United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

United Methodist Missionaries serving in Thailand

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Send a check in the mail to: TMM P.O. Box 56 Mannsville, KY 42758 (Please make checks payable to TMM) Or give online by clicking this link: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/thametmis/

We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission

We serve with the Thailand Methodist Mission
Click on the Logo to Visit the Website of the Thailand Methodist Mission

Friday, December 27, 2013

Last call for TEAM THAILAND... and a prayer request

The deadline for submitting applications for the TEAM THAILAND mission team for March 13-25, 2014 is fast approaching.  The deadline for that team is January 20, 2014.  Please visit the TEAM THAILAND website at http://thailandmethodist.blogspot.com/ for all of the information you need, including the application form.

FYI: Mission teams that come to Thailand will NOT be in parts of Bangkok where protests are taking place.  Mission teams will be serving in the outer provinces where we can avoid problems.

An anti-government protester in Bangkok

That said, continued prayer is greatly needed for peace in Thailand.  The protests at government offices and meetings in Bangkok have been turning bloody.  The protesters are trying to do anything they can to stop elections.  The Thai government has asked the Thai army to help the police to keep peace and safety during the elections, but the top army officials have declined to give an answer one way or another.

Thank you for your faithful prayers.  We are truly grateful for all of our prayer warriors.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas from the staff and children at Blessing Home.

The staff and children of Blessing Home wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.  This picture is of some of the younger children at Blessing Home who attend our preschool.  Blessing Home will have their Christmas celebration with guardians and the children this week.  Please pray that the hearts of the guardians will be open to the Gospel as Pastor Banya and the members of Life Center UMC present the gospel to them in preaching, drama, and song.

We hope to have pictures of this celebration next week, so you can see some of the older Blessing Home kids who receive scholarships to go to school and education enhancement programs to help them thrive.

Sherri and I extend our prayers to all of the friends of Blessing Home (that's you) and wish you a Blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pray for Peace in Thailand

Thailand is a politically fractured nation with two political parties that identify themselves by colors, the red shirts and the yellow shirts (For a good news article, see the BBC news on this link > http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25099105.)
These two groups have had many protests over the last ten years, however the last 2 years have been peaceful.  Now the protests have started up again, and the yellow shirts have invaded and shut down some government buildings in Bangkok.  Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister of Thailand, invoked emergency powers to gain control of the situation.

Please pray for peace.  Each time we have seen a wave of protests, they have been more severe than the one before.  And the last one was bloody.  Thailand is not near the point of civil war, but these protests make it trend towards danger.

It will mean a great deal to the Thai Christians, knowing that Christians in America are praying for them and praying for peace in their nation.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Mission Teams Info Meeting AND A Request for your Prayerful Consideration

For all of you who are interested in serving on a Mission Team to Thailand:
We have an information meeting at College Heights United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky on November 16 at 9am.
All of the information for the 2014 Mission Teams is on our TEAM THAILAND website at this address >> http://thailandmethodist.blogspot.com/

The mission in Thailand depends upon your prayers and financial support.
It is only through your prayers that the mission is fruitful.  And it is only through your financial support that children are saved from traffickers through the ministry of Blessing Home and churches are planted in unreached counties in Thailand so that all Thai people have the opportunity to know Jesus Christ.

Here is what we are asking you to do.  Please pray to the Lord for what He wants you to do.  And if the Lord leads you to make a commitment to support the mission, follow the Lord's leading.
So as individual Christians, pray to the Lord and follow him.
As Sunday School classes, UMW and UMM groups, and other groups, pray to the Lord and follow him.
As congregations setting your budgets for 2014, pray to the Lord to see if TMM should be on the church budget.

Here are some numbers to keep in mind.
$500 provides education, nutrition, and Christian care to save a child through the ministry of Blessing Home for one year.  Can you, or your group or church sponsor some children to save them from trafficking?

$4,500 plants a new self-supporting church in an unreached area of Thailand, expanding the Kingdom of the Lord into new territory.  This provides Biblical and Financial training and a business grant to a Pioneer Pastor to start a business that will support his/her family as they plant a new church.

