashanth is ornery as ever and has gotten some taller. He’s now in grade five and here that means they take a scholarship exam which is a big deal. We’re sending him and taking him for extra classes and he is beginning to show some improvement in how he studies.

We also have Prashanthini who normally is in a girl’s hostel. They frown on having children of different gender of the same age who aren’t related in one home here. She finished her “Ordinary level” which is up through grade 11 and is waiting for test results as to whether she can do “Advanced level”. Those who excel in “A” level get into university. If she did well and can continue her studies she’ll return to the hostel but will come here for school holidays.

We also have a new member in the house. A young boy, and how to describe him-- he’s loud, obnoxious, proud, wears his red hair spiked, and is always doing things he shouldn’t. His name is Cocky Locky and he is a rooster; the name comes from one of the children’s books we have. He was given as a food gift, but when I picked him up he was so thin I thought no need to cook this thing, he is just bones. But in spite of crowing all the time, especially when I would like to sleep, the kids love him and he is pretty fun to watch.

2011 BAPTISMS

We finally were able to get a count from last year for the number of baptisms in the area churches. When we were in the States we were asked a few times and I didn’t have an accurate answer, and now we do! In our five churches we had 28 people who were baptized. And presently in three of the churches there are at least10 more who are taking the classes we teach before they are baptized. We do this because we have learned that for some they are baptized because they think it’s what we want them to do, not because they understand what it is about and the need they have for Christ. So our preachers spend extra time with those who want to be baptized to make sure they understand what they are doing. For the most part I’m pleased with the number but as a true preacher I wish there were more!

PERIYA KALLAR PROPERTY

We thought that the property we are currently using was going to be sold to us this year, but now the owners have changed their mind. They have agreed to let us continue to meet there for another year, but this was a real disappointment! This is a property on the main road, with easy access, and a large lot which is very difficult to find, and they were going to sell to us at $15,000 less than their asking price. The house is old and actually needs to be torn down, but that was okay with us. So now we have begun looking for other options but we do know that if God wants us to have this property he can work it out!

FAMILY CAMP

We’re planning another family camp this year in April but in a different location than the previous years. We’re planning a three day camp with lots of time for Bible study. This is a big expense for us but we do see spiritual growth and deeper commitment from those who go each year. And we have had more youth commit to full time service during the camp time than from anything else, so we feel it is worth the expense. Getting the people away from their everyday routine helps them to concentrate on spiritual things rather than cooking, cleaning, etc. for a few days. Please pray that God will work in the lives of all who attend this camp.

PRAYER CONCERNS

  1. Churches to continue to grow, and preachers and staff to be faithful in the work.

  2. The family camp in April for spiritual growth of all who attend.

  3. Our kids, their studies, and their walk with Christ.

  4. Our strength and wisdom to come from God to develop spiritual leadership in the churches and among our staff.

  5. More workers to enter into the harvest of souls, and God to open doors in new areas to start churches.


FEBRUARY 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is the first newsletter written upon our return to Sri Lanka. We arrived without much problem on Saturday morning at 3 AM. The only problem we had was that on January 1 they had changed the visa requirements and I had to purchase an arrival visa before going through immigration. Then due to fatigue I couldn’t remember where I had put Shanthi’s Sri Lanka passport which had her dual citizenship stamp. Thinking it was in my carry-on bag (which I had to check in Abu Dhabi) I cleared immigration and headed to baggage claim where I proceeded to check not only my carry-on bag but all our checked bags, but couldn’t find the passport anywhere. I then returned to immigration to get Shanthi. I was now fully aggravated about the whole situation, tired from very little sleep over the last 36 hours, and prayed, “God help me find this passport.” I went through my notebook one more time and found it in a place I didn’t remember putting it; guess I should have prayed first, it would have saved a lot of frustration. On Monday we went to immigration to get my residence visa. This is usually a three hour job, but now it took four days, and as my passport expires before the two-year period I only got 1 ˝ years so will have to get an extension next year after I get my new passport. Along with this Shanthi’s Sri Lanka passport had expired and we got her dual citizenship stamp put into her new U.S. passport. Hopefully next time we come back to Sri Lanka things will go a little easier by not having to carry several passports.

Shanthi went to see a doctor here about her knee which is swollen and has been giving her some pain as it is much cheaper here. With tests and all we will have to remain in Colombo longer than we anticipated before heading to home to Koddai Kallar.

As we begin this trip we are once again reminded of what a blessing you are to our lives and ministry. Thanks just seems so inadequate but we want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers for us and your support financially of our ministry. We always lift you before our God asking for his blessing upon you and the work you are doing for his glory.

