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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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas at Blessing Home

It was a wonderful Christmas outreach at the Blessing Home this past Friday.  A very large contingent of members from Life Center UMC in Pattaya helped to put it on, and without their help, it wouldn’t have been possible.  Missions is about Christians across the world working together for the Kingdom of God, and together we can do ministry that would be impossible without this connection.  We praise God for Christians who care for the orphans and street children on both sides of our planet, East and West.  Thank you.

At the Blessing Home Christmas Outreach, the place was packed, beyond packed…. If there was a space, people were standing there.  So crowded that when the children would come out to sing or dance, we would bring them out in small groups because all could not come at the same time.

The crowd was filled with the family and guardians and all who are connected with the orphans and street children who receive care at the Blessing Home.  Pastor Banya gave a beautiful message that explained to these Thai people about the true meaning of Christmas, since most had no idea that Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is odd, there are Christmas trees decorated beautifully all over Thailand, but hardly anyone knows why Christmas is celebrated, that is it all about the birth of Jesus our Savior.  Pastor Banya’s message was very much needed.  He then presented the gospel of Christ in a clear and compelling way, because we know everyone needs Jesus.

The children shared the gospel in song and liturgical dance and they were very charming, as you see from the pictures.  Most of the children were from Blessing Home and some were from Life Center UMC. 
We thank all who prayed for this special evangelistic event, because it is only with the power of God that lives are changed, and we want all of the children and the adults and family members connected with them to know the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and be changed by His power.

One of the great joys of Christmas is to be able to go buy Christmas presents for the children at Blessing Home.  And we thank you for your generosity, so that we could purchase gifts for every child.  We had funds to spend about $4 per child, and we were able to get some toys, and teddy bears, and snacks for each child. The children were very happy, but we know we received much more joy purchasing and preparing the Christmas gifts.  We had an absolute blast.  Thank you for making it possible.

Sherri and I will be spending Christmas visiting the UMC pastors who live in this region (within a two hour drive of here).  We will also have little Igo with us, who is nine years old.  Igo (pronounced ‘eye-go’) lost her Japanese father and her brother in a car accident two years ago in Japan.  Her mother, Ning (who is Thai), and her had to move back to Thailand and were destitute.  Ning studies English in a class with others with Mike twice per week.  Igo comes to our home often, and has adopted us as her uncle and aunt.  Igo will be with us for Christmas, and we are blessed to have her with us.  She is bright and fun and it is good to have a child around the house at Christmas.

We really miss our family during Christmas and we know they miss us.  Please pray for us and other missionaries, because this can be a tough time to be far away.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Yours in Christ,
Mike and Sherri

The Christmas tree at our home in Chonburi surrounded by Gift Bags for the children of Blessing Home



The entrance to Blessing Home.  To get into the Christmas Outreach, you had to wade through a sea of shoes.





Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thailand Methodist Mission has a newly designed website

Please visit the newly designed website for the Thailand Methodist Mission at http://thailandmethodist.org

Fellow missionaries Sawang and Lee-Anne Treetippayapitak of Victory Bible College International helped to design the new site and we are very thankful for their help.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A new UMC church in Pattaya for Akha hill-tribe people

Wonderful news!  A new UMC church has opened in Pattaya for Akha tribal people who work in this city.  The Akha people are from the hills and mountains of Northern Thailand, but many must live in Pattaya to sell their handcrafts to tourists here.   Last year, we had plans on starting this church and had some wonderful organizational meetings with Akha Christians in Pattaya.

Here are links to those articles from last year.

The organizational meetings were well attended and there was much enthusiasm and excitement.  We thought we would have this church started by January 2010, but God has His timing and it was different from ours.  The one who was going to be the Akha pastor for this new congregation was disqualified from service, and we could not find a replacement that would be the right person to serve in Pattaya, a very difficult place to serve.  Also, the place where we were going to rent became unavailable, and we could not find an affordable place (Pattaya is very expensive for Thailand).  So, this was put on hold until both the right pastor and the right location could be found.  Church planting is always a process, sometimes it is short and sometimes not.  But God’s timing is always the best.

We praise God, that the work that we started has now come to completion, because of the efforts of Rev. Cherlue Vang and Pastor Sarah of Pradumri First UMC.  Pastor Sarah has graciously provided for the funds for renting a building in a good location in Pattaya.  She has been key to the whole process and we thank Pastor Sarah for her faithfulness to the Lord.

