One of the greatest pleasures of our ministry is being able to visit with the pastors of the churches we have helped to plant. Each pastor is precious to us. They are our friends and co-workers. They are courageous hard-working servants of the Lord. One of these is Pastor Nampon, of Almighty God UMC in Nonsomboon, in Northeast Thailand. Pastor Nampon pioneered Almighty God UMC in November 2008, amidst persecution and much spiritual battle. She has triumphed and persevered, and God has blessed her faithfulness. Now her church has grown to the point where the sanctuary cannot hold everyone, and many of the members must stand for the whole worship service because of lack of room.
|Pastor Nampon of Almighty God UMC|
This week, Mike met with Pastor Nampon to make preparations for a Mission Team that will come in March to expand the church building. While there, we found out that the church’s Christmas outreach was a great success, and 24 people gave their lives to the Lord. Now Pastor Nampon and the members of the church are visiting the new believers, and many of these are now coming to church. This is a miracle of God, because just two years earlier Pastor Nampon faced great opposition.
Please pray for these new believers, that they will grow in Christ and not fall away. New believers face opposition from family and friends, especially when they grow to the point of wanting to get rid of their idols and amulets. When a new believer is ready to give up idolatry, there is a special service and the whole community of Christians will pray for that new believer, because family and friends will be very upset with them. For Thai Buddhists, giving up idols and amulets is like allowing the insurance on your house to elapse. The idols and amulets are what they trust in to protect them from harm. To give them up is foolishness to them. But to Christians, it is a required step in trusting in the Lord. After a new believers gives up their idols, if anything bad happens to the family, it will be blamed on giving up the idols. The pressure to return to their old life and old beliefs is tremendous. Only with prayer can these people stand firm in the faith of Christ.
This happened in the first year of Pastor Nampon’s ministry, a new believer who was in her 70’s died within 2 weeks of giving up her idols and amulets. All of the community was very angry at Pastor Nampon and she was in danger. But she persevered, and continued to pray with people. God has given Pastor Nampon a ministry of healing, and many who she prays with receive healing from the Lord. Now Pastor Nampon is well-known for her prayers for healing and many people come to her.
|Spirit Houses where Thai Buddhists offer sacrifices to ward off evil spirits.|
Thai pastors need your prayers. They work in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances. Please keep them in your prayers.