A Kingdom Story. What makes for a kingdom story?
Well, like most good stories, there are interesting characters....let’s start with Shant and Ginny Manuel!
Many people in our culture who are nearing retirement age (I hope I haven’t revealed any secrets!) have a desire to find as much security in their lives as is possible. And that would include financial security. Shant and Ginny have done the opposite. When others have been tempted to settle down and coast, Shant and Ginny have embraced a kingdom adventure, full of risk and uncertainty.
Stories in the kingdom have potential for great surprises. Great turns. Mustard seeds become flowering trees. Mountains get moved. That’s what’s happened in 2010 in the ministry of Far Corners.
Shant and Ginny have felt called to work with God’s people in North East India, a place of incredible need and incredible opportunity. From the beginning they (and the Board of FCM) have hoped and prayed that God could use this ministry to do three things: to train pastors and lay leaders, to build churches, and to concretely meet some of the needs of the poorest of the poor.
For a number of years now Shant has been taking teams to do theological training for pastors and lay leaders in North East India. I have twice had the privilege of being a member of those teams, and I can tell you that the conferences Far Corners has been sponsoring have been deeply appreciated by our brothers and sisters in India. They are meeting a critical need in a part of India where the church is experiencing tremendous growth, growth that needs to be appropriately rooted and grounded.
That’s been happening for a few years now, and with each trip the conferences are getting more and more focused and effective.
Up until this year, the other two goals of Far Corners have been largely aspirations. We’ve wanted to build modest churches, and care for the poor, but it hasn’t always been clear just how it could happen or where the resources could come from. Praise God! In 2010 we’ve seen dreams, the kind of Spirit inspired dreams the prophet Joel writes about, become realities!
Last fall, a church was built for a congregation in Lathabari in the state of West Bengal. It is a wonderfully functional building that also has the merit of being beautiful. In India, beauty and colour are prized. It’s inspiring to see Far Corners construct a modest building that manages to please the eye as well as encourage the heart.
This past year has also seen Far Corners commit to regularly supporting the education of twenty boys in the state of Sikkim. These boys come from situations of absolute destitution, and now these boys are being loved and given a first rate education. A new future, full of hope, has opened up for them.
Church leaders being trained. Churches being built. The poorest of the poor having their empty cups filled with cold water.
Kingdom stories inevitably start with risk and uncertainty. (Some call it faith!) Kingdom stories unfold in fruitfulness and joy. That’s been the story, the kingdom story, of Far Corners in 2010!
I encourage you to do all you can to support this ministry. Be a part of the story!
Rev Mark Harris
Senior Pastor, Grace Chapel, Halifax
2010 truly has been a year of great blessing! The most recent mission trip saw thirteen members of Whyte Ridge Baptist Church in Winnipeg join myself and another leader from Halifax. It was very inspiring to see how the team from Whyte Ridge made it a priority to involve their entire church in this outreach to all ages. The team conducted conferences for pastors, women and youth in three locations in West Bengal with over 300 attending in total. Some of the team worked alongside members of a local congregation to start construction on their new church building – something their pastor had been praying for, for many years. Praise God that, due to generous support of His people, the entire cost of this church - $8,100.00 – was easily covered. We were also privileged to be able to provide help through ministries of mercy to orphans, the blind, and others in need. Recently, our regional coordinator in India, Shakti Basumata, was able to give out 165 warm blankets to people from 13 different churches in rural West Bengal before the coldest weather arrived.
February 10th will see me returning to India with a group of seven – six from Stoneridge Fellowship, and another local pastor who is coming for his third time to teach and encourage pastors. Please remember us in prayer as we conduct pastoral training and women’s conferences in West Bengal and Gangtok, Sikkim. If you feel God urging you to be involved in future mission with us, please contact me anytime. Finally, content is being finalized and posted to our website - really! Please visit www.farcornersministry.org toward the end of February. Thanks you for your encouragement and support as we seek to serve faithfully!
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Dr. Shant Manuel
Executive Director, Far Corners Ministry
CRA #812210615 RR0001