Mike and Pastor Ahloong

The new Akha pastor is Pastor Ahloong, who we trained during the last two years.  In the first year, Pastor Ahloong as he served as an intern and received training from us twice each month, including credentialing training essential for all United Methodist pastors, Local Pastor School.  This year, he completed his final year of studies at Phayao Bible College, and completed the three United Methodist Advanced Course of Study classes essential for ordination: UM History, UM Polity, UM Doctrine, which Sherri and I taught last Spring.  Pastor Ahloong also received training from us in the Cell-based church planting method, which is effective all over the world (and very Wesleyan as well).

The Grand Opening for the Pradumri Akha UMC of Pattaya was last Sunday, but we could not attend because we had a previous commitment to be in Western Thailand, in Nakhon Pithom, for the dedication service for their new Youth Center.  So we visited this Sunday afternoon with the Akha church, for they were having their Christmas celebration (very early in the month, it seems).  There were over 120 Akha in attendance, which was not surprising because of the strong support we saw at last year’s organizational meetings.  They are a friendly, outgoing, lovable people and we rejoiced in the welcoming spirit of the members of this new church.  We rejoice that this church has a very strong start.  God is blessing the efforts of Pastor Ahloong and all who have had a part in this new church.  There are now 12 UMC churches in Thailand, glory be to God.

Sherri and the Devil from their drama

Most people sat outside in the street





Later this week, we want to introduce you to Teacher Mali, a Chinese Thai Christian who was the key person for planting this church.

On a side note, Mike did his first bi-lingual (English-Thai) wedding at Life Center UMC in Pattaya.  Ken, an Englishman, and Duan, a Thai woman, had their wedding as part of the worship service this past Sunday.  Attached are some pictures of the wedding.  Mike was more nervous than the bride and groom because he had to do the ceremony in Thai as well as English.  All went well.
It was one of those truly blessed Sundays that are a gift from God.  God is good!

Duan and Ken Grainger, with Duan's mother

Consecration Prayer at the wedding

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Important Announcement Concerning Blessing Home




Little Naet of Blessing Home
It is official now.  Blessing Home is now an official ministry of the Thailand Methodist Mission (TMM).  The Board of Directors of TMM voted on Monday to receive responsibility for the Blessing Home ministry to orphans and street children.  We are very grateful for their affirmative vote, because the children of Blessing Home needed an organization to step up to the plate to help them.

Blessing Home started as a ministry of GBGM, and our poster child, Naet, was also once the poster child for GBGM’s Annual Report to their Board of Directors just two years ago.  But since then, GBGM has experienced financial problems and it was decided that they could no longer support this ministry. 

The Thailand Methodist Mission stepped in on an emergency basis in September 2010, to begin providing support for Blessing Home, and we put out the call for the need for immediate donations because we did not have the funds on hand to “dive and catch the ball”.  YOU, God’s people, responded with compassion and generosity, and we helped to save Blessing Home from closing, which would be tragic for the children here who are at great risk of the child sex trade and the illegal drug trade as well. 

The Thailand Methodist Mission offered to take responsibility for GBGM, and GBGM has agreed to hand over responsibility in the month of November, 2010.  This still required a vote from the Board of TMM to receive responsibility and place Blessing Home in the General Fund budget.  There was unanimous agreement on the Board of TMM to do this.

We need your prayers as there is much work to do.  We must now register Blessing Home as a Social Work Agency within Thailand.  It is necessary for Blessing Home to receive this certification because without it, we will not be able to own property, and we move towards owning our own building rather than paying rent.  But first, the registration as a Social Work Agency must take place.  To do this next step, will require hiring a lawyer and security deposit.  We need about $12,000 to do this next step.  Again, without this step, Blessing Home and TMM cannot own property in Thailand and we will be forced to rent a building, which at this time makes up about 39% of expenses for Blessing Home.

If you or your church feel led by the Lord to help us with this, it would be wonderful.  The faster we can receive funds for the security deposit and legal fees, the sooner we can raise funds for purchasing a building.  This will be wonderful, because it will free up funds for providing services to the children.  Please pray about this matter and do as the Lord leads you to do.  

Giving can be done through the mail or online.

Please send checks to:
TMM
P.O. Box 56
Mannsville, KY 42758

OR give online by clicking this link
https://www.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=27-2388347

God Bless You,
Mike and Sherri