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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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.