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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Friday, February 25, 2011

Akha Pastor in Pattaya is a Pioneering Pastor





Mike and Pastor Ahlong of the Pradumri Pattaya Akha Church beside the motorcycle given for his ministry through the Pioneering Pastors Program.  I did not smile in this picture because a friend in Illinois named Bob said I always smile in pictures and I wanted to get one picture where I was not smiling.  But I want everyone else to know that inside, I am beaming with joy.
Pastor Ahlong, the pioneer pastor of the Pradumri Pattaya Akha Church has a unique situation among church planters.  His church focuses on those of the Akha tribe in the city of Pattaya.  And this group presents several challenges.  The firs challenge is a wonderful one.  Starting out, he had over 100 members.  This is great!  But these Akha people are spread all over the city in 4 different precincts.  To visit his members, he would walk in the steaming heat of the day for many, many miles and was only able to visit a few each day.  Church planting pastors must focus on visiting their members, especially the first year, and they need a motorcycle or some form of transportation to be able to visit as many people as possible each day.

We are pleased that Pastor Ahlong is participating in the Pioneering Pastors Program, and were able to supply him with some of the equipment needed for church planting, like this motorcycle.

Please pray for Pastor Ahlong, who is planting a church in perhaps the most difficult place in Thailand, Pattaya, the center of sex tourism in Southeast Asia.  This setting is another one of his challenges.  Most of his members sell hand-made crafts to tourists, and they are seasonal workers.  Although some of his members live in Pattaya year-round, most will go back to the mountain villages in the North.  This reminds me of the Hispanic congregation at our home church, College Heights UMC in Elizabethtown, KY.  That was a congregation that had members who were seasonal workers as well, and it always presented a challenge.

Your prayers are needed.  Thank you for your faithfulness.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Training Pioneer Christian Workers in Sagaew Province

This weekend, we had the second half of our Children’s Church Seminar and Workshop in Northeast, Thailand in Wattana Nakhon, in Sagaew Province.   Blessing of God Church hosted the workshop, and the church is well named, because we were blessed by these front line workers for the Kingdom of God.  Blessing of God church is the only church not only in their sub-district but also in the district as a whole (the area would equal 3 counties in Kentucky) so it is quite isolated from other Christians.  They are true pioneers and we were glad to help with this training.

The children's teacher from Blessing of God church captivated the children with the story of David and Goliath.
On the first day, we did in-house workshops, where the teachers practiced using the Felt Kits and making lesson plans.  We divided up into two teams, and each practiced on a group of church kids that was comprised of the children and grandchildren of the teachers.  As always, there is something that hits my funny bone and makes me laugh uncontrollably.  Team B was the first to teach.  When they came to the section where they were asking the children questions on the lesson, they would reward the children with a one baht coin (worth about 3.5 cents).  The children were happy to receive the coins and they enjoyed the lesson.  Then Team A gets up, and they decide to take an offering.  It was funny seeing the looks on the kids faces when they had to give back the coins they had just won.  I just couldn’t stop laughing.  (Don’t worry about these kids, they were pampered this weekend).

The children at the community center had fun at the Bible Club.  Bible clubs are similar to VBS, except we bring the ministry to the community rather than having it at the church.
After the practice lessons, both teams joined up to put together a special children’s outreach event in a community about 5 miles away.   We pulled up to a simple building that serves as a community center and there were already 20 children there.  I was pleased and knew this would be a good outreach.  And then 2 minutes later, up pull 3 motorcycles packed with kids (and driven by children also – with 4 children per motorcycle).  Then another 2 minutes, more children came.  Soon we had a group of over 40 children.  The teachers from the Children’s Church Seminar and Workshop put on a great time of games, Bible lessons, Bible memory verses, songs, puppet dramas, and activities.

Some of the church children helped with the Puppet Drama which introduced the story of David and Goliath.  In Thai culture, older children help to teach the younger children.
We were also pleased to meet the community leaders who came to give their blessing to the event.  We all thanked them for their support and prayed for God’s blessing on them and their families.  In Thailand, it is very important to connect with the community leaders.  Thai culture places a high value on respect for elders, so we try to always have good relationships with the community leaders and work together with them to help people.

Pastor Prapru introduces the sub-district magistrate and two village chiefs.  Pastor Prapru has been very intentional about having good relations with the local leadership, who now know that Christian are here to do good and to be helpful.  These leaders have been very helpful too, in getting the word out about the Bible Club and allowing us to use the community center for free.
At the end of the special children’s outreach event, every child received a healthy meal, and snacks, and a gift.  Then Pastor Prapru of the Blessing of God Church told the children they would be back there every Saturday to do a Bible Club for the children.  Pastor Prapru said that she and her church members were very encouraged to receive the training and the teaching resources, and that they were eager to have this ministry in this community, where there is not yet a church.  Again, Pastor Prapru is being a pioneer, bringing the gospel to one more sub-district that does not yet have a church.

It is a great honor to work with Thai pioneers.  They are brave, hard-working, Christian leaders with great perseverance.  These Thai Christian pioneers make great sacrifices, many times selling everything they have so that they can plant a church in an unreached area of Thailand.  When we are with them, we know we are standing on holy ground.


The children all enjoyed a nutritious meal, and a snack, and received school supplies as gifts.