$20,000 builds a church building for a rural church that has outgrown their place of worship.  This is the final step to making a newly planted church secure and permanent.  We encourage all churches that are doing building projects to pray about including a mission church in their plans as well.

Remember TMM for Christmas
Many faithful Christians and churches give special offerings to TMM for Christmas.
This year we are requesting special giving for the TMM Building Fund.
Our goal is to raise $60,000 by the end of the year.
As we have been building the Blessing Home Isan center, we realized we needed one extra large classroom that would also be used as a place of worship for the church.  Part of the funds would go towards completing the Blessing Home Isan building projects.
We also need to remodel a barn at Global Theological Institute that is currently being used as a women's dormitory (it is truly like a tabacco barn), but we need to make it truly livable.  We are also building two classrooms and a restroom building to replace the outhouses that are presented used by the students.
Please be sure to write "Building Fund" in the memo section of your check or online donation.

Give online or by mail
You can give online at http://thailandmethodist.org/donate.html
or send a check to TMM at:
P.O. Box 56
Mannsville, KY 42758

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blessing Home updates

Fern with her Sunday School teacher, May
Most of the Blessing Home children are served at the Blessing Home Ground Zero Center in Pattaya.  But a few are from some of the other churches that we have planted.  We want you to meet Fern and her older sister Wen, who are two new children in our Blessing Home program, but are being served from the Nakhon Pathom church, a church we helped to plant in this city which is west of Bangkok.

Fern and Wen started coming to the Nakhon Pathom church earlier this year.  Fern suffers from leukemia, and she is not expected to survive.  Her mother is very poor and must be with Fern constantly.  Pastors Ekerat and Da and the Christians at the Nakhon Pathom church have taken her in and have helped the family to the best of their ability, providing food and limited financial help.  Because Fern's medical treatment drains all of the family's financial resources and attention, Wen did not have what she needed to go to school.  

Through your generous financial support, we are able to help Fern and Wen in the Blessing Home program.  We help Fern and her family with help for medical expenses and food, and we now scholarship Wen to go to school, providing for the uniforms, books, transportation, and other needs.  In cases like these, children like Wen would be in great danger of being trafficked to provide needed finances for the family and younger sister.  But now she is protected from this fate.
Left to Right: Pastor Da, Wen, Fern, Pastor Ekerat
We also want to give you an update on Naet, who was saved from life as a drug mule at the young age of 4.  Naet moved into a permanent family earlier this year.  Pastor Namporn is now her mother, and Naet has received a new Christian name.  Her name is now Maria.  Pastor Namporn wanted to give her a new life, a new start.

Auntie Bangon, Grandmother Bau, Maria (formerly Naet), and Pastor Nampon

Maria was struggling in school, and having great difficulties in all subjects.  Pastor Nampon has taken a lot of time and effort to tutor her, and now she is doing very well in school.  She even read one of her school books to Sherri.

We have never seen Maria happier.  Now that she is doing well in school, she is really blossoming.  Thank you for your prayers for her.

Construction on the Blessing Home Isan center is on schedule.  Last week, we went to inspect the site with TMM missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown, who will be serving at Blessing Home Isan once the buildings are ready in January.  We are very blessed to have Carol and Vicki serving with us here and it is our prayer that many more will join as long term missionaries here with us.  We have a great need for people to serve at Blessing Home and with the Pioneer Pastor Program.  If you believe God may be calling you to serve, please contact us at thailandumc@gmail.com

Vicki Brown and Carol Fare at the Blessing Home Isan site.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Great news from Pastors Jerron and On, and progress on Blessing Home Isan construction

Sherri and I constantly tell people that we love what we do, because we see lives totally transformed for Jesus Christ.  When Thai people receive Jesus and begin a new victorious life in Him, it is very rewarding and exciting.

Pastors Jerron and On planted the Mai Ya church three years ago, planting cell groups throughout the unreached region.  Many times, more than one cell group begins to grow rapidly, and two or more churches are formed to make a circuit.  God blessed the ministry of Pastors Jerron and On, and now a second church, the Phayamengrai church, opened this year, and we see very rapid growth there.

