United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

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Send a check in the mail to: TMM P.O. Box 56 Mannsville, KY 42758 (Please make checks payable to TMM) Or give online by clicking this link:

We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission

We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission
Click on the Logo to Visit the Website of the Thailand Methodist Mission

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Turmoil in Bangkok


We want everyone to know that we are OK here in Thailand. We live far from where the bombs exploded and we are taking appropriate precautions. We do need your prayers for safety, because we must travel into Bangkok at least once per week and two of the bomb sites are places we must travel past to get to language school and to do our banking. This week we will also need to go to the American embassy, and we will be cautious.

Many of you have known about Anthony's dog, Saphira. Saphira is a Shih Tzu puppy which Anthony received for Christmas. We asked for prayers from family and many friends when Saphira contracted a deadly intestinal virus. The vet gave her a 30% chance of survival. Saphira died on New Years Eve and we just had her burial service this morning. The neighbors all helped. When I went to one neighbor to borrow a shovel and told her the dog died, she contacted the other neighbors and soon they were all in action to help us. One neighbor saw that I was struggling to dig the grave in the rocky and very hard soil, so he took over and soon another neighbor helped. Others brought food and flowers and participated in the service. They are very kind people.

Please also pray for our visa situation as we seek to obtain a one year worker visa. Obtaining visas and other Immigration documents here is very complicated. We have been making multiple trips to the Immigration office and each time there are requests for additional documents. These matters take up a large portion of our time.

We thank you for your prayers.

Your GBGM missionaries in Thailand,
Sherri, Mike, and Anthony


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Limited Internet Accessibility

Just in case you don't hear from us for a while, or our communication seems very sparse, we want everyone to know that international internet service from Thailand has been dramatically affected by the Taiwan earthquake. We're presently very fortunate to have gotten on-line here at the internet cafe. (Internet service was hooked up at the house this week, but is now 'down.' With all of the current challenges to the communication system, DSL/internet trouble-shooting at home will take a while).

We hope everyone has a wonderful & safe New Year. Tomorrow, we'll be thinking of all of our brothers and sisters in the US who are possibly participating in a Covenant Service, or corporately praying Wesley's Covenant Prayer... We'll be reviewing this ourselves, and again, dedicating ourselves to God's Work for the new year. We hope you'll join us!

Sawadekha,
Blessings
Sherri, Mike, & Anthony

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

**The Wish List ** - Updated August 8, 2007

Wish List - Updated August 8, 2007
Help Start New Churches in Thailand

Help with the equipment expenses of starting a new church
Remodel building, Furniture, Books, Church Supplies $5,000.00
Musical Instruments and Sound System $2,500.00
Used Pickup Truck $5,000.00
Total Launch expenses for one church $12,500.00
Help with pastoral support for a church planting pastor
Pastor Salary $5,400.00
Rent $8,000.00
Total Pastoral and Church Support for One Year $13,400.00
(1st floor of the building is used as the church sanctuary and the 2nd floor is the children’s Sunday School room and pastor’s apartment)

Become a Sister Church!
Churches that help start a new church in Thailand will have a sister church relationship with the new congregation. Sister churches connect with each other through e-mail and letters, and VIM missions trips


Help Start New Homes for
Orphans and Indigent Seniors

Help with start-up expenses for a home
Staff Salary $5,400.00
Rent $8,000.00
Used Pickup Truck $5,000.00
Operating Expenses (Food, Clothes, School Fees) $12,000.00
Total expenses for launching the Home $30.400.00


If you, your mission committee, church, or district would like to contribute to covering the costs of these items and strengthen the work of the Thailand Mission, please follow these easy steps:
Your church (or district) treasurer can forward funds to your Conference Office, with the Project Advance Number written in the memo section of the check. (Thailand Advance # 00403A).

Please contact us by email and let us know which project you are supporting, with information on how we can contact you / your church, so we can thank you.
Email Address: thailandumc@gmail.com
VIM teams needed:
  • Music teams for evangelism and outreach
  • Construction teams for re-building homes
  • Connectional teams to bring needed supplies and discover what the Lord is doing through the UMC in Thailand.

Serve as a layworker here in Thailand. There are many job opportunities teaching English in schools here in Thailand. If you want to work here in Thailand and help serve the Lord at the same time, please contact us.

God's People are good people, and you have been generous and thoughtful in your support of your mission in Thailand. We give you are heartfelt thanks for all that you do to make a difference for the Kingdom of God!
Mike and Sherri Morrissey

Sherri & Mike Morrissey

The Day After Christmas...

We have had a blessed and tremendously busy Christmastime here in Thailand. Between all of the Christmas events at God Purpose Church and all of the travels and meetings we have had, we have not had a chance to update the blog.

