The Pans’ Newsletter – May & June 2021
Posted on 1 Jul 2021 by Elden Pan
May & June 2021 Newsletter
Dear supporters, friends and family,
Â Thank you for your continued partnership with us in our Gospel work here in the Klang Valley, Malaysia!Â
14Â For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.Â
This month has been one of significant change — we found outÂ that the Australian Government is starting to bring back international studentsÂ into New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA) in small pilot programmes beginning July, which was much-anticipatedÂ news for us!Â However, the Principal of Moore College, Dr Mark Thompson, regretfullyÂ communicated to us the realistic situation that it is unlikely we will be able to secure a place to enter Australia in time for the 2022 intakeÂ becauseÂ these pilot programmes prioritiseÂ returningÂ international studentsÂ and those from critical courses first. (https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/medical-post-grad-international-students-the-first-to-return-to-nsw-20210610-p58008.html)Â Â
We were sorely disappointed by this news because as you know, we haveÂ been waiting for close to a year now for things to improveÂ and a further delay to our studies with a 2023 intake was not something we or our church’s ministriesÂ can afford for various reasons on top of ballooning estimated costs, what with our sons growing older.Â
Despite these setbacks, we continue to trustÂ that God is sovereign over all of this and we entrust ourselves to His perfect will.Â And after much discussion & prayerÂ – involving the team of pastors and elders in CERC,Â our consultant in Theological Education, Dr David Peterson, and respective families – we have decided to consider applying to another seminaryÂ for the sake of progressing my seminary education and all its implications.
We decided onÂ Westminster Theological Seminary in PhiladelphiaÂ (wts.edu), which is also well-known for its robust and well-groundedÂ theological education.
I have already applied for the MDiv in Pastoral Ministry program and have been offered a place. We are now waiting for updates on a few scholarships that will help us in bearing the totalÂ cost – which is on par with studying at Moore.
We will be reaching out to each of you individually over the next few days to find out if you’re willing to continue standing with us and sustain our ministry with your financial support given this change of plans. We hope to answer any questions that you might have about our choice of seminary and other related details, and to be encouraged by you in our Lord.
Christian Careers’ Day 2021
Speaking of scholarships, I was engaged by the Gospel Growth Fellowship to deliver an elective entitled “Scholarships & Studying” for their annualÂ Christian Careers’ DayÂ event. The theme for this yearÂ wasÂ “Work is tough. Christianity makes you tougher”.Â I think it was a very helpful choice of topic, especially after a challengingÂ year with many educational institutions and work sectors being greatly affected by the pandemic.Â Seeking to encourage and challenge the larger Malaysian church towards Christ-centered thinking about ourÂ jobs or careers, the GGFÂ team did a good andÂ faithful job in reminding us ofÂ the reality of Romans 8:18-21Â in our world.
“18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.Â 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
It’s so easy to be caught up with our studies and work and miss the larger picture of God’s will for this sinful world. We often look at our immediate experiences or circumstances and judge the reality of our lives according to that.Â
Work has been tough since the Fall, according to Genesis 3 – and we should always be reminded of this truth. We should never place our hopes in our studies or careers, or the scholarships that we receive for that matter because our only one true hope is in Christ alone. And God has graciously,Â in fact, frustrated us over the past year with the pandemic so that we might turn to Him and constantly set our hopes on Him.Â
Â This year’s Christian Careers’ Day promo video
Ministry Matters 2021:
Coaching Future Apprentices/Seminarians
And then, in another conference, Ministry Matters, which took place a few weeks after Christian Careers Day (CCD),Â we were coaching and spurring young men and women towardsÂ full-time paid ministryÂ precisely because there is true hope only in Jesus Christ and His Gospel.Â
Also organized by the GGF, this year’s conference continued the theme from CCD,Â namelyÂ “Ministry is tough”. Not only has the pandemic made ministry more challenging, but we’re also starting to see an increasingÂ “strawberry-ness” amongst the younger Millennials — agreeing with the research that they are moreÂ “easily bruised” under pressure. And so,Â this year’s theme and talks was extremelyÂ helpful for these young adults who are thinking about full-time pastoral ministryÂ to consider carefully the costs, clarify expectations, embrace the nature of ministry and thus, prepare for it according to ourÂ Lord’s calling.
I had the privilege of emceeing and also leading one of theÂ strand groups. I was very much encouraged to see God’s continual work even through the younger cohorts of students here in the Klang Valley (we had 12 churches and 20 universities & colleges represented!)Â as many of them are now going through what I had personally gone through 5-10 years ago when I first started thinking about full-time pastoral ministry. To walk with them, guiding them and praying for them, was a privilege.
Indeed, the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few (Matthew 9:37-38)!Â So let’s pray that God would continue to equip all these young men and women as they heed andÂ obey God’s calling for their lives.
May/JuneÂ Prayer Needs
We covet your prayers and are thankful for your support in these matters:
1. We pray for your continued support even in this change of plans. We pray that we’ll be able to address whatever doubts or questions you might have over the next month or so. It is increasingly difficult to get partners in God’s work and so we do thank God for each one of you!Â
2. Pray that God will help Jou Ee, our two boys and I toÂ adapt to this change of plans as a family. We will be needing to repeat the whole process of Visa applications, health check-ups, packing etc. and plan for ourÂ move to the United States instead of Australia. If all goes well, we will be boarding a 27-hour flight to Philadelphia in mid-August.
3. Jou Ee’s dependent visa is restricted and she will not be allowed to work. Please pray for her as a seminarian’s wife that she will be fruitful with her time there, be it with raising and homeschooling our two sons or serving and loving our new communities.
4. Pray that God will continue to provide for us, and connect us with more like-minded fellow workers who are willing and able to financially support us through seminary. We have an uphill task of raising sufficient funds but we serve a good Master who knows our needs — may we trust Him even more!Â
Soli Deo Gloria,
Elden, Jou, Ethan & Emmanuel
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