About a month ago I returned from a month’s long trip to South Asia. Three of our pastors were held in prison for over a month. Praise the Lord, they were granted bail, but the case remains open. Pray that this case will be closed, and our people released from charges.
My 82-year-old mother had a fall and fractured her back. She was on bedrest for over a month. Praise the Lord, she is now able to get up and walk. Thank you for praying and uplifting her during this difficult time.
While preparing to leave for the USA on March 10th, I received news that one of our pioneer pastors, V. M. Samuel, was rushed to emergency surgery. He was 67 years old. He had a stroke and died at the hospital. The next day we received more sad news. One of the fellow pioneer pastors who came with Pastor V.M. to serve in that region, Pastor John Quadros, died in his sleep on March 11th. Both pastors were the same age and were dear friends. I extended my stay to visit the grieving families and attend funeral services. Finally, I was set to leave for the airport, however I became very ill. I had some sort of food poisoning and I had to cancel my return flight twice. By the grace of God I have recovered and am now home.
Yes, it has been an eventful beginning to 2021. The nation of Burma (Myanmar) is under martial law situation. The security forces have killed hundreds of people since the recent military coup began. The death toll in Burma has been steadily rising as authorities grow more forceful with their suppression of opposition.
The unrest emerging in India, however, is of a different breed. Several states in India approved ‘Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Bill 2021’. According to this law, individuals seeking to change their religion for any reason must ask government permission. The law also criminalizes religious conversions through marriage. Persons could face a prison sentence of three to ten years and a fine of $400. Everyone is under constant surveillance and fears rise among religious minorities, especially Christians, as violence spikes following this controversial new law.
South Asia needs the Gospel of Christ, as I saw the gripping reality firsthand and the Lord impressed the need for action. In developing countries, poverty is perpetuated by lack of education and skills. Poorer children cannot attend school due to fees, sickness from unclean water, or the necessity of having to work to help the family with income.
Through our project, Vocational Instruction Transforms-A-Life (V.I.T.A.L.), Alpha Ministries is breaking cycle of deprived education
through vocational training for skills such as sewing and embroidery. The empowerment of self-sufficiency can break many bonds that the enemy uses to discourage and suppress. A small tailoring business can support an entire family, creating self-sufficiency that will lead to more needs has proven to be an effective means of evangelism.
For April, we have another unique opportunity to give and have our gifts matched. I am pleased to tell you that a friend of the ministry has offered a $50,000 matching challenge, which means every gift we receive by April 31 will effectively be DOUBLED to do twice as much. The Lord has inspired them to help young women and girls out of despairing situation. Prize, any gift you give to V.I.T.A.L. this month will be doubled up to $50,000.
To a struggling woman or girl in Burma or Bangladesh, the sewing machine you provide can be the doorway to a better life. You will help a single mother, orphaned teen, or widow feel the dignity of providing for herself and her family. By providing a family with a sewing machine, you offer them an opportunity to earn a decent living for the first time.
In Myanmar, Nepal & Bangladesh and regions beyond our efforts have been successful. Thanks be to God for His mercy in transforming lives. With your gifts and the generous $50,000, we can reach many more. And thanks to the Matching Challenge, can we count on your help to make the most of this fantastic opportunity? Rejoice with us over these testimonies of work already begun.
TESTIMONIES: The Civil War in Myanmar impacted the Binoo family farm. Because of the unrest, they could not plant. With no planting, there is no harvest. Kim is seventeen, has three brothers and a sister. She heard the Gospel message from a local pastor and now believes in Jesus. She has zeal for the Lord and would like to go to Bible School so she can help suffering people. Now that she has sewing skills through V.I.T.A.L., she wants to help others and minister to suffering people.
The Vinyai family was in a village where two armed groups were fighting, and the road was shut down so that no food or supplies could enter the village. Eighteen-year-old Pathan is one of the seven siblings in the Vinyai family. She came to the training camp and is now a believer in Jesus. She would like to run her own sewing shop.
Like Pathan, Sindu and Mantan are both eighteen and come from large families. They were also driven from their villages because of the war. Both are believers and want to become clothing designers.
Many of the current V.I.T.A.L. graduates from the training have similar testimonies. Lives insecure from war, lack of education and poverty are now stable and peaceful. These souls now know the love of Christ, and many are dedicating themselves in service to others.
Please pray for V.I.T.A.L ministry, the families impacted and give a practical gift in the Name of Jesus to people who need it most. I am humbled and grateful. All additional gifts this month will go towards the challenge. Thank you!