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Monday, July 12, 2010
Teaching Students at the Global Theological Institute
We thank all who have been praying for us. Since coming back to Thailand, we both have had to do some sprinting to keep up with the pastor training schedule. When training pastors in a second language, there are many time consuming details for translating, and everything has to be translated because there just isn’t much to choose from for Biblical curriculum here. Also, the credentialing training, such as Course of Study and Advance Course of Study, there are tons of logistics as pastors and lay Christian leaders come from all over Thailand to the Rodem House Retreat Center. There is transportation, food, lodging, communications, and many, many details that we must manage. Please pray for us as we are now doing the credentialing training at Rodem House, which is an hour drive from our house. This is a new location, and we must put together a whole new set of helpers, vendors, and routines to make it work. Your prayers are greatly needed.
Last week, Mike taught at the Global Theological Institute, a ministry of the Lamppost UMC in Chiang Dao, Thailand. He taught a one-week intensive block course on the Life of Christ to 29 students. Each student had to submit a paper and also do a presentation on a selected passage from one of the gospels. It was a great joy to hear them teach about the life of Jesus because they have a refreshing perspective on the life of Christ. Most of the students belong to the minority hill tribe groups in the far north of Thailand. They are the poorest of the poor and must work very hard just to subsist. In most ways, their lifestyle is much closer to the lifestyle Jesus Christ lived than our lifestyle in the affluent West. Most of them live own nothing more than the small bag of clothes that they came to Bible college with. So when they teach from Matthew 6:25-34 and proclaim that God will take care of our needs, I couldn’t help but be touched deeply. It is one thing when a middle class preacher proclaims this. It is quite another when a penniless Bible college student teaches this Biblical truth.
It is always a time of joy to be with these students. They are very grateful that we come to train them, and yet we are privileged to be able to train them to be at the front lines of the Kingdom of God, for planting churches and ministries in unreached areas of Thailand. And we are ever grateful for the prayers and support of Christians in the States, who make it all possible. We are very blessed, and we wish to be a blessing to others for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Drs. Tanapong and Muanreedee are the pastors of Lamppost UMC and the directors of this Bible College. They sold their house so they could start this Bible college, and God has blessed. We are hoping to send some mission teams to work at the Global Theological Institute to improve the student housing and other facilities. If you are interested in forming a mission team, please contact us.
Dr. Tanapong does much of the teaching and Dr. Muanreedee creates new curriculum while running the copy shop that helps provide much needed funds for the school. Both Sherri and I teach block courses each semester as part-time professors. Sherri will be teaching a block class in August on the Biblical Role of Women in the Church. Please keep Drs. Tanapong and Muanreedee in your prayers, that God will sustain them with strength, and provide the funds needed to keep this training center going and expanding.