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We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission

We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eighteen people receive Jesus at Pradumri UMC's Christmas Outreach Program

Pradumri UMC always does their Christmas program on a large scale. This year, they printed invitations so that members could hand these reminders to everyone they invite to the Christmas program. The church was packed to overflowing with people, there were not nearly enough chairs, so many had to stand wherever they could find room.

The program began with a huge buffet outside at the front of the building. Pradumri UMC is located right on the busiest road in Chonburi, so there were many people who stopped to see what was happening and stayed for the free meal. The food was wonderful, plentious, and many different types.

Next, we all went inside for the Christmas program. There was great singing, but the highlight was a drama of the "Prodigal Son". Many members of Pradumri worked on this drama. We prayed with the group of drama team members and with many of them individually. Many of the drama team members had family and friends in attendance who do not know the Lord. We prayed that the Lord would open their eyes and hearts to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The drama team did a fantastic job. When we looked out at the people, we could see them really listening and responding to the drama. We could tell that God was working on their hearts. When the drama was done, we prayed with the drama team again and told them that God was opening the eyes of their family to Jesus Christ and His love.

We prayed with one young man for his mother and father who did not know the Lord but were there at the Christmas program. With another young man, we prayed for his wife who is not a believer.

After the drama, Dr. Somsak of Phayao Bible College gave a Spirit-filled sermon on who Jesus is and that Jesus forgives all sins when we repent before Him. We could see that the Holy Spirit was convicting hearts because of the people's response as he preached. Then at the end of the sermon, Dr. Somsak invited all who wanted to give their lives to Jesus to raise their hands and pray with him. Over twenty people raised their hands and said the prayer to receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord!

After this, Pastor Sarah invited everyone who had raised their hand to come to the counseling room. 18 people came to the counseling room, including the parents of the one young man we prayed with and the wife of the other young man we prayed with. We were praising God and crying tears of joy to know that these people have eternal life now. It was a wonderful time of celebration because God answered our prayers.

Pastor Sarah encouraged each person to come back in the morning to worship with us on Sunday. Most all of them did, and it was a privilege to be with them as they received communion for the first time as members helped them to understand the meaning of the symbols of bread and juice.

God has truly anointed the ministry of Pastors Wiset and Sarah.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Prayers for the coming Election in Thailand and the Special Christmas Program at Pradumri UMC

This Sunday, Dec. 23rd is Election Day all across Thailand. Please pray that a civil government will be formed that will heal the divisions that precipitated the military coup last year.

Pradumri UMC usually has their large Christmas Outreach Program on the Sunday evening before Christmas. They always do their programs BIG. Lots of singing, dramas, food, games, and the giving of gifts to members and visitors alike. But this year, we could not have the Big Christmas Event on the Sunday before Christmas because it is Election Day. On Election Day, public gatherings where free gifts are given is banned, to prevent any vote-buying or even the appearance of evil. So we will all be celebrating tonight (Saturday, Dec. 22).

We have been praying for this event because we know many people who are not Christians will be there and they will have a chance to hear the gospel in preaching, in song, in drama, and in acts of love and service.

Anthony, Jim, Sherri, and I wish you a blessed Christmas Day. We thank all who have remembered us by sending wonderful Christmas cards and e-mails. These acts of love sustain us and inspire us. May the Lord bless you greatly!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bowin UMC Christmas Outreach is a Great Time of Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ

Bowin UMC celebrated Christmas with an Outdoor Extravaganza last night (Friday, Dec. 14th). They have spent the last 6 weeks preparing for this event and sending invitations to as many people as possible. They had a very large stage set up in the parking lot outside the church (the church is located in a marketplace). There were many, many people who were not Christians there, and they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in many ways. The gospel was presented in song, in several dramas, in Thai liturgical dance, and in preaching. Every part of the program was well planned and we know that the Lord will use the planting of the seed of the gospel through this event to make many disciples of Christ.

The gospel was also demonstrated through acts of love. Delicious free food was provided and the members of Bowin UMC were very intentional to be sure everyone was welcomed. They also had some exciting entertainment that we have never seen at a church event. They had fire dancing, where several men and one boy danced while twirling batons with flames! It was truly amazing!

Today (Saturday, Dec. 15th), we will have special Christmas outreach events in Bangsaray and in Pattaya. Pattaya will be a large event with Christian music and lots of delicious Thai and Chinese food. We will be seeking to witness to all who come. The outreach in Pattaya will be very different from the rest, in that it is an international community and a community known world-wide for sex tourism. The outreach will take place in the heart of a very rough part of the city, filled with sex tourists and many of them are Muslim, with neither group being very welcoming of Christians. But the Gospel must be proclaimed everywhere, especially in places like Pattaya where the love of Christ is not known.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Our role as missionaries: We are connectors.

