One of the privileges we enjoy is having training/prayer/fellowship meetings with the pastors, church staff, and interns of the United Methodist Churches in Thailand. The fellowship is truly sweet and much growth in Christ happens at these meetings. Growth in Christ sometimes takes the form of spiritual healing of old wounds, or receiving support for a current challenge, or learning new ministry skills, or praising God in unity together. We share joys and sorrows, triumphs and losses as a spiritual family. Even though we come to serve as missionaries, we find ourselves being blessed in greater measure than what we give to others. These meetings which we have twice per month are a time of refreshing for us and we praise God for being able to serve the Lord together with our Thai Christian family.
This past weekend, we took Kaek "Peter", one of three Thai United Methodist students at Phayao Bible College, back to school. He hauled his luggage plus a huge parcel of used clothes that the students will sell at market for scholarship money for students who are in need. Kaek is a leader among student and a great recruiter for United Methodists as well. Kaek and his wife Nuc, our very close friends as well. We rely on their help and mercy on a regular basis, and they are very patient with us and always kind and gentle.
At Phayao, we stayed with Jamie and Holle Wollin, who will be teaching at Phayao Bible College as missionary professors. They extended their warm hospitality to us and Anthony and to our granddaughter Madeline, who came with us to visit the Wollin's son, Thomas, who is the same age as her. They are good buddies and play wonderfully together. We wish they could live close together, but unfortunately, Phayao is about a 12-14 hour drive from us.
Today, Pastor Nampon went back to Sern Saeng in Northeast Thailand to plant a new United Methodist Church. She will be doing visitation and planting cell groups over the next several months. She will then combine several cell groups to form a church. I (Mike) will be going up to Sern Saeng to visit with Pastor Nampon in two weeks. We will meet with the community leaders to introduce ourselves and our intentions of ministering to the people of Sern Saeng. We must have good relations with the community leaders and this is the first step. We also must have good relations with the other churches in the region, so we will meet with the pastor and church leaders of the closest church to the area Pastor Nampon is serving. The closest church is 13 kilometers away, in a different sub-district. We hope to have a spirit of unity and cooperation with the believers at this church. Please pray for Pastor Nampon as she serves the Lord as a pioneer church planter. Pray that she will enjoy the good graces of the community, the community leaders, and other churches in the district.