The members of God Purpose Church worked very hard to put on a large Christmas dinner and service. They had a delicious meal outside on the front parking lot, where people could see what was happening and come and join the fun. Then we all went inside for singing Christmas carols and worship songs. They then put on a Christmas play that was very evangelistic. The play began with the Christmas story, proceeded through a few vignettes in Jesus’ ministry, and ended with his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. After the drama, Dr. Viseth, the pastor of God Purpose Church, preached a sermon to show that the reason Jesus was born was so he could die on the cross for our sins. There were many people in the church that day that were hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. We were delighted at this event. It took the whole church to put it on, and they did a wonderful job. After the drama, gifts were given out to all who registered at this event. Each person was given a ticket with a number and a color. Tickets would be pulled out of a bowl and called out, and whoever had the appropriate ticket would win whatever prize that was up front. Everyone had a fun time (in Thai, we would say “Sanook!”) After the Christmas dinner and service, a group went around Christmas caroling at members homes until 4 a.m. And then they were back in church a few hours later for the Sunday morning service! After service and our usual Sunday dinner, the people went caroling again and came by our home. It was a great time of singing and fellowship.

We want to thank all who sent Christmas cards to us. Christmas cards have always been special to us, but since we are on the other side of the globe, so far away from family and friends in America, those beautiful Christmas cards have taken on added meaning for us. Thank you. Special thanks to our sisters and brothers at Santa Clara UMC who deluged us with lovely cards and words of encouragement. Our hearts are overflowing.

Anthony had a special gift this Christmas. One of our neighbors has a Shih Tzu dog that he adores, so we bought a Shih Tzu puppy for him, and he has named it Sapphira (I think this is the name of the dragon in Eragon). He is thrilled with his little companion.

On Christmas Eve, we had a really big block party at our house, with neighbors coming and filling up the house and overflowing into the front yard. We cannot overstate how wonderful our neighbors have been to us. God’s hand was at work placing us in this neighborhood. Our lane is known as the friendly street because the neighbors are always together with each other. They have helped us innumerable times and we wanted an opportunity to show our love and gratitude to them.

May the Lord Bless You!
Sherri, Mike, and Anthony

Monday, December 11, 2006

It is a blessing to have our belongings arrive in Thailand



Praise The Lord! The Lord is good and provides for all of our needs! On Friday, our belongings arrived! We have been essentially living out of suitcases since the middle of August (3-1/2 months) and we really needed our other clothes, sandals (yes!), medications, toiletries, kitchen items, Anthony’s games, and many books and ministry items.

The children of our home church, College Heights UMC in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, created a precious banner for us to take to Thailand. Sherri promised that this banner would be the first item we would display in our house, so that is exactly what she did. The banner is now in our kitchen and it reminds us that we have a group of wonderful children who we are praying for and they are praying for us. Thank you, kids of College Heights. We love you!

On a somber note, we attended our first funeral in Thailand. It was at the rural church in Bauwin. It was good to see God’s people surrounding the grieving family and church family with love. God’s people are good people all over the world.

This next week we will be very busy. We will be meeting with our programming supervisor, Rev. Jong Sung Kim for a few days in Bangkok. Several missionaries from Southeast Asia will be there for this time of meeting together. Please pray for wisdom and discerning God’s path for the mission in Southeast Asia. We look forward to this time together.

We will also be purchasing bookshelves and office furniture and setting up our office at the church. God is good!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

VIM Team comes from Singapore

This weekend, God Purpose Church hosted our second VIM team. The team was from Singapore and consisted of three young couples with their children. As a team, we visited a school on Monday morning that is near our rural congregation. It was a middle school with around 1200 students. We had about 200 students that we helped to teach English through games and songs. The children on the team did a wonderful job of singing songs to the Thai children. Sherri, Anthony, and I have been invited to help teach English on a regular basis at this school, and we may volunteer a few days per week, to make connections with the people in the area.

After our school program, we went for lunch and then went to a village that has over 100 families and many of them are Christian. The Christians there have asked that we start a church there, but at the moment, we do not have the people or resources to send anyone there, and this area really needs a full-time Christian worker to pastor the people. Please pray that the Lord will send for workers and the resources needed to support those workers for planting churches in Thailand. There are many Christians who are stranded in areas without any church near them.

We visited in many homes and had a good time praying with the people there. The people in the area range from very poor to absolutely destitute, with most being the latter. Being the heavy man I am, I had to watch where I stepped in their homes because many of the floor boards were broken and could not support my weight (or anyone who weighed more than 100 lbs.). As I visited people in their homes, I looked around and realized that most Americans have garages that are larger and in much, much better shape than their homes. We build houses for our cars that these people could only dream of having as a house to live in with a large family. Most of the people we visited were elderly women and men. The younger adults were all working at a nearby factory. It astounded me that a household could have 2 or 3 adults working full-time at the factory and still just barely eek out a living. Anthony was especially touched by visiting with these people. We believe all youth need to go on a mission trip to gain perspective on how truly blessed we are.