Because of Christ, Steve and Shanthi

 
JANUARY 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It seems as though 2011 just started a few weeks ago and now it is gone.

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas season that was centered on Jesus Christ and his birth. We were able to spend some time with family and friends over Christmas which is a real blessing and joy for us. While we were busy we weren’t too busy so it was even a little relaxing.

We spoke to our kids in Sri Lanka at least most of them on Christmas morning, some had gone for caroling when we called (it was Christmas night for them), and got phone calls from our preachers and other family members actually over two to three days which was very nice as well.

As we begin a new year we make lots of plans which is a good thing to do as long as we remember what James says, “if it is the Lord’s will,” we will do such and such. The longer that we do mission work the more aware we become that it all depends on God’s will, his timing, and plans not ours! While we do set goals and make plans we know that God will work things according to his plan each time.

You have faithfully prayed for us and sent financial support throughout the last year and we thank God and you for these.

We thank you for enabling us to continue the work in Sri Lanka and partnering with us in this work.

There is so much uncertainty in our world today but one thing is certain the time to reach those without Christ is short and we need to be busy giving hope to all we contact.

We are confident that throughout this New Year God will continue to work in your life as you submit to him and he will continue to bless you for the blessing you are to us.

Because of Christ,

Steve and Shanthi


OUR RETURN TO SRI LANKA

We leave the States for Sri Lanka on January 19th and arrive there at 3 AM on the 21st.

Our plan is to be there for another two years unless God has other plans.

The visa situation in Sri Lanka is in constant change it seems. When we left they were implementing online visas required to land but that doesn’t seem to have worked as I checked and they still have the same visas as before.

Our email address in Sri Lanka lamplite@sltnet.lk

Pray for our safe travel there later this month.


CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS WELL ATTENDED

We haven’t gotten a detailed or written report on the programs but all the preachers we spoke with said that the programs went very well and were very well attended.

Now comes the most important part for our preachers and workers, to meet the families who have sent their children to Sunday school over the last year and share with them the hope we have because of Christ.

This is a big challenge but something that is a primary importance for the ministry. Every year we reach new people with the good news through the Christmas programs so we are confident that this year will be the same.

So many of you sent special gifts to help with the financial needs of these programs and we want to thank you for this.

To be honest more than half of it came in after we had already sent the funds to Sri Lanka so we took funds from the general fund to cover which was okay, so we were able to replace those funds and still had money left over so the kids will be receiving school notebooks this weekend as part of their Christmas gift.

Many parents struggle with purchasing school books for their kids so this will not only help the kids it will help the families too.


WEDDING BELLS

One of our college girls who completed her two years of study is going to be married. This is one of the things we have asked prayer for in the past.

Tangas, (pronounced tonguess) is to be married in Colombo a few days after our return to Sri Lanka and she has asked me to preach the wedding sermon.

It is so difficult to find good Christian husbands for the girls and many times their families force them to marry Hindu boys and usually then they become less active in the church and many times revert back to worship of the Hindu idols.

We had hoped there would be a young man who would work with us in the ministry but we are praising God she is marrying a Christian and that he is involved in ministry in Colombo.

Please pray that God will use them in His work there in the years ahead. Also pray for the other four girls to find good Christian workers for husbands.

NEW ADDITION

Our Onthachimadam preacher Illangovan and his wife Susila are to have their first child on January 1st.

Things are very different there than here when it comes to the birth and care of babies. The mother is usually admitted to the hospital a week prior to the due date and labor is induced within a day or two of the due date then at least another week in the hospital after delivery. At this writing we don’t have any report for you as yet maybe next month.

HELP US SAVE MONEY

Postage and paper continue to increase in cost as you know. In an effort to keep our mailing costs down if you could receive you monthly newsletter by email this would help us to save some of our monthly expenses.

Just send us your regular mailing address AND your email address and we will switch you over.

Return envelopes are sent twice a year if you send funds.

PRAYER NEEDS

1. Our workers to make contact with the families of the Sunday school children.

2. Our safety in travel back to Sri Lanka on the 19th.

3. God’s direction and blessing for us and all our workers in Sri Lanka.

4. Safe delivery and a healthy baby for Illangovan and Susila.

5. Our workers to make contact with the Sunday school children’s families.



Lamplighters World Ministries primary goal is to go to countries where the gospel has not been preached, or limited work has been done to establish Churches in those countries.  Founders Steve and Shanthi Bycroft work with the people of Sri Lanka.
 


Lamplighters World Ministries, 2641 East 6th Street, Joplin, MO 64801-1636, USA 
Email: lamplightersworld@att.net Ph. 417-624-7078    Fax: 417-624-7085
Copyright 2009 Lamplighters World Ministries