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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Monday, January 23, 2012

Polar Plunges and Persecution

Pastor Dave Martin of Hope UMC of Troy, NY.  This brave man took the polar plunge to promote missions in his church.  Pastor Dave and Hope UMC have been long-time supporters of the Blessing Home ministry.
A few weeks ago, TMM received a donation for Blessing Home from Hope UMC of Troy, NY with a note attached.  The note said that their pastor, Dave Martin, challenged the congregation to raise $2,000 in 4 weeks for home and foreign missions, and if they succeeded, he would participate in this year's polar plunge on New Year's Day.  Just in case you are not familiar with polar plunges, this is jumping to the freezing cold water in the middle of winter.  This note tickled us because Sherri often says that she would like to take a polar plunge, and I tell her she must be nuts.  But now, I see that you don't need to be crazy to do this, just highly committed to the Lord's work.  So we extend our appreciation to Brave Pastor Dave for going beyond the call of duty to promote missions in his church.

Now, we have a very serious matter that requires all of you to be on your knees in prayer.  Pastors Jerron and On of the newly formed Mai Ya church in Chiang Rai province are the targets of religious persecution at the local government level, and they need your prayers.  The local sub-district government office in Mai Ya has a life-insurance program, like most sub-districts do.  In this program, every adult in the sub-district pays a monthly premium, and then if someone in the family dies, the program will give money to cover cremation and funeral expenses.  Most sub-districts have a program like this to make sure that everyone in the community is covered in case of death.  Well, the sub-district government leaders passed a law, stating that if anyone in the community became a Christian, they would be thrown out of this program and would lose all the funds they have invested in the program.  This law directly targeted the Mai Ya church, which is the first and only church in this sub-district.

Although this law is against the Thai constitution, it still is in effect at the present time, and many of the members of Mai Ya church have been stricken from this program and have had the funds they have invested confiscated by the local government.  Now, everyone is afraid of hearing the message of Jesus because they do not want their money confiscated as well.

Pastor Jerron has begun the lengthy legal process to appeal this law.  But first, he is setting up meetings in all 8 precincts, to have dinner and build relationship with all 8 precinct leaders.  He wants to try settling this in a friendly way, if possible, rather than take this to court.  Please be praying for Pastors Jerron and On, that they will find favor in the eyes of these local government leaders.

We will keep you posted on the progress, but it may be awhile before we have any news.

Christians worshipping together at Mai Ya church