Minutes for the historic first annual meeting of the Southeast Asia Mission Conference, Thailand District.
Friday, February 01, 2008, 7:30 pm
Bishop Larry Goodpaster – presiding bishop
The three Thai United Methodist churches were in attendance with over 140 participants. These three churches are:
Pradumri UMC of Chonburi, the first UMC in Thailand, with the founding pastors, Dr. Wiset and Sarah (Mui)
Pradumri Bowin UMC of Bowin, the second UMC in Thailand, which was birthed by Pradumri UMC with their pastors, Jerron and On
Prarachagit UMC of Bangkok, the third UMC in Thailand , with the founding pastors, Dang and Maow
Pastor Sarah of the host church, Pradumri UMC, gave the welcome to celebrate the first mission conference of Southeast Asia Mission (SEAM) in Thailand and also the 5th anniversary of Pradumri UMC.
Pastor Sarah prayed the opening prayer.
Pi Nao was the worship leader for the praise team. Pi Nao is one of the key leaders on the Administrative Council of Pradumri UMC and is on the regular rotation of worship leaders. He currently leads two cell groups and is training to be a lay preacher.
Sherri Morrissey introduced K. Nittaya, the translator for the conference and gave the missionary greeting to the conference. SM said that this is a historical event that we will all remember. She said words of honor concerning Pastors Sarah and Wiset, the founding pastors of Pradumri UMC and the inviting pastors for the UMC in Thailand. SM also introduced Bishop Goodpaster, the presiding bishop and gave gifts to the special guests.
Bishop Goodpaster was given a plaque picturing Thai children, to remind him to pray for the children of Thailand.
SM introduced Dr. David Wu, Rev. Jong Sung Kim, Dr. Patrick Friday, and gave Thai handcrafted gifts to them.
Pi Nao led the recitation of the Apostles Creed.
Pi Nao led congregational singing in the contemporary style that Thai Christians of all ages love. Some of the songs were translations of English language worship songs, but most were Praise songs that are originated in Thailand.
Pi Nao prayed often between songs, which is also typical of Thai worship.
Bishop Goodpaster gave a greeting to Thai United Methodists. Bishop Goodpaster introduced the concept of annual conferencing to Thai United Methodists. Annual Conferencing is at the center of how we structure and function as United Methodists. Bishop Goodpaster stated that they have already had the Mission Conferences in the Vietnam and Laos districts.
Bishop Goodpaster said that the United Methodist Church is 14 million believers in 126 countries, with Thailand being number 126 to join.
Bishop Goodpaster appointed the pastors and prayed for each of them. Each pastor received a certificate of assignment as a Mission Pastor. Each pastor received the title of Mission Pastor, which will be used for this first year until we can have a certification process that is fully approved in place to certify local pastors.
Bishop informed Thai United Methodists that the next step is that he would form a Board of Ordained Ministry (Board of Ordained Ministry), which is a group of pastors already ordained, that would help to set up the credentialing process for United Methodist pastors in SEAM. The Bishop will work with Rev. Jong Sung Kim to form the BOM which will interview pastors next year to recommend them as Local Pastors to the next SEAM conference. The goal is to have the BOM be made up of Thai United Methodists, but it will take a few years to get there.
God has already been working here in Thailand in a great way. Bishop Goodpaster called on the pastors to give Pastor’s Reports.
Pastor’s Report of Pradumri UMC by Pastor Sarah
The church is now 6 years old. It started in their home with 3 families.
This grew into a large cell group, so they moved to a building owned by Pastors Sarah and Wiset. When they moved, Pastor Wiset stopped preaching at different churches on Sunday mornings as an evangelist and followed God’s vision to start a church.
All in the church are new believers.
Mission Cell Groups were also started in the surrounding cities of Bangsaray, Pattaya, and Bowin.
Pastor Sarah leads the church administration and Pastor Wiset does most of the preaching. Many strong leaders now do the ministry.
Patrick Friday and his wife first came to visit Pradumri from America. After that, they had contact with UMC for a two year process.
At the beginning of the process, they had 100 members and were all crowded at the church and could not invite more. So they moved to their present location which is much larger.
God provided this new building to rent at a very reasonable price.
The upstairs floors have apartments for church members and staff and a good parking lot and great location on the main street, Sukumwit Road.
They then gave birth to Bowin UMC
The members of the two churches still miss each other, so they meet for special joint worship services often.
They will soon open another church in Bangkok.
Over 600 people have come to Christ through the ministry of this church.
Many receive Christ every week.
They pray that the sanctuary will fill up again and trust that God will work to make it so.
Pastor’s Report of Pradumri Bowin UMC by Pastor Jerron
May 6, 2006, this church opened (it has been 9 months now)
30 members from Bowin moved from Pradumri UMC to start this church.
The church is growing and has 70 members now.
They concentrate on Bible teaching so it will be their foundation.
Pastors Jerron and On have learned much from Pradumri church.
They have cell groups, a Friday night prayer meeting, Sunday School and Sunday morning Service, Sunday fellowship dinner, children’s ministries, and evangelism ministries.
Many members at Bowin had large problems which God miraculously helped. So now they are strong believers in Christ.
They are now having cell groups that meet in homes. 2 cells meet in homes and one in a factory. The cell groups are entry points into the church for many people.
