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We serve with the Thailand NOW
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Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Children's Camps, a HUGE Answer to Prayer, and an Update

Children's Bible Camps

The school year in Thailand goes according to a different calendar than in the States because it is based upon the agricultural cycles of growing rice. October is the equivalent of winter break for Thai children, and many of the Pioneer Pastor churches are reaching out to the families in their neighborhood through Vacation Bible School.  In Thailand, we don't call it VBS.  Instead we call it Children's Bible Camp.  

Many pastors have asked for prayer for their Children's Bible Camp.  They want to share the Good News of Jesus with the children and their families so that many will become disciples of Christ.  So we are sharing some pictures with you so you can pray for them.  Please pray that whole families will come to Christ and be transformed through the power of the Lord.  The Thai pastors will be thrilled to know you are surrounding them with prayer.



(From top to bottom: Children's Bible Camp at Lamae Church, Children's Bible Camp at Phato Church, Children's Bible Camp at Prasiri Bangkok Church)












Your Prayers made the difference for David and Allie Houle

David at Blessing Home TaPhraya
You have been lifting David and Allie Houle up to the Lord in prayer for several months now as they
sought to obtain a work permit and visas so they could remain in Thailand.  COVID has created many crisis, and the Houle's were in need of divine intervention because all of the normal avenues of obtaining the documents they needed were cut off.  

On Friday, October 2, we received word that Allie and David now have a work permit and visas.  Please continue to pray for them.  The visas are for one month only, and they need to go back to Immigration Police at the end of the month to receive another visa for the remaining 11 months.  This is typical, but still a bit unnerving, because the process is not over until it is over.  However, obtaining the work permit is HUGE and we believe the largest obstacles have been overcome.

Phase One of the Abundant Life Training Center UPDATE


We are getting closer each month to our goal of raising $80,000 for Phase One of the Abundant Life Training Center.  Praise God, we have now received a total of over $67,000!  We have already purchased the land, now we need the rest of the funds to raise the land about 6 feet so it is above flood level and to build a strong and tall retainer wall around the property.  If we had all of the funds, we would begin now since rain season is coming to an end and it will be dry season from November through April.  Buying fill dirt is much cheaper during the dry season, and our budget is built around being able to be as economical as possible.
Members of the Abundant Life Savings
Group at Lamae Church come up front
to make deposits to their
Family Emergency Funds.

This training center is a vital need for our mission.  We have many more churches requesting Abundant Life Financial training then what we have the capacity to fulfill because we do not have our own facilities.  Since the COVID crisis, many pastors and Christian leaders have seen the need for the Abundant Life Savings Group Program.  They have witnessed how members of these groups were financially prepared for this crisis, and they want to be trained in the same way.

It is not possible for our staff to travel long distances to every church that is requesting training.  We can only meet the need if we can have the leaders come to us and be trained in a location where we have lodging and seminar rooms.  

If you would like to donate to this project, please designate your gift to the BUILDING FUND.

You can donate in many ways:

1.  You can donate online at https://thailandnow.org/donate/

2.  You can donate by check and mail to: 

Thailand NOW

P.O. Box 56

Mannsville, KY 42758

3. You can donate stocks and bonds and other estate gifts by contacting our treasurer, Terri Gabehart at thailandmm@windstream.net






Monday, August 31, 2020

Continued prayers needed for Allie and David

 Sherri and I want to thank all of you for praying for Thailand NOW missionaries Allie and David Houle.  They need continued prayer, so we are forwarding their blog to you.  


As you may remember, back in May we lost our jobs when the school that we were teaching English at closed down. This job had provided us with our work permit for our work visa for the past year. This forced us to begin praying and exploring other options to get a visa to be able to stay in Thailand. Under normal conditions, we would have had to leave Thailand one week after our school closed down to change our visa. However, due to Covid-19 the Thai government decided to give all foreigners already in Thailand amnesty until September 26. Praise God! This gave us the time necessary to start our own business, Peachtree Translation. Having a business in Thailand will be such a blessing because it gives us the stability to live and work in Thailand long-term! It also frees up our schedule to allow us to regularly travel to all the Blessing Home Centers.
 
It is a very long and complicated process to open a business in Thailand and you must have Thai people as co-owners of the business. Thankfully, God has provided many wonderful Thai people that are a part of our Thailand Now team who already translate materials and interpret when needed. Corn has her bachelor’s degree in Business English and Ploy has her bachelor’s degree in Thai Language. Their education and experience is perfectly suited for a translation company. Our new business, Peachtree Translation, will provide us with a work visa and it will provide additional health and social security benefits to our Thai team members.
 
While we are confident that this was the right move for us to stay and serve in Thailand long-term, we still have a huge need for prayers regarding our visa. Typically, when changing a work permit or visa type, you must leave the country and re-enter with the new visa. Most people are able to do a “Visa run” to Cambodia or Laos for just a couple days and then re-enter Thailand with their new visa. However, because of Covid, Thailand and other Asian countries have closed their borders. This means that we cannot leave Thailand to go to a neighboring country. If we leave Thailand, the only country that will accept us right now is America. And because Thailand is closed, we cannot re-enter Thailand at this time. We are asking you to pray that a border will open or a special exception for us to get our work visa in Thailand will be found.
 
