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Planted by God

A Letter From Gary and Marlene Van Brocklin, serving as Regional Liaisons for South Asia, based in the U.S

November 2018


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The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace —
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies —
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
Isaiah 61:1-3

What a joy it is to see a display of God’s glory take place before our very eyes in Sri Lanka and now in the U.S.A.! From terrifying imprisonment by the Taliban to a miraculous escape on the highways of Karachi. From the constraints of a refugee internment camp to a welcome reception at Sri Lankan churches. The good news is that now the Indrias Javaid family is settling in as residents in the pleasant town of Turlock, California. As we have written in previous letters, we have accompanied the Javaids in Sri Lanka for the past four years and have played the role of legal advocate, cultural interpreter as well as uncle and aunt to them throughout their uncertain lives. Now our role has changed to one of fellow celebrants of the Spirit of God’s transforming work. Thanks be to God!

The congregation of Central Presbyterian Church in Merced has welcomed them with open arms, and it is a joy to see so many earnest expressions of hospitality and goodwill. It is the highlight of the Javaids’ week to arrive at the church and experience this Christian love that they dreamed of for many months and years. Last week, Gary and Indrias shared part of his story with the congregation, and it was heartening to see how the whole Javaid family soaked in the warmth of fellowship, the inspiration of worship and the peace of unfettered religious freedom.

Last month, we traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to visit the Saul family (Indrias’ brother Saul and sister-in-law Huma, their four daughters and one grandson). They landed in the U.S.A. the week following the Javaids’ arrival and are rejoicing in their new opportunities in the U.S.A. As asylum seekers registered with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, they were not allowed to work in Sri Lanka, and now they are all able to seek employment. Their eight-year-old grandson is delighted with his male teacher who will give him high fives.

The children are leading the way of adapting to and affirming their new homeland. They are glad to meet new school friends from Central California and China, Syria and Afghanistan, Las Vegas and Laos. They have felt welcomed into their new communities and are pleased with the more relaxed teaching environment where the emphasis is more on group learning and less on formality and individual memorization. We grieve the reality of the frequent discrimination that too many Christian girls face on too many street corners and shops in the bustling cities of Pakistan. Yes, there is bullying and discrimination in the US schools as well, however the means for resolution of the issues are more readily available. We are dismayed with the current atmosphere of mob activity and violence as some Pakistanis react to the acquittal of Aasia Bibi on the charges of blasphemy. The Javaid and Saul families are relieved to no longer be part of a despised minority. We would appreciate prayers for the country of Pakistan and for wisdom, courage and safety for Gary as he travels to Lahore during this time of unrest.

We mourn the turn of events in Sri Lanka. President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament, deposed the prime minister and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa (under whom religious freedom and civil rights were threatened and trampled at times). Please join us in praying for the future of Sri Lanka, that it will be a place of joy and freedom.

Isaiah’s vision of this transformation helps us understand what God’s blessing of glorious grace really looks like. We rejoice that the Javaid and Saul families serve as messages of joy instead of news of doom, and that they now have praising hearts in place of a languid spirit. We see them as replanted by God to display his glory.

As this Christmas season approaches, may we all be messages and messengers of joy to a hurting world. Thank you for your financial gifts to Presbyterian World Mission. Your gifts of support make ministry in Christ’s name happen!

Gary and Marlene

Please read this important message from José Luis Casal, Director, Presbyterian World Mission

Dear partners in God’s mission,

We near the close of 2018 inspired by the hope of Christ. God is transforming the world, and you are helping to make it happen.

Thank you very much for your support of our mission co-workers. The prayers and financial gifts of people like you enable them to work alongside global partners to address poverty, hopelessness, violence and other pressing problems in the name of Jesus Christ.

Every day, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-workers are blessed to be able to walk alongside their brothers and sisters across the globe. Listening to each other in faith and in friendship, they learn from each other how to work towards a world in which everyone flourishes. Acting upon what they discover together, PC(USA) mission co-workers and our global partners strengthen the body of Christ.

Because you are an integral part of God’s mission, I invite you to become more deeply committed to Presbyterian World Mission. First, would you make a year-end gift for the sending and support of our mission co-workers? The needs in the world are great, and World Mission is poised to answer God’s call to serve others.

I also invite you to ask your session to add our mission co-workers to your congregation’s prayer list and mission budget for 2019 and beyond. Your multi-year commitment will make a great difference in our involvement with our partners. The majority of our mission co-workers’ funding comes from the special gifts of individuals and congregations like yours, for God’s mission is a responsibility of the whole church, not a particular area of the church. Now more than ever, we need your financial support!

In faith, our mission co-workers accept a call to mission service. In faith, World Mission, representing the whole church and you, sends them to work with our global partners. In faith, will you also commit to support this work with your prayers and financial gifts? With hope and faith, I await your positive response!

At God’s service and at your service!

José Luis Casal
Director

P.S. Your gift will help meet critical needs of our global partners. Thank you!


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