Dr. H. C. Stephen is the international representative for the New Testament Baptist Churches Association of Manipur, India. He sends the following ministry update.
Praise God with us for all His goodness and faithfulness during the past six months of lockdown.
Praise God with Us
We were able to conduct four camp programs in small group settings for our three churches. Altogether 20 people professed Christ as Savior and were baptized. We are now conducting discipleship classes both for the children and the adults.
New Church Buildings
We dedicated our main church building on March 1. After that we built two more church buildings. One is now ready for dedication, and the third one will be completed by the end of this month.
In partnership with Baptist Children’s Home of Valparaiso, Indiana, we have over 70 orphans in our care. We run three homes in Manipur, India, and one in Myanmar. The Lord surprised us in many ways during the lockdown. When all the schools were shut down in our state, one of our childcare centers, with 24 kids, continued to meet in the home and finished their syllabus for the year. As the Lord took care of the prophet Eliza during the drought through a raven and the poor widow of Zarapheth, the Lord has provided for our needs in ways we could never imagine. Truly, the Lord is the Father of the fatherless! He helped us walk through the lockdown and a few other ordeals we have faced.
The last two Sundays were phenomenal. After six months, we are now allowed to go back to church. The Lord blessed us with 100 households or families at Calvary, and it was great to see our building fully packed with people. It is obvious we will soon be running out of space and will need to relocate to a larger space and building. We are now accommodating 400 people in a room that is 30 x 90 feet.
Pray with Us
For Wisdom and Perseverance
We pulled out from our old church and association, as we strongly felt that we need a new church or fellowship where we can worship God freely, promote and preserve the purity of the church, teach and practice the final and authoritative doctrines of the Bible, and carry out the Great Commission without any man-made barrier and boundary. We need divine wisdom, perseverance, and boldness as we constantly face ridicule and threats from the enemy.
Our government is increasingly becoming more hostile and opposing to our Christian witness. They left no stones unturned to check, hinder, and limit this noble cause. They scrapped and canceled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of a good number of Christian organizations and Non Governmental Organizations. The parliament just passed a bill that makes effective partnership and collaboration more difficult.
For Engedi Camp Ministry
With COVID-19 lockdowns eased, Engedi Camp is ready to pick up the gear and move forward. We need to be ready for the winter camp. The summer rainwater washed away a good portion of the road. The road needs fixing, a few buildings need painting, and we need to install more bathrooms.
For Our Family Needs
We need both spiritual and physical strength, as COVID-19 is still moving in our town. I am ever busy with the church work, camp work, and childcare ministry. I cannot afford to get sick.
My wife, Chingboi, is readjusting and reinventing herself with household work and women’s ministry.
John is home in quarantine for two weeks, as his roommates tested positive for COVID-19. Since his school has been online since March due to COVID-19, he lost his campus job. He got back the job in August, but now with the home quarantine for two weeks and waiting for his test results, he is low on funds for rent and other needs. Please pray that the Lord Jehovah will heal him and provide his financial needs.
Sarah is busy trying hard to finish her MBA online study and also starting a new business enterprise at Engedi to empower marginalized women and poor families in our church. She also started a weekly Bible study program with girls in our home.
Kezia is anxious and ready to go back to school.