Please pray for us and specifically that we can get a work visa before September 26. We know that God has plans for us to work in Thailand and that if we are shut out of the country it will only be temporary. We are so blessed to have an amazing team of Thai workers here in Thailand who can continue to provide these services for the Blessing Home kids in our absence if we must leave and return to America for a time. As stressful as it is not knowing where we'll be in a month, we know God is faithful. If we are required to be out of Thailand for a season, we know there are ways to strengthen the ministry through distance collaboration, until we are able to return. Please pray for us.

Allie and David Houle

Monday, August 03, 2020

Visa update for Allie and David, and praises for church construction project victories


Hello Prayer Warriors,

Every time we entrust a prayer request to you, we try to keep you updated so you can give thanks to the Lord for His divine intervention.

ALLIE & DAVID HOULE   

Last month we asked you to pray for Thailand NOW missionaries David and Allie Houle, who serve as Field Directors for the Blessing Home Centers in Thailand.  (On the picture on the left, Allie is teaching the advanced Blessing Home students in their home).

 Every missionary must have a long term visa so they can legally stay in the country, and the David and Allie had employment visas through teaching part-time at a language school near Blessing Home in Pattaya.  But the language school went out of business in March, an economic victim of the COVID crisis.  And when the language school closed, their work permits and visas were cancelled.  The Thai government gave all foreigners in Thailand amnesty until July 31 to either leave the country or obtain a new visa.  So Allie and David chose to start their own translation business, called Peachtree Translating (you can tell they are from Georgia), which would enable them to obtain a work permit and visas to be able to stay in country.

They hired a prominent law firm in Pattaya that specializes in this kind of situation, and they began the process.  But because of COVID, everything slowed down and the process has taken longer than expected.  And then just two weeks ago, they found out that the lawyer they hired gave wrong advice and they would need to resubmit new documents and start over again.  They would not have enough time to meet the deadline.  If they could not meet the deadline, they would need to leave the country and would not be able to get back until the COVID crisis is over in the States.

So we ended up praying that the amnesty would be extended by the Thai government.  For many days Thai government officials were saying that the amnesty would not be extended.  This made us pray more fervently.  Then last week the Thai government announced that they would extend the amnesty through September 26.  We give praise to the Lord that David and Allie have more time for this process.  Please continue to pray for them.

 FIRST SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE AT THE NEW CAMPUS OF GOD IS GOOD CHURCH

On the left are pictures of the new church building of God is Good Church.  They love the bling, and the ceiling looks like a blue sky with clouds.  This past Sunday, August 2, was their first time worship celebration at this new campus.  The old campus is still in operation about 10 miles away, so not only did they construct a new beautiful building but they multiplied the church as well.  They really needed a second campus because they were overcrowded at the old campus and needed room for growth.

They are still constructing Sunday school rooms and office space next to the sanctuary, and this will be complete in the next few weeks.

We are very happy about the new campus because it is adjacent to the busy expressway and has great visibility.

NAKHON PATHOM CHURCH - 90% complete

Nakhon Pathom Church is a Pioneer Pastor church planted 11 years ago through the generosity of St. John's UMC of Aiken, S.C..  Under the leadership of Pastors Ekerat and Da, this congregation has grown strong and is a three-self church (self-supporting, self-leading, and self-multiplying).   Last year they purchased land and began construction on a new church building.  Construction is taking awhile because they make progress when they have funds on hand, and then they stop construction when.  According to Thai law, Thai churches cannot borrow money, so all construction must be done with cash on hand.

Last week, Pastor Ekerat notified us that construction was 90% complete and that they asked for prayer for funds to take them "across the finish line".  Because of your generosity, we were able to send money to them, and it should be enough to complete this construction project.  We want to thank you for your prayers and support which made this final donation for this project possible.  On the left is a picture of the new church building that is almost complete.  We hope to hear news of a Grand Opening worship service for some time next month.  Sherri and I wish we could be there, but we will ask our staff and missionaries to go represent Thailand NOW in our place.

AN UPDATE ON PHASE ONE OF THE ABUNDANT LIFE TRAINING CENTER FUNDRAISING.

We have had many people inquiring about progress on fundraising for Phase One of the Abundant Life Training Center.  We chose to temporarily pause focus on raising funds for this project so we could focus on the immediate urgent need for food relief in the urban Pioneer Pastor Churches and Blessing Home Centers.  Phase One is purchase of land in Buriram province in Northeast Thailand (on the left is a map showing the location of Buriram province), construction of a retainer wall around the complete perimeter of the land and filling the land above flood levels (about 4-6 feet deep).  This first phase would cost $80,000.  We have received a bit over $61,000 so far.

This was enough money on hand to purchase land and we started this process back in February, but COVID had already hit Thailand, bringing everything to a total stop when the Thai government implemented a hard shutdown, closing most government offices and prohibiting inter-provincial travel.  On June 10, our staff were able to complete the purchase of the land and the land has now been purchased and we have a title deed in hand!  God is good!!!

We still need $19,000 more to build a retainer wall and to fill the land.  If there are funds left over, we may be able to sink a well too. 



If you would like to donate towards Phase One of the Abundant Life Training Center, please be sure to designate your gift to the BUILDING FUND.

Checks can be sent to:
Thailand NOW
P.O. Box 56
Mannsville, KY 42758

OR give ONLINE at:
https://thailandnow.org/donate/