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Saturday, January 16, 2010
We just received the news today that Dr. Sam Dixon, director of UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), died after being trapped underneath the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Our prayers and the prayers of the Thai United Methodists extend to Sam's family and all his extended circle of friends.
Sam Dixon has been very special to us. It was under Sam's leadership that the Thailand Mission Initiative was born and came to fruition. He has been a good friend and a a faithful supporter of missions in Southeast Asia and all over the world. His loss is felt deeply throughout the United Methodist Church.
Above is a picture of Dr. Sam Dixon standing with Sherri in front of the Pradumri First United Methodist Church in Chonburi, Thailand, the birthplace of United Methodism in Thailand. This picture was taken back in August 2006.
During this week, 9 wonderful United Methodists from New York and New Jersey came on a mission trip to do an economic development project at Bowin UMC.The members of Bowin UMC had a vision of creating a church cooperative farm which would provide extra income for the church as well as food for mercy ministries within the church. There are many people who need food relief, and this project will help the members at Bowin UMC to expand their ministries to those in need.This project was not for the faint of heart, because it was difficult work digging holes, cutting and splitting bamboo, and hauling material in the intense heat of Thailand. When the team first came, they saw all of the holes that had to be dug with primitive tools, and they all had a look that said, "What did we get ourselves into?" But they worked hard and by the end of the first day, they had every hole dug. It made it easier coming back the next day, knowing the work would be easier.The NY VIM team and the Thai Christians at Bowin shared a wonderful time of fellowship as they served the Lord side-by-side. There are so few Christians in Thailand, that believers can feel isolated and disenfranchised. The NY VIM team brought encouragement to the believers at Bowin, because they know that they are not alone. They had Christians who flew across the world to be with them and help them with this new ministry, a cooperative farm.Because of the work of the NY VIM team and the Christians at Bowin UMC, this church will be able to reach more people who are in need of food assistance as well as progress towards being afully financially self sufficient congregation. This is very important because a self-sufficient church is a permanent one.The NY VIM team has a blog, which we invite you to read, at http://nyac-thailand-cambodiavims.blogspot.com. They are now in Cambodia for the next part of their mission. Please keep them in your prayers.