Philippine Annual Meeting
On Sunday we held a ministerial meeting that also served as our annual meeting of the United Church of God, AIA Pilipinas. Among other things, the ministers discussed a new centralized accounting system for the work in the Philippines and the location of the Philippine national office. It was decided that the office would remain in Davao indefinitely, with the understanding that the location of the national office can change if or when the needs of the Church change.
After the meeting I returned to Manila with Rey and Cynthia Evasco. Monday was spent at the Myanmar embassy in Manila, and thankfully I was able to acquire a visa for Myanmar on that day.
India and Sri Lanka
Tuesday, Dec. 5, I flew from Manila to India. When I arrived in Calcutta late that night, I learned the taxi drivers were on strike. Thankfully, after a bit of persuading, a driver took me to my hotel.
Wednesday morning I had the pleasure of meeting with Tarun Ghosh, a Good News subscriber, and discussing the subject of baptism. I look forward to a future visit to Calcutta to continue baptismal counseling with Tarun.
Wednesday afternoon I flew from Calcutta to Hyderabad and the following morning met with Dr. Ali and her two daughters, Ajumand and Nargis. I first met Dr. Ali and her daughters in 1986. Dr. Ali has been a member of the Church for more than 40 years and is now a part of the United Church of God.
Thursday evening I arrived in Chennai and met with Darwin and Jane Paul. The Pauls are Good News subscribers, and I have corresponded with them for a few years so I was delighted to meet with them for a second time. They shared with me the challenges they face in trying to observe the Sabbath and Holy Days in southern India. They also shared how God has intervened for them in regard to a Sabbath conflict with work.
Friday afternoon I flew to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and spent the Sabbath with our members in Mt. Lavinia. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country that has suffered through decades of war and terrorism. Warfare negatively affects the economy, which depends heavily on tourism, and our members suffer from low wages, underemployment and high inflation. The Church recently was able to help a couple of our members through the Good Works Program.
Thailand and Myanmar
Late Sunday night I departed for the airport and arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday morning. Tuesday morning I boarded a plane for Yangon, Myanmar. I was met at the airport by three of our Good News subscribers and taken to their home. We discussed the challenges they must face every day.
Myanmar is a very interesting country, and even though it is blacklisted by many Western nations, there are several projects underway building luxury houses and condos for expatriates. Even the international airport is being enlarged and updated.
Thursday I departed Yangon for Bangkok and visited with a member there, Fil Olimpo. Fil is an editor of several English-language magazines in Thailand. He has been a member of the Church for many years, but due to his job assignments he is often located in areas without a congregation. Each Sabbath he is able to download sermons from the UCG Web site.
Hong Kong and Home
Friday I flew to Hong Kong and spent the Sabbath with our brethren there and guests from Spokane, Washington, Mr. and Mrs. Gail Allwine.
Monday, Dec. 18, I returned to my family in the United States. Please pray for these members and Good News subscribers and the work God has in store for this area of the world. UN