The mission of reaching the world for Jesus Christ is a task that is much larger than any one person, any single congregation, or even any single denomination. The mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ and bringing justice and peace to the worlk requires every Christian and every group of Christians. This is especially true for Thailand where Christians are a small minority but face a huge task. In Thailand, it is very crucial for all Christians to work cooperatively.

We try to set aside one or two days per week to connect with other ministries in Thailand so we can work cooperatively. As Christians, we need each other and we need to be connected. Yesterday we went to Bangkok Bible Seminary, an OMF (Overseas Mission Fellowship) ministry, which is the largest seminary in Thailand. We met with Dr. Manoch who leads this vital ministry and is also the president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand, a group of churches and denominations that we are seeking to connect with for cooperative ministry. Our purpose was to get information on the seminary because we know we will have people called into the ministry who already have college degrees and a seminary would provide the Master of Divinity degree which they will need for leadership in Methodism in Thailand. We were really pleased with all we saw there and look forward to the day when Thai United Methodists will begin studies there. We hope to build a cooperative relationship with Bangkok Bible College and to further connect with Phayao Bible College where United Methodists from Thailand and Laos are now studying.

We are fortunate to have met Dr. Manoch of Bangkok Bible Seminary for his wise counsel that he has developed from years of experience here in Thailand. We have found that Thai Christians are always willng to sacrifice their time and give assistance to us as we have much to learn. Our time with Dr. Manoch was very fruitful.

We also are privileged to serve as connectors across the globe, connecting churches and Christian leaders in the States with Thai Christian leaders and Thai churches. We need to connect and work together to have fruitful ministry in the task that the Lord has set before every Christian.

We have been blessed by many connections across the globe.

One connection that is a great blessing is Santa Clara Korean UMC. They have been very supporting of the Thailand Mission and now have promised to be a sister church with Bowin UMC here in Thailand, providing the financial support for Pastors Jerron and On at Bowin. Now Santa Clara KUMC has two more pastors on staff, and these two serve across the Pacific Ocean from California. The sisters and brothers at Santa Clara are also providing financial support for the new church plant that is starting in Pattaya. Santa Clara KUMC has entered the first sister church relationship and we hope many others will soon follow.

Another connection that is a blessing is with the Rocky Mount District of North Carolina. They are returning in February with a VIM team to help with the need for Christian art. In the States, we tended to take Christian art for granted because it was plentiful and easily available. Here Christian highly treasure any Christian art because it is very scarce and expensive. Most Thai Christians are very new believers, having become Christians in the past year or two. When they became Christians, they removed idols and Buddhist art from their homes, and in most homes there is no Christian symbols and art to replace it with. It is very important not to leave this void but to have these very important Christian symbols and art around their homes to remind them of who they are in Jesus Christ. We look forward to seeing our sisters and brothers from North Carolina as they connect once again with their Christian family here in Thailand.

We are very blessed to serve in this role of being connectors of God's people. God is good!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A New United Methodist Church is Initiated in Bangkok

We would like to introduce you to the pastors of the new United Methodist Church in Bangkok, the Prarachagit Church (God’s Work Church). Pastors Dang and Maow have been serving the Lord together for seven years in the Bangkok area as bi-vocational pastors. They started this congregation about one year ago and they meet for worship and cell ministries every week. We worshipped with the believers at Prarachagit Church and witnessed their passionate worship of the Lord.

Pastors Dang and Maow have three children, who were all adopted several years ago. Dang and Maow took these children in when their parents, who were members of their previous congregation, died suddenly, leaving them homeless. We were impressed by their willingness to adopt these children and give them a new home. Dang and Maow have a heart for providing mercy ministries to those in need in their area and have revealed their heart by sacrificing to help others at Prarachagit church.

Prarachagit church is the first United Methodist church in the capital city and is located west of the airport. We were praying to open a church in the capital and the Lord has answered our prayers. Praise the Lord!

Our Personnel supervisor, Rev. Jungrea Chung, met with Pastors Dang and Maow this Thursday at Prarachagit UMC in Bangkok, the first UMC in the capital city of Thailand.

(pictured left to right: Rev. Jungrea Chung, Sherri, Mike, Pastors Dang and Maow, and our assistant Nittaya)