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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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nakhon Pithom Dedication Service

It is always a joyous occasion to visit the UMC churches that we have had the privilege to help plant in Thailand.  At each church, we always feel welcomed to the point of wanting to move to live with our fellow brothers and sisters there.  Really.  Everytime, we go away thinking, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to come here and worship with our brothers and sisters here all of the time?”  This Sunday was just the same. 
This weekend we went to Nakhon Pithom for a special consecration service for the new United Methodist Youth Center.  Because of the generosity of their sister church, St. John’s UMC of Aiken, S.C., the United Methodist Church of Nakhon Pithom was able to open this new Youth Center where the Gospel is taught and lived out, where children can borrow good books to read, and where they can learn to play music for free as well.
At the dedication service, some of the children and youth from the center performed Thai dance for us, so we could all be blessed.  They have just started learning music, so it will only be a few months before some are playing worship songs with guitars and drums.  We were very impressed by how friendly and polite the children were.

Our prayers are that many children and youth will come to have new lives in Jesus Christ, and that through these youth, all of this region of Thailand will be reached for the Lord.  Blessed by the name of the Lord!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Baptisms (2 out of 7, actually)

Life Center UMC in Pattaya is our home church in Thailand and we love our brothers and sisters here.  Life Center UMC has both a Thai congregation and a Chinese congregation, and both are growing and getting stronger every month.  This is wonderful news, because Pattaya is a very difficult place to grow a church, because it is the Sodom and Gomorrah of Southeast Asia.  Yet Pastor Banya, whose name means “wisdom”, lives up to his name in his wise and faithful leadership.

Life Center UMC is also the church which sponsors Blessing Home, which most know is a ministry which serves street children and orphans in Pattaya, providing food, education, safety, medical care, Christian education and the Love of the Lord to the 64 children who receive care each week.

This past Sunday was a special day in the life of the Thai congregation as 7 new believers were baptized in the universal church of Jesus Christ.  Out of the 7 that were baptized, we wanted to highlight 2 of them. 
The first is a young teenager named Nok, who is the daughter of Pui.  Pui is the director of Blessing Home, and we are very blessed to have her leading this ministry.  Pui is one of those people that is highly gifted in many areas of life, and she is a faithful hard worker in the church.  She leads cells the praise team and can play the guitar, she teaches children, and then leads large events at the church. She can teach and preach and do it all.  And by her side is her daughter Nok, who is a sweet-spirited young lady who help run the computer at church and is one of the most thoughtful teenagers we have ever met.  No one has to ask her to do anything.  If there is a guest speaker, she will get them water to drink.  If there is a young child who needs assistance, she is right there.  Well, today, Pui’s daughter Nok and her brother and sister-in-law were all baptized.  Pui was beaming with joy the whole day.  It is wonderful watching Nok grow up to be a very kind, gentle, generous, and gifted young woman, just like her mother, Pui.  God is good!

The second new believer is Sinchai, who was the oldest person baptized.  Don’t ask his age, because I (Mike) forgot to ask.  Sinchai has been a believer for 29 months now and during that time God has held his hand through many serious trials, the largest of which was his stroke which paralyzed his left side.  Sinchai had a very slow recovery from his stroke, and yet He has trusted in God the whole time.  Sinchai is a real prayer warrior.  When he prays for you, you know that things are moving in the spiritual realm, because he prays with his whole heart.  When he prays, it is often that we find ourselves weeping with joy over the goodness of our Lord.  It was a joy to be there with him at his baptism.

I know recently we have posted many baptism pictures, and we hope you do not grow tired of articles about these baptism services.  It is just that it is a great time of rejoicing for us here in Thailand, and we want to share that joy with you.  New believers in Thailand face much pressure to return to their old life and their old faith.  Some new believers experience persecution and loss  for their new faith in Christ, and it is a miracle when they overcome all of this to be baptized members of the church. 

