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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sherri heads back to Kentucky tomorrow to attend Jim's graduation and to see our children, and Madeline (our granddaughter), and to go to the Kentucky Annual Conference. Be sure to stop by the booth Sherri will have set up and say hello. Anthony and I will go to Phuket for several days to vacation while Sherri is in the States. We really need this time of refreshing, because it has been a very fast-paced 7 months here.
Since we will be away, we will not be back onto the blog for another 3 weeks.
May the Lord Bless You!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Wish List - Updated May 18, 2007
Help Start New Churches in Thailand
Total Launch expenses for one church $12,500.00
Help with pastoral support for a church planting pastor for one year
(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
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: email@example.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.
Short-term missioners are needed to teach English classes at Bangsaray at a school which has a very high population of AIDS orphans (30%+). You will need to provide your own support. Please contact us if you feel that you may be called to serve in this way.
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
Sunday, May 13, 2007
The United Methodist Churches of Thailand have joined together with the churches in Laos and Vietnam to form the Southeast Asia Mission Conference. Each nation will be its own district within the Conference. Thailand will be the headquarters for this new Mission Conference. We were very pleased to hear that Bishop Larry Goodpaster of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference has been assigned as our new bishop. Bishop Goodpaster (in the picture to the right) is well known for his passion for evangelism, and we look forward to working under his leadership.
Now that we are a Mission Conference, we can set standards and procedures which make sense for our status as a pioneering initiative of United Methodists. It makes our life simpler in many ways, but will also make things happen at a much faster pace. One thing that will happen faster is the development of a Course of Study School for Local Pastors, as well as a United Methodist extension seminary here in Thailand. These schools will benefit United Methodists in all three nations.
Also this week we received great news. Peter, who tutors us in the Thai language with his wife, Nuc (Ruth), has felt called to be a pastor for a while now. We have talked together quite a bit about the options available to him for pastoral training. Last week at the opening service for the new UM church at Bo Win, Peter spoke with Dr. Somsak, president of Phayao Bible College in Northern Thailand. After speaking with Dr. Somsak, Peter knew that now was the time to begin studies, so he will go to Phayao Bible College starting in 3 weeks. He will work and study there during the weekdays and come home each weekend to his wife who will continue to tutor us. Peter will be in school for 4 years to receive his degree in Biblical Studies. Peter and Nuc will also work with the Cell Groups in Pattaya and Bangsaray, where we expect the next new churches will be planted. Peter and Nuc are a remarkable couple and have become very close friends to us. We know the Lord will accomplish mighty things in them and through them. (They are in the picture on the right)
Kapkoon Prajao! (Thank You Lord!)
Whirlwind Week Part 2: A Day of Surveying for locations of new church plants and new ministries to orphans and families in crisis.
Next, we participated in our church’s Cell group in Bangsaray. We enjoyed worshipping with these people who are very poor and yet are very generous with the little that they have. It is very humbling to sit in a house with no furniture,no walls, and no bathroom (you get the picture) and have them feed us a bowl of soup filled with meat. They sacrifice what little they have to lavish hospitality on us.
Bangsaray is located south of Pattaya and is a community that has been overwhelmed by AIDS, which was spread through the sex tourism of Pattaya. Here in Bangsaray we see the trail of devastation that AIDS has caused here. We witnessed the devastation after the cell group meeting. One of the families of the cell group is an orphan named Googeek, who lives with her 85 year old grandparents (are very common arrangement). Googeek could not register for school because she did not have money for school uniforms, books, supplies, and other fees. We took Googeek and her grandfather to the school so we could purchase these items. While there we met with school officials who asked for the help of the United Methodist Church. There are a little over 1000 students there and about 30% of them are orphans. 300 orphans in just one public school in this area! Of the other 70%, almost all live in terrible poverty. The school receives government funds to help the orphans, but it is such a small amount (about $120 U.S. Dollars per year) that they can only meet the needs of a portion. They pull funds from other sources, such as their funds to hire English teachers, so they can afford to feed the orphans and other poor children. All children receive free meals, regardless of their ability to pay.
