This may seem like an odd aray of pictures. Let me explain. The location is Khok Noi - a city in Korat, the gateway to the northeast of Thailand. The purpose of the trip was to join Pastor Nampawn in the first worship service of the new congregation at Khok Noi. ("Mighty God Church" would be the best way of translating the church's name). Prior to the Sunday service, we did a full day of visiting churches in the extended regions, and visiting the government officials of Khok Noi. While there was no church in Khok Noi, cultural politeness requires Christian leaders to connect with churches in other towns or cities to say "We are here. We look forward to serving alongside of you. We want to have good relations with you." Meeting the government officials, particularly the "village chief" is vitally important as well. By this we show our respect, creating the foundation for good working relations in the future. It also brings a measure of protection to Christians in the community if there are misunderstandings as to why a church is forming.
The group photo was taken on Sunday, prior to worship. The child in the basket is the son of a Christian who lives in the community. Please pray for the child's family, as there is much tension over issues of faith. The photo of Sherri and two women includes pastor Nampawn and the woman who has opened her house-building for cell groups to meet in and for the beginning of worship services. She is 73 years old, and recently lost her husband. We were told that when pastor Nampawn officiated at the funeral it was the first Christian funeral in the community, and that folks from throughout the area came "to watch." The photo of a woman weaving slender grass stalks is to introduce you to a neighbor who lives across the street from where the church is meeting. Please remember her in prayer too, as her family thinks she is "crazy" for believing in Jesus. The young woman (Nawng) gave testimony to the many ways Jesus helps her in daily living. The weekend was filled with blessings. It was also filled with reminders of the cost of following Christ in areas where the gospel has not yet been received.