So today in your prayers, please give thanks and praise to God for working miracles in the lives of these new believers in Thailand.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pictures that give glory to our Lord

Here are some of the pictures I promised we would put on the blog.
Our camera is an inexpensive one that cannot take far distant shots, so we have to rely on others to take pictures and send them to us.  Pastor Theradon sent this graduation picture, of him receiving his Master of Divinity Degree.  He is now the third UMC pastor with an M.Div. degree, and next year Pastor Panya will join the group and make four.  We give praise to the Lord that TMM was able to give a full scholarship to Pastor Theradon to finish his M.Div. degree and pay for graduation fees as well.  God is good, and so is His servant, Pastor Theradon, who serves two churches in the Suphanburi Circuit.  He is a true pioneer, because both of his churches are the only churches in his district (comparable to a county in the States).  He serves in isolation from other churches and ministries, and he needs our constant prayer.

The other pictures are of Dr. Somsak baptizing 20 new believers at UMC camp at Sattahip.  There were pastors and members of 9 of the 11 UMC churches across Thailand in attendance.  It is a great blessing to see new believers being baptized, most of whom were Buddhist last year.  For some of them, they will face great pressure from family and friends because they are now Christians.  Please pray for these new believers that they will be steadfast in the faith and will grow in Christ.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pioneering Pastors Program: First Training Event in Sriracha, Thailand

We want to thank everyone who has been praying for the first round of training in the Pioneering Pastors Program (PPP).  PPP is a project  of the Thailand Methodist Mission, with the purpose of training and resourcing pastors to pioneer churches where there are none.  At the present time, less than one percent of the population of Thailand is Christian, and one main reason is that most regions of Thailand remain unreached.  In fact, 85% of the subdistricts and villages in Thailand are unreached, having no church of any denomination or group.  The Pioneering Pastors Program is designed to be a catalyst to help other churches and denominations to plant churches.  We are a para-church organization, not a church, so we do not start churches in the name of our own organization.  We simply help other organizations to pioneer, with the hope that soon, every subdistrict and village in Thailand will have a healthy, vibrant church, so that all may have a chance to know the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because we are United Methodist, UM church planters that qualify, receive top priority over other organizations. 

To qualify as a Pioneer Pastor, the church planter must commit to planting a church in an unreached subdistrict.  After receiving training, the pioneer receives a Basic Kit, which is designed to help the pastor have the equipment needed for planting cell groups.  The Basic Kit includes a used motorcy (a small Asian motorcycle) for visitation, a guitar and case, songbooks, Bibles, and Christian education materials, plus one year of coaching.  If the pastor follows the training given and is fruitful, she/he qualifies to receive the Advanced Kit, which is designed to help bring the cell groups together to form a worship service.  The Advanced Kit includes a sound system, musical instruments, computer (with Bible study programs), and a video projector.  The Advanced Kit provides a boost to the new church and a reward for pastor for the hard work of pioneering.  The training, one year of coaching, and both kits cost a total of $4500.  If you or your church would like to make a great impact for the Kingdom of God, please pray and consider being a sister church which sponsors a Pioneering Pastor.  It makes an eternity of difference when you help to plant a church in an unreached village.

The training that we began this week was in Sriracha, just about 8 miles south of us.  Pastor Neo, who serves together with us as a translator, is also a pioneering pastor who graduated from Victory Bible College International in Sriracha.  Pastor Neo is re-starting his congregation, with a new move and new direction.  We are training members and leaders in his church as well as Victory Bible College students who seek to pioneer churches in their nations. 

The training was well attended, with over 30 in attendance.  What thrilled us was that there were people from many nations, not just Thailand.  There were students training to be pioneering pastors from Nigeria, India, Nepal, Burma, Philippines, and Vietnam.  It is very humbling to work together with these pastors who will go back to their home nations to pioneer for the Lord.  What a great blessing.  We were encouraged by the responses received by the pioneers being trained.  We know God will use them to be a great blessing.
Next week we do the second half of the training.  In fact, the training given is an abbreviated form of the training we will usually do.  We had to edit some content due to time restrictions.

None of those who are receiving any of the resource kits, some because they do not qualify (they are planting a church in a sub-district that already has a church), and others because we do not yet have funds for purchasing the kits.  We are praying for God’s provision that we can help to plant more churches in unreached areas of Thailand.  And throughout the world, because everybody needs Jesus.