A Drop in the Ocean (By Manik Corea)

In a few days time, my family and I leave Bangkok, Thailand, where we’ve been for the last 10 years, to go on a 3-month sabbatical to the United States. Most of it will be spent in South Carolina, some of it we hope in rest, lazing on the warm beaches of the Atlantic. There will no doubt be time to reflect back on all that we have experienced and seen in the last decade.

As I look back over the years of our time here in Thailand, the last six of which have been as planter and team leader of All Nations, our NAMS Base Community in the city, I am sure there will be sadness and regret for how I often let my human weakness and sinfulness get in the way of being a faithful and fruitful disciple, husband, father and leader. I certainly wish we had been more urgent and passionate to reach the lost.

Sure, over the years, we at All Nations have reached a few peoples, discipled refugees and expats from many nations, even baptized a couple, shared the Gospel to many others including neighbors and friends, and generally tried to be a blessing to those we met. However, in real terms, the impact of All Nations in so big a city has been minimal, like a drop in the ocean.

Bangkok is home to some 12 million people, a million or so whom are undocumented. The majority of Thai people here are Buddhist who have never heard the name of Jesus or understand really what He is. There are people from countless nations, some bordering Thailand, who live and work in the city. Most may never meet a Christian.

However, one thing I can say with all confidence is that we are in a new season of the work here in Thailand.

About a year ago, the Lord began to open a door for work in a Christian university student center and hostel. All the students there are Thai, the majority are unbelievers. Our new leader of All Nations, Isaac, with his wife Pat, are now renting an apartment on the grounds of this center. We call it our Mission House. Already students are coming over to watch football (or soccer) matches and to cook and eat together. Or they play basketball with other students regularly now.

We believe God is calling us to reach, make disciples, raise up Christ-devoted leaders and, along with our on-going work with people of different nations, plant in time a worshiping community/service meeting on a different day to when we meet on Sunday, to reach many more. It is what all NAMS base-communities (and the churches we plant) are called to do.

Isaac and Pat have already started an English Club meeting every Friday. They have begun to meet with some of the Christians students one-on-one and in small group meetings to make disciples among them. We are hoping that John Gansalves from India can complete raising funds to join us as a Global Apprentice to help this work. Others are praying about coming to join our team as well, but we hope to be raising disciple-making leaders from those God has already brought to us.

It is a vital work. It is the work of a NAMS Companion. We have the privilege to be called by God to live, pray, reflect and study God’s Word, give towards our work globally and locally, and to make disciples of our families and of people around us, with the goal of helping to plant new communities of faithful men and women of God.

Thank God that He is ever faithful, even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). But His desire is that we will be truly faithful as salt and light in the world, to make a difference to those around us.

Please pray that All Nations in Bangkok will be found faithful in all God’s called us to be and do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Drop in the Ocean (By Manik Corea)

On the (Gospel) Road to Mandalay (By Revd Manik Corea)

Mandalay boatsAt the beginning of this month, 3 NAMS Companions and one NAMS Global Apprentice from Jacksonville, Florida, USA and Bangkok, Thailand left for Myanmar. Our destination was the 2nd largest city in Myanmar, the old royal capital of Mandalay with its iconic Mandalay Palace surrounded by a moat and multi-cultural influence.

This was the second NAMS team to visit Mandalay at the invitation of Anglican Bishop David Nyi Nyi Naing, who is also a NAMS Guardian Bishop, following our first trip in August 2016. This time, we shared and taught most of the clergy from the Archdeaconry of Mandalay, along with a few ordinands and the heads of the various Diocesan departments.

Our aim on this visit was to lay the foundation for a new NAMS Base Community (NBC) out of which to partner with the Diocese to make disciple-making disciples, raise disciple-making leaders and help them ultimately plant more disciple-making congregations in the unreached people groups and regions of their Diocese.

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We taught on topics like ‘the kind of disciples Jesus wants’ (after John 8:31; 13:34,35 and 15:8); ‘obeying the final command of Jesus’ (Matthew 28:18-20) and how to mobilize the local church to join in the Mission of God, to reach a lost world. We did practical sharing and training on how to disciple and reach young people through community outreach like sports ministry, the arts and education.

There was also some very practical teaching by NAMS Trainer Clay Hamrick on how to tell your story of faith or testimony in under 3 minutes and how to share the Gospel using the 3 circle diagram method.[1] Additionally, we had participants go out on the streets of Mandalay to prayer-walk one evening, something most of the clergy and lay-leaders had never done. This led to some encouraging feedback the next morning.