On Monday night, some team members presented a teaching session on cell group ministry. We were excited about the presentation, because no one does cell group ministry better than Asian Methodists, like those in Singapore and Korea. Asian Methodists have the largest Methodist churches in the world and are tremendously effective at evangelism, discipleship, and mission work. The team did a great job of teaching cell group ministry and we hope God Purpose Church adopts this Cell Group structure.

We enjoyed the fellowship with the VIM team from Singapore, and we hope to visit with them in January. In January, we will need to leave Thailand briefly to re-apply for a new visa. We are hoping to go to Singapore to renew our visas at the Thai embassy there. It would be a blessing to be with our sisters and brothers in Christ there. We need your prayers concerning visa issues. There is a very long and complicated process that we need to pursue to obtain one year worker visas (these are the longest term visas available). We will not describe the whole process here, but it will probably take several months to complete the process, and we will only be able to have 90 day visas until this process is finalized.

Ohhh! We almost forgot about Sunday night. Every so often, all the Protestant churches in the region come together for a time or worship through singing. It was God Purpose Church’s time to host the event, and there were seven churches that participated. It was a time of joyous singing and we were blessed to see each of the church members praying for each of the other churches and also praying for each other as individuals.

If you have prayer requests, please e-mail us at thailandumc@gmail.com and we would be honored to pray for you. Nothing of eternal significance ever happens without prayer.
And with prayer, all things are possible through Jesus Christ!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Our First Month in Thailand

God is good! We appreciate your prayers, especially for Anthony. The Lord is healing him and he is getting better by the day. The sore throat, ear ache, and congestion are going away. In fact, we all feel pretty good now.

We want to share the good news of Jesus Christ throughout Thailand, and the place we have decided to start is in our own neighborhood (Acts 1:8 – Our neighborhood in Thailand is our new Jerusalem). We started an English class on Tuesday nights and we had 7 neighbors here. We use the Bible and words of faith to help teach English, so many good discussions took place and we were able to plant some seeds of faith. We pray that the Lord will open their minds and hearts to the message of Jesus Christ. Word got around the village (i.e. “subdivision”) that we are conducting an English class, and since Tuesday we have had several people ask if they could join. It is our hope that this class will turn into a Bible study, and we ask for your prayers for the Lord to work through this ministry to reach our neighbors for Christ.

On Wednesday, we went to Macro (it is Thailand’s version of Sam’s or Costco) and bought a Christmas tree, Christmas lights, and some art supplies to make Chrismons (tree decorations in the shape of ancient Christian symbols.) On Wednesday evening, the neighbors saw Anthony putting up the Christmas tree and they all came over to participate. Our house was packed with people standing around the Christmas tree, fluffing up the branches. They asked about what we do for Christmas, and it gave another opportunity to witness. The people here are very open to hearing about the Lord.

The next night (Thursday), the neighbors saw Anthony and Sherri cutting out the templates for the Chrismons, so they all came over again and packed out our house. When they saw what we were doing, they went home and brought over their own scissors, Exacto knives and cutting boards and helped to make the templates. Again, we had many opportunities to witness as they asked what each symbol meant. They inquired about the Alpha & Omega symbol, and we told them about Jesus and what the Bible means when it calls Him the Beginning and the End. They inquired about the Lamb, and we were able to talk about Jesus being the final sacrifice for sin that we may be saved and have eternal life. Each symbol was an opportunity to tell them about the Lord.

Tonight will be very quiet around here. Most of the neighbors are traveling up to the Northwest region of Thailand to go to the International Flower Expo at Chiang Mai. They invited us to go with them, but we had to decline because we have a VIM team coming from Singapore. The Singapore Methodists have a lay missionary at this church for one year. His name is Mr. Boon and he is a wonderful man with a heart for evangelism. He has helped to start and build up several new cell groups and many new “preaching points”. His pastor and members of his church will be here with us for the next several days. His pastor will preach on Sunday morning, and then we will all go to minister to the rural congregation at Bauwin on Monday. On Tuesday, the VIM team will leave us to do ministry in Chiang Mai at another church where they have sent a missionary.
Dr. Wiseth (pronounced “Vee-seth”), the founder of God Purpose Church, told us that Mr. Boon and the some of the church members have discovered another village where many Christians live. There is no church anywhere near there, and they have requested that a pastor be sent to them so that they can form a church. Dr. Wiseth brought it to our attention, because they do not have the resources to send anyone there and he said they really need a full-time pastor. Please pray that this need can be met soon.

We have begun to learn the Thai alphabet so we can learn to read and write. Being illiterate here is worse than not speaking the language. We will be thrilled when we can sing Thai hymns and can read signs. Being illiterate here has a truly comical side to it. We go to the market to buy food, and we cannot tell what we are buying. For instance, I thought I had bought milk, but it turned out to be something with an unrecognizable taste. So now I end up looking for a picture of a cow on a bottle and buy it, even if there are other bottles that are a lower price.