The 3 goals of the church
1. Solid Bible Teaching
2. Multiplying Cell Groups for Discipleship and Evangelism
3. Developing Strong Leaders
Mike and Sherri Morrissey are starting economic development programs to lift members permanently out of poverty.
Pastor’s Report of Prarachagit UMC by Pastor Dang
Pastor Dang gave greetings to Bishop G and Pastors Sarah and Wiset
He invited his members to stand. 21 people came to this conference from his church in Bangkok.
He appreciates the opportunity to be United Methodist. He first learned about John Wesley in Bible College and later became interested in becoming United Methodist when they understood that we have Wesleyan theology.
His church began one year and 3 months ago on Nawamin Road in Bangkok. They faced many obstacles and problems and had to be bi-vocational, which limited their ministry. Now they can be full time because they receive support.
They have 21 adults that worship there with many children as well.
They are now multiplying cell groups, having 2 cell groups, one in the church and 1 a home. They also have a Thursday night prayer meeting.
He prays that United Methodists can work in unity of purpose.
They want their members to have opportunities to serve God.
They hope to start new music ministry and youth ministries this year.
Pastor Sarah gave a concluding report thanking each church for reporting what God is doing in their midst and invites people to give personal testimonies of how they have been blessed by God.
Khun Lek, a leader at Pradumri UMC is the first to testify.
Lek has been a Christian for 3 years.
Before he was a Christian, He was a businessman, selling cars and rice. But then his business started failing and his family relationships became broken.
He started going to the sauna, where he met Dr. Wiset, who evangelized there. He hated Dr. Wiset and wished he would stop talking about Jesus. One day he asked Dr. Wiset what he does, and he said that he prays for everyone that comes to the fitness center. Dr. Wiset explained the power of prayer and encouraged him to pray and read the Bible. He started reading the Bible and going often to the sauna to ask questions of Dr. Wiset. Dr. Wiset led him to receive Christ and he started coming to Pradumri UMC.
Khun Nuc, one of the key leaders and cell leaders at Pradumri gave her testimony.
She is the first Christian in her family.
Before Christ she was a successful businessperson who was only interested in making money.
She was also a strong Buddhist and leader at her temple.
She met her husband, Peter who was a Christian and he evangelized to her for 2 years.
He was a member of Hope of Bangkok Church. He kept inviting her to church and eventually she decided to go.
She started a business in Pattaya but had problems, so she moved to Chonburi. So she started going to the cell group at Pastor Sarah’s house at the urging of her husband Peter. She didn’t want to go but wanted to please her husband, so she attended.
She went to the Christmas party at the church and Dr. Somsak of Phayao Bible College preached. He gave his testimony without saying it was his own. Dr. Somsak had problems with drugs before Christ, and when he received Jesus, the Lord changed his life. She was inspired by his testimony to receive Christ.
When she received Christ, she received peace and joy and transformation.
God has helped her and Peter to overcome problems together that almost led to a divorce.
Now Peter is training to be a UM pastor at Phayao Bible College.
God blessed them with land to build an apartment building with a store on the first floor. This new business allowed them to leave their previous business and be in Chonburi every Sunday so they could become deeply involved in the life of the church.
Nuc now is in charge of taking care of new believers at Pradumri UMC.
Dr. Wiset gave thanks that many people have come to Christ. He introduced Missionary Boonchio of Singapore Methodists who was sent to help Pradumri UMC. He thanked God for the new cell group at Suwannabhumi.
On the screen was a picture of K. Dam with a very sick woman, who is just skin and bones, suffering from terminal cancer. The Singapore Methodist prayed for her (picture shown of this) and then she received healing. Now a new picture of the same woman in much better health is shown. God is doing miraculous things.
Bishop Goodpaster gave thanks for the testimonies and praised God for His miraculous work in Thailand.
His message is about how we are about to move forward.
As we seek to plant churches in Thailand, we must keep in mind the picture of the church in the Book of Acts.
God used his beginning church to reach the whole world with the gospel of Jesus.
Bishop G reads from Acts 2:42-
He prays that will be the model of the UMC in Thailand.
1. We have to be grounded in the Bible and read it constantly. John Wesley said we are to be “men of one book”, the Bible. The Bible teaches us how to serve God.
2. We have to be a community that cares for each other and serves others because we care and want them to know the Lord.
3. We must be a house of prayer, a people devoted to constant prayer.
When we pray, God will do great things.
4. We focus on Jesus. If we build a church for any other reason, we have not built a church. It is all about Jesus.
“Day by day, God added to the numbers who believed.”
God gives the faith, but God uses us to give the word.
Following the sermon, Bishop Goodpaster presented certificates of special recognition to Pastors Dr. Wiset and Pastor Sarah as the first appointed UM pastors in Thailand. All in the assembly clapped in appreciation for their faithful and fruitful service to the Lord.
Bishop Goodpaster appointed the pastors, credentialed them as Mission Pastors, and prayed for them, and gave each pastor a certificate declaring each to be a United Methodist Mission Pastor in the Southeast Asia Mission.
Bishop Goodpaster called forward Pastor Selah and his wife, who are presently serving at Pradumri UMC and will soon plant a new church in Bangkok near the Airport. He prayed for them as they prepare to open a new United Methodist Church in Bangkok in April.
The Bishop gave blessings to all who came.
Sherri Tabaka-Morrissey gave the benediction.
The Conference was followed by refreshments as is the custom of Methodists everywhere and in particular Thai United Methodists.