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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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mission Team from Santa Clara UMC comes to Thailand

Mr. Whi Ahn and Mrs. So Young Ahn (in the picture on the left) and Rev. Sungho Lee from the Santa Clara UMC came to help promote the Thailand Mission. They came to take videos and pictures of the United Methodist Church here in Thailand in order to produce a video presention that can be used in UM churches back in the States to inform them of what the Lord is doing here.

We went to see the location of what will soon be the second UM church in Thailand, which is in the city of Bo Win. The building is empty and we are just beginning to make plans on getting it ready for the big kickoff service next month. The SCUMC Mission Team met some of the members of the Bo Win UMC and met Rev. Jerron and his wife Oh, who will be serving as UMC ministers at the new church. They are pictured here on the left with Rev. Lee and us in front of the small rural building where their group of believers have met for the last two years.

The SCUMC Mission Team also worshipped with us at God Purpose Church (Pradumri) in Chon Buri and we all enjoyed the fellowship with them as we enjoyed some of the local cultural attractions. SCUMC will be sending a youth mission team in the summer, and we know they will have a lot of fun as they serve the Lord here.

The picture on the left is Rev. Lee and Mr. Ahn, sharing an elephant ride together. In another picture, Sherri is riding an elephant. While I (Mike) was purchasing her ticket for the ride, this elephant stole my coconut drink, but I did not notice. When I turned around it was gone and it was nowhere to be seen. I didn't see it until Sherri finished her ride. Then the elephant reached into its mouth with it's long trunk and pulled out my coconut, now empty of course, and then rolled the coconut at my feet. Anthony had a belly roll of a laugh when he saw that I was outsmarted by an elephant.

We look forward to having more mission teams come. There are many projects to do here that will help to spread the love of Jesus in Thailand. E-mail us at thailandumc@gmail.com if you are interested.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Pray for the new church forming at Bo Win

Mike preached on Sunday morning at Pradumri Church in Chon Buri and was celebrating with them that they will soon plant a daughter church. Many of those who attend church here at Pradumri are brought in on a bus and driven for a one hour drive to arrive here. The problem that we have had is that there is a limited ability to transport people over such a long distance, so many Christians in Bo Win are unable to come to church for lack of transportation. In several weeks, the believers at Bo Win will have their own church. A building has been rented that is in a corner location at a busy marketplace in Bo Win. Bo Win has a population of over 150,000 people and has no church (The picture shows the vicinity of the city that the church is in, but the city is much, much larger than what is seen here). The United Methodist Church forming here will be the first congregation here. There is much work to be done as we try to remodel the building to make it useable for worship on the first floor and for Sunday School and an apartment for the pastor's family on the second floor. We have to also purchase all the things needed for having a church (songbooks, Bibles, musical instruments, chairs, pulpit, communion table, communion set, and many other needs). We will be meeting a candidate for being the pastor here this coming weekend. He comes with a good recommendation from Dr. Somsak, the president of Payao Bible College here in Thailand, so we believe this will be a good match. Please pray that the Lord will help with all the details involved in starting this new church.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Chinese New Year in Thailand

“Bang, Bang! Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang…Bang!” We woke up to the sound of strings of firecracker explosions. Today is Chinese New Year! Soon the doorbell was ringing. Buk, our neighbor was bringing plates of food – Geng Ke-ow (Green Curry); Gai (chicken); Noodles; and Chinese Dumplings steamed in banana leaves. A feast was being shared with us. Later, another neighbor came by, bearing a large bag of fruit – bananas, green mango, apples, and something we don’t yet know the name of. Again we find ourselves overwhelmed by the hospitality of our Thai neighbors!
Here in Thailand, Chinese New Year is celebrated with gusto. Chon Buri will be celebrating in an even larger way, as King Bhumibol’s daughter will be here for a visit. The Princess will attend ceremonies at Rua Sam Pau, a Chinese Buddhist monastery, located near the seaside. Rua Sam Pau’s walls are built to resemble a large ship, representing a vessel meant to transport faithful Buddhists to Nirvana. (We’ll explain Nirvana in a moment). It is also believed by older residents that to die at Rua Sam Pau brings good fortune. Many of the older Chinese women believe that when they die, their souls will be carried on the sea back to China.
What is Nirvana? To understand this Buddhist concept it is necessary to understand Buddhist views of life and death. Buddhism teaches that people cycle through stages of life and death (reincarnation). The purpose of reincarnation isn’t ‘to get to live more.’ Buddhism teaches that it is necessary to ‘earn merit’ in one’s lifetime, and if enough merit (good points) isn’t accumulated, a person has to ‘do it again’ – going through cycles of life and death until enough merit has been earned to warrant release – Nirvana. Buddhism teaches Nirvana is not a place, but ‘a state of being freed of personal desires’ – and essentially becoming ‘one with the cosmos.’
Recently we had a very heartwarming moment a few weeks after a woman (Bayn) gave her life to Christ while visiting Pradumri Church. She shared how she felt so ‘clean’ and ‘free.’ She had no anxieties trying to earn favor or appease her Creator. Understanding that Christ died for her sins, and knowing Jesus was what she was needing ‘all her life.’ This woman’s experience reminds us of various portions of Scripture which highlight our human condition, and what Christ accomplished through the cross. In Hebrews 9:27 we’re reminded: “Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.” And later, in chapter 10 of Hebrews, we read: (v.12) “Christ however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever;” and in verses 19-23, “We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to enter into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain – that is, through his own body…So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water. Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep His promises.” God’s Word is also comforting to us, in that we know that when we die in Christ, we will be with God in the heavenly place He has prepared for us (Heb. 11:16; John 14:1, 2)!
A final, interesting note, is that the spiritual change in Bayn is impacting her life in many ways. Recently we attended a party she gave at her business, to thank all of her customers for their support. The highlight of the evening was that Bayn invited the praise team from Pradumri Church to come and provide a Christian concert. It was such a blessing, to see this young woman eager to share her love for Christ!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wish List - Updated February 11, 2007

If your church or group is looking for a special project to give towards, we have many needs:

1. Church Building Rental - when churches are first planted, we will rent buildings in location on the main road for the sake of visibility. It costs about $350 per month to rent a building large enough to support a church.