God is good! He takes care of our needs and gives us serendipitous moments to remind us of how much He loves us! When we went to Macro, we did our once-a-month large shopping. We packed out a large flatbed cart and purchased the items at the checkout. We knew we would then have to find a taxi (a pickup truck with benches in the back) to haul our groceries and other items home. Right now, hiring a taxi is tricky because we don’t speak much Thai and we have to communicate where we are going and then haggle on a price. We prayed that the Lord would help us in this endeavor, that is simple for Thai people but not so simple for us. As we were exiting the building, we came across a friend, Boon-see, who owns a furniture store down the road. She offered us a ride back to our house. We praise God who is our Provider and our Help. The Lord displayed His love for us through the love of a friend.

May the Lord Bless You and Your Church
Mike, Sherri, and Anthony Morrissey

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Our Fourth Sunday @ God Purpose Church

Rev. Somsak, president of the Chiang Rai Bible College, preached and served Holy Communion at morning worship. It was a pleasure to get acquainted with Rev. and Mrs. Somsak. Rev. Somsak has a nurturing relationship with this church. He is the one who has been called in the past to serve the sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism at this church. Hopefully in this next month, we will take a trip up to Chiang Rai, which is the most northern region of Thailand, to visit the Somsaks and to tour the Bible college there. We praise God for their ministry, which has trained many of the pastors of all denominations here in Thailand.

We need your prayers for our health. Anthony is taking antibiotics for an infection in his ears and throat and we have all had travelers diarrhea for most of the week. (We used the toilets so much that we had to have a water truck come out to refill our cistern. -- Sherri will shoot me for putting that detail in the blog!) Sherri and I are feeling much better, but Anthony has a way to go. Feeling sick has been hard on his spirits too, so please pray for the Lord to lift him up.

We just completed our third language lesson in Bangkok and we have a tutor that just started to work with us last week for three sessions per week in our home. We are now recognizing a few words in each conversation we hear, and that is much better than none.

We are starting to teach English at the church and at our home. These will eventually turn into English language Bible studies. The one at the church is for church leaders and the one at our home is for our neighbors. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will open our neighbors hearts to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Our evenings are quickly being filled with Thai language study with the tutor and church cell group meetings. Daytimes are filled with Bible study, prayer, language studies, and taking care of the necessities of life. We have been blessed with multitudes of opportunities to witness to our neighbors and other folks that we meet in the course of each day. We have many tracts that are designed for different age groups that we hand out to people. These tracts have the name and address of the church on the back as well as a simple map to direct people there. The church has a fantastic location on the main road in the city, so it is easy for people to find. We have had two neighbors come with us to a prayer meeting already. It is difficult to get people to come on Sunday morning because shops are open here on Sunday and it is usually their best day for sales. People who work in shops and restaurants cannot take the time off to come to church. We have the same problem with church members. There are many, many people who regularly come to the cell groups that cannot attend on Sunday morning because of their jobs. For them, their cell group serves the function of a worship service.

Many people have asked for our mailing address. Here it is:

Mike and Sherri Morrissey
101/109 MOO 3MB Sirarom
Tumbon Samad
Ampore Muang
Chon Buri 20000 Thailand

Letters are greatly appreciated. They give our spirits a lift. However, please do not send packages without first e-mailing us at thailandumc@gmail.com.
We would need to pay import taxes on items that are sent to us, so we need to be careful about any packages that are sent. (This is a great rule of thumb for sending packages to any overseas missionaries.) Also, notices are many times not given that a package has arrived, so it will sit in a warehouse without us knowing it is there, unless we know about it so we can keep inquiring at our end.
We thank you for your faithfulness in prayer and your generous financial support that makes it possible for us to serve as your missionaries in Thailand.

May God Bless You!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Bold Request

Would you consider asking your church if we could have a designated spot on your church bulletin board? We update this blog twice each week, so you can print out the new blog articles and post them on the bulletin board. By doing this, you help to keep your congregation informed about your mission in Thailand

Our First VIM team

Our first VIM team came from the Rocky Mount District of North Carolina last week for leadership training here at God Purpose Church, and it was a tremendous success.
  • The VIM team members were blessed by the members of God Purpose Church. Many members sacrificed to show hospitality to the team and to shower Christian love upon them.
  • The VIM team was blessed as they witnessed the tremendous joy of the Christians here in Thailand. They visited the church in ChonBuri, the rural congregation at Bauwin, and a cell group at Pattaya. Every team member expressed that they were inspired by the faith of the Christians here in Thailand.
  • The members of God Purpose Church were delighted that Christians in the U.S. would like to help them to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout Thailand.
  • Two men gave their life to Jesus Christ after Dr. Presnell preached a message of salvation at the Sunday morning service. AMEN!

