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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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pradumri Believers baptized at KruaTalay

It was a wonderful day at Pradumri UMC, this last Sunday (May 26, 2008). Mike preached in the morning and Sherri served communion using the new Thai language liturgy she developed based on the liturgy in the UMC hymnal. Sherri used Thai language during the whole communion service.

After service we had the afternoon meal and a teaching session with 17 new Christians who would be baptized that afternoon. Nung, a Thai man who speaks fluent English, was our translator for the teaching session. He and his wife were baptismal candidates, and we rejoiced having them there because we have seen their lives change and they have grown strong in Christ. Nung was saved about a year ago and his wife gave her life to Christ at the Christmas program last year.

We went to the Krua Talay restaurant which is by the ocean. The leaders at Pradumri made arrangements to do the baptisms there and had surveyed the place a few weeks ago. It was high tide when they went there to survey. However, when we showed up, it was low tide. The sea is so shallow there that we had to walk about 300 meters to get to the edge of the water. And then we walked about 200 meters into the water and was only ankle deep. Pradumri UMC usually baptizes using the immersion method, so the usual method was not possible because the water was too shallow. So we had a chance to teach the congregation about the three methods of baptism and give a brief biblical-historical lesson on baptism. So Mike found a seashell and told the congregation that the seashell was the ancient symbol for baptism because it was used in the early church for baptizing. Mike then proceeded to use the seashell to pour water on the 17 baptismal candidates' heads to baptize them. As always, the church members were singing worship songs all during the baptism and cheering for people as they were baptized. After each person was baptized they would go to shore and to through a corridor of cheering people singing "I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back."
The tide was coming in while we were doing the baptisms, so by the time we were half-way through the baptisms, the water was half-way up to our knees and the whole congregation was now in the water. One baptismal candidate was handicapped and could not walk into the water. We sang hymns with her and baptized her at the restaurant as patrons of the restaurant looked on and wondered what we were doing. Members of the church struck up conversations with the patrons and started to witness to them of Jesus Christ.
After the baptismal service, most of the members of Pradumri UMC went to Pastor Sarah's clinic to sing songs, pray with people, and evangelize in the area of the clinic, which is in downtown Chonburi. We were not able to go with them because we had a meeting to go to with the landlords of a house we will be moving into next month. In a future post, I will give our new address. This other house is older than the one we live in now, but is larger and has better internet service (which has been a serious problem at our present location, where service is down as much as it is up.)
It has been a day full of blessings. God is good!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Lot is Happening Everywhere....

Even as I begin to type this blog entry, I’m conscious of the ‘turmoil’ that has been in the news for quite a while now: international strife; election campaigning; the housing market (did we mention we’re selling a house?) and extended economy. Movements that are impacting the west reverberate in Southeast Asia as well. For example, a couple of weeks ago I read about Sam’s Club placing limits on purchasing of rice. Now, here at the Top’s Supermarket – in the nation which is the biggest exporter of rice, world-wide, – the price per bag is more than doubled, and there are now signs posted: “Limit 3 bags of rice per family.”
This is very sobering, as rice is the main staple of most peoples’ diets in Thailand.
Perhaps that is why, in some ways, the last few weeks have felt almost surreal. Many inquiries have come since Cyclone Nargis’ overwhelming attack upon Myanmar became known world-wide. Then, the earthquake in China; this too has left families and communities devastated. For those who have questions about the situation in Myanmar and what can be done to help, please check out the United Methodist website: new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor where you’ll find that the United Methodist Committee on Relief is able to provide assistance, and how you / your congregation can help. Also, the UMCOR Advance Number for the Myanmar Emergency is #3019674. Of your gifts, 100% of funds received will go toward assistance).

All this being said, I am reminded of Dr. Wiseth at Pradumri. Often, in his preaching, Dr. Wiseth reminds Thai Christians that “the time is short” until Christ returns. He often analyzes world situations, and strongly believes that we’re living in the End-times. (For this reason, we should be steadfast, as well as evangelizing). I found myself thinking about the many that are suffering, as well as our limited ways of helping from a distance, and was drawn to open my Bible to the book of Revelation. Here’s two thoughts that emerged:
1) Where suffering abounds, we must be faithful in praying for the church of that area. Remember what the believers of the church of Philadelphia heard (Rev. 3): “You have little strength, yet you obeyed by word and did not deny me… Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it….” Believers in Myanmar as well as China are in particular position to be witnesses – even through their personal sufferings. We must pray for their strength, and that others will be drawn to Christ through their witness.
2) When things are ‘out of control,’ that’s not the ‘end of the story!’ Rev. 19:11 describes Christ’s return. Even his name gives us courage…. “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True.” This is the nature of our Savior, and He can be trusted.

Well, as a final wrap-up, we’ve recently returned from visiting a city in Issan / Korat. (Northeastern Thailand). We were meeting with a group of believers in a community where there is no church. Please be in prayer for them, as they are hungry for the things of God, and they are seeking His will. We have a lot of trainings scheduled as well.
Blessings & appreciation for your prayers, support, and encouragement!

Friday, May 02, 2008

A new United Methodist Church in Pattaya

Life Center Church of Pattaya is now the fourth United Methodist Church in Thailand. Pastor Banya is a veteran pastor of this established church in Pattaya. The cell group from Pradumri UMC will join together with the present members of Life Center to form an even stronger church. A leader at Pradumri UMC, Khun Mary (on the far right) will be the new Cell Group Leader for ministering to Chinese people in Pattaya. You have been praying for over a year for the opening of a United Methodist Church in Pattaya, and now your prayers have been answered.
Pastor Banya's heart is for the children of Pattaya who get caught in a vicious cycle of poverty, no hope, and eventually falling into crime (prostitution, theft, and drugs usually). Pastor Banya wants to have a ministry that reaches children from 6-12 years old, offering computer skills, English skills, Bible schools, and Christian love. Pastor Banya knows that only Jesus can break this cycle of bondage.
At the present time, we are trying to develop the details and find the facilities for this new children's ministry center.