What a year this has been! And what a year it still is! So here are some highlights from what promises to be a too-long letter. You may read the updates and go on with your life if you so choose:
- Our training program moved from a beautiful campus (Aenon) to a scattered collection of rented homes. We are yet looking for a permanent place. And a person we have never met gave us a one-time donation sufficient to buy a piece of property.
- Our Sabah training program, iEAT Jr., opened its doors in January with five students and one teacher. Now it has 18 students, three instructors, and others wanting to join. Only four of the 18 are from Adventist homes. But 18 of the 18 are becoming Adventists.
- We started a camp for refugees. This means two annual YD-like youth camps in Malaysia (neither associated in any formal way with Young Disciple Ministries). And as a result of our two camps this year, at least eight campers have chosen to join one or the other of our two training programs.
- The Prewitts took our once-in-five-years vacation this spring. This time we went on a tour of the Holy Land. And on that tour Eugene composed a poem that is at appended at the end of this letter.
- We graduated seven students from iEAT Sr. (The Institute of East Asia Training). All seven are in full-time ministry today.
- Camp-meetings and family camps and retreats where Eugene spoke were in Romania, Germany, the USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand. Heidi accompanied him on most of these trips, though she stayed home in Malaysia during some that were back-to-back with others.
- The world went crazy. But you know this already, so no examples needed here.
- We visited Heidi’s and Eugene’s family last June. Eugene’s mom came to Malaysia for her fourth time in September.
- We printed four more titles in Malaysia and continued the great work of translation of Ellen White’s materials.
- We had other significant success that we can’t put into a newsletter.
OK, those are the high-lights, and here are the details. (Some redundancy with our October update is inevitable. If you read that already, brace yourself.)
In December of 2018 Eugene met with the administration of Aenon Health Farm, near Tampin, Malaysia. Our three years with them were some of their most prosperous years, and as we were growing also, it was becoming less comfortable to stay on the same campus. (There were philosophical differences that brought things to a head.) Our program (iEAT) had been sharing with Aenon dorms, a café, staff housing, and teachers. Now we were told that we needed to find our own home.
And so, out of the nest we went. We moved to the state of Perak, rented a few homes in a quaint little village called Sungai Durian (literally, Durian River), set about becoming our own institution. Our paid staff in January 1, 2019, was three individuals. But by January 1, 2020, it will be eleven full-time and two part-time staff. And our pay-scale went down to accommodate the need for new staff.
Heidi loves our village here. Many of the villagers love her too, and nearly every dog on the major roads wags and bounces when she appears. (She carries a bag of food with her on every walk, giving a few pieces of dogfood to each dog as she passes.)
In searching for property I (Eugene) have viewed some of the most beautiful places in Malaysia. The most gorgeous are all out of range of our purchasing power (high-power investors and developers have banked on the prolific nature of Malay persons, gambling that the price of property will ever go up and up and up. And this gamble has had the effect of the price of property going up and up and up even before the population expansion warranted it.) But one hill-top property of 3.3 acres has pleased us verily. And in January, if nothing unexpectedly significant changes between now and then, we will make a move on it. Try map point 4.287886 North, 101.046658 E and use “Satellite View” if you want to see the oil palm trees on the property currently.
Just over a year ago, one of our iEAT students, Prescella Francis, accepted a call to help us establish a secondary school in Sabah. She secured land, negotiated with contractors and building supply outlets, and while working on the huge project of building from scratch in a jungle, she opened the school with five students in January, eleven months ago. Those students, four of them, are yet with the school, and fourteen more have joined. Most of these are neighboring persons who are not of a Christian faith. But since attending the school, all seem to be enjoying parts of our faith, like Bible study, scripture songs, and Bible stories, and prayer.
This Sabah branch of our program has been affectionally named, iEAT Jr. (And this inadvertently led to our tertiary program in Perak becoming iEAT Sr.) And iEAT Jr. has started planting many types of fruits and vegetables. (We now know that cassava, sweet potato, peanut, coconut, durian, grow well, and that corn does not grow well at all.)
And over two months ago, the new buildings were finished to such an extent that we were able to use them for our camp, housing all campers, staff and counselors in two buildings (eight rooms). (The camp was, for the second time in a row, sabotaged by well-meaning poorly-informed church administrators. The various strong efforts they made to prevent campers from coming resulted in reducing the number by about 40%. But on a positive note, several elders and pastors visited during the camp and pledged their support going forward.)