Training Pioneer Christian Workers in Sagaew Province

This weekend, we had the second half of our Children’s Church Seminar and Workshop in Northeast, Thailand in Wattana Nakhon, in Sagaew Province.   Blessing of God Church hosted the workshop, and the church is well named, because we were blessed by these front line workers for the Kingdom of God.  Blessing of God church is the only church not only in their sub-district but also in the district as a whole (the area would equal 3 counties in Kentucky) so it is quite isolated from other Christians.  They are true pioneers and we were glad to help with this training.

The children's teacher from Blessing of God church captivated the children with the story of David and Goliath.
On the first day, we did in-house workshops, where the teachers practiced using the Felt Kits and making lesson plans.  We divided up into two teams, and each practiced on a group of church kids that was comprised of the children and grandchildren of the teachers.  As always, there is something that hits my funny bone and makes me laugh uncontrollably.  Team B was the first to teach.  When they came to the section where they were asking the children questions on the lesson, they would reward the children with a one baht coin (worth about 3.5 cents).  The children were happy to receive the coins and they enjoyed the lesson.  Then Team A gets up, and they decide to take an offering.  It was funny seeing the looks on the kids faces when they had to give back the coins they had just won.  I just couldn’t stop laughing.  (Don’t worry about these kids, they were pampered this weekend).

The children at the community center had fun at the Bible Club.  Bible clubs are similar to VBS, except we bring the ministry to the community rather than having it at the church.
After the practice lessons, both teams joined up to put together a special children’s outreach event in a community about 5 miles away.   We pulled up to a simple building that serves as a community center and there were already 20 children there.  I was pleased and knew this would be a good outreach.  And then 2 minutes later, up pull 3 motorcycles packed with kids (and driven by children also – with 4 children per motorcycle).  Then another 2 minutes, more children came.  Soon we had a group of over 40 children.  The teachers from the Children’s Church Seminar and Workshop put on a great time of games, Bible lessons, Bible memory verses, songs, puppet dramas, and activities.

Some of the church children helped with the Puppet Drama which introduced the story of David and Goliath.  In Thai culture, older children help to teach the younger children.
We were also pleased to meet the community leaders who came to give their blessing to the event.  We all thanked them for their support and prayed for God’s blessing on them and their families.  In Thailand, it is very important to connect with the community leaders.  Thai culture places a high value on respect for elders, so we try to always have good relationships with the community leaders and work together with them to help people.

Pastor Prapru introduces the sub-district magistrate and two village chiefs.  Pastor Prapru has been very intentional about having good relations with the local leadership, who now know that Christian are here to do good and to be helpful.  These leaders have been very helpful too, in getting the word out about the Bible Club and allowing us to use the community center for free.
At the end of the special children’s outreach event, every child received a healthy meal, and snacks, and a gift.  Then Pastor Prapru of the Blessing of God Church told the children they would be back there every Saturday to do a Bible Club for the children.  Pastor Prapru said that she and her church members were very encouraged to receive the training and the teaching resources, and that they were eager to have this ministry in this community, where there is not yet a church.  Again, Pastor Prapru is being a pioneer, bringing the gospel to one more sub-district that does not yet have a church.

It is a great honor to work with Thai pioneers.  They are brave, hard-working, Christian leaders with great perseverance.  These Thai Christian pioneers make great sacrifices, many times selling everything they have so that they can plant a church in an unreached area of Thailand.  When we are with them, we know we are standing on holy ground.


The children all enjoyed a nutritious meal, and a snack, and received school supplies as gifts.



Saturday, February 05, 2011

Some of the most valuable training for ministry came from my Mom

Sherri and I learned many needful things in seminary, but I must confess, much of the most valuable training I received was when I was a teenager, helping my mother Lois, teach children during children's church.  It was from her that I learned how to tell Bible stories to children, how to use felt kits and other resources to bring the stories to life, how to teach children to memorize important Bible passages, and how to have discipline in the classroom.  I don't know where my mother learned to do this, but I know God gave her the gift of teaching children (adults too).

This past Saturday, I taught a Children's Church Seminar and Workshop.  None of the ideas were my own.  All of it came from my mother.  Little did she know that by training her teenage son to lead children's church, her lessons would make it all the way across the globe to Thailand where children's teachers from 3 churches participated in the seminar.

All three churches received Bible in Felt Kits, a wonderful resource generously donated by the folks at Petrie Memorial UMC.  These kits provide 175 lessons from Genesis through Revelation, so that children can study the whole Bible systematically.  The kits provides felt figures and backdrops, which hold the children's attention and bring the Bible stories to life.  All of the church also received puppets donated by our sisters and brothers at Mead Memorial UMC.  The teachers also received Bible Memorization Kits, because children quickly grasp and remember God's Word.

At the seminar, the teachers received training on how to use these resources and how to lead all aspects of a children's church.  Then in the afternoon, workshops were held for the teachers to practice using the new resources.

On the 18th, we will be heading to Northeast Thailand to Sagaew to teach the Children's Church Seminar and Workshop to rural pastors and children's teachers.  Please pray that these pastors and teachers are encouraged and well equipped to serve in regions of Thailand where they may be at the only church in a region of several districts (counties).  Christians here are very few in number, and they need encouragement and the support of your daily prayers.

The teachers at the workshop had as much fun with the puppets as the children had watching.

All of the teachers practiced teaching with the Felt Kits, which are a wonderful resource.

3 churches participated in the training which was held at Blessing Home.

Lots of fun