2. Pastor's Salary - support a church planting pastor through a gift of $300 per month.

--> When your church helps to financially support a pastor or help to pay for the rent on the church building, your church becomes a sister congregation to the one you are helping here in Thailand. We will help keep you connected with your sister church so you can see the eternal impact of your generosity.

3. Radio Station - there is a governent-operated radio station (very few are private) in Bo Win which is a city of about 150,000 people. This is the only radio station in this city. We can broadcast for two hours each day (any hours that we choose) for only $100 per month. We have found that most everyone listens to the radio here and this is a tremendous way to evangelize this area.

4. Video Projector - we need a video projector for our pastoral training center. The use of visuals help in training, especially since we still have a language barrier. Also, newly planted churches can borrow this projector until they can afford to buy their own. A new projector would cost about $2000.

5. Bibles and literature - We need Thai Bibles and evangelistic tracts and discipleship materials. Bibles cost about $15. A large box of colorful tracts cost about $120. Discipleship materials cost about $20 per person.

6. Help poor children go to school - for about $10 per month, you can help give transportation for rural children to get to school, pay for school fees, and have lunch provided for them. Many of these children live in the mountains of the north.

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

Thank you so much for your prayers, your support, and your love for Christ and the people of Thailand!

Sherri & Mike Morrissey

Morrissey Family Update

We now have two motorcycles that we use to drive short distances (1-5 miles), such as going to church and to the market. These have been very helpful at night when the mini-buses have very erratic schedules. Before we had these motorcycles, we had to walk several miles to get back and forth from Sukumwit Street (the main street) to catch buses to church that still operated at night. And many places, like the food market we shop at, are not accessible by minibus at any time of day. We are very careful drivers and try to stay off of the busiest streets. But we also have to say that they are fun to ride too!

Anthony has two new additions to his life. The first addition is his new dog, which he named "Gaffay", which means "coffee" in Thai. "Coffee" is an appropriate name for the dog because it keeps us awake at night with its barking (we will be glad when he is fully trained!) He is a very cute dog and has won our hearts. The dog was a gift to him from two wonderful church members who have hearts the size of Texas. They knew that Anthony's first dog died on New Year's Eve, so they gave him this Shih Tzu. Anthony went to their home to get the new dog, and he realized how big a gift this is. This couple lives in a very tiny apartment and do not have many worldly goods. Some of the money that supports them is through raising Shih Tzu puppies. Each puppy is about a week and a half of wages for them. Anthony realized that this gift was a huge financial sacrifice for them. Needless to say, it is very humbling when those who are poor are so generous with what little material blessings that the Lord has given them. We all received a lesson in generosity from this couple.
The second addition in Anthony's life is the violin. He has been taking music lessons with Noyna, the worship leader at Pradumri Church. At first Anthony thought he wanted to start taking piano lessons again, but when he discovered that Noyna taught violin, he decided that was the instrument for him. Anthony loves to play his violin and is rather good at making a good tone on it.

We have been spending quite a bit of time looking for a good building to rent for the second church, which will be planted at Bo Win, a city of about 150,000 people 35 miles southeast of Chon Buri. At the present time, the Pradumri Church in Bo Win uses a bus to bring many of the Christians there in Bo Win to our church, but it is a very long drive. During the week, they meet in a rural area for their small group. We went out with some of the church leaders to look for a good building to rent. We found two buildings and they both were good locations. The first building was larger than the second building but was not in as good of a location. The second building was smaller but was right in the marketplace, which is a great location. When we all conferred together, we formed a concensus that we should rent the first building that we looked at. We then went to the Friday night prayer meeting at church. At the prayer meeting, we prayed that God's will would be done. We knew that we had a strong concensus, so we prayed that if God wanted us rent a different building, He would need to close a door. So after the prayer meeting we called the rental company and told them we wanted to rent the first building. About an hour later, we received two calls, the first was from the owner of the first building, who said he would not rent to us if we were going to use the building as a church. Shortly after that call, the owner of a second building called to say that he wanted the blessing of renting to a church and even lowered the rental cost. Within an hour of our prayer, God closed one door and immediately opened another one, and at a cost that is very affordable. We praise God for His guidance. We will be going tomorrow to sign a lease on the building. We will have much work to do there. We need to lay a floor (it is just unfinished concrete at the moment, and fix the place up so it is suitable for worship. The first floor will be used for worship and the second floor will be the pastor's residence. Hopefully, the new pastor will arrive soon and we will be able to open the second United Methodist congregation in Thailand. God is good!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Visa Update

We thank everyone who has been praying for our visa situation. We have some good news and also a need for continued prayer. We did not receive a one year visa but we did receive a 90 day extension of our visa. The Immigration Office told us that our paperwork would be sent to Police Headquarters in Bangkok for processing to make sure we have clean records. We were told that when we our records are cleared by Bangkok officials, we will receive a one year visa. The Immigration officer told us to come back in one month, and they should be ready to finalize the process. We are very thankful to have a visa extension, which came on the day that our visas would have expired. God's timing is perfect! And we still need your prayers that we will be able to obtain one year worker visas soon. We have been told by other missionaries that the first worker visa is difficult to get, but that future renewals will be much smoother. We sure hope this is true. =)