Friday, January 23, 2015

GOD'S MISSION IS AMAZING 2014

Shalom All,

Greetings in the name of the Lord!

Let me quote from Paul;-

"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” - Acts 20 verse 24.

Most of us fall short of this calling, don't we? 

We often feel the other way round ... life is a failure, unless we get a lot out of it, such as recognition, money and earthly success! 

Reflect.

Is that truly the mark of success and happiness? 

No, dear brethren, but reflect again what Paul has said for himself and for you, as quoted in Acts 20 verse 24.

For truly our life is worth nothing unless it is used for the glory of God. Indeed, our most important goal in life is to tell others about Jesus Christ. 

This should be a man's greatest mission in his entire life.

God is looking for more people who will focus on that one great task given by God . 

Will you respond to that call? 


Yes,  I would like now to share with you some very happy news. 

My wife, Jenny Ruth is fully free from cancer after her last treatment on August 19, 2014. However, she still feels weak because her body is adjusting to the hormone treatment given her. Almost every day, she needs to take the hormone medication after her parathyroid was removed. Thank you everyone for covering her in your prayers and supporting her medical bills. 


She continues to pursue her Early Childhood Education degree with Ramkhamhaeng University begun since 2013. She expects to complete it by the end 2015. After that, she needs to complete one year practical training before getting her bachelor’s degree. 
We praise God for helping Jenny pass her examinations. She did very well in her examinations with many “A" grades.  Here is an encouraging quote for all of us sitting for exams.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him” - James 1 verse 5. Thank God for that blessing!

Recently, both of us were admitted to hospital with high fever. Jenny was admitted first, towards the end of July 2014 and then I was admitted early November 2014. The doctors were unable to find the cause of our fever but they suspected it is a bacteria infection. Praise God for His healing, as both of us became well and were discharged.

Of late, we are thinking and considering whether we should aim to establish a "foundation" (for religious and charity causes) where donors will be enabled to get tax exemptions for their donations from the foundation. Such a foundation will have to be  strictly in compliance with local laws for transparency and accountability. This type of set up will also make it easier for foreign Christian volunteers of the foundation to get their social work visas. However, we need to raise a minimum of THB 250,000 (RM 27,000/USD 7,600) to satisfy the Ministry of Interior that our operating expenses are adequate, in support of our application. Do pray with us for this plan to be realized.

The final report for the year 2014.


In the middle of July 2014, our Church Committee decided to cease operating the Basketball Mission. 

During the past 6 months, we have been very busy with other Church activities, particularly giving assistance and praying for the asylum seekers worshipping with us and also participating in an extension activity with 'cycling' evangelism.

Our Sunday Church Service in the early October 2014 has rapidly grown since we begin this church in 2013. We started having only 3 attendees in June 2013 and now we have 64+ attendees up to December 2014. At times, the Church was somewhat packed given the limited space we have in our shop lot. As such, we have downsized the Church stage so that we can accommodate more people during our Sunday Church Service. 

Last year, our Church became known as an AEC Church (ASEAN Economic Community-AEC) because we have worshippers from diverse nationalities attending our Church Service such as from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and United Kingdom. The majority of our regular worshippers are refugees or asylum seekers.

You can read more about our Church activities from the many pictures and videos we post from time to time.

May you pray with us for a fuller harvest in 2015. And may God's abundant blessings be upon you and your loved ones.

In Him,
Rev. Steve Peter H S Kok








Friday, June 13, 2014

1ST YEAR SPRING VALLEY COMMUNITY CHURCH

Shalom all,

Greetings in the name of our Lord!

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! - Psalms 150 verses 1 - 6.

It is our first anniversary of the Spring Valley Community Church since we started on 2 June 2013 in Saphan Mai, Bangkok. God has worked amazingly in our Church, as it is a blessing Church, equipping Church and community Church. Our Church started with 3 worshippers and now we have more than 60 congregation members. 

For the past few months, we were extremely busy with visitors (local and abroad) visiting our Church.

