February 16, 2020
Call it a bit late to be a new-years resolution, but I have decided that our work is progressing too quickly to give updates once or twice a year. And I think I can get updates out quarterly as long as things are progressing this quickly.
Since the last funding update in December a number of important things have happened:
- We started our Myanmar school with eight students, four of which are Adventists and four of which are not. Already, after less than one week, these are showing significant growth.
- We filled all our dorms. The Malaysian enrollment of our campuses east and west is now over 40 students, and until we build our new campus, we can’t take much more. We purchased bunk beds recently to make a little more room.
- We made our down-payment on our property, finally! Tomorrow is closing, and later this month we will take possession of it legally and start making a little garden on earth, God willing. Wednesday, we meet with an architect about mentoring our youth in the business of construction while building the building.
- We now have, in our western campus, students from Germany and Canada, and a precious ladies’ dean from Australia. And today she is guiding the students to gather topsoil from the jungle to use in our vegetable plot.
- Max, one of our new students, canvassed during Chinese New Year, and the result has already led to new interest taking Bible studies and desiring to attend church.
- We have hired Loud Voice Media to lay out and design for us the books Education, Early Writings, and Child Guidance. These will all be printed here in Malaysia this year, a country where Ellen White books have historically always been very difficult to find, and very hard to get.
- Our students have sold so many books in December and January! About $20,000 collected in three different programs, and this will cover our operations for January and February. We canvass again in March, then again in June. This is why we raise funds only for expansion and extension of the work, and for help with students that legally can’t canvass. For normal operations with our Malaysian students, our canvassing is sufficient to cover expenses. This is why I say that we are truly a self-sustaining supporting ministry of Seventh-day Adventists.
- Two weeks ago, we launched our plan to visit most of the churches in our mission to promote true education. As might have been expected, several of the attendees at our first meeting had no idea about this vital aspect of God’s work in the last days.
- We have two persons this semester who joined us as a trial, to see how they like the program. Maybe this kind of testing will become a normal recruiting method as it gives persons a risk-free chance to really get an idea of what is happening here.
- With the addition of both a male staff and male students, our school in Borneo has become co-educational. And this makes things seem safer for everyone since our all-ladies school was nestled deep in the jungle where phone service is random, and police are 35 minutes away if they come immediately after a call gets through.
News Regarding Individuals:
Aisha* has completed 28 Bible studies from her room in Yemen, and writes with the love of a born-again believer and the fear of a wrongly imprisoned person. She began seeking God 12 years ago and kept seeking until she found Him last year through our studies.
Mohd* has begun working on a website like www.mengapa.org, but for Arabic speaking people.
Kulay* decided to leave the Roman Catholic church of her upbringing and to become a Seventh-day Adventist. She is 19. Sahary*, one of our first students at iEAT Jr in Sabah, has also begun identifying herself as an Adventist and recently sent me (Eugene) a contact of a Catholic man that she met who was interested in her story of leaving Catholicism to become a Seventh-day Adventist.
Packo*, our local barber, has welcomed our iEAT students back to the village with open arms and indicated this month (for the first time) that he (a secular free thinker) would be pleased to study the Bible with us. (He attended our graduation services last December.)
Our school in Java, iEAT Extension, has doubled its staff size and continues to be a source of precious light to persons south of Bandugn.
Betzy*, a friend who found Jesus through the influence of a visiting European, has begun sharing her faith with a receptive family member, at a significant risk to both. She is job hunting now, looking for a Sabbath-free employment.
Florence, who joined our training program weeks ago as a Sunday-keeping Christian, received a Bible yesterday, has become regular at church on Sabbath, and helps lead out in scripture-song song services. She is one of five students from refugee backgrounds that were thrilled to get a free Bible this weekend. And she borrowed Early Writings from our new library (see next item) and is reading it now.
iEAT now has a library, thanks to generous donations of persons in New Zealand and in the United States. About 40 kg of most precious books by Ellen White and by Jones and Waggoner and Miller have been received recently, and like the hottest commodities, they have been snapped up by our students for their reading pleasure. This is one library that will play a part in finishing the work. If you have wonderful books to mail to us, mail to Eugene Prewitt, 328 Sungai Durian, Tanjung Tualang 31800, Perak, Malaysia. Each comma is a new line.
*Pseudonyms. I enjoy making up pseudonyms.
- Printing 2000 copies each of those three books (Ed, EW, CG) will cost about $18,000 for the first printing. Subsequent printings of other EGW books will not need to be subsidized. Why? Because we will plan not to reprint these (planting about a six-year supply), so will invest the COGS into printing new EGW books and will keep this up until we have printed about 18 titles. So you can fund 2000 copies of a yet-unavailable EGW book in south-east Asia for about $1,000 on average. We may sell Ed and CG door to door. And, we will make these books available in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, at low costs compared to current prices for those who import them from elsewhere.
- Our Myanmar school, with its seven initial students, is SURE to grow as fast as we let it. Currently the students are living with us in our full-bursting dorms. But eventually (before the end of this year) we need to establish separate rooms and dorms for them. This increase to our campus will cost about $50,000 if we build for 16 students as we will share café and classroom space.
