Advent Reflections by SIM East Asia
Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas (or sometimes from the 1st December to Christmas Day!). Advent means 'Coming' in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.
There are three meanings of 'coming' that Christians describe in Advent.
The first, and most thought of, happened about 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us.
The second can happen now as Jesus wants to come into our lives.
And the third will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as King and Judge, not a baby.
There are several ways that Advent is counted down but the most common is by a calendar. On each day of our Advent Calendar, a member of the SIM East Asia team will share a reflection/prayer. Join us as we count down to Christmas.
Design of Advent postcards: Faith Chen
Responding to unrest in Niger
Attacks took place this past weekend in Niger on 16 and 17 Jan. Christian schools, churches and homes were burned and a SIM mission compound was part of the attack. More than 40 churches were affected.
These attacks have left believers in cities across Niger in a state of fear, pain and destruction. The violence has killed 10 Nigeriens, damanged millions of dollars of property and left a community stunned.
How to Pray
How to help
Please indicate project #97308 when communicating with us about this project.
Philippines Mission Centre increases reach
We give thanks for the growing number of missionaries serving in the country and being sent out from the Philippines.
Please pray we can raise sufficient funds to acquire a property. This will be used for operations support, training, member care and counselling of missionaries, meeting ministry needs into the future.
Christians keep the hope amid Ebola fight
Many health workers died of Ebola in Liberia while trying to save others. Statistics show there was one doctor to 100,000 people in Liberia prior to the outbreak. It is now evident that Liberia will be in a more serious condition long after Ebola is gone. Six words sufficiently summarize Ebola in Liberia: panic, pain, horror, trauma, death and grief. Nearly all health centers were closed or abandoned because of lack of adequate medical supplies, infected facilities due to contamination, and terrified or traumatized health workers.
Many places of work remain closed; workers are asked to stay at home, all schools are closed and a curfew is in effect. With many roads still damaged and inaccessible due to the war, coupled with only one percent of the country currently on the national power grid and water supply, the chaos and desperation cannot be overemphasized. It is believed that the total number of Ebola deaths may be far higher than the official number. It is also believed that more people have died of non-Ebola, curable diseases than those who have died of the deadly virus. Between July and September, Liberia’s sick were left to fend for themselves during the chaos that ensued when the virus reached the capital city.
We are currently witnessing a slowdown in the rate of infection and the number of deaths caused by Ebola, but health experts remain cautious and advise that all remain vigilant. The body of Christ here continues to pray for God’s intervention and healing of the land. The deadly virus is still in the neighboring countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone, which adds to the complexity of the situation.
The Evangelical Church of Liberia (ECOL) is absorbing its share of the effects of Ebola. To date we have confirmation of 22 infections, 10 deaths and five quarantined families. We have eight orphans and 14 children who have lost their financially supporting parent. At the Faith United Evangelical Church in Caldwell, Montserrado, a whole family died of Ebola. And at the Jamaica Road Evangelical Church in Bushrod Island, Monrovia, a father and his five children were taken into an Ebola Treatment Unit recently after showing full symptoms of the virus. His wife had died two weeks earlier. These statistics represent reports from 40 percent of our churches located in and around urban communities and within phone coverage. We have no way of getting information from the majority of churches in remote areas.
We have many ECOL members who have lost family members to Ebola. In one instance, a member of the Evangelical Christian Fellowship lost 15 family members to the deadly virus in just three days. Also, 10 ECOL members and scores of relatives have died of non-Ebola and curable illnesses since the outbreak because of the closure of health centers when the virus outbreak intensified in Monrovia.
ECOL does not only see difficulties, but opportunities in the midst of difficulties. With trust in God we have been ministering and demonstrating the love of God despite limited resources, and we are very grateful for the strength and courage and wisdom that only must come from Him.
Please pray with us:
§ for God’s intervention in Liberia to stop Ebola and heal the land.
§ for more people to come to Christ during this crisis.
§ for God’s intervention to stop the virus in other countries and from spreading to other nations.
§ for wisdom and guidance as we minister in difficult circumstances.
§ for funding for the Liberian Church Ebola Response project.
§ for protection of health workers serving with very high risk.
§ for provisions of four Ebola orphans we feel burdened to continue to support.