The school officials did not ask for money. Instead they asked for a volunteer English teacher, because learning English helps to secure better paying jobs for these children who need hope. We are praying that the Lord raises up someone who has a steady source of income already, such as a pension, who would volunteer 3 months to a year in this ministry.
We are praying for a partnership with this school in which the church can use the facilities for worship and provide the assistance needed to help the families in crisis here. We will talk more about this in the future as plans unfold.
Next, we went to South Pattaya to the a cell group which meets in this large city (over 500,000 residents). This is a strong cell group of several young families who are passionate in their faith in Jesus. They expressed the great need for a church in their area and were encouraged by our commitment to form a new church there. We will seek to form 2 more cell groups and then have the cell groups unite to form a new church. We hope to form a new cell group in North Pattaya, where a member of Pradumri UMC lives. Unlike South and Central Pattaya, which has a very large foreign population, North Pattaya is primarily Thai and has no church in that area. This would be an ideal location for our next new church plant.
After partcipating in the South Pattaya cell group, we visited a school for blind children in Pattaya operated by the Catholic church (they are very faithful in helping those in need). It was encouraging to see the workers there who truly love the children there and nurture them. The children were very friendly and loved to interact with us.
After that, we returned home with a great burden on our hearts for the people of Pattaya, Bangsaray, and Sattahip. May the Lord raise up workers for the harvest!
Today is the first Sunday morning worship service at Bo Win UMC. We were excited about this historic day, because we know this is the first church in this city of over 150,000 people and that ministry here had been limited by the fact that Bo Win is very far from our church in Chon Buri. Pradumri UMC sent a bus out here every Sunday to bring people to worship, but we could only fit 35 people on the bus. We could not transport all who wanted to come for worship. Now that we have a church here, that is no longer a problem. Today, we saw the results as 70 people attended worship (worship attendance doubled in size on the first week!) It was a very joyous and emotional service as people were overcome with joy at having a church here for the first time. It was the answer to everyone’s prayers.
Worship here was in the same contemporary style as Pradumri UMC, and with the same enthusiasm. When the time came in the service to greet each other, they formed a circle and went around the room welcoming each other, just as they do at Pradumri church. However, there was so much joy that walking around to greet each other was not enough. Some of the members started to dance across the room in traditional Thai style, with their hands making beautiful forms and motions. One of the ones dancing was an elder woman who grabbed my hand (Mike) and took me around with her as she danced and greeted people. There were not many dry eyes in church today!
We were impressed by how many leaders that this church has. People worked well together to make everything happen, including a fellowship dinner. Everyone saw what needed to be done and did it!
We believe Bo Win UMC will have a very good problem. It was very full in the sanctuary and a little more growth and we will have to do some problem solving on how to accommodate more people. Those are the type of problems we like. The pictures on the blog below this are of this worship service. Pastor Awn was the Worship leader and her husband, Pastor Jerron, played guitar in the Praise Band and preached a wonderful sermon on reaching out to the lost in Bo Win.
I (Mike) need to finish typing this blog and head downstairs now. Sherri has several people from the church here for English lessons for this hour, which will be followed by our cell group which is for church leaders. Sherri leads this group every Sunday night, and it is growing and growing. We thank the Lord that He gave us a house to rent which has a large living room, because we use every bit of this space in hosting cell groups and other functions. God provides for every need!
Monday, May 07, 2007
On Sunday, May 6th, we were privileged to participate in the opening of the first United Methodist church plant in Thailand. (Pradumri UMC was a church that was already formed when they joined the United Methodist Church. Bo Win UMC is the first of many church plants!) Everyone was filled with joy and awe at the blessing of being a part of this historic event.
When we arrived at 2:30, 2 hours before the event began, we were able to view all the work that had been done to make the building ready for worship. Pastors Jerron and Awn did a great job of mobilizing people to set up the church and decorate the inside and the outside with beautiful flowers and draperies. The sanctuary was bright and cheerful and cool (praise God for air conditioning and fans!). The second floor has a large room for the Children's Sunday School class plus a Pastor's Study, and 2 rooms for the pastors to live in.