I heard a hopeful rumor there. But is a year-end-letter a place to share hopeful rumors? Maybe if they are introduced that way: I heard that the recent annual council voted to reshuffle this union, attaching Singapore directly to the SSD and making KL the new headquarters for a Malaysia Union. If that is true, I think it will be a positive development for this region as some of the strongest churches in the union are found in that city, as well as some of the ablest administrators.
As iEAT Jr. grew, we added two staff (Fayafa and Fiona). And as all the staff are ladies, the school is currently a ladies-only school for boarding students (though both genders are accepted as day students). But Fiona is enrolling in iEAT Sr this year. And Fayafa, it seems, will marry the man of her dreams this year and move away. So if any of you know a spiritual lady with teaching in her blood that might like to volunteer for a year or so in the jungles of Borneo, let me know. If you would pay your own airfare to and from Sandakan, Sabah, we would pay for your visa runs, food and lodging, and give you a jungle experience of pioneering such as you thought was confined to faded-cover story books. The need will be most pronounced later in 2020, and in 2021. And if you a numbers girl who thinks of bookkeeping as ministry (it is), maybe we could even keep you long term. (We might just have to hope you find a husband here for that to work well.) Men, we can’t take you at our girls’ school. It would just be too awkward and scandalous. Until a married couple is there, that is how things will be. (If you are a retired couple, looking for a fine place to retire and do part time mission work, please talk to me. Maybe this can work too.)
One of the great ironies for life is that the head of state of Myanmar is facing accusations of human-rights violations. She won a noble prize earlier in her life for standing up for human rights in Myanmar, even at the cost of her own freedom. But after emerging from jail and becoming a head of state, she has turned a deaf ear, it seems, to the plights of the tribes that live on the edges of her nation. These (including many of the Chin, Zomi, Karen and Rohingya) have been chased out of Myanmar by violence. And many have made their way to Malaysia (which is about 350 miles from Myanmar through Thailand, or by boat).
So iEAT began serving this community this year in two ways. First, we accepted two darling children into our campus of rented homes, John (14) and Julia (10). We started a rudimentary primary program for them and, when we had developed it sufficiently, we let them invite their friends. That was a few weeks ago, and now we are looking at having six children sharing our small spaces until we secure our own property. Second, we had our first MYB (Myanmar Young Believers Camp). About 20 campers (80% SDA) showed up in October and gave a wonderful report at the close of the short camp. Even today several keep in touch with us and report that they are experiencing daily Bible study.
This is a year-end letter, so here is the personal part: in 2018 the Prewitts were scheduled to take their five-year vacation in Maine. But…mom Prewitt had a stroke just days before we were to head out canvassing, and so we spent that time with her in her home. So in 2019 we made out excursion a year late. We found a deal with an Adventist agent to take a tour of the Holy Land (Jordan, Israel, Egypt) for a total cost of $1800 each (including RT airfare). The trip was full of enlightenment, refreshment, awe, and disillusionment. The latter contributed to this poem that I wrote while waiting in line at a particular popular site:
I walked today where Jesus walked
So very long ago
And if you seek for holy land
I’ll tell you what I know
The hilly meadows that He loved
The garden-like retreats
Have long-since been replaced by men
With masonry and streets
The temple mount now holds a mosque
A place you cannot go
But that won’t hurt you e’en one bit
When the facts you know
When Moses found a holy place
A bush engulfed in flame
That land was set aside and blessed
A wasteland with no name
And why was it called “holy land”
With no chapel near?
The angel answered this for us
“The Lord your God is here”
And so today, for those who seek
To find a holy place
If you invite the Lord to come
And ask the Spirit’s grace
You can have His presence true
In any hill or dale
His promise “I will not leave you”
Is certain not to fail
Jesus loved the garden
And often plied the sea
His Word once spoke with power
And flowers came to be
So not in Old Jerusalem
Where crowds vie for a view
But in a quiet nature walk
Your maker comes to you
And that will be your “Holy Land”
A venerated place
A church of highest privilege
Of heaven, a foretaste
This poem became, I think, one of the most forwarded items that I posted to social media this year. If you find it there, you’ll find an extra verse or two in the comments. But mostly FB, in 2019, was a place for me to review discoveries I made in years past while reading through the EGW archives that were released in 2015.