Prayer Requests:

  • We are in an area that has very very few proficient English speakers. There is only one proficient English speaker at the church, but he is a doctor that travels 3 hours to get to church on Sunday morning, so he is really not available for assistance. We have tremendous difficulty communicating with the pastor of the church and the church leaders. This causes numerous complications. Please pray that a solution to this problem can be found. We are learning the Thai language, but it will be quite a while before we will be able to communicate.
  • Evangelism teams are seeking to open up new "preaching points" points in Bangkok and the surrounding area. Please pray that the Lord will provide new preaching points and that they will grow into cell groups and eventually into churches.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Big Picture

We have had many people ask exactly what we are doing here in Thailand as missionaries. They wonder what our roles and goals are, and we realize that many of you may have a fuzzy understanding of what we are doing too. The short answer is that we are church planters who have been sent to plant churches all across Thailand (a God-sized task!). But to understand what we are doing here, you need to get the Big Picture. And here it is.

We have been sent as the first UM missionaries to Thailand to commission the first UM church in this nation. God Purpose Church of Chon Buri, Thailand, is a congregation that has requested to join our church and we have been sent to help them spread the gospel across Thailand by planting churches. We have two main roles in helping to make this happen. We serve as equippers and as bridges.

OUR ROLE AS EQUIPPERS

At the present moment, we have one church in Chon Buri and one large rural cell group that may soon become the second UM church in Thailand. There is also a cell group in the city of Pattaya that may eventually become the third UM congregation here by the summer of 2007. We have all three places of worship but we have no UM clergy here other than us. There are many people at God Purpose Church who serve in pastoral roles but they are not trained nor are they credentialed. We will be working to develop a Local Pastor School to license local pastors to preach and serve the sacraments. Eventually, we will form training methods and credentialing for ordination, but that will probably not be any time soon. The Local Pastor School will allow for the training of pastors to be sent out to plant churches.

OUR ROLE AS BRIDGES

We serve as bridges between the UM church in Thailand and the global UM church, especially with congregations in the United States. Church planting will require the help of congregations in the global UM church. We serve as bridges to help inform you of how the gospel is spreading in Thailand and how you can become a part of the wonderful things God is doing here.

In order to plant churches, we need programming funds. When a Thai local pastor is sent to serve a poor rural area, there will be no way for that pastor to financially support her/his family. We will need programming funds for pastoral support as well as help to build church-parsonages. A church-parsonage is a house that has a large covered porch. The porch serves as the meeting place for the local congregation, and the house serves as the parsonage. This will require financial support and the help of Volunteer in Mission teams (VIM). Funds will also be needed for curriculum and facilities for training pastors and lay leadership. If you or your church would like to help with programming funds for the mission in Thailand, please send the gift through your church treasurer. The church treasurer can send the funds to your annual conference treasurer. The Advance number for Thailand is 00403A.

There is also a great need for missionaries here in Thailand. Less than 1% of the population (65 million) are Christians. The need for the gospel of Jesus Christ is great indeed! UMC Missionaries are supported through three avenues: apportionments (about 15% of your apportionments goes to support Global Ministries), United Methodist Women (who have always been mission supporters), and finally, giving through the Advance (special giving is actually the largest source of funding for UM missionaries). Without giving through the Advance, we could not serve as UM missionaries here in Thailand.

One way to give through the Advance for missionary support is through becoming Covenant Partners with us. When a church becomes a Covenant Partner with a missionary, the church vows to support their missionary through prayer and through giving a five dollars per member per year or $1500 per year (although larger gifts are greatly appreciated!) As Covenant Partners with your church, we will stay connected with your church through prayer and newsletters, and will seek to visit your church when we are back in the U.S. on furlough. A church of any size can afford to be a Covenant Partner. Many churches add Covenant Partner support into their operating budgets while others choose to do a special fundraiser each year to generate the financial support. If your church is interested in becoming a Covenant Partner with us, please visit the GBGM website at www.gbgm-umc.org and download the form and information on becoming a Covenant Partner. And if you decide to become a covenant partner, please let us know as well be e-mailing us at thailandumc@gmail.com so we can connect with you. Sherri’s Advance number is 15123Z and Mike’s Advance number is 15122Z. Any financial support for missionary personnel helps not only us, but helps to send other missionaries out as well. It is our prayer that God’s people will have a wave of generosity that allows many more UM missionaries to Thailand and all over the world.

I hope this article answers some of your questions. Feel free to e-mail us at thailandumc@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you. May God be with you.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mickey Dees in Thailand


On our way to language school in Bangkok, we stopped for a bite to eat at a mall next to the train station. We saw a McDonalds there and it had this statue of Ronald McDonald greeting everyone in Thai style. Placing your hands together and bowing slightly is called a WAI (pronounced "why").

Our second week in Thailand

Monday, November 13, 2006

It is wonderful to hear from our brothers and sisters back home. E-mail is our only source of connection at the moment, and we appreciate the kindness of keeping connected with us. We are still waiting for an internet connection at home (everything happens at its own pace here) so we can better keep in touch with everyone in the States. We are still relying on an internet café that is a walk of almost 2 kilometers from our house. We praise the Lord that we have that internet café near our home!