An outcome of this visit was that we have identified and will be working with a number of key clergy and lay-leaders to lay the foundation for a new NAMS base in Mandalay in partnership with the Diocese of Mandalay. We thank God for the welcome and partnership in the Gospel that we are building with these brothers and sisters.

This envisioning trip to Mandalay is an example of the kind of pioneering mission work that all NAMS Companions are called to. Years ago, God gave us a charge through the retired Anglican Archbishop of South-East Asia Moses Tay that has guided our work ever since. He called us to attend to 4 things primarily. NAMS Companions are always to:

‘Preach and teach ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified’;
‘Plant churches wherever God opens the door’;
‘Obey the Holy Spirit’ and
‘Never break the Word of God.’

Our primary strategy then is to send or raise up NAMS Companions in a given location to establish a NAMS Base Community where God opens the door. From there, we model, grow, train and send disciple-makers and church-planters in partnership with other churches.

To do this, we need your help and partnership to pray with us to be faithful and for more laborers, for work God has called us to in Mandalay and in many parts of the world. If you would like to be a NAMS Global Intercessor and receive once-a-month prayer updates, please write to Mary Garrison at mary.garrison@namsnetwork.com

If you would like to give a dedicated and exclusive gift towards our the establishing of a new NAMS Base Community in Mandalay, please use this link:

https://tithe.ly/pledge/#/campaign/311251

Thank you

 

 


[1] You can watch Clay teach the 3 circles method here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOtaVvCZBGE

On the (Gospel) Road to Mandalay (By Revd Manik Corea)

NAMS Novena 2017 Report – ‘If you say go…’

It was the launch of a new chapter for NAMS; a glorious deepening of bonds between global companions old, new and unfamiliar; a new exciting phase in the global work that God has called us to; a time that will live long in our memories….

NAMS Novena

There are many ways we can describe the NAMS Novena that took place from 19-26 April 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand. What is certain was that it was a significant moment in our collective history, marked by laughter, joy and anointed times of worship, sharing, testimony and fellowship around tables and the Table of the Lord.

We were active participants, along with the congregation that met at Khlong Toey Church on 21st April evening, to the passing of the baton from founder/Servant General Jon Shuler to Manik Corea, the new NAMS Global Executive, and his team.

With one voice, 25 Companions and Spousal Companions, including 2 serving bishops, committed as to live and hold each other accountable to the NAMS Rule and Order, to work to fulfill Jesus’ final command (Matthew 28:19-20) by making disciples who make disciples, raising disciple-making leaders and planting disciple-making churches.

The retreat on the weekend of 22nd April, attended by 28 of us, was an exciting time of clarifying and agreeing to a revised Rule and Order, which outlines the principles governing our global order and their practical outworking around the world. We also had wonderful times of prayer, worship and fellowship over delicious Thai food. We were blessed by the serenity and beauty of the Garden of Gospel Peace, run by Franciscan Friars who looked after us with great care. Surrounded as we were by idyllic rice fields and fish ponds, we felt the sure presence of God’s Spirit calling us to venture further on to greater exploits, working with His faithful Church, till the earth is covered with the knowledge of the glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14) .

All in all, 13 different nations represented by NAMS companions, spousal companions, 3 bishops, aspirants and friends as far afield as Chile, Congo DRC, Egypt, India, Taiwan and England were present. A number of our other companions and spousal companions were not able to be there and we dearly felt their absence. Still we look forward to the next one in 4 years or so.

We were grateful most of all for the prayers of our Global Prayer/Intercessory Team led by Mary Garisson-Ruiz, and by many of you reading this who thought and prayed for us during those days. We certainly felt their and your prayers.

If there was one song that captured the thrust of the Novena, it was the song ‘If you say go’ – taught to us by our worship leaders – companion Pete Matthews and our new NAMS friend, Susheel John (Manik’s cousin from Singapore). There words are an apt summary of what we pray God will help us do following this Novena:

‘If You say go, we will go.
If You say wait, we will wait.
If You say step out on the water,
And they say it can’t be done;

NAMS Novena sessions

NAMS Novena 2017 Report – ‘If you say go…’

NAMS Novena 2017

As many of you will be aware, from April 19th – April 26th 2017, we will be having a global gathering of NAMS companions, spousal companions, aspirants and bishop advocates in Bangkok, Thailand.

As you read this, about 32 companions and guests, including 3 serving Anglican bishops, are in or on their way to Bangkok. They will be coming from countries as far afield as Chile, USA, South Africa, Egypt, UAE, India and Singapore.

Since it’s founding in 1994 as the North American Missionary Society, NAMS has grown under God’s gracious hand, to become a global missionary community of global pioneering church planters and disciple-makers.