Are you looking for more about the holy land? Yes, Sinai, Jerusalem, Galilee, Jordan River, Pyramids, boats, good food, good beds, good tour guides. VERY catholic shrines at each place, except the tomb of David which was VERY Jewish. (I thought about wearing my Jewish skull-cap and Malay robe simultaneously, but Heidi advised me against it on grounds that it would incite violence.)
After years of training, iEAT finally has graduates! Our first graduates in 2019, all seven of them, are currently at work in God’s great Asian field; six in Malaysia and one in Cambodia. Another four have taken up mission posts after studying here less than needed to graduate. So through these ten persons iEAT expects to have a never-ending influence on Malaysia.
Our travels this year (the last trip starts Thursday to Aukland) have placed us with wonderful friends in Achan, Germany and in Romania. In January we visited canvassers in Australia. Then worked with the Division at a missional meeting in Bali. Following this we had a similar meeting in Dubai in June. Due to conflicting schedules, we missed OCI in Cambodia. After YD camp (our fourteenth summer in a row there) we did a series in Germany and then Eugene returned briefly to Michigan to get his mother and to speak at the “BootCamp” of the public campus ministries program under Israel Ramos.
www.mengapa.org took life a few months ago, a website hosted in Germany that offers video Bible studies in English and Malay. And American friends have been advertising the site in various parts of Malaysia. You can do that also. Our part is just to be happy that our German and American friends are doing something for this dark country.
Our visits with family were especially warm in 2019, including time with Pam in Arkansas, Mom W in Tennessee and Mom Y in Virginia. Eugene’s nephews are growing into nature lovers and those of Heidi’s that once lived with us are serving our country in uniform. (I typed “their country” and then thought, wait, I’m still American. That is my country even when I am not there. Fixed.) And mother made her fourth and final visit to Malaysia, and took an exciting excursion over to Cambodia where she visited the home of one of her adopted grandchildren. I guess I have given her three now, two boys and a girl, all aged 18-25, so I completely skipped the complicated years. These three are natives of the Zomi, Dusun and Khmer tribes of Asia.
Wow. You read all the way to here? That was 2300 words, similar to Daniel 8:14. And now are you ready to afflict your souls? It is time for….drum roll….financial needs! (I don’t like it that I am always begging. But I have accepted it. All persons are welcome to go to the next email if they care not to read the rest of this.)
First, a report. Not including the special one-time gift mentioned earlier in this report, we have received since October 10 (the date of our last update and appeal) $26,259.20.* Of this amount, about $8427.20* was donated to help with the salaries of our teachers. Then $1999.06* was given to help with our camps. (We estimated this would be sufficient. But as we needed to buy a large canopy for each camp and a generator for one, so it was about $3200 below the actual costs of the camps). The remaining 15,832.94* was unrestricted and will be used for our upcoming building project, where it is needed much. (*All figures of donations are in USD though many donations were in other currencies. These were exchanged by me into USD to get these numbers.)
- We need a truck for our west campus. (We have one for our east campus thanks to a donor from earlier in this year). This will cost, I estimate, about $8,000. [**UPDATE ONE HOUR AFTER PUBLISHING THIS, $9,000 WAS DONATED TO PAY FOR THIS TRUCK** Praise God.]
- We need two small cars for our work. (Both will be used to travel around to Adventist churches in this nation promoting true education and righteousness by faith, as we understand these things.). I estimate that these two cars will cost $4,000 each. (Unless a donor gives money for a new car and says “buy a new car” we will certainly be buying cars about 5 to 7 years old.)
- We have found that translation into Malay is more expensive than previously expected. While we raised the entire amount we expected to need, we now expect to need another $3,500 for translation expense. I am living and learning. Ministry of Healing and GC are large books. [**One hour after posting this, one donor gave $4,000 to cover this translation expense. Amen.**]
- We are starting medical missionary training this semester with a guest lecturer from Germany. We would like about $2,300 to fit up a treatment room and to buy some basic equipment, and to buy some relevant text books.