A few months ago, new believers from the Mai Ya and Phayamengrai churches were baptized, showing the world that they have new life in Christ.  Everytime we see the joy on the faces of these new believers and they tell us how Christ has made them new, we are just overflowing with great joy ourselves.  This would not be possible without faithful Christians who support this mission.  Thank you, for giving to the Lord.   These are lives that have been changed because of you.

Phayamengrai church has very quickly developed a large children and youth ministry.  Pastors Jerron and On approached us because they had over 40 children and youth coming to Sunday School and to Saturday School (one time per week was not enough!) to learn about Jesus Christ.  They had no furniture, so the children sat on the floor and did their activities there.  They asked if there was any way TMM could help purchase some tables and chairs.  It was a great pleasure to be able to say, "Yes, of course."

Now, to a different location.  Many of you generously gave to open a new Blessing Home center called Blessing Home Isan.  It took awhile to find the right location, and then we had to build retainer walls and add landfill to raise the land about 5 feet, so it would not flood.  Then we had to have water tank trucks come everyday to wet down the landfill, to make it settle and become solid so we could start building construction.  We were all set last month to begin construction, but the contractor had a series of medical emergencies in his family and had to give up the contract, leaving us to find a new contractor.  God led us to the right contractor, and he began construction 2 weeks ago.  We hope to have the new center built and ready to move in by the end of January 2014.

The new Blessing Home Isan Center under construction.
Please remember the Thailand Methodist Mission in your prayers and through your compassionate generosity as well.  You can give online at thailandmethodist.org
OR send a check to TMM at this address:
P.O. Box 56
Mannsville, KY 42758

Friday, September 06, 2013

Pray for two outstanding Pioneer Pastors

We would like to introduce you to a Pioneer Pastor couple, Rungroj and Somchit, who planted a new church in an unreached sub-district in Tak Fa, in the central region of Thailand.  They are a courageous, persevering, and hard-working couple who gave up comfort in order to reach the lost for Christ in this region that has four unreached sub-districts… meaning that there are no Christian churches there.  They are pioneering new territory for Jesus Christ, and it is difficult work.

Pioneer Pastors are modern day circuit riders.  They ride scooters and mini-motorcycles, rather than horses.

TMM helped provide funding and coaching for an agricultural project.  They hand dug a well (back-breaking work in the tropical heat)and installed an irrigation system.  They grow and sell Jerusalem artichokes (a new product for Thailand… meaning they can create a new market and not compete with others), as well as raise chickens.  In the future, they will build a fish farm.  They run the farm and go to the markets three nights per week in different places to sell their produce.  While they work full-time, they are also serving at their church as well as planting new cell groups in neighboring sub-districts.  Now there are three sub-districts that were unreached before that now have a church and three cell groups.  Two of those groups are growing well, and we expect their ministry to be a two-church circuit soon.

Pastors Rungroj and Somchit grow Jerusalem artichokes and other produce to sell at the fresh markets.

Because they serve in a region with many unreached sub-districts (counties), they must travel far.  They go to the cell groups on this mini-motorcycle (they call it a “motorcy”).  In past times, circuit riders would go from place to place riding their horse to start cell groups.  Here in Thailand, the pastors go around on scooters and mini-motorcycles.

Please pray for Rungroj and Somchit, that their farm will be productive and that they will be successful in selling their produce, so their family can do the ministry.

Also pray that the Lord will give them strength to persevere and that they will have good health.
Both Pastors Rungroj and Somchit are seminary graduates.  One thing we found very encouraging was that two lay leaders from churches in an adjacent region attend one of their cell groups.  These lay leaders have never had the opportunity to study at a Bible college or seminary.  Rungroj and Somchit are providing training for them to help them be lay pastors at their churches.

It is a great honor to work together with Pastors Rungroj and Somchit.  They are “salt and light”.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Camp Ground VIM is a huge blessing to the Thailand Methodist Mission

We have had an exciting 10 days serving together with the mission team of 6 members from Camp Ground UMC of Bonnieville, KY.  Camp Ground UMC has supported Blessing Home faithfully for several years, and they worked hard to raise the funds to send this team.  All six were hard workers and also a great blessing to us and the Thai people. 

WOW!  Did this Campground team really accomplished a lot in a few days.