Please pray that we will receive our home internet connection soon. Not only will we be able to communicate through e-mail better, but we will be able to use our internet phone to talk with family and friends back home. This is especially needed for Anthony, who misses his cousin Lacey, his friends back in Kentucky. We will also be able to use a computer video camera to see our grandbaby Madeline, and for her to see us. We really miss our kids Michael, Jude, and Jim and also our grandbaby and we long to speak with them on the internet phone.

We are still waiting for our belongings. If we understand correctly, all of our stuff is in Thailand at a warehouse waiting for customs to clear it. Our moving expert at GBGM in NY has asked us for a work permit number. Evidently, we will need a work permit in order for customs to clear our belongings. When we inquired about this, we found out that it is a very complicated process that we cannot do ourselves. We are dependant on the Singapore Methodist Foundation to help us with this matter.

Please pray that we will be able to obtain a work permit quickly and that we will be able to receive our belongings quickly.
We can survive without our stuff, but we are very limited. All of our books, church music, and training materials are in those crates, as well as clothes and household items. My (Mike) sandals were getting ragged before I ever came to Thailand, but now I wear them all the time and I really need my sandals in the crates. They do not sell 12EEE shoes in Thailand.

Yesterday at church, we celebrated 2 families that came to Christ. The families were from a cell group in the city of Pattaya, about 100 kilometers to the south of Chon Buri (our home city). When an individual or family becomes Christians, we must surround them with prayer as a church. Here, when a person becomes a Christian, they get rid of the Buddhist and Animistic idols from their homes. But getting rid of idols has a severe price. The first price is spiritual attack from Satan. These families many times face sickness and other forms of spiritual attack and oppression. As a church, we send elders to pray for the family and to bless the house to cast out evil spirits and claim the home for Jesus Christ. I know that sounds so foreign to American ears, but believe me, spiritual battle with the demonic powers happens just like in Jesus’ time.
The second price of conversion is the effect it has on relationships with family. Conversion is seen as a threat and family members can exert great pressure on these new Christians.
Please pray for spiritual protection and nurture of our new Christians here in Thailand.

God Purpose Church in Chon Buri has 9 Cell Groups (if I count correctly). Seven of the Cell Groups are here in Chon Buri (two at the church, one in a marketplace, one downtown, and three in members homes). The other two cell groups are in distant places. One is in a rural area, and will become a daughter congregation in the near future. The other is in Pattaya, a city filled with foreigners and the epicenter of the sex trade here in Thailand. It will not surprise me if the Pattaya cell groups grows to become the third UM congregation here in Thailand.
Please pray for the Cell Groups of God Purpose Church, that they will grow to become new congregations.

Every week at God Purpose Church, Evangelism teams are sent out to hand out tracts and witness in the marketplaces and in homes. We were told that at first people did not want to receive the tracts. So the people of Chon Buri church began praying each day that people would receive the word, and now many people gladly accept and read the tracts and even come back to ask questions.
Please pray that people’s hearts will soften towards Jesus Christ. The Thai people need the Lord, just like we do.

We will be receiving our first VIM team, a group of pastors and laypeople from the Rocky Mount district or North Carolina, under the leadership of their District Superintendent, Dr. William Simpson. They will be teaching on the distinctive beliefs of Methodists. We look forward to meeting them and pray that this will be the beginning of a partnership between the church in Thailand and North Carolina.

We have wonderful neighbors in our subdivision “village” in Chon Buri. They have surrounded us with acceptance and love. Anthony has been a real bridge builder. He is very outgoing and has quickly established relationships with each family on our street. Sherri and I receive the benefit of his bridge building. We are hoping to start a Cell Group in our home (once we receive our stuff) and are praying that our neighbors will attend and receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
Please pray that our neighbors will come to Jesus Christ.

We are learning to use the mini-buses here and discover which routes each takes. There are no maps of the mini-bus routes, so we have had to ride each and learn the routes. One of the problems is that the routes change and the schedules change, depending upon the time of day. We are getting used to it though. Hopefully in the next several months we will be able to save up some money to purchase 2 motor scooters, which will help tremendously in getting around. We do not have any problems traveling in the daytime, when all of the mini-bus routes are running, but evening can be a problem because whole routes get shut down or are re-routed away from our home. Evenings are when we travel to cell groups and prayer meetings. Right now, we do a lot of walking (thus the worn sandals), but I praise Lord for answering my prayers for losing weight. Between the moderate portions of healthy Thai food, all of the long distance walking, and the heat which drives away hunger, we are all losing weight.