Many of them expressed “thanks to the Lord” for the work we are doing, knowing it is not an easy task. When they saw the Christian refugees, they were moved and even shed tears seeing their impoverished condition and their children obedient and cheerful despite religious prosecution and poverty. The visitors so touched often will share their story with their friends, finding ways to help them.

On 22 May 2014, the Thai military declared martial law and imposed curfew in the whole Thailand, following the political deadlock over the past 7 months. There are many restrictions such as the media, internet and communication access. Since then, the situation in Bangkok looks better and the people feel safer moving around than before. Do continue to pray for peace and stability to return to Thailand and for a peaceful resolution to the political situation. 

Next week, Jenny will be going to the Chulabhorn Hospital to do a bone scan (finding cancer cells) after 7 months respite from radiotherapy. The following week, she also needs to go to the Thammasat University Hospital to follow up with doctors after 9 months' thyroid surgery. Do continue to pray for her full recovery.

The report.


Our Church Schedule of Services and activities have been changed starting 1 June 2014. 

Tuesday       (5.30pm - 7.30pm)     - Teaching Thai Bible for Children
Wednesday  (5.30pm - 6.30pm)     - Teaching English Class
Thursday     (7.30pm - 9.30pm)     - Teaching Diploma in Theological Studies
Saturday      (7.30pm - 8.30pm)     - Prayer Meeting
Sunday        (9.30am - 11.30am)    - First Church Service (Thai)
Sunday        (2.30pm - 4.30pm)     - Second Church Service (Refugees)

The latest update, The Basketball Mission Church’s activities will cease and will instead be integrated with the  general activities of the Spring Valley Community Church, starting 1 June 2014. They will no longer use another house for worship but move to our premises for worship from 9.30am - 11.30am every Sunday. The Basketball Mission’s activity is a sports evangelism outreach but it will now come directly under Spring Valley Community Church. 

Originally, we planned to hold a Church Camp from 24 - 25 May 2014 in Pattaya and to conduct water baptism for teenagers and adults, there as well. However, we have decided to postpone the Church Camp date, due to the present political situation. The new date will be 11 - 12 July 2014.

On 18 April 2014 we started a Refugee Fund to help meet some of the needs of Christian refugees, with the help of Sister Kathleen Mak and others. The Fund helps supply food (5 - 10 kg rice, cooking oil, eggs), hygiene needs (toothpaste, body soap, shampoo, powder) to those who attend our Church regularly. We also help with their basic medical needs(less than THB 500) and materials for Children’s Education (books, transportation allowance, uniform, and stationery).

We have earlier proposed to start a mini “handicrafts training project”. However due to poor response from sponsors for the project, we have to delay this project for the time being. Meantime, most of the refugees are able to secure some temporary jobs in car wash, sewing shop and construction site since last April 2014. 

We welcome all visitors to our place. There is a lot that can be explored and done together for the Lord.

With love and thanks, for your wonderful partnership in Christ Jesus!

Blessings,
Rev. Steve Peter H S Kok




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

OUR LIFE IS A MISSION

Shalom All,

Greetings in the name of our Lord!

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done" - Philippians 4 verse 6.

When faced with a tragedy or a storm of any kind, it can be a trying experienced, as well as extremely difficult for us to understand why such happenings have struck us. We may even feel apprehensive, frightened and lost. We may even be angry and try to play the blame game. In moments like this, a consoling voice will be very helpful and much needed. But from where? But our God works in mysterious ways, ways we may never know!

In the midst of our deepest heartache and pain, we will find hope and courage to carry on with our brokenness. And find Him, our eventual source of hope and strength. With God's help and the help of our caring Family of Christ and the encouragement through his Word and much prayer, we will surely receive the necessary strength to be an overcomer. And be blessed by Him!

Yes, one may be thinking, "I don't know how I could ever get through this." Or one may be battling powerful feelings of despair, suffering, confusion, fear, worry, and even anger. These are all normal responses to tragedy. But as difficult as the life storm maybe you and I in the Lord are not walking alone. God is with us always. He loves us and cares about what is going on in our life.

