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, February 29, 2012

Mission work in Thailand can be counter-intuitive

In Thailand, the mission field here is counter-intuitive.  One thing that goes totally against expectations is that the hill tribe people in Thailand are well reached.  Most of the hill tribes are majority Christian.  Whereas the Thai people are mostly unreached, with less than half of 1% of the population being Christian.  People usually think that the hill tribes would be unreached, but actually they are the most reached and receive the most mission effort.

All of the pink areas are unreached areas, with no church of any type.  The green areas, concentrated in the North, are areas which have churches.  Most hilltribe people come from these green areas in the North.
In the Pioneering Pastor Program, our goal is to train and resource pastors to pioneer churches in these pink areas, where there are no churches.  The Thai people will not be reached for Christ if Christians of all denominations and flavors do not work together to go into these unreached areas.  This is our vision, that every sub-district in Thailand will have a vibrant church.  We want to see the Thai people worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord has blessed the ministry here in Thailand, and over the past 5 years, we have helped 15 new churches to be planted in unreached areas of Thailand.  The most important facet of our ministry, is finding the right pastors to be pioneers.  They must have the heart and character needed to be a pioneer.  They must be wise, they must be tough, they must be called by God to this work.

Because the majority of hill tribe people are Christian, most Bible college students are hill tribe. A few of these hill tribe Bible college students become native missionaries, reaching across culture in their own nation to pioneer a church in a majority Thai community.  Some of our pioneering pastors are hill tribe.

Pastors Da and Ekerat 
Pastors Da and Ekerat are hill tribe pastors who pioneered a Thai church in an unreached part of Nakhon Pithom province.  They are not only pioneering pastors, but also missionaries who had to cross cultures to reach the Thai majority in Nakhon Pithom. 

Each Christmas season, it is traditional for hill tribe people to go back to their home villages to celebrate the birth of Jesus together with family.  Pastors Ekerat and Da went back to their villages to visit their parents and relatives.  They took a few pictures of the worship service at their village and they are posted below. 

When we talk with missionaries from other organizations, we have discovered that a large portion of the pastors who plant churches in unreached areas of Thailand, are hill tribe pastors planting churches to reach the Thai majority.  When you see the village above, you would expect it to be a village that only receives missionaries.  But this hill tribe village, and many others like it, are one that sends missionaries to the unreached Thai majority.  Like we said, it is counter-intuitive.