We’re really excited to have Melvin join us at the EFCCM as Asia Area Director. He has jumped into the role with both feet, and is in fact currently visiting the EFCCM’s missionaries and ministries in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. We appreciate his enthusiasm, his perspective and his compassionate nature, and we trust that God will do great things through his leadership.

I received this recently from a missionary in a Creative Access Country (CAC). It reminded me of how much of what Christ does for us and between us that we often simply take for granted:

Once every couple of months we meet with a local family, who are believers, to have a small worship time together and meet in prayer. They are very musically gifted, so one day we brought the bass guitar and music. Keyboards, microphones, everything was set up. However, they had unexpected visitors! A family of another faith had showed up at the same time. We explained our purpose for getting together and asked if they would like to be involved or at least listen to the music. They enthusiastically agreed.

We brought out the chorus books, played some upbeat Christian music and sang in a mixture of languages and melodies. It was not long before the visiting family was also clapping, smiling and singing along. At the end of the evening they thanked us all for our time spent with them. On the way out to the car we overhead, “Can you imagine, they are enjoying life, each other and having a great time — without even drinking!”

Pray for them as we continue to share and (hopefully) sing together again!

We just received a disturbing update from a missionary serving in a CAC (Creative Access Country). It stated that local authorities had just found and detained several people who were making bombs and other tools of terrorism. Police made their move in time to avoid the deployment of these particular weapons, but that they existed at all is deeply troubling. Until recently this area was so safe and moderate that this threat of violence would have been unimaginable. That has all changed.

There is a great need for truth and love to permeate this area, as a counter to the fear and hate that are being used as motivators. At the same time, there is a need for wisdom and discernment to determine what the true threat level is to continue living within the community. Above all, there is a great need for God’s protection.

We are grateful that the authorities acted quickly and decisively in this particular situation, but we must assume that there is more plotting going on in the unseen corners of the region. Your fervent prayers are needed urgently!

I just heard from one of our families heading back to their country of service that their visa did not come in time to make their scheduled departure. They were able to work with the airline to postpone their flight, which I’m sure is a big relief (flights are expensive!). They have been given assurances that the paperwork is being pushed through, and everything will be official imminently, but the timeline is unclear at this point. While they’re happy to have some extra time with friends and relatives in Canada, please pray that they would hear good news quickly, and would be able to return to the field soon.

Update: I’ve heard word that the visas have come through, and the family has made plans to leave on Saturday. Good news!

The EFCCM has a handful of staff working in Creative Access Countries (CACs). We give that classification to countries that for either political or religious reasons aren’t welcome to overtly Christian organisations. We need to protect these people by not publishing their names and their countries of service. If discovered, they face immediate ejection from their host country — at the very least. I just had a conversation the other day with one of our couples working in such an area, and what they revealed to me was rather unsettling.

Their area has seen growth of Islamic fundamentalism. For many years, the region was home to moderate, even secular Muslims. This is quickly changing. There are training camps now where Muslims are being trained in weaponry. Even moderate Muslims are starting to feel threatened. They view themselves as Islamic brethren, but the radicals do not share that sentiment. Their prevailing attitude is “If you are not also a radical, then we are not brothers.”

Furthermore there is a contingent of Muslims, apparently centred in Europe, that is scouring the internet. They are looking for Christians working amongst Muslim populations. When found, the Christians are reported to local Muslim authorities so that they can be ‘outed’ by available media channels. Recently a couple was forced out of the country when their identity was given on the front page of a local newspaper. You can imagine how that felt in the context of increased hostility and militarization.

Please pray. Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, and yet it is obvious there are those who want to make it so. Pray for peace and safety among Christians following God’s call. Pray for temperance, and for the Lord’s hand to move strongly among those who don’t know him. The truth of Christ is the only option possible for real healing, even for those who don’t seem to be looking for it.