1.  They built a new large storage room on the third floor and built new shelves as well.

2.  They moved everything from our old 2nd floor storage room and old 3rd floor storage room into the new storage room.  This freed up the 2nd floor storage room to be used as a new classroom for the Blessing Home ministry.  They gave funds to install an AC unit in this new classroom.  We really needed the new classroom because we now have 71 children in the nursery (a total of 101 children are now served by Blessing Home).  We desperately needed an extra classroom to cope with the large increase of children being served here.  Now that the old storage room on the third floor is empty, it is available to serve as a room for Pioneer Pastors to stay when they come for training.  Now we have two rooms available for Pioneer Pastors rather than just one. 

3.  The team painted the cabinets on the second floor, the ones that the team from Petrie Memorial built.  The cabinets look fantastic.

4.  They bought the equipment (TV, Blueray, and computer) for a new teaching station on the second floor.  We are now able to use new resources for teaching both Thai and English to the children as well as Christian education.

5.  Our kitchen had some awful plumbing problems, which caused the sewers to back up and make a horrible mess.  Pastor Banya made a temporary fix, but unfortunately it did not meet code.  This team bought a new grease trap and pump system that allows our kitchen to function once again and meet code.

6.  Andrea and Kelly, two sisters who were members of the team and are both teachers, lectured at a special seminar at Burupha University (a workshop on connecting with students to develop critical thinking skills, and also a workshop on teaching special needs children with an emphasis on autism).  They were so well received that they received invitations to come back to teach at the University.  Kelly also led a workshop with some of the guardians of the Blessing Home children on nutrition.  We were very pleased at the questions that the guardians had.  Kelly really connected with them.

7.  The team also did repairs on the apartment of Khao Haum, a young girl with severe mental and physical disabilities.  The cramped ghetto apartment was unsafe for this young girl.  The stair railing was broken.  The safety rail on the balcony was broken (they must leave the balcony door open to get air circulation in the steaming hot city, so this was a dangerous situation).  Also the door did not have a proper handle or lock.  The team fixed up the apartment and made it much safer.  They also bought some of the jewelry that Khao Haum’s mother sells to make a living.  They greatly blessed this poor family.

8.  The team also helped missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown to teach English to the older students at Blessing Home on Saturday morning, enhancing their education.

9.  They also brought and made many teaching aids for Carol and Vicki to design special learning stations for the children.  The children loved the blocks and other educational toys and manipulatives that they made and brought to Blessing Home.

10.  Last, but not least, they were a great encouragement to the Blessing Home Staff and the United Methodists here in Pattaya. 

Zack, the youngest member of the Camp Ground Mission Team, was a tireless worker for the Lord.

Thank you for everything, Camp Ground UMC.

If you are interested in coming next year to serve on a mission team in Thailand, see our TEAM THAILAND website at http://thailandmethodist.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 14, 2013

Go on a Mission Trip to Thailand with the Thailand Methodist Mission

For 2014, we have two mission team opportunities for serving the Lord in Thailand.

WHEN:  There are two teams.
Spring Team: March 13-25, 2014
Summer Team: July 31 - August 12, 2014

COST: $1,500 (includes $500 non-refundable deposit).  FLIGHTS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE COST.  You will need to reserve your own flights. .

  • You will visit Blessing Home.  Meet some of the children that you help to save and protect from sex and drug traffickers.
  • You will learn how you can make a difference in stopping the trafficking of Trafficking Awareness Workshop.
  • You will help with Construction Projects at one of our Pioneer Pastor locations.  No construction skills necessary.  Be a part of making history as you help expand gospel to unreached areas of Thailand. 
  • You will go on fun cultural tours, and may even ride an elephant.

We have a special website for the Thailand Mission Teams at http://thailandmethodist.blogspot.com/
Please visit that website for more information and to download the application form.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Thank you for your prayers for my mother and family

On Friday afternoon, June 7, my (Mike) mother, Lois Ann Morrissey, passed away and is now home to be with her Lord.  I want to thank everyone who has been praying for her and the whole family.  We praise the Lord that she has received full healing.  My Mom has known great pain for many years, but the past three weeks were difficult to the extreme for her.  But during this time, our family has been the recipients of great kindness, thoughtfulness, and love.  God is good!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Baptisms and lives changed by the Lord through self-sufficient churches

When we think about how many lives have been transformed by Jesus Christ through the ministries of the Thai pastors we work with, we are truly humbled.  These pioneer pastors labor for the Lord in very difficult contexts, and God has blessed their work.

