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.
Churches from all over the province participated in the service through singing and dancing (the children did several worship dances, including one with tamborines and another with traditional Thai dance. The children probably wondered why we were crying with tears of joy as they worshipped the Lord.
Mike preached the message for the service and Sherri led the congregation in a prayer of dedication for Pastors Jerron and Awn. Sherri also presented Pastors Jerron and Awn this painting which is a gift from you. This painting of Jesus and his sheep standing at the door knocking symbolizes their ministry as pastors here at Bo Win as they and their parishioners reach out to their community.
Anthony also helped by playing "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus" and "As the Deer" on his violin as he was accompanied by the Pradumri UMC Praise Band. We were very proud of him!
When the service ended at 7:00 p.m., we all went outside for a huge buffet that the members of Pradumri UMC prepared for this event. People had been working all day to prepare and clean up the meal at Pradumri UMC in Chon Buri, and then come out to Bo Win to prepare an even larger meal and clean up afterwards. The fact is that the Thai believers are work hard in the church and do so with an attitude of joy and thankfulness. We are inspired by their servant hearts!
The Bo Win UMC is the first church in this city of 150,000 people, so this small church of around 60 people have much work to do as they reach out to their community in the name of Jesus. There are many other communities like Bo Win with large populations and no churches (or very few). Your prayers and support make a difference in reaching the Thai people for Jesus Christ.