Christian Mission to the Orient

P.O. Box 2363, Joplin, Mo 64803

Christmas 2018
"FEAR NOT- for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the peoplefor today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is    Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

FEAR. Not an emotion we usually associate with Christmas. Christmas is a time of joy, a time to be with family, a time to receive and a time to give. It is a celebration of God's greatest gift, His Only Son, to be our Savior. No, FEAR is not a word that is found in our Christmas vocabulary. And yet, when we read the stories we associate with Christmas, we find that FEAR was part of that story
LTC graduates travel by boat to a remote village to have a Christmas celebration.

FEAR NOT! the angel sad to Zacharias when announcing the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:13). FEAR NOT! the angel said to Mary when announcing she would conceive by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30) FEAR NOT! to take Mary as your wife, the angel said to Joseph in a dream (Matthew 1:20) FEAR NOT!, the Angel said to shepherds as they watched their flocks by night (Luke 2:10) there was a lot to fear surrounding that first Christmas. And it was not just the fear one might experience when confronted by an angel.

Community of Blessings Medical Trip
Keep Carmen Filbeck and the Community of Blessing Medical Mission trip in your prayers. Carmen leaves Joplin on December 25 and will be in Chiang Mai through January.  She will lead a team of volunteers on a 10 day medical mission trip to remote villages in Northern Thailand. She will also be meeting with faculty and staff at Lanna Theological Center to further develop the leadership training programs.

CMO offers various opportunities for  short term mission trips and internships.  Community of Blessing provides medical, dental, and vision assistance to people who have difficutly accessing the health care system in remote areas of Thailand.  COB trips are schedueld for January and May-June each year.  If you are interested in participating in the May-June 2019 trip contact Carmen Filbeck at  Information on COB can be found here.

FORGE A new short term mission trip opportunity.
Build relationships, Break a Sweat, be the Church
A new short term mission trip opportunity is being introduced in 2019.  FORGE offers opportunities to build relationships with Thai Christians by partnering in a construction project at Lanna Theological Center.  Acivites would include working with LTC students and staff on one project to build or improve our new campus. This may include putting up a new wall, or painting an existing wall. Evenings can include opportunities to build relationships in a local church, youth group, orphanage, or children's home  Contact David Filbeck at to plan a FORGE Short Term mission trip for your church, youth group, or college spring break.  More infromation on FORGE trips and opportunities can be found here
FEAR NOT! (continued from above)FearNot
The fear and trembling Zacharias must have felt as he entered into the Holy of Holies to perform the religious duties. Tradition tells us a rope was tied around the ankle of the priest who entered so that if he died while in the sanctuary, the crowd outside could pull him out without defiling the holy place or putting themselves at risk of incurring the wrath of God.

Villagers greeting LTC graduates to their village.
The fear Mary must have felt knowing she would be would become a pregnant teenager in a culture and legal system that could have stoned her to death for adultery. The fear of what her betrothed, Joseph, might do when he learned of her pregnancy.

The fear, anxiety, anger Joseph must have felt knowing his fiancé was pregnant, and he was not the father. What would his family say? What ridicule would he have to endure from friends, neighbors, community?

The fear of the poor, uneducated shepherds, the lowest of the low. Some say in New Testament Palistine Shepherds were regarded on the same level as tax collectors and dung sweepers--they were dirty and untrustworthy. Why would an angel appear to them if not to punish? What would happen to their sheep if they abandoned their flocks to go find a  babe born in a barn? Who would believe their witness to the baby in a manger?

LTC graduates leading Christmas activites at a remote village

The overall fear all who believed in the coming of the Messiah must have felt, knowing He  would usher in a new kingdom. What political backlash could be expected from the ruling powers? Herod the Great, the Idumaean King of Judea, would not stand for  a new dynasty. The Roman emperor? Never.

Fear was part of the first Christmas story. Yet the angels all proclaimed "FEAR NOT!"

Fear may not be a part of our Christmas story today. But for many other believers around the world, FEAR has every right to be a part of the Christmas story. One of the blessings of social media is being able to keep up with what graduates of Lanna Theological Center are doing in their churches and communities. As you know several of our graduates serve in a communist country where they face daily the threat of persecution, prison, even death, for their faith. And yet, as I follow them on social media, they are a witness to the Birth of Christ. Traveling to villages and leading small house churches in public proclamations of the Bir
Youth Christmas presentation.
th of the Savior. Under constant threat of being arrested for Christmas celebrations, these faithful servants heed the voice of the Angels "FEAR NOT"

"FEAR NOT, for I bring you good news of great joy" Yes, it was a dangerous time for the participants in the first Christmas. And it is a dangerous time for many of our graduates. Yet when I look at the pictures they post on social media, I do not see fear. I see they celebrate Christmas with great joy.

"FEAR NOT for unto you a savior is born, Christ the Lord" Joy is not found in the peaceful, silent night of Christmas. For many of our co-workers there is no peace at Christmas. Joy is not found in gathering with family and friends. Many of our friends serving in this country have been cast out by friends, family, and community.

Joy is not found in receiving or giving lavish gifts to our loved ones. Christians in parts of SE Asia are among the poorest of the poor. Yet, I see joy in these pict
Report:  In this village  LTC graduates held a Christmas service. 12 adults and 15 youth joined the church!
ures. Where we in the west would only see fear, loneliness, heartache, my friends who serve in this closed country have joy. They have joy because their Savior, Christ the Lord, is born. And they FEAR NOT because they believe the promises that accompany that birth--forgiveness of sin, life eternal.

Friends, it is my prayer for you that this season of celebration is one of peace, joy, thanksgiving. May you be blessed by your time with family and friends. Celebrate and enjor the giving of gifts.   But I also pray we remember  where our true peace and joy can be found. That even if we find our selves in difficult circumstances this season, we FEAR NOT! But like our brothers and sisters in another country, we have JOY because of the GOOD NEWS of great joy, OUR SAVIOR, CHRIST THE LORD, lives.

Thank you so much for your support of this ministry.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The CMO  Family

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The CMO Team