United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

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We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission

We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Most Incredible New Year's Day.

We enjoyed on an incredible New Year's Day that will forever be locked in our memory.  One of the newest Pioneer Pastor church plants is in Buengkan province, in Northeast Thailand, on the south shore of the Mekong River which serves as the border with Laos.  The cell group here in Buengkan grew rapidly into a thriving church.  

This church did not start in Buengkan, but instead started 500 miles away at God is Good Church in Ban Bueng in Chonburi province in Eastern Thailand.  There was a woman named Buasorn, who moved with her husband many years ago from Buengkan to Chonburi to work here.  It was two years ago that Buasorn became sick and went to the hospital.  She found out that she had breast cancer and that she would need chemo treatments.  Buasorn was frantic because she was afraid of suffering and death and she confided in a friend of hers, Anupa, one of the Christian leaders of God is Good Church, a Pioneer Pastor Church.  Anupa prayed over her friend Buasorn, and the Lord heard her prayers and healed Buasorn of cancer.  She did not even have to go through with the chemo treatments!  Her cancer scans came back clean again and again!

Anupa led Buasorn to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and Buasorn started to attend God is Good Church every Sunday.  Anupa would pick up Buasorn and bring her to church every Sunday because they owned only one car and Buasorn dare not take the car and leave her husband without one.  This went on for several months, and during this time Buasorn and the members of God is Good Church prayed that her husband Jaray would come to Christ.  One day, Jaray told Buasorn that they should not be a burden to Anupa anymore, and he would be willing to take Buasorn to church.  At first he would drop her off at church and then come back and pick her up.  But eventually Jaray would drive Buasorn to church and then come inside with her.  It was not long before Jaray gave his life to Christ.  When we asked Jaray why he gave his life to Christ, he said that Jesus made his wife to become a new person and he wanted a new life in Christ too.

Jaray and Anupa then shared the Gospel of Christ with his family and relatives in his home village in Buengkan, and many of them became Christians.  Pastors Peter, Nuc, and Jennifer of God is Good Church started to take turns traveling to Buengkan every other weekend to have worship, Bible study, and training there.  Members of God is Good church did outreach events there several times as well.  The new believers in Buengkan met at the village center (it is a public building that is like a picnic shelter) but they were growing too numerous to continue meeting there.  So Jaray and Buasorn donated land in the middle of the village so a church could be built.

About 2 weeks after construction of a church building began on the land, Jaray became ill and entered the hospital, he quickly deteriorated and became bed-ridden.  At first we prayed for healing, and then it became evident that his time to be with the Lord was coming soon.  So we started praying that the Lord would allow Jaray to live long enough to have the church building completed and to have a Grand Opening Worship Service.  God answered our prayers.

So on New Year's Day, we had a Grand Opening Service for God is Good Buengkan Church (they took the name of their mother church).  The members of the church went to Jaray's house and they carried him in his bed to the church and placed him at the front.  His wife, Buasorn, as well as his sisters took turns caring for him.  He constantly needed to be moved and turned (for comfort as well as to prevent sores), and they had to use a suction device with they inserted into a stoma in his neck to remove fluid from his lungs.  He also had an oxygen tube connected to him at all times.

We have been privileged to celebrate many Grand Openings of new church buildings, but this was the only time we have had a man in his last days reclining in a bed at the front of the church.  We were honored to celebrate together with Jaray and Buasorn.  They planted the first Christian church in their county, and they have already seen many lives transformed by Christ.  We know these new Christians because Sherri baptized many of them last year.  They are filled with joy and a passionate love for Jesus that first generation Christians have in abundance.  

As you see from pictures, the church is Red with a white stripe in the middle.  I showed them a picture of the "striped tomato car" from Starsky and Hutch (a TV show from the 70's), and told them that I will call this the Striped Tomato Church.

We were overwhelmed with joy this New Year's Day, and filled with the wonderful satisfaction that one more county that never had a Christian church throughout history is now being reached with the Gospel of Christ.  And this county will never be the same.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What happens when too many show up at church for Christmas

Christmas in Thailand is so very different from in the States, where it tends to be mostly focused upon family.  Here, the focus is upon reaching out to the lost so they can find Christ.  At great personal sacrifice, the Thai Christians have Christmas outreach to everyone in their village.

At one of our newest Pioneer Pastor churches, Abundant Blessings Church in Sukhothai province, had their Christmas outreach event last week.  This also served as the Grand Opening for the new church building that was constructed.  Pastor Santi and all of the members of Abundant Blessings Church volunteered all of the labor to construct the church building, including members in their 70's and 80's!  It was a time of great celebration to worship in the new building.

The local police let Pastor Santi borrow the Police Checkpoint sign
and traffic cones for the Christmas outreach event.