- Fruit. Our cafeteria manager has succeeded in operating a plant-based cafeteria with healthy and taste food for about $1200/month (feeding 25 people). Malaysia is not a poor country, so that is quite a feat. But fruit costs are similar to western costs for fruit (because fruit is sold to western nations far more than it is consumed locally). And so the students eat very little fruit. I would like to encourage our cafeteria director by giving him and additional $400 monthly to spend on fruit (about 3 lbs per person per week). We won’t need this subsidy forever. We are planting Papaya and Banana and many longer-term fruit trees this spring. But I don’t want to wait a year to be eating a diet rich in tropical fruits. This week I am ordering $1,400 worth of high-quality fruit trees, cultivars known to do well in our clime and in our soil.
- A fourth teacher is needed for our Sabah school that serves the Muslim Filipino community. You all have half-funded the third teacher. So that is one and one half teachers that yet need funding (because they serve a class of students that cannot canvass for their tuition). So 1.5 teachers costs $700/month including housing and food and salary.
- The development of the Arabic-video Bible study site needs about $3,000 for video work and studio time.
Needs already met since our last update in December:
- A generous gift paid for us to buy a needed 4x4 truck. We are talking to many persons looking for the best one to use on our new property.
- In 2019 and in 2020 last week, we have received are first and only legacies (inheritance from someone’s will). The first of these ($1200) funded half of our first Myanmar Bible Youth Camp. The second ($11,000) funded a missionary here that will be visiting all churches in west Malaysia, and also (half of the amount) helped us with our major building project. (More about legacies and wills later.)
- Our printing of our first four books in Sabah has been entirely funded and most of the stock of Steps to Christ in Indonesian has already been exhausted in the first three months since printing. Since we set aside money from each sale, we do not need more money to reprint this book this year.
- Generous year-end gifts with no specified projects have (all six of them) been put into a major building project and will likely pay for the initial architect and legal fees and part of the slab. Other year-end gifts were specified for Bible-workers and Bible teachers, and we employ five such persons whose salaries are not covered by sales. So all those gifts highly valuable and relevant.
- Another gift funded out Farsi video/web project to the tune of about $3,000.
Legacies and Wills
Many years ago, one of my precious students, Luke Privett, was killed in a winter-storm-related accident. Luke was poor and his earthly possessions were such that no creditor would have had an interest in them. And as he was debt-free, that was ok. But an insurance payout connected to his death suddenly meant that he had an inheritance…and no “last will and testament.” I was chosen to represent Luke to the court, and legal council took about $6,000 of that inheritance. That was wasted money that would not likely have been lost to lawyers had there been a legal will.
Well, have you made one?
Many ministries in North America employ a person full-time to help with making wills. They recoup that expense by encouraging persons to remember their ministry among the beneficiaries of the document.
I won’t hire such a person. But please remember that you can still remember us. And as wills often lay dormant for more than a decade before being used, I want to give you enough information that our work will benefit from your legacy even if persons and personalities change.
The name of the organization that should be included in your will is The Institute of East Asia Trading.
The contact person should include a list of persons with alternates, so that you can find at least someone who knows how and where to get current bank-account or address information for iEAT. Here is a list you could put into your will as contact persons for iEAT: Eugene William Prewitt; Alternates: Joshua Cinsuanmang; Ainy Stephen; Prescella Francis; David Young; Natalie Wood; Daniel Gomez. (These are not persons who will receive the money, but persons who could help your executor to know how to properly direct the money. Write privately if you would like working emails and phone numbers for these persons to facilitate the execution of your will.
Our commitment to anyone thus remembering us is that we will always keep expanding as we are able.
One of the less understood or followed counsels regarding wills may be found in Counsels of Stewardship, page 330, paragraph 3:
“But if they have unbelieving children who have abundance of this world, and who are serving the world, they commit a sin against the Master who has made them His stewards by placing [money] in their hands merely because they are their children.”
The non-profit that cares for our American donations is known as Jesus for Asia, PO Box 1221; Collegedale, TN 37315. If your last will and testament has a gift for us, you may send it as a check made out to Jesus for Asia and mailed to this address, BUT WITH A NOTE THAT IT IS FOR IEAT in MALAYSIA. (Without that note, not a penny is likely to come this direction, though it most certainly will be well-used somewhere else.)
In every meeting, new visitors are coming to our religious services. That is the result of having full-time Bible workers connected to each our two campuses in Malaysia.
And students are excited and anxious to begin building their own campus.
And Jesus, the Savior of the World, is anxious to return.
So do what you can where you are and we will do what we can where we are.
Director, Institute of East Asia Training
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And a word of thanks to some volunteers: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Eckert have been working to update my website and my personal fundraising methods. That is the reason bibledoc.org looks better. And my sister-in-law, Melissa Young, has been editing my articles to make them more readable. And one of my students, Fiona Frances, is translating these articles into Malay for better use by my Malaysian students. A great thank you to all of these.
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Someone says, "What about Covind19? Aren't you all scared of the virus?" And the answer is: No, no we are not scared. We are going straight forward. And if we all get it, soon we will all be immune persons who can help others who get it. Sickness, the evil intruder that it is, makes way for Jesus to provide help.