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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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meet your new United Methodist Missionaries to Thailand

Back in March of this year, Sherri went to the campuses of Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois to recruit students to come serve as missionaries in Thailand. We had two pressing needs here for more missionaries. First there was a need for missionaries to be in charge of the mercy ministries of the Thailand United Methodist Foundation. The task of initiating effective orphan and street children ministries, economic development programs, elder care ministries, and programs to deal with the devastation of AIDS in here, is a full-time ministry in itself. We have a couple that will be coming to Thailand as missionaries in November, and we will introduce you to them in a future article.
The second need was for missionary professors at Phayao Bible College, where United Methodist Pastors from Thailand and Laos go for education. Phayao Bible College has more students than ever before but also does not have enough faculty. The present faculty are stretched for time and it is their dedication to the Lord and to the students that keeps the college going. A couple from Asbury Theological Seminary answered God's call to serve at Phayao Bible College. Meet Holle and Jamie Wollin and their son Thomas. They arrived last week and it has been an honor to get to know these servants of God. They spent the first 6 days getting aquainted with the United Methodist churches and ministries in Thailand, and then we brought them to Phayao, which is a 12 hour drive to the north of Chonburi. Little Thomas was thrilled to move into his new home. He has been living out of suitcases with his parents for about 6 weeks. Thomas will have many children to play with at Phayao.
Holle and Jamie will begin language studies there at the college. We don't know yet if they will do all of their language studies there or will go to the language school at Lopburi. Please keep this family in prayer as they make all of the adjustments to a new life in Thailand. The Wollins will fill a great need for training pastors and Christian leaders in Thailand.
The Wollins are Volunteers in Missions, which means they are not supported through apportionments as we are (We are standard support missionaries with GBGM). They receive housing from the college but no salary. They rely on the generosity of God's people for their support. They have commitments of support from several churches but still are in need of more financial support. If you are interested in supporting them, please give to Advance #00403A and send us an e-mail saying that this support is for the Wollins. We will send the funds to them when they are received.
The fields are "white unto harvest" and our Lord has sent workers into the field. We praise our Lord for answering our prayers and we thank the Wollins for courageously saying "YES" to God's call on their lives.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Praise God for Rainy Season

Rainy Season began a last month, but it has just begun to come into full force this month. We love rainy season because it means some moments of respite from the tropical heat. Amen! And it also means another year of sustenance for the farmers of Thailand, who depend upon the rain to make a living.

Many people here in Thailand have had questions about all the storms hitting the gulf coast of America and have been praying for all who have been affected by these storms. We are inspired by the faithfulness in prayer of Christians on both sides of the world. When we pray for each other, the hand of God does mighty deeds. We see the mighty deeds of God on a daily basis here because of your prayers. Every week we see people being saved, lives being changed, orphans and abandoned children being clothed, fed, sheltered and loved. Every week we see the fruits of your prayers.

We love to hear from you and so we and the Thai believers can pray for you. We want to be a part of your life in this way and the Thai believers do to. They are truly prayer warriors!

Rainy season can be fascinating in Thailand, especially in Bangkok. There are many sections of Bangkok that are below sea level or just a few feet above sea level. During rainy season, it is common for many parts of the city to be flooded during the rains, which means that travel comes to a halt in those sections of the city until the floods subside. I (Mike) was waiting in a coffee shop last week with about a whole crowd of people who were waiting for the flood waters to dissipate so they could go home. Fortunately, our road cleared up quickly, but others had to wait several hours.

But when a storm hits Bangkok, they have to check the level of the tide. If the storm comes at high tide, they know that whole sections of the city will be flooded for several hours. Everyone in those sections has to adjust their lives around the tides. They know they must do all of their work and chores during low tide, because they will be unable to travel at high tide.