We thank you for your prayers and your faithfulness. May the Lord bless you!
Mike, Sherri, and Anthony

Monday, November 06, 2006

Our first Sunday at God Purpose Church

If I could use only one word to describe the worship at God Purpose Church, it would be JOY! They sing with fervor while waving colorful banners in the sanctuary. They love to sing praises and the preaching was Biblical and spiritually filling. The church greeted us by brining us flowers as they sang, and we feel at home here. The service started at 9:30 and ended at 12:30. We then had a terrific meal and then there was a time of sharing and fellowship following the meal.

Right now, both the city and the rural congregation meet together on Sunday morning for worship, but some time in the near future, the rural congregation will need to form their own church because their number is becoming too large to transport to the church using the church vans. Pray that the Lord will open the doors to make it possible to support a pastor and his/her own family there in the rural area. This rural area is very poor, yet the people are filled with joy.

Sherri, Anthony, and I made a trip in to Bangkok on Monday to register for Thai language classes and to do our banking and other needs. We will be going to school there on Thursdays. We are going today (Tuesday) to the University in Chon Buri to find a Thai language teacher to help us on the other weekdays. Please pray that we are able to effectively learn to speak, read, and write the Thai language quickly.

We have made friends with a Buddhist family in Chon Buri that owns a furniture store near where we live. Please pray for the Plang family, as we seek to invite them to church.

After we get our schedules set for language study, we will work with the leaders of God Purpose Church to schedule an English class and Bible study at the church and English classes at some of the local public schools. Please pray that the English class will draw the lost to the church so that all of the members of God Purpose Church may witness to them of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We are still getting things set up at home and are in the midst of buying furniture, dishes, and other essentials for living.

The food here has been great, and we have had only one "stretching" experience. While waiting for a ride, Anthony was hungry, so we gave him some money to buy food from one of the many street vendors nearby. Well, he came back with a bag filled with deep-fried bugs! And it wasn't just a small sandwich bag, it was a quart size one! I asked him why he bought such a big bag of them when he may not like them, and he said he wanted to try some of each insect (good grief! a bug buffet!). Anthony started to eat them and said they were good. I was laughing uncontrollably the whole time. He offered them to me but I refused, but Sherri was a trooper and started to eat them. Well, I eventually ate them by reaching into the bag and quickly popping one into my mouth with my eyes shut. It turned out to be a grasshopper and it was rather crunchy and tasted OK. Soon I was eating them while looking at them. The small bugs and grasshoppers were good, but the grubs were not as good, because it was hard to get past the soft texture of their insides. We then started to share the fried bugs with people nearby, who started laughing at the Farang (foreigners) who were eating things Farang usually dont eat. Now I will have to ask my supervisors in NY if we are real missionaries now that we have eaten bugs.

We appreciate your prayers and support!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

We are here in Thailand

We arrived in Chon Buri on Nov. 2nd and all is well. We gave praise to the Lord that all of our baggage arrived!

We are in the midst of doing the numerous things needed to settle in. It is a real challenge to do business transactions without knowing how to speak or read Thai. We look forward to starting language school.

Sherri and I worshipped at the Chon Buri church last night and met with their Administrative Council. After we get our schedules secured with Thai language studies, they would like us to begin teaching English as guests at some of the local schools. They are hoping to make connections so they can invite them to church.

Right now, we do not have internet access in our home, so we are using an internet cafe near us to communicate. We will check our e-mail every other day, if possible.

Anthony has already made some friend in our subdivision and is doing well. We thank you for your prayers for him.

Please pray for us as we try to work through all the details needed to live here and do our work here in Thailand.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Contact Info

Sherri, Anthony, and I will be heading to Thailand on Oct. 31st, if all works out. There was a mess up on Anthony's plane ticket, it had the wrong last name so a new ticket had to be ordered. It has still not arrived and it is just 3 days before we are ready to depart.

Please also pray that we will be able to have changes made to our visa once we get to Thailand. Right now we have a one year - single entry visa. What this means is that if we leave Thailand, we lose our work visa and permit and must start over. We would like the ability to visit neighboring missions, especially in Cambodia, and be able to come back for Jim's graduation from Berea College in the Spring of 2007. Please pray that we may obtain multiple entry visas.

We have a new e-mail address. It is thailandumc@gmail.com -- we would love to hear from you.

We will be taking off on Oct. 31st and will arrive in Bangkok on Nov. 2nd. We will have a flurry of chores to do once we arrive. We must register with the American Embassy, go to our bank in Thailand, enroll in Language School, set up our house (hopefully we will not have to wait a long time for our belongings to come), find a doctor and set up our medical care, register to receive utilities and services, meet with church members and leaders, purchase computer and office equipment and household electrical goods (we must purchase new household electrical goods because Thailand uses a different voltage and hertz than the U.S.) and numerous other duties. About 2 weeks after we arrive, we will host our first VIM team from the Rocky Mount District of North Carolina. There will probably be a few weeks before we post again.

We thank you for your prayers. Without your prayers, we can do nothing. With your prayers, all things are possible!