We are a band of brothers (and sisters), accountable to each other under the word of God and working to extend God’s kingdom to the ends of the earth. We are called to work in unity with God’s global and faithful Church and to help her be obedient to Jesus’ final command (Matthew 29:19).

The Novena is a once-every-4-year gathering. We will be missing quite a few other companions and supporters who cannot make it for one reason or another. Still, we expect this to be a significant moment in the history of NAMS as a missionary order in this Novena. (Note: ‘novena’ is simply the Latin word for the number 9, and we want the 9 days we spend together, including a day for travel, to be time well spent praying together, worshiping, sharing, encouraging and strategizing for the next season of our work).

During this Novena, we will also be having a special Commissioning service where NAMS Companions will commit under God to a common rule and a common work, globally dispersed.

Our acting Global Executive Officer (GEO) Revd. Manik Corea, will also officially be commissioned into the role of leading the day-to-day running of our work under our overall leader and Servant General, Canon Revd. Dr. Jon Shuler.

The general outline of the event will look like this:

Wednesday 19th April evening Arrive in Bangkok for dinner at SCC Guest House
Thursday 20th April

All- day

NAMS Open Day @ Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) Building: including worship and testimonies.
Friday 21st April Evening – Service of Commissioning of NAMS Global Executive and all new Companions (Khlong Toey Church, Bangkok).
Saturday 22nd April – Sunday 23rd April NAMS Companions/Spousal Companions/Bishop Advocates Retreat at Fransciscan Foundation of Thailand
Monday 24th April After breakfast, morning departure from retreat to onward journeys.

NAMS Global Executive Team NAMS Servant General. NAMS Board meets in the evening.

Wednesday 26th April Remaining executive team and companions depart Bangkok

We so covet your prayers for us during this time. If you would like to be an intercessor for us during the Novena, please will you send an e-mail to our NAMS Global Prayer Co-ordinator Mary at: maryalicegarrison@gmail.com

Thank you for your continued support.

 

NAMS Novena 2017

“Thank You” NAMS Co-workers

Many of our readers will be very aware that the great Apostle constantly recognizes and thanks the many men and women who joined him in his ministry to the nations. Almost every epistle begins and ends with their names. Some are famous in the history of the faith, and some are now known – other than by their name recorded in Scripture – only to God. But these co-workers constituted the apostolic teams that took the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Without them, it is difficult to imagine the impact of the first generation of witnesses that went out to change the world. Careless reading of the New Testament can leave us aware of only a few names, but careful attention shows us dozens upon dozens.

What was true for the first generation of pioneering servants of Jesus has been proved true for the ministry of NAMS as well. Almost from the day we began, God has given us co-workers who have assisted us in the challenge of bringing the great Final Command of Jesus back to the center of the church’s life. Some of those co-workers have gone home to the Lord. Some have served with us only briefly. And some, God be praised, are serving with us still.

We pray daily at 10:02 a.m. from Luke 10:2—for “the Lord of the Harvest to raise up laborers to go into the harvest.” We pray that some of them will join the community called NAMS. Neither the Lord nor NAMS mean only “laborers” who will “sell all” and go to foreign lands. God needs “laborers” to be raised up right where each of us lives. There is no place on the face of the earth that has too many servants of the Lord. Nowhere!

What constitutes a “laborer” for the harvest? It is very simple, really: a man or woman who is ready to obey, right where they are. God needs disciple-making disciples everywhere, and there are too few. These are the laborers for the harvest.

For most of us, the journey to even wanting to be a disciple-making disciple, let alone learning to really be one, began very simply and has taken much time. But over and over the beginning has a similar set of steps. We met someone giving their obedience to Jesus and we wanted to be like them. We started to learn how to worship faithfully and serve where we lived. Then we learned that we must grow to take our part in the work, the prayer, and the giving which help spread the kingdom of God.

Co-workers with NAMS have folded fliers, answered phones, created PowerPoint presentations, cared for the children, cooked dinners, picked up the mail, shopped for the food needed on retreat, picked up people at the airport, met for prayer, led worship at training events, licked stamps, designed stationery, and prayed for us when we were sick, discouraged, or almost broken. A few have gone to the ends of the earth with us.

How we thank God for every NAMS co-worker, and how we pray you might become one of them! Will you pray about it? Will you go online today and join us?

— Jon Shuler
15 Nov 2016

“Thank You” NAMS Co-workers

‘See how they love one another’. By Manik Corea.

The second factor common among rapidly-multiplying disciple-making movements around the world is authentic community founded and centered on Jesus.