We do not have major problems with floods where we live. We have a 2-5 inches of standing water in the streets near our home and we try to avoid downtown Chonburi during flood times. The only negative effect we have with rainy season is a very minor one. We don't have a clothes dryer (very, very few people do here). We hang out our clothes to dry under an awning in our back yard. But it is so damp during rainy season, that our clothes could be hanging for three days and still be damp. So we go out there, we feel the clothes, and if they are damp but not soaking wet, we fold them and put them away. We figure the clothes will have to dry the rest of the way in the closet or on our bodies. But this is a small thing.

One person's inconvenience with the flooding rains in Bangkok, is another person's irrigation water for their rice paddies in the rural areas. Rice farming requires large quantities of water, so the farmers rejoice when they receive rains whereas the Bangkok residents groan.

In the Bible, rain symbolizes the blessing of God who provides for our needs. During the rainy season, we often think of how much God has blessed us. One thing we miss from back in Kentucky are tin roofs. If you have ever been in a house with a tin roof when it is raining, you will know the sound of the rain hitting the roof is very loud. We always enjoyed hearing that sound, because it reminded us of how good our Lord is. The farmers in Kentucky relied on God to provide rain just as much as the farmers do in Thailand. This is why rain also symbolizes our dependence upon God. It reminds us of how much we need the Lord in all things.

Our prayers are with all of you in the States who have been affected by the storms. We know that too much of a good thing is harmful and many of you have had too much rain, too much wind, and too much turmoil. We want you to know that we and your Thai family in Christ love you and are praying for you.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Miracle at Bangsaray and Pattaya

The VIM team from Santa Clara Valley KUMC served faithfully here in Thailand for 5 days by giving free eyeglasses and free portraits.
And God took the faithfulness of this VIM team and combined it with the fervent faith of Thai Christians to be a part of a miracle here.
The miracle was God opening many doors.
The first two days, the team served at Life Center UMC in Pattaya, where we have a new building. This new building houses the church and also Blessing Home, the ministry for orphans and street children in Pattaya. Just before the team arrived, Blessing Home increased its capacity to 20 children. So this ministry is growing quickly, because the need is so great.
At Pattaya, over 160 people were served and we had about 40 people who received Jesus as Savior and Lord! Pastor Banya of Life Center UMC will be overseeing followup on these new believers.
Bangsaray was a place where God miraculously opened doors.
Khun Nuc of Pradumri UMC helped to connect us with Khun Songop, who is the community leader of Bangsaray. She is in the bottom picture in the green shirt sitting next to Sherri. Pastor Sarah of Pradumri UMC is in the back row to the far right. The rest are friends of Khun Songop who helped with registering people for the outreach event.

Khun Songop is a kind-hearted leader who takes care of her people and loves them. There were no buildings large enough to do the outreach other than the Buddhist temple, so she opened the door for us to do the outreach inside the Buddhist temple at Bangsaray. We were pleasantly surprised at this open door.

Over 350 people were served in the two days we were at Bangsaray! Most of them were seniors, and that is because there are relatively few adults aged 20-60 here. AIDS has killed off most of the middle generation leaving just children and older adults. We were glad the VIM team could provide help to these seniors. But here is the best part! 150 people received Jesus Christ as Savior! The response was overwhelming! Everyone that came received personal teaching about Jesus Christ and also received a Gideon Bible (thank you Gideons!) and Christian literature.

The abbot and monks of the temple also came. They received eyeglasses, portraits, and also were taught about Jesus Christ. Our God is God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth!

We are now going to have a meeting with the United Methodist Pastors to determine the best way to do followup on these 150 new believers. Bowin UMC has a cell group here, but we need to have someone serve here full time.

On the final day, the VIM team hosted 30 orphans and street children from Blessing Home Children's Ministry in Pattaya to go to the zoo and have lunch also. Most of these children have never been more than a mile or two away from the slums of Pattaya, so this was a trip they will remember for years to come. The children were very excited and had a lot of fun. We thank the VIM team for bringing joy into the lives of these children.

Our God opens doors. Our God opens hearts. Our God changes lives! Blessed be the name of our Lord!