May the Lord Bless You,
Mike, Sherri, and Anthony

Saturday, October 14, 2006

We are now Commissioned Missionaries of GBGM


The commissioning service was truly a blessing and we are very excited about leaving for Thailand on October 31st. GBGM highlighted the Commissioning Service on their website http://gbgm-umc.org/global_news/pr.cfm?articleid=4251
and they also wrote a special feature about our mission to Thailand.
http://gbgm-umc.org/global_news/pr.cfm?articleid=4252
It was very special to us that many were praying for us and the mission to Thailand as we were being commissioned. Our special thanks to the Santa Clara UMC for your faithful prayers for us on that night.

After commissioning, we traveled to North Carolina at the invitation of Dr. William Simpson, District Superintendant of the Rocky Mount district. We met with clergy and laity from his district to tell the great news of what the Lord is doing in Thailand. Many of the people who attended this meeting will be arriving in Thailand next month as our first VIM team to ChonBuri. We are truly blessed to have the support of Dr. Simpson and the Rocky Mount District.

We are now at home and will speak at several churches in Kentucky while we do last minute preparations to be in Thailand for 3 years.

Friday, October 06, 2006

How To Support the Mission in Thailand

We appreciate your interest in supporting the mission work in Thailand.

Individuals or churches can contribute to particular projects (see the WISH LIST), or to provide 'missionary support.' Either can be done by sending a check to your UMC Conference office treasurer. For example, if you are in Kentucky, mail to:
KY Conference UMC
7400 Floydsburg Road
Crestwood KY 40014
On the check, in the 'memo' section, write an "Advance Number" which will help administrators get the funds to the correct account. Here are the Advance Numbers:
For Missionary Support --
(Mike) Advance # 15122Z
(Sherri) Advance # 15123Z
For Project Support --
(Thailand) Advance # 00403A

*If a project is chosen, please send a note via email to let us know which project is being supported.

Here are the details concerning what is involved if your church chooses to become a "Covenant Church."

  • Covenant Churches make a 3 year covenant with a missionary, to provide financial & prayer support. (The Covenant is not binding to the church -- in case a financial crunch emerges; the Covenant is meant to provide a framework for mission concern & relationship).
  • The financial commitment = Once a year for each of the three years, the church provides support in the amount of 5 dollars per member. (If it is a large church, the suggested "cap" is at $2000 dollars).
  • Any size church can become a Covenant Partner Church.
  • The prayer commitment = to pray regularly for the missionary & for the mission work in the area being served.


As part of the Covenant Relationship, the missionary will:

  • Keep in contact with the church (quarterly letters), sharing about the work, and what God is doing;
  • Commit to praying for the stateside local congregation (and needs as these are shared);
  • Make visiting the Covenant Churches "priority visits" during the itineration time which happens every three years.

If a church decides to become a Covenant Partner Church, The church needs to send in a Covenant Partner form which is found online at:

http://new.gbgm-umc.org/about/us/mp/missionarysupport/ .

This helps to differentiate between churches that are 'supporters' but not necessarily entering into the Covenant Partnership with a missionary.

Funds are still sent to the Conference Treasurer (with the missionary's Advance Number listed). The Conf. treasurer then forwards these funds to the General Board of Global Ministries in New York. Because not all missionary settings 'cost the same' to support, funds sent in the name of a particular missionary are pooled together with other missionary support dollars, enabling missionaries to be sent throughout the world.


It is always helpful to directly contact your missionary if a gift is being sent to missions. Generally, GBGM accounting is done in a timely manner. Direct communication lets the missionary know what to anticipate, or to know what is going on stateside; it is also encouraging to know when God is moving in the hearts of His people.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We need your prayers!

We will be moving to Chon Buri,Thailand on October 31st. We need your prayers:
1. Pray that we will learn to speak, read, and write the Thai language proficiently and quickly.
2. Pray for us as we make many life changes.
3. Pray that the gospel will spread across Thailand.
4. Pray that we can help discover and train Christian leaders in the United Methodist Church in Thailand.
This is a God-sized mission that is much bigger than us. Without your prayers, we can do nothing. With your prayers, all things are possible in Christ Jesus. Posted by Picasa

The Culture of Thailand

Thailand is a land of contrasts. It is an industrialized nation, yet one will find elephants and water buffalo in the streets.

The population of Thailand is 94% Buddhist and only 0.7% Christian. Pray for the light of Jesus Christ to shine throughout this land.


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God Purpose Church of Chon Buri, Thailand


God Purpose Church, here in Chon Buri, Thailand, will become the first United Methodist Congregation in Thailand!


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The Rural Congregation


This is the rural ministry of the God Purpose Church in Chon Buri. This small group has grown rather large and will most likely become a second congregation.

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Our home in Thailand


This is our home in Chon Buri, Thailand. Members of God Purpose Church helped Sherri to find this house, which is in a convenient location for traveling to the church.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Launch date June 30 2006

Welcome, as we begin to chronicle our missionary journey to Thailand!