A few weeks ago, we visited Pastors Jerron and On, who planted a new church at Mai Ya two years ago.  It is very common that a pioneer pastor will plant one church, and then will plant another one nearby in the first two years.  This is because they are hard at work planting new cell groups (you may call them Bible studies), and sometimes these new cell groups become new churches.

Pastors Jerron and On and their two beautiful children on the roof of their new church at Phayamengrai.

Pastors Jerron and On planted two new cell groups in a county north of Mai Ya, called Phayamengrai.  These cell groups actually speak two different languages, Isan and Lanna, but they will be coming together to form a new church in the city of Phayamengrai that will employ the national Thai language in worship.  Pastors Jerron and On have moved to Phayamengrai where they have rented a building to use as their home, and for their noodle soup restaurant, and for the church as well.  It is a large facility that is located on the main road.  They will conduct worship services at Phayamengrai on Sunday mornings and at Mai Ya on Saturday evenings.

Pastors Jerron and On have now planted three churches in unreached areas of Thailand as well as planted a daughter church at Nonsomboon.  It is an honor to serve together with them.

On May 26, they will have an opening service for the new church at Phayamengrai as well as a baptism service for new believers at both of their churches.  We are very disappointed that we will be unable to participate in this wonderful time of blessing.  We had the privilege of praying for the ten new believers who will be baptized.   Please pray for these new believers that they will grow strong in Christ and hold strong against the great pressures against them.

Prayers of dedication are offered for some of the new believers who will be baptized this month at Mai Ya and Phayamengrai churches.

In April, a new church was planted by two couples in an unreached precinct of Lamphun, a mid-size city with a rapidly growing population.  Pastors Rattana, Ann, and Keng have formed a team to pioneer a new church.  TMM has helped them to form business plans and given grants to start a new chothing business and a restaurant.  This helps them to be self-sufficient from day one.  April is a difficult month to start a new business because of the Songkran water festival.  People go back to their rural hometowns for vacation and when they return they are broke.  But it is the best month to move if you have children, like Rattana and Ann do, because it is summer break.  Well, they had one more obstacle, a huge one.  Just a week or two after opening the clothing store and restaurant which will support their ministries, their road was under heavy construction, so no one can park within a block of their businesses.  Please pray that this road will be finished soon and that their businesses will thrive.  Their families and their ministries are depending upon this.

Pastor Keng, Pastors Ann and Rattana with their two children, a new believer at Lamphun church.

Road construction has made it impossible for people to park near the clothing store and restaurant.  This is hurting their businesses, which their families depend upon.  Please pray that construction will be completed soon.

Pastor Keng at his restaurant that TMM helped him to start to support his family and ministry.

Now for a personal prayer request.  Mike's mother, Lois Morrissey, has stage four pancreatic cancer and is suffering greatly. The cancer has spread throughout her digestive system and she is in a lot of pain.  Lois has also has severe arthritis of the spine, joints, feet, and hands, which disfigure her and causes great suffering.  Her pain now is overwhelming and she needs constant assistance.  We are now back in the States for a brief time to help give what assistance and comfort that we can do.  We will also be visiting some churches while we are here.  Please, please pray for Lois and also for Mike's Dad (Mike Sr.) who needs strength and comfort at this time.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Some emotional weeks at Blessing Home

Over the past several weeks, Pastor Banya has been working hard at Blessing Home typing all of the information on the children into the new database.  The new database system will help us to provide better monitoring of the children that we serve.  Vicki and Carol will be using the new database as they begin home visits of the children. 

It has taken several weeks to get this new database up and running, with many meetings with Pastor Banya to review the case of each child.  To be frank, it has been some of the most emotional, heart-wrenching ministry we have done.  Sherri and I have wept from the bottom of our soles many times as we have heard the stories of every child and recorded the information.  It is just impossible to see the lives of these children without being deeply touched.

