Pastor Jeffrey Khoo
All true Christians are mystically joined together in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church. We call this the Communion of Saints (Rom 12:4–13, 1 Cor 12:12–27). This is taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 26,
“1. All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.”
“2. Saints, by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.”
The Bride of Christ is wonderfully united to Christ her Husband (Eph 5:32). Furthermore, in Christ our Head, all the saints “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (Rev 7:9) are united to one another in Christian charity and are totally dependent on Christ and at the same time interdependent on one another. As such “they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces.” ie, the spiritual gifts God has distributed to every member and the means of grace which God has bestowed for His people to grow and be strong in the faith.
The Communion of Saints is a practical doctrine for it is a solemn call to the duty of “fellowship and communion in the worship of God”. G I Williamson in his commentary on the Westminster Confession gives an example, “[T]he Scripture teaches that we are to worship God on the Sabbath. This is the Fourth Commandment. But some have argued that they can worship God by themselves, or at least without any commitment to membership in the visible Church. Others seem to feel no obligation to loyal and faithful attendance at the services of worship in a particular congregation at its stated times of worship on the Lord’s Day. We do not here maintain that there are no other grounds upon which to urge this duty. But we can see that this section of the Confession would condemn such an attitude apart from other grounds. Membership in the Church of Christ is part and parcel to union with Christ. He who is united to Christ is united to other believers. And being united to other believers necessarily entails solemn obligations to them. Thus in the matter of worship, we are not only to consider the Fourth Commandment (which requires the individuals to worship God on the Sabbath), but also ‘let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is’ (Heb. 10:25). Faithful assembly with other true believers is a distinct and compelling consideration.”
To all True Lifers who are able, do return to RELC for worship and service on the Lord’s Day in view of the Communion of Saints.
Rev Dr Park SeungKyu & Dr Ra ChaeWon
Greetings from Tanzania in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers and support for our Tanzanian missions. Throughout 2022, we were able to experience God’s abundant grace here. We would like to share how God has granted His mercy upon us.
Bible College of East Africa Tanzania (BCEA TZ) ended her fall semester on the 25th day of November. The semester started with 22 students but only 18 were able to take the final exam. Sadly, four students were suspended for misconduct. There are still many ethical issues to be corrected for cultural and social reasons, but we thank God for the students who have made many improvements. Our faculty members have been greatly encouraged by the growing number of students who are seriously studying the Bible and actively asking a range of in-depth questions. Please continue to pray that God will send faithful students with a true calling.
Our new girls’ dormitory (Ivy House) was completed in the first week of December with a maximum capacity of 12, but 8 is a manageable number for now. It is located right next to our new library (Stephen Library), far from the boys’ dormitory.
Our faculty members have continued to improve the college curriculum and develop new subjects to strengthen students’ academic skills. Our subjects are wholly focused on the Bible and its core doctrines, but furthermore, we have also offered some practical subjects like Church Music and Pianoforte and Basic IT to make our students prepared for their practical skills in the ministry of the next generation.
We have continued to improve our physical environment too, in order to utilize the dead spaces inside the college site as efficiently as possible. Some of the spaces behind the library have been used as a small garden to supply vegetables, and a parking lot was made in front of the garden. Also, we have made a new main road from the main entrance of the college to the new library. Moreover, we are renovating the entire waterway in the college. Lastly, we are also repairing all the fences for safety and security as the number of people moving into the town near our college is suddenly increasing.
The building of our campus church which is one of the earliest buildings of the college, built in 2006, is in danger of collapse. For safety reasons we are planning to rebuild a new church building as soon as possible in 2023. Pray for the new building to be built strong with a solid foundation for worship and church ministries, and for the funds to be raised smoothly for its construction.
VBS and Kindergarten
The Vacation Bible School (VBS) was held from December 8 to 10, with a graduation service of the Chemchem Kindergarten on the last day of VBS. Miss Bae EunYoung (a missionary from BCEA Kenya), 2 Kenyan students, and 1 Tanzanian student formed a team and completed the VBS at Maasai churches in the border area of Kenya before reaching BCEA TZ. More than 200 students, including Chemchem Kindergarten members, participated in this VBS and had a valuable time learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All expenses for the VBS were borne by Chemchem Kindergarten. The Kindergarten had a total number of 83 students last semester. There was a graduation service on December 10, 2022. A total of 13 students graduated.
Bible Distribution Project
We were able to distribute about 2,000 Kiswahili Bibles in 2022. At first, we thought that we could simply distribute these Bibles only around our region. However, God has stretched His mighty hands to help us and we sent them even to Mwanza and Bukoba, the far western part of Tanzania beyond Lake Victoria, which is about 1,000 km away from here. We earnestly pray that the day will come when all Tanzanian Christians will be able to hold the Bible in their hands and read it.
There is a very delightful testimony related to this Bible Project. We have one builder who built our new library (Stephen’s Library) and girls’ dormitory (Ivy House). He is a very diligent man, and a Muslim. As he has been working together with our college for years, we have been praying for his salvation. How happy it would be if all those who worked at our college could come to know and believe in Jesus Christ? Our professors have been praying for him, and the students have encouraged him to believe in Jesus Christ. Last week, this builder, who until then had not responded, suddenly asked us for three Bibles: One for himself to read, one for his Muslim friend, and one for his children. This is a meaningful start because here in Tanzania, if a father becomes a Christian, his whole family converts to Christianity. So, we immediately gave him three Bibles with great joy. Now we earnestly pray that true faith will spring up in the hearts of that builder, his friend, and his whole family when they read the Bible.
Electricity, Drought and Famine
Owing to the very poor electricity facilities in Tanzania, we have suffered from a shortage of the electricity supply. As a result, the fuel expenses to run the generator for the entire college system have become excessively high. Moreover, since the generator has to be turned on every day, it has been suffering from frequent breakdowns and repairs due to overload. Please pray for Tanzania’s electricity supply to be normalized as soon as possible.
Owing to severe drought, many people here are suffering from shortage of food due to serious famine. The children are even eating banana peels because they have nothing more to eat. Thus, for Christmas, we were able to buy and give Ugali (corn powder for meal) to the church members as a gift. Along with this physical gift, we shared the greatest spiritual gift, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We look forward with great joy of the coming of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
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