- We have recently printed Steps to Christ and Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, in Malay, as well as a Malay cookbook. These projects were funded just prior to the last update by a friend of our work. I do not want to ask that friend to fund our next printing of GC in Malay and of Ministry of Healing in Malay. We expect to print 4000 copies of each at a total cost of about 92,000 RM ($22,000). (Malay is a larger language in print than is English, so both books will be printed in two volumes to avoid too large a book, so this is 16,000 actual books.) These will be the 10th and 11th titles we have printed in Malaysia. Never have we raised money to reprint a previous title as we reserve enough to print again when we run low.
- The big expense is, of course, our building fund. And this is where I am hesitant to make estimates. Probably we have enough raised, after buying our land, to do the sewer, foundation, electric, framing, roofing, plumbing. But as paint and tiles and outlets and insulation and landscaping and parking lots are all worthwhile, I’d rather not try to do anything too cheaply. So briefly, we don’t desperately need anything more for the building fund. But we would like more. We will build bare bones and add finishing touches as we are able.
- When asking for these big-ticket needs, it is easy to forget small ticket costs. But there are some things worth mentioning that maybe one of you would like to help with in particular:
- A new printer for both iEAT and iEAT Jr. (Geckoes and an unfortunate drop were the undoing of the two we used this year. I managed to get the gecko out, but it was too late for the machine.) With ink, these are each $90 (inkjet) to $150 (laser.)
- Great cultivar fruit trees. We will soon be buying our property, and after having the needed land cleared, the one thing we can do while waiting for the architect and government to approve building, is plant high-quality cultivars of fruit trees. In fruit trees, expensive varieties are generally the best deal (a $15 difference in tree price can easily become a $3000 difference in fruit yield and disease resistance over the life of the tree.) Good quality trees here are generally inexpensive and can cost $8 to $30 each. These would make great Christmas presents to us from children around the world. They could give us Mango, or Mangosteen, or Papaya, or Guava, or Durian, or Jackfruit, or Banana, or Avocado, or Coconut, or Rambutan, or Dragon Fruit. Except Bananas, these are all long-term investments ?. As our plot is a hill top, drainage is great, sun is super, and soil is…poor. But most of these varieties grow well in poor Malaysian soil. ?.
- Revival and educational videos. We are collecting videos from the USA to use as teaching tools this year around Malaysia. And as most of these are produced in western countries, they are pricey! But if you want to mail us a series you think is great, or want to recommend a series that is great, or want to sponsor a series that is great, our lending library is open for your help.
OK, so those are our needs for the next six to twelve months (remember, I don’t send one of these letters very often: six since 2015). [** There are needs I can’t mention in public settings. But one hour after posting this, $3500 was given for one of those needs].
Thank you for reading this far. May the work in your part of God’s field be as productive as the work is here.
We made contingency plans this week for how the ministry will go forward if I were to die or be kidnapped or be deported, or if bank accounts were to be frozen. Our work will just go forward regardless. Do you have contingency plans for your work? Things are crazy enough these days that such plans are more likely than usual to be implemented.
Also, take a look at www.bibledoc.org if you haven’t been there in a year or two. Some relevant newish articles since 2018. But especially check back for a soon-coming article on demon possession and exorcism, as well as a related one on depression and anxiety.
And look there for this update with a sign-up link. If you know anyone that might like to receive this newsletter, have them sign up.
Eugene and Heidi Prewitt, December 24, 2019
HOW TO GIVE (I have made this as easy as I can for everyone)
- For IRS-recognized receipts, send to
Jesus4Asia WITH A NOTE THAT IT IS FOR IEAT MALAYSIA
- Send a check made to “Jesus for Asia” to PO Box 1221, Collegedale, TN 37315. Include the note.
- Call 423-413-7321 to use your credit card over the phone. Tell who it is for.
- Or use this URL: https://jesus4asia.org/invest/projects-missionaries/eugene-prewitt/
- For no receipts at all, zilch, and
hardly a word of thanks, try these convenient methods, no note needed except to
specify a project
- Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
- CashApp to $EugenePrewitt
- ACH transfer to: Routing: 026073150; Account 822000005439 (that is 5 zeros): Account Holder: Eugene W Prewitt
- WIRE to: Routing 026073008; SWIFT/BIC CMFGUS33; Acct Hld: Eugene W Prewitt; Address: TransferWise; 19 W 24th Street; New York, NY 10010; USA
- Send cash with a friend headed our way. Easier than it sounds…
With NZD, AUD, Euro, GBP, Rupiah, Ringgits, email me at email@example.com for local bank details so that we don’t lose much to the exchangers.
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