We have 65 children at Blessing Home and will soon have 10 more, because the new school year begins.  Of the 65 children that we served last year, 3 of them are children of staff.  So there was a total of 62 children being protected and saved from traffickers.

These 62 children, without the ministry of Blessing Home, would almost all be trafficked in the child sex or drug trades, by the age of 10.  Here are some of the reasons why.

All 62 children come from homes with oppressive poverty.  The average household income was $125 per month.  Pattaya is an expensive city.  It costs about as much to live here as it does in the States.  Can you imagine trying to live on $125 per month?  All of the children are at great risk of being trafficked at a young age because the guardian cannot afford to send them to school.  And children who cannot go to school are always trafficked here.  Always.  

But most of these children have many strikes against them.  They live in great danger, and that is why close monitoring is needed.

Of the 62 children who are served through the comprehensive anti-trafficking ministry of Blessing Home:
  • ·         17 children were abandoned or orphaned by their parents;
  • ·         13 have guardians who are sex workers;
  • ·         18 have guardians who are addicts;
  • ·         17 have guardians who sell drugs;
  • ·         3 have guardians who are mentally or physically disabled;
  • ·         8 have guardians who are over 60 years old (life expectancy is much shorter here in the urban jungle of Pattaya – many of these children will lose their guardian and be out on the streets);
  • ·         4 children suffer serious chronic malnutrition issues;
  • ·         7 children have severe learning problems;
  • ·         12 children have chronic health problems;
  • ·         6 children are mentally or physically disabled; and
  • ·         20 children live in Opium dens (dangerous centers for selling drugs).

84% of the children at Blessing Home have multiple strikes against them. 

Over the next few months, we will tell some of the stories of the children at Blessing Home so you can pray for them.  We are very grateful for your prayers.  

Blessing Home and all of the ministries of the Thailand Methodist Mission, depend upon the faithful generosity of people like you.  Without your gifts, these children would not receive education and food, medical care and monitoring, Christian love and mercy.  During the summer, donations tend to slump, but the monthly needs of the ministry remain.

If the Lord leads you to give, you can send your gift by mail or online.

By Mail:
Make you check out to TMM and send to:
P.O. Box 56
Mannsville, KY 42758


Friday, April 19, 2013

Anthony Bourdain needs to run around with us. Truly!

This past week we traveled up to the Northeast section of Sakaew province to visit Pastor Pimpeekah and the members of Ta Phraya Church.  We traveled up there together with Pastor Banya and a Thai mission team from Life Center UMC for an evangelism event.  This mission team had been trained in washing and dyeing hair and there was a hair dresser on the team too, so they opened a free beauty shop for the day to create good relations with the neighbors.  Carol Fare and Vicki Brown, the new TMM missionaries who are in language school in Pattaya, joined the team as well.

The mission team was there for two days, but we had to leave on the first day because of scheduling.  Well, shortly after we left, the members of Ta Phraya church brought out their rifles and went hunting to have some meat for the midday meal on the second day.  Now, when I think of hunting, I think of deer, or wild turkey, or rabbits.  But that is not what was what the members of Ta Phraya church brought home for dinner.  Instead it was rats.  Lots of rats.  And many snakes.  And one dove.

Here are some pictures of the hunt and cooking the rats and snakes.

We missed this meal.  And so did Carol and Vicki.  The way Vicki reacted to these pictures when she saw them, we were very happy that God arranged it for us to have to leave beforehand because she wasn't ready for these unique dishes.
Members of Ta Phraya Church celebrate a good hunt

Anthony Bourdain needs to come to Ta Phraya Church!

Skillfully prepared rats, ready for roasting!

Remember when people tell you that you don't want to know how sausage is made?

