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Saturday, February 20, 2010
Pastors Ekerat and Da moved to Nakhon Pithom today to the plant a new church there. They have much work to do. The building needs to be cleaned, painted, and made ready for worship. Right now, the building is just a tin and concrete shell with a few hanging light bulbs.
Ekerat and Da will be investing their time in planting cell groups in the area. There are already some members there who are strong leaders to work with them, so we expect fast growth in this new church.
We want to give our thanks to St. John's UMC in Aiken, South Carolina for sponsoring Pastors Ekerat and Da. Because of their generosity, a sub-district in Thailand that was unreached now has a church opening there this week.
On a different note, our friends Peter and Nuc will be going on a pilgrimage to Israel next week. They are very excited and we are happy for them. We wish every Christian had the opportunity for pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A pilgrimage makes the Bible come to life by giving context to the stories of Scripture. It is an enriching experience.
Peter is a student at Phayao Bible College who is completing his 3rd year of study. This year, he will serve as an intern at Pradumri First UMC in Chonburi.
Here is a video of "Pure" who is a member of Muang Thai Church in Bangkok. This was his final song which won the competition for him. The KPN award is the Thai version of American Idol. He finished the competion with the song "How Great Thou Art". It was an inspiring moment here in Thailand.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Feb. 14th was an extra special day in Thailand. Of course, you know it is Valentine's Day (called Love Day here). And this is a celebration that is not traditional in Thailand but is becoming a common celebration among couples. One couple, Jurirat and Sompap, members of Bowin UMC, decided to get married on Valentine's Day. This was the first wedding at the church, so everyone was very excited.
Here are some pictures from the wedding. Christian weddings in Thailand tend to be very Western with Thai elements added. Notice Jurirat and Sompap using a sword to cut the cake.... very Thai.
Feb. 14th was also a huge annual celebration this year because of Chinese New Year. The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar, so Chinese New Year comes on a different day each year. This year it coincided with Valentine's Day.
Chinese New Year is a loud celebration, full of firecrackers and drums. Children visit their grandparents on this day to honor them and to receive gifts. Chinese New Year is the time Thai children receive many gifts, it is comparable to Christmas in America.
One part of Chinese New Year that our grandchildren, Madeline and Isaiah love, are all of the bright red Chinese lanterns that are hanging in the streets and in all the stores and shops. It reminds us of hanging Christmas lights on our homes back in America.
By the way, did you know that Thai people celebrate New Year's Day three times in the year. There is Western New Year on January 1. There is Chinese New Year in February. And then in April, there is Thai New Year, which is a week long festival called Songkran.
Songkran is a lot of fun. People toss water on each other (in Chonburi, they put ice in the water to edge up the fun factor). People also smudge wet clay on each other's faces (during any other time of year, touching someone's face is highly offensive, but that taboo is suspended for this celebration). Our house is on the main road, so we are at ground zero for the festivies. We don't expect much sleep for that week.
Thank you for praying for us and the mission in Thailand. We need your prayers.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
We want to thank all who have faithfully supported Blessing Home. You are a great blessing to the children who are at risk in Pattaya. Blessing Home serves as a life saving station for children ages 3-12, providing food, clothing, school uniforms, education for those unable to go to school, transportation to school, Christian education and nurture, and community support.
Because of the faithfulness of support for Blessing Home, another staff member has been added so we can increase the number of children receiving services from fifty to sixty four! Next problem to solve is the overcrowding we now have in our two story building. There are plans to convert the flat roof into a third floor enclosed playground and shelter. We will tell you more about this in the future when more details are in place.
This week, we checked on the progress of the Chicken Farm Cooperative at Bowin UMC. The members have done much work. They have started erecting a chicken barn, a house for the caretaker family, and a pump and pipes for all of the waterworks. Here are pictures of the project from several days ago. The caretaker house and waterworks should be complete by this morning, and hopefully the chicken barn will be completed in a week or two. It will probably take a few months to complete the fencing. As the NY VIM team that helped to build the first section of fence, building bamboo fencing is labor intensive.
Please keep us and the church planting pastors in prayer as final preparations are made to planting 4 more churches by March 1st. We are very excited. Future blog articles will talk about each of these new churches.