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, April 25, 2009

Meet Pastors Da and Akerat

This new clergy couple, Pastors Da and Akerat, recently graduated from Phayao Bible College and will be serving as associate pastors at Pradumri UMC for the next 6 months.  In October, they will plant a new church at Nakhon Pathom, the oldest inhabited city in Thailand, just one hour drive west of Bangkok.

Please pray for them, as God prepares them for their pioneering task of bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached.

Advanced Course of Study at Pradumri UMC

This week, we had our first Advanced Course of Study (ACS) classes for United Methodist pastors and interns.  ACS are graduate level courses for pastors who have already have a B.A. degree in Biblical Studies or its equivalent.  This week we taught courses on United Methodist History and Doctrine.  Next month we will teach a course on United Methodist Polity.  These three courses are required for all United Methodist pastors across the world.  We are teaching these three classes in time for everyone to complete these required courses before Bishop Goodpaster arrives in September to credential and consecrate the Thai pastors.

Because of the schedule constraints due to our upcoming itineration in America, we have to teach in marathon sessions.  We had 28 pastors, church staff, interns, and leaders at this training who studied morning, afternoon, and evening this week at Pradumri UMC.  We also had many more that laypeople who could not attend all of the sessions, but studied with us when they were available.  Training and mentoring pastors and leaders is at the core of what we do as GBGM missionaries, and we thoroughly enjoy this ministry. 

We are very impressed with the new pastors and interns that started working with us at Pradumri UMC this past week.  They have pastor’s hearts, passionate faith, and keen minds.  This training was a good time to get to know them and listen to them interact with each other.  God is good and has provided for the leadership needs of the United Methodist Church in Thailand.  Praise God!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meet Pastors Ekerin and Pu

We want you to meet 2 pastors in training at Pradumri UMC.  They have recently graduated from Phayao Bible College.  Pastor Pu is a young pastor who is a gifted teacher and an accomplished musician (he plays piano, guitar, and drums)  Pu will become the pastor of a new church that is being planted in Nakhon Pathom, west of Bangkok.  This church will be planted in October. 

Pastor Aykerin and his family (wife - Hua; daughter - Katherine 'yes, she prefers her English name'; son - Aykerat, and baby daughter - Yuree) arrived a few days ago at Pradumri.  They are from the Hmong tribe.
They will plant a new church at Bangsaray in October.  Hua will be the new nanny for our grandchildren, so we will see Pastor Aykerin's family often.

Their salaries are $300 per month and we need to find churches and individuals to donate for this purpose.  If the Lord leads you to help in this way, please make your donations to Advance #00403A and contact us by e-mail at thailandumc@gmail.com to let us know how to direct your gift.  On the front page of the blog in the right column is an article entitled "How to Support the Thailand Mission Initiative" which has complete information on the many avenues for giving and support.  Or you can click on this link to go to the article directly http://msmorrissey.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-to-support-thailand-mission.html 

Easter at Pradumri UMC

The members of Pradumri UMC worshipped on Good Friday with a special service that included a feature they did last year.  They build a cross and tomb and re-enacted the passion.
Then on Easter Sunday, the tomb was opened and people could go inside to see that it was empty, and only the linen wrapping cloth was there.  However, this Easter, they added another element.  They placed small plastic Easter eggs in the tomb and people would go inside to get one egg.  Inside the eggs were Bible verses.  It was inspiring to see everyone reading their Bible verses and sharing the Bible verses with each other.  
Pastor Sarah preached a powerful message on the fact that we are not orphans, because Christ has risen.  Because Jesus lives, we have hope, we have a future, we have peace, we have joy.  Jesus is risen!  Alleluia!  

Pray for the unity of the Thai people

We appreciate all of the prayers and notes of concern that we have received this last week as you have watched the news and have seen the violent protests in Bangkok. We live an hour away from the protests, so we are quite fine.

The protests have been called off for the time being, so that Thai New Year, the Songkran water festival, can be celebrated in peace. Our work will bring us to Bangkok today, so we will check out the aftermath.

Please keep the nation of Thailand in your prayers. There is great division in this nation which can easily escalate, as we saw this last week. May God grant wisdom to the leaders of this nation to find a path to reconciliation and unity.

Tomorrow, we will be working at our home office, and we will make post some pictures and introduce 2 new pastors in training at Pradumri UMC. These pastors will plant new churches in October, and we are privileged to have them work with us.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Blessing Home Pictures

We visit the children at Blessing Home in Pattaya (the United Methodist ministry serving orphans and street children in Thailand) quite often.  Teacher Pui does a great job nurturing all 37 children.  We receive records of the lessons each child receives each day.  They learn to read both Thai and English, as well as simple arithmetic.  They receive Bible lessons each day and have a time of singing songs to the Lord each day.  