We must keep our faith and rebuild our lives after a tragedy or difficult situation.

In life we will encounter many challenges including some that may shake our faith to its core and leave us hurting. However, the most important thing when facing those times is to rise up with courage and strength!

The same challenges are faced in starting and building up a church. It is not easy at all to run a Church. We face many challenges. But we must press on even during difficult, or very difficult times.

Let me here share our burden with you so that you can continue to pray for us, as we pray for you too.

For the past 3 months, we received not much offering from abroad compared with last year and our Church receives tithes less than THB 300/per week (RM 32/USD 10) from congregations, mostly Christian refugees. This is just enough to cover fellowship meals on Saturday Church Service.

But we have so many expenditure needs to cover, such as for rental, property tax and other expenses related to the Church. My wife and I are not paid any salary as we commit to serve as volunteers in His service as we surrender our lives to serve our Great God. We pray that we can continue to sustain the Church and keep on serving our Mighty God. 


On 7th February 2014, we started the Diploma in Theological Studies program in our Church that is affiliated to Evangelical Seminary, Canada. Many students have enrolled and are attending the course. Among them are Christian refugees as well as one local Thai pastor. The reasons why they are taking the course are;
  1. They want to know more about the Bible.
  2. To improve their English.
To help them in their progress, I appoint a leader among them who is ahead of the class to explain to the rest of the class in their own language what I have taught. We hold the classes every Thursday and Friday from 7.00pm to 10.00pm. By helping the refugees in this way, we hope that when they migrate to a third country with the paper qualifications and basic English, they will be able to work for a Church or start a Church planting to serve their own community later on. This is one way to expand the Kingdom of God. 

Let me briefly describe here the plight of the refugees I have come to know being in contact with them.
  1. They are not allowed to work by law but many did work illegally to survive.
  2. If they are caught for this, they will be imprisoned and then sent back to their home country.
  3. Visiting them, I saw them eating rice only without meat, sauce and salt.
  4. So I decided to buy them some nicer food in my next visiting trip, treating them a meal once a week.
  5. During the school holidays, their children will find work and they work very hard to earn more money so that they will have money to study.
  6. One orphan has to work very hard to support himself.
We hope to start a 'handicrafts and bags' projects next 2 months and have had discussion with a few Malaysia Christians last 2 weeks ago in regard to seed funding and marketing. On seed funding, we still need to raise more funds to start the project. For sales, we are able to secure a few Christian friends to help out on the marketing. Praise the Lord!

The Christian refugees will do the production side and our team will focus on the logistics of sales. On design, we welcome suggestions.

How do we pay the Christian refugees for work done?

An example to illustrates.

If we sell a bag at THB 200 and we will pay the worker THB 70 for his bag and THB 100 for the other expenses (materials, logistics and administration) while the balance of THB 30 will go into a pool fund. We will use the pool fund to help the Christian refugees needing financial assistance such as for medical treatment, shortage of food, children's education and etc. In this way, we teach them how to fish instead of giving them fish. Also, there is less need to raise funds to help them for the long term. 


Dubbed "Basketball Mission" Church, we launched this on 2nd February 2014 attended by many enthusiasts, many of whom would otherwise spend their time on computer games, social chatting and watching movies. Our ideas are to teach and train the young to be more active in sports activities. It is good for their physical health and mental health also. Many parents allow their children to come and learn basketball. This gives us an opportunity to share the gospel with them. Even the older ones are drawn to watch the game. We have a professional coach to train them for free. Every Sunday evening, we have inter-district Basketball tournament and I was given an opportunity to share 10 minutes of the Gospel to the Basketball teams and crowd. Many of them have taken the first step to accept Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. Thus, God has opened the door, but it takes time to let the seed grow towards maturity.

In God, we trust His mighty hand in the spread of His Kingdom.

Many blessings to all in the Lord.

Blessings,
Rev. Steve Peter H S Kok