A disciple made in the image of Jesus will also be joined to the community that follows Him. Jesus never called anyone to follow Him who he didn’t also call to into His Church, the body of His disciples who together constitute the living, walking tangible expression of His kingdom coming on earth.

Authentic Christian community (be it in the smallest possible unit of the church anywhere in the world—the two or three disciples gathered, or in her larger settings) is focused only on one thing: being truly aligned with the revealed will and heart of Jesus, her King and Lord.

Paul makes the point in 1 Corinthians 3:11 that there can be only one foundation for authentic Christian community: Jesus!

If the foundation of a building is weak, it is structurally unsound. It would then matter little if the building was a towering sky-scraper or a humble wooden hut. Both are in danger of spectacular falls in moments of great disaster. Discipleship, individually and corporately, must be rest on Jesus alone if it is to stand the test of time and tide.

The sign of such authentic Jesus-centered community is that we love one another.

In John 13:35, as NAMS Servant General Jon Shuler often points out, we have one of the few records in the Gospels where Jesus actually defines what his disciples will be or do. Here, Jesus states clearly that his disciples will love the community of faith they are planted in.

Indeed, Jesus goes on to say that all people will know we are Jesus’ disciples by our love for one another. I knew a Japanese Christian who came to faith in his home country when he happened to visit an Anglican church there and was struck by how much the Christians both welcomed him in and loved each other. It was only a matter of time before he became one of them.

The disciples’ love and loyalty to Jesus must be matched by an equally dedicated love for one another. At the NAMS Asia Regional Retreat this August past, I was meditating in a time of quiet reflection on 1 John 5. The first verse really convicted me: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.” We cannot be born of God and not love God’s people. There are no exceptions to the “whoever” of verse 1.

What’s more, authentic community will hold firm the plumb line of God’s truth as reality-defining, refusing to bend and shift along to changing cultural mores, popular fads and the spirit of the age. At the same time, it will be a community of grace, stooping down to lift up the oppressed, the poor, the cast-away, and the unwanted—a friend of sinners like her Lord and a community like nothing earth can provide.

Wherever disciple-making disciples seek to spread the Gospel and the Kingdom you will also find such authentic Christian communities planted, watered, and multiplied.

— Manik Corea.

Missionary Presbyter,
All Nations Bangkok Team Leader,
NAMS South-East Asia

‘See how they love one another’. By Manik Corea.

Teach us to pray. By Manik Corea.

The first factor that fuels the growth of disciple-making movements around the world is passionate prayer.

Prayer and disciple-making are intimately linked. Prayer is one of God’s greatest gift to us. He gave it so that we would keep and be in indispensable spiritual communion with Him for all our lives. It is the vital artery of the Christian life. It is also a primary way we can love, support, and care for one another.

“Prayer is not learned in a classroom, but in the closet” (E. M. Bounds) and those who desire to be greatly used of God in the public arena had better be greatly known by God in the private hidden closet of prayer.

We have in the Scriptures the great examples left to us of God’s apostles and prophets, who were men of prayer. The apostolic letters bear witness to the prayers that Paul prayed in abundance for the disciples he made and mentored—and just as much he pleaded and entreated them to do the same for him (see Romans 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; cf Colossians 4:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; Romans 15:30; Philippians 1:19).

He took his cue from the master disciple-maker, Jesus, who so modeled a life of prayer that the disciples were compelled to want to pray like him (Luke 11:1). Jesus spent a night in prayer for those he would turn into his apostles (Luke 6:12-13). More than that, he often wrestled in prayer for them (E.g. for Peter in Luke 22:32 and John 17:9).

In fact, John 17 in its entirety is a beautiful record of a prayer that Jesus prays on their behalf. He seeks the Father for a number of things for them and for the disciples who would come from them (see John 17:20). These include: that they may be united (vs 11), filled with great joy (vs 13), be protected from the evil one (vs 11 and 15), be sanctified by God’s word (vs 17), and be sent out into the world (vs 18).

We do well to pray the same things for those we are making disciples of.

Great pray-ers make for great disciple-makers. Joel Comiskey, a well-known consultant in cell group multiplication, reports from his extensive research that disciple-makers who regularly and intentionally pray for their disciples are more likely to see those cells multiply.

As a NAMS companion, I am aware how much I need to improve and grow in this area. But, I want to because I have a personal investment in the lives of those I am called to disciple, lead, and help to multiply. Thank God that He has not left us to struggle on our own, but has given us His Spirit to help us do just that (Romans 8:26-27)!

Brothers and sisters, let us pray.

— Manik Corea.

Missionary Presbyter,
All Nations Bangkok Team Leader,
NAMS South-East Asia

Teach us to pray. By Manik Corea.