Mystery Meat Curry - not to be found at your local Thai restaurant in the States

BBQ Rat - bet you never made these on your grill on the deck

Saturday, April 13, 2013

An answer to prayers in Thailand and in the States: Three New Churches

We know that there are hundreds of believers praying for this mission faithfully every day, because the Lord has been opening doors for three new churches to be planted in Thailand.  Two have opened already and one is in process and will open in a few weeks.  Our strategy involves making churches that are self-sufficient from day one by resourcing, training, and coaching Thai pastors to start businesses that can support themselves and their families.
The first church being planted is at Ban Klang in Lamphun province.  Ban Klang is a county (sub-district) that has no Christian church of any type, so we are excited to bring the gospel to this place so that lives can be changed through Jesus Christ.    This church plant is being led by a team of two couples that work well together.  Pastors Rattana and Ann haved moved to Ban Klang and we have helped them to set up a clothes store as well as a portable clothing shop for the outdoor markets.  (We will have pictures of the store soon.) They will be joined by a music and youth minister, Pastor Geng and his wife Noy, who we have trained and assisted in starting a restaurant specializing in roasted pork leg with rice.  Together they are bringing the gospel into places that have never been reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.  They will be starting cell groups, evangelizing, and supporting themselves with their businesses.  Please pray for both their cell groups and their businesses to thrive.

Pastor Geng, Sherri, Pastor Ann, Pastor Rattana at Ban Klang in Lamphun province

A second church is being planted in Ban Bueng in our home province of Chonburi.  Pastors Kaek (Peter) and Nuc have planted this church.  They are successful business people who did not need our help with support, so we assisted with some startup funds and coaching.  Kaek and Nuc are very close friends of ours.  During our first two years in Thailand, we spent countless hours at their home learning Thai language with them.  We had the privilege of sending Kaek to Phayao Bible College and now are honored to help them fulfill their calling as Pioneer Pastors.  Last week, we attended the first service of this new church, which is called God Cares Church (Yes, they are using the English words in the name, simple words that would be understood by many Thais.  A more accurate name for the church would be Providence Church, but no one here would know the meaning of providence.)  Evangelist Boonchiow, a missionary of the Singapore Methodist Church, preached the sermon.  I (Mike) will be preaching this Sunday.  We know the Lord will bless this church because there is a very gifted team that is working together with Kaek and Nuc.

The God Cares Church is meeting in a place that used to be an outdoor restaurant.  Construction is taking place at this time to enclose the restaurant to make a church building.  Last Sunday, it was very noisy because it was open to the outside and the traffic from the busy road was noisy.  But that is a good problem.  High traffic means high population and a great location on the main road.  Once the building is enclosed with walls and air conditioning (we love air in the hot tropical climate), it will cut down the noise.  They are putting some type of sound insulation on the walls to help as well.  

Our prayers surround these Pioneer Pastors and the teams that work with them.  They face much spiritual battle and challenges.  Your prayers will make all of the difference as they work on the front lines of the gospel.

Cinder Blocks for building the walls of the church building.

This is the open air restaurant that is being converted into a church building for God Cares Church.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Meet the New Missionaries.... and the Kentucky Mission Team too)

This week, our new missionaries, Vicki Brown and Carol Fare, arrived in Thailand.  Vicki and Carol are United Methodists from Texas who have served faithfully with VIM Nomads.  Their high level of knowledge and experience in education will be a huge asset to the ministry of Blessing Home, as we all seek to prevent children and teens from getting dragged into the brothels and drug rings of Pattaya and other places.

New missionaries, Carol Fare and Vicki Brown
Yesterday, we took Vicki and Carol shopping for appliances and household goods.  While we were at the appliance store, a European man asked all of us if we worked for an NGO (Non-Goverment Organization, usually a social work or relief agency).  When we said we did work for an NGO, this man gave an amused smile with a smug look and said, "All of us men come here for our 14 year olds."  Vicki was very shocked that the man would admit to being a paedophile so openly.  But here in Pattaya, the child sex trade is so open on a massive scale, that men like this do not even try to conceal their intent.

 (It is very odd, but we constantly get asked by people if we are Christians, or asked if we are missionaries.  We can never figure out what clues they are reading to discern that we are Christian missionaries.)

Please pray for Vicki and Carol as they make all of the difficult transitions.  Not only are they living in a brutally hot climate, in a foreign land with a different language and culture.  But they must live in the most difficult of cities, the trafficking jungle of Pattaya.  Pray also that they will quickly grasp the Thai language, as they study over the next 5 months.

