Giving, Celebrating, and Keeping Watch Through Change
Hearing and reading updates on how our leaders in South Asia and Myanmar have been observing the end of year made me reflect on all those years growing up in the church in India and serving in the church leadership. End of year was always meaningful and fulfilling. There were three things that are really close to our hearts that I dearly miss – giving to the community, celebrating with clothes and food, and more than anything, going to a watch night service on New Year’s Eve. We witnessed our leaders spending so much of their time, energy, and effort into sharing the love of the Father through giving. This type of giving isn’t any event or program – it is a lifestyle of sharing, an act of the loving Father Himself who not having spared His own Son for us does not withhold any good from all of His children.
It was also encouraging to see that at the end of such a difficult year, our leaders were able to celebrate each in their own way with food and clothes (which has got to be a love language in Asia!) with their families, and often with neighbors, and church community.
The New Year’s watch night service in South Asian churches has deep roots very similar to the African American Church and the old Moravian tradition. In my experience, these services contain two parts: i) when we reflect on the year we have had, even with hardship, we give thanks for His goodness that has brought us this far; ii) this is followed by a celebration of what is to come with hope, anticipation, and surrender. This includes what we call the New Year’s promise, where God’s word is shared and we proclaim that over us as a collective. Year after year, Father has always proven to be faithful.
With the rise of omicron cases everywhere, a hard winter in some regions, ongoing political unrest and violence in Myanmar, hope can seem far off. Any sense of anticipation or newness of this year is quickly fading. But that is all the more reason to choose thanksgiving and hope through God’s promises over us. Because these promises aren’t words of shallow pursuit, these promises are words that formed the very foundation of creation, words that can set forth in motion His will for us this year, and is the word Himself that became flesh to give life and light to all humanity.
In His love,
(Peny is the newest member of our HB team. She is from Chennai, now lives in New Zealand, and works for HB as our Communications Director.)
2021 End Of Year GivingAs Pr. Suraj* (Bihar) highlighted, throughout 2021 there were many things we did together: Covid relief, women empowerment, discipleship program and baptisms, and persecution response. We are especially grateful for your end of year giving, as every bit of it was multiplied many fold to bless ministry leaders and their families, fund celebrations, to feed communities, pay bills, and even given away to impact many others.
What is ahead?
One month of prayer dedicated to Myanmar as February 1 marks the one-year anniversary of the military coup | Our 2021 Impact Report is underway | Pastor training and discipleship programs in 2022 | Savings programs for Christian leaders | Women’s empowerment initiatives | Increasing access to clean drinking water, education, sports, etc.
Update: We want to engage and connect with churches, and individual donors in a more meaningful way. So we will be reaching out to you in the next few weeks.
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