It is wonderful to see them grow spiritually and intellectually.  And it is encouraging to see them well nurtured, wearing clean clothes, and smiles on their faces.  Thank you for helping these children to have hope.

Pictures of English Camp at Nonsomboon School

A few weeks back, we posted on the blog about the English camp, but I did not have the camera with me to post pictures.  Here are some belated pictures of the camp that was a wonderful success in building good relations with community leaders in that region.

PART 2: Sometimes we really feel like missionaries

Yesterday, we found ourselves in a context that we never thought we would be in.  We were participating in the dowry negotiating ceremony as the "adopted parents" of Allen Metcalf, a missionary teacher at Sammuk Christian Academy.  Allen is a member of our home church, College Heights UMC in Elizabethtown, KY.  Allen is engaged to marry Jahp, a Thai teacher at Sammuk who is a wonderful young Christian woman.

Two days ago, we made the 10 hour trip to Jahp's grandmother's house in Northeast Thailand.  It was a very nerve-wracking day for Jahp and Allen, because they knew that Jahp's mother was insisting on a very large dowry that was totally unrealistic for a young missionary teacher to offer.  We have been praying about this for a long time, because it could become a problem.

We arrived around 8pm and Jahp's mother made a wonderful supper for us.  We now know where Jahp learned her chef skills at (Jahp is a home economics teacher and a master cook).  The next morning, a Pastor Daeng of Pahk Esarn church arrived as the negotiator and master of the ceremony.  Daeng did a great job of negotiating, because the negotiations were very difficult to navigate.   All of Jahp's family and relatives was present for the negotiations.

One thing that made this difficult is that the people of Northeast Thailand speak the Esarn language.  Thai language is their second language.  So our understanding was limited and Allen's understanding of their language was much less.  Jahp forgot to arrange for a translator, so she had to do the role of translator in the negotiations.  This was a problem for two reasons.  The lesser reason is that she was extremely nervous, so it was difficult for her to speak and understand English under such great stress.  The main reason it was a problem was that it placed her in a difficult spot in the negotiations, which were very intense.

The negotiations were moving nowhere, so the negotiator (Daeng) called for a 5 minute break.  We knew what was happening.  Jahp's parents and Allen and us were able to go outside in private.  There, the negotiator was able to talk privately with both parties and soon a more reasonable dowry was agreed upon.

After a dowry was agreed upon, the rest of the ceremony continued.  One part of the ceremony is touching.   Many strings were made to tie around Jahp and Allen's wrists.  As people tied the strings onto their wrists, they gave words of blessing to them.  At the end of the ceremony, they had dozens of strings tied to their wrists as a symbol of love and acceptance.

After the ceremony, we had a large dinner and then Sherri, Anthony, and I made the long drive back home.  We had to get back home soon because we have a new pastor and his family, Pastor Ekerin, will be arriving in Chonburi on Saturday morning, and we needed to get back to receive them.  Pastor Ekerin will be training with us at Pradumri through October and then will plant a new church at Bangsaray.  We have been praying for 2 years for God to send the right leader for Bangsaray, and we praise God for providing the right pastor.

Tomorrow is Easter, so we will worship at Pradumri UMC in Chonburi in the morning.  Then we must go quickly to Bowin UMC because Pastor Jerron has requested our presence at their Baptism Service.  Last week we met with the baptismal candidates and had a chance to speak with them and pray for them.  Baptism services are a great uplifting of our spirits, as we see evidence of the Lord changing the lives of Thai people. 

Today is the beginning of the Songkran festival, which is the Thai New Year.  Thai people take a week off to celebrate by going to the main roads and setting up 55 gallon tanks filled with ice water.  Every throws ice water on each other and also spread a grayish powdery clay material on each other.  The roads are bumper-to-bumper traffic everywhere all week long.  So we will stay at home and spend time preparing for the courses in United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity that we will teach in the next several weeks before we return to the States for itineration.

Our son MP and I will be heading out now to go to Makro, a wholesale store much like Costco or Sam's Club.  They open at 7 am, and we can stock up on food and get back before people hit the streets and create traffic jams.  It is 6:45 am now, so I will have to close for now.

Oh, one more great thing!  In two weeks, we will have 2 new missionaries join us in Thailand.  Gary and Cindy Moon will be coming to Thailand to begin 6 months of language studies.  They will be directors of Mercy ministries and economic development projects for the Thailand Mission Initiative.  Praise God!  We need more missionaries!