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Monday, October 26, 2009
Pradumri Camp Meeting at the Edge of the Earth
We had a wonderful, much needed vacation in Chiang Mai with our sons Anthony and Michael, our daughter-in-law Jude, and our two grandchildren, Madeline and Isaiah. We rode the overnight train there and back, and we enjoyed the beautiful mountain scenery from our sleeper car. Our family will all be moving back to the States in the Spring, so we were soaking in the pleasure of their company during our time there.
We had to cut our vacation short and come back home on Saturday morning so we could re-pack our bags and head out to Northeast Thailand to the Pradumri UMC Camp Meeting at the national park at Rarerng. To be frank, we really did not have the best of attitudes because we really wanted to have a few more days of vacation with our family, since we probably will not have another opportunity to do so. So we went with divided hearts to Rarerng, which is absolutely on the edge of the earth, just before you fall off of the edge. The roads were really bad getting there, and we were praying that we would not break an axle on the way to the place. When we arrived, we came to a camp that was breathtakingly majestic. And when we were with our Thai sisters and brothers, we immediately were received with joy and grace which dispelled any negative feelings that we had from cutting short our vacation.
On Saturday, 23 people were baptized, Praise the Lord! Dr. Somsak led the camp with powerful preaching. In fact, that day, 4 local people who had come to the camp received Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They were baptized on Sunday morning during the worship service. Dr. Somsak baptized them by the method of pouring. We appreciated this, because this helped to affirm our Methodist theology, which employs all three methods of baptism.
It is always a holy moment to partake of holy communion with new believers who are participating in the Eucharist for the first time. For new Christians, it is a moment that they will always remember. And for “veteran” Christians, it reminds us of the awesome privilege of sharing together in remembering what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. Seeing this through the eyes of newborn Christians provides a contagious excitement about the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus.
We thank you for making it possible for us to work together with Thai Christians to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a nation where most people have not had the chance to hear about the Lord. We are very blessed. And we are grateful to all who support us in our ministry here. Thank you. You are a blessing to us and to the people of Thailand.