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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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Prayers from Thailand

During this Christmas Season, we celebrate Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary. We celebrate Jesus, our Savior, our Lord, Emmanuel. We celebrate together, across the world, in every nation, in every language. As Christians, we are one body united under one Lord. You, our sisters and brothers, are in our thoughts and prayers this Christmas Season.

Christmas in Thailand is an important time for evangelism. Each United Methodist Church has special outreach events, usually on several days in several locations. I (Mike) will be helping with the largest event which is the one on the 27th at Pradumri UMC in Chonburi. I will be an actor in the Christmas Event Drama and this is my first time memorizing lines in Thai for a play. The practice times have been very humorous because I still speak with a strong American accent and I make people chuckle as I attempt to do my lines.

One aspect of life in the United Methodist Church in Thailand is the sense of full connection between churches. Each church helps the others with these events. In this way, more can be accomplished than if one church did an event independent of the rest. This makes so much sense. If a group practices a special song, tradition Thai dance, or drama for performing at one event, it only makes sense to use this same presentation at the other churches as well. And God takes their faithfulness and makes their ministry bear fruit. We expect this year to be like the previous years, with many people becoming disciples of Christ because of these evangelistic events. The past few Sundays, we have praised God when we look around at the congregations and see people worshipping the Lord who came to Christ last year at one of the Christmas programs. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that God is blessing the ministries of the Thai United Methodists, changing lives and making an eternal difference.

One prayer request is for the Prime Minister Abhisit, the new PM of Thailand. As Missionaries, we do not ever get involved in politics, and we remain neutral. This is the law of Thailand and we respect it. But we do pray that the new Prime Minister receives wisdom from God to unite the Thai people, who are highly divided. We hear encouraging news of each side reaching out to the other side and we praise God for these incremental signs of hope.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chinese and Thai Congregations Unite in Pattaya

This past Sunday, December 14th was a special service in Pattaya.  Pattaya Chinese Church has joined together with Life Center UMC, a Thai congregation, to form one united congregation under the leadership of Pastor Banya of Life Center UMC.  Pastor Fuchan of the Chinese Church will serve as Associate Pastor of Chinese ministry at the newly united Life Center UMC.  The Thai service will be on Sunday mornings and the Chinese service will be on Sunday afternoons.  Uniting together helps to create a much stronger church together.

This week, the new Life Center UMC congregation will celebrate a Christmas program together and begin the New Year with a series of Leadership trainings which will focus on developing a united vision and working out all of the details needed to form one organization out of two.  Please pray that the Lord will give wisdom to all as we seek to do His Will.

Blessings from Belfast

It is always a joy to receive cards and letters from our friends and supporting churches in the States.  Especially at Christmastime, when we miss family life and church life during this special season.  We thank all of the many people who sent kind notes and cards to us.  You make our day.  We use a private post box service and whenever a letter comes in, they give us a call to come pick it up.  We have received calls almost every day and it is all good stuff (no envelopes with windows... they are always bills or business).

One day, we received a stack of cards from our sisters and brothers of Belfast UMC from the great state of Maine.  Each envelope contained a hand-made card and a bracelet made of colorful beads.  It was fun to open and enjoy each card and hand-crafted bracelet.  

In Thai culture, bracelets are a symbol used to bestow blessings upon those you love.  There are many occasions during the year, such as Mother's Day, when bracelets are placed upon someone's wrists to let them know they are loved and special.  It is very common to see young children wearing bracelets that parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and friends have placed on their wrists.  We will be using the bracelets from Belfast UMC to bless people in Thailand.