Pastor Santi is a farmer who is a lay pastor who is in the midst of his Bachelor of Ministry degree studies through Global Theological Institute, the Bible college which the Thailand Methodist Mission sponsors.  He is a gifted evangelist and a diligent worker, so it was no surprise to us that this Christmas would be well attended.

We were prepared to receive 250 children and teens as well as the adults in their families.  This is a rural area, so it seems like people come out of nowhere when they show up at church.  The night of the Christmas outreach came, and we were overwhelmed with people.... instead of 250 children AND teens, we had 280 children and over 80 teens, and about 200 adults!  We have no idea how everyone was fed, but everyone had plenty to eat (the pots of food never seemed to empty).  There was a bit of concern over not having enough gifts.. but Pastor Warin of Fire of Glory church (their church sent a Thai mission team to help the church in Sukhothai) saw that we had two 4 gallon tins of cookies and snacks in our car that we had brought for a revival service the next day.  She opened the tins and her and the members of Fire of Glory church filled gift bags with the cookies and snacks so we would have enough gifts for the children.

The children were packed "like sardines" on mats at the front of the church.

There were so many people that came to the church, that a few hundred people had to sit outside and watch and listen through the open doors and windows.  We were blessed that the village chief came to give his blessing to the church.  It is always our intent to build bridges with the community leaders.

Pastor Santi preaches the Good News of Jesus Christ to all of the villagers
that came to the Christmas outreach.
For most, this was their very first time to hear the Gospel.

We want to thank you, our prayer warriors, because we know that this event had a great turnout because of your prayers.  When you pray, mountains move in Thailand!

Sherri and I wish you a Blessed Christmas and New Year!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Your prayers made all of the difference for the 2016 VIM Team

Thank you prayer warriors for lifting up intercessory prayers to the Lord each day for the past several weeks for the 2016 VIM Team.  We faced an onslaught of spiritual battle and your prayers made all of the difference.  Sherri and I have both experienced medical issues as the time approached for the mission team to arrive.  We are blessed to have a team of missionaries that are wonderful and highly capable.  Missionary Joshua Johnston served as the guide for the team during our time of need and we are very grateful for his service to the Lord.

VIM team member Kristen with children at
Blessing Home in Pattaya

The 2016 VIM Team was needed to help the Thailand Methodist Mission in two strategic locations to serve Thai people in mission in many vital ways.

First, they helped to paint the outside and inside of the Special Blessings Center, a new ministry initiative of TMM missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown for special needs children.  A fourth Blessing Home center is also opening at the same center.  They worked hard in stifling heat to get this center up and running.  The place looks beautiful now and very welcoming with bright cheerful colors.

Second, the team also led an English Camp there, which helped to introduce Carol and Vicki and this new Christian ministry to neighbors.  This was very successful and networks of relationships have been built.  None more important than the new and very positive relationship with the village chief and his family (this is very important in Thai culture), who attended the English Camp at was happy that Vicki will begin teaching English to needy students in the area free of charge.

English Camp at Special Blessings Korat

Third, the team, led by Pastor John Kalz of Buechel UMC, partipated in the Grand Opening service of the Blessing Home TaPhraya Center.  Our brothers and sisters of Buechel UMC sponsored the cost of construction on this new center, and John was able to represent his church through the ribbon cutting and dedication of this new church.  It was a great time of celebration and the presence of the VIM team gave significance and gravitas to the Blessing Home TaPhraya Center in the eyes of the community leaders.

Grand Opening Service of Blessing Home TaPhraya

Pastor John Kalz of Buechel UMC cuts the ribbon
at Blessing Home TaPhraya

Fourth, the team led an English camp at Blessing Home TaPhraya as well as activities for seniors in the community.  The English camps were led under the experienced leadership of Karen Campbell of Settle Memorial Church in Owensboro, Kentucky.  Karen leads annual English Camps in the Czech Republic, and we were blessed by her service here in Thailand.

Fifth, the team participated in baptisms at Blessing Home Isan in Nonsomboon.  Pastor Doe of Grace Church of Nonsomboon (the church connected with Blessing Home Isan) and Pastor Sherri Morrissey (Co-Director of the Thailand Methodist Mission) baptized 12 people, 10 of whom were the fruit of the ministry of Blessing Home Isan and 2 who were the fruit of the ministry of Special Blessings Korat.  Blessing Home Isan and Special Blessings Korat are under the leadership of TMM missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown.  It was a great pleasure to see the lives that have been eternally transformed through their faithful service together with the Thai Christians who serve the Lord sacrificially and with loving devotion.

Baptisms at Nonsomboon.

There were many pastors on this team, so we and the Thai Christian enjoyed hearing many of them teach and preach God's Word in the churches.

We just want you to know that your prayers move mountains in Thailand.  As prayer warriors, you serve as the powerhouse of the mission.  Praise the Lord!