September 2019 

Dear Friends in Mission,

The summer is quickly fading, and everyone is now returning to the busyness of the fall season.  As always, there has been much going on in Far Corners Ministry, and we want to bring our donors up to date. 
One of the biggest answers to prayer came unexpectedly just this past July.  Many of you were aware that I have not been able to visit India since late 2012.  During this time Ginny has been leading the teams to India, and I have been doing the same in Eastern Nepal.  After many attempts to solve this riddle, trying to get answers through various levels of Indian bureaucracy, I finally received my OCI.  This stands for “Overseas Citizen of India” and is the equivalent of a life-time visa that allows me to come and go to India with no restrictions.  We had been waiting for this to be processed for over three years, and God miraculously provided a connection with a high-level government official in Delhi, who was able to make this finally happen.  So, after not being in India for the past seven years, I am excited to be going in November!  Ginny and I will be spending four weeks there and doing various types of ministry with a small team.  For me personally, these past few years have brought times of disappointment and frustration, often asking God about the purpose served by this restriction.  However, God has made it very clear that Far Corners Ministry was meant to continue working in West Bengal!  He has done this through the prayer and financial support that continued to come from faithful individuals and churches here in Canada, and through the continued and ever-challenging opportunities provided by the vision of our partners in India.  This situation also led us to ministry opportunities in Eastern Nepal over the past several years, which have been a great blessing.  So, thank you for all your prayers on my behalf.  Even when we do not understand, God is faithful!

Above, I’m very happy is pose with my newly-minted OCI booklet, and on the right is Simon and his family.
This year began with a renewed focus on pastoral education.  At our January AGM, our Board of Directors were excited to discuss emerging opportunities to bring more comprehensive education to local pastors.  We continue to have leaders involved in a part-time program leading to a Master of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS).  To enhance the shared vision of local leaders, our regional coordinator has introduced a new program that will allow many more leaders to have well-rounded training, better equipping them to serve in their local churches.  This program is titled “Church Mobilization and Pastoral Training” or CMPT and consists of five modules completed part-time over ten months.  This program has already started in some areas, and gradually expanding to many more churches, pastors and leaders.  Most classes consist of 20 to 30 students.

In order to increase the quality of education to pastors, we are partnering with a very experienced educator who is doing both the MACS and CMPT programs.  He has worked in ministry in Northwest India for twenty-five years.  He is an ordained pastor and has planted nineteen churches.  Until recently, he worked as an educator with the Hindustan Bible College.  He felt God calling him to a different sphere of ministry and we are very pleased to have him join our team.  As this education is so key for the development of healthy, growing churches, Far Corners Ministry is committed to giving monthly financial support to him, and underwriting the costs for pastors to take this CMPT program.  We are bringing this training to pastors in the most cost-efficient way possible.  Just $50 covers the full cost for one student to take the entire course.  An entire class of twenty students can be covered for $1,000 or $100 per month for ten months.  We would welcome any donations designated for these pastoral education programs.

We presently have seven local pastors that we support on a monthly basis and we decided to increase their support this year before taking on any additional pastors.  What they receive is a very minimal living, so we have raised their support to allow them to better concentrate on ministry.  However, it is still a very modest amount.  We have stepped out in faith to do this, but an additional $200 in committed monthly support would complete the funding for this important need. This could be covered by four donors giving $50 per month.

While we are in India in November, I will be helping with teaching the final module of a current CMPT course in Alipurduar.  All of our seven sponsored pastors are in this particular course, and I will have the honour of presenting their certificates of completion.  Our next mission trips will probably include a trip to Nepal in the spring of 2020 and a trip to India in the fall of 2020.  We will be looking for people who are excited about what God is doing in these countries to join us on both trips.

Again, thank you for partnering with us!  We truly value your prayer and support that makes this all possible.  Please get in touch with us if you would like more information on any of our projects.  We are always available for speaking engagements with any groups large or small. 

Yours in Christian Service,
Rev. Dr. Shant Manuel,
Executive Director, Far Corners Ministry