Last month, a mission team of Kentucky United Methodists came to Thailand to serve the Thai people with the loving kindness of Jesus Christ.  Four of the team members were from Petrie Memorial UMC and one from Russell Springs UMC.  As is usual for our mission teams, most were our age or older (one team member, Margaret (the Thais called her "Grandmother") is 80 years old.  Grandma Margaret brought joy of her salvation to all the Thai people, and she elicited smiles wherever she went.

This mission team was a hard working group and they accomplished more than we thought was possible. 
The team took the children of Blessing Home to the zoo, and blessed them with a wonderful magical time.  Most of the children have never been more than two miles from the slums where they live, so this field trip was very special to them and to us as well.  We could not afford to do this and would not have had the manpower needed to do a field trip to the zoo.  We are grateful for the team's compassion and their playfulness with the children.  We think the team had as great a time as the children.

Kentucky Mission Team on the day of the zoo trip
The Kentucky Mission Team also served by providing an English Camp for children and teens near the new location of Blessing Home Isan.  Four Thai churches worked together with the team to put on this activity. The camp was a great success and it helped us to make deeper connections with the churches in that region.  .    
After the English Camp, the team came back to Blessing Home Ground Zero and built new storage cabinets on the second floor (thank you, Mark for your craftsmanship and can-do spirit!) as well as build shelves for Teacher Pui's office and the storage room.  They organized both Pui's office and the storage room in a way that made sense and looks great.  Charlene's organizational skills made order out of chaos.  Thank you, Charlene! 

The staff at Blessing Home are told us that they felt blessed and cherished by the Kentucky Mission Team.  We wish we could take all five of the mission team members and clone them and keep them here with us.  We have been asked by the Thai Christians over and over again when they will come back.  We just tell them, "Hopefully, very soon."

The Kentucky Mission Team, standing in front of one of the beautiful mahogany cabinets that they built.
We were also glad the team was able to mount the framed quilts that our dear friend, Ann Davis, made special for Blessing Home.  I will post some pictures of these quilts later because my pictures did not come out well and I want to ones that will do them justice.  Ann's quilts now bring joy and beauty into the lives of the children and staff of Blessing Home.

The team worked long hard hours for many days, so we were glad that they were able to tour some of this beautiful country and get some much deserved down time.

The Kentucky Mission Team and Sherri take a water taxi ride in Bangkok.
Truly, Sherri and I are blessed to work with such wonderful people, on both sides of the Pacific.  God is good!

Monday, March 11, 2013

New on Global Theological Institute and a first for Blessing Home

Global Theological Institute in Chiang Dao, Thailand

 We had a wonderful trip but exhausting trip to many of the ministries that God has given us the privilege to help to start.  One of these ministries is the Global Theological Institute (GTI) in the far north of Thailand in Chiang Dao.  It is a very humble place.  The building on the left is a convenience store/ internet cafe/ and copy shop which helps support the ministry.  On the right is the chapel and classroom.  Behind these buildings are a men's dormitory and a women's dormitory.

But even though it is humble, in the past 4 years, this ministry has produced 35 Bible college graduates who are now serving in ministries all over Thailand and in Laos too.  Two serve as Pioneering Pastors with the Thailand Methodist Mission.  This has been a very fruitful ministry and we are privileged to serve as visiting professors and TMM partners with GTI, helping with funds for economic development and other projects.

Drs. Tanapong and Muanreedee, directors of GTI, invited ambassadors and their families from many different nations to come as VIP guests to this past graduation ceremony, which was held at a nearby resort. The ambassadors and their wives came and have been generous givers to help remodel the chapel and the men's dormitory.

Look at the before and after pictures of the inside of the chapel.

BEFORE (bare unpainted concrete floors, it was like being in a barn, but we use whatever is available and affordable at the time)

AFTER - tile floors, nice ceiling and lighting, bright walls.  What a blessing!  A great transformation.
Also, one of the families that Blessing Home helps has really been a great blessing.  For the sake of their privacy, we will not post their pictures or names.  This family is a Thai mother and her daughter who used to live in another nation with her husband and son.  After a devastating car accident, which killed the husband and son, and leaving the Thai mother physically handicapped, they had to come back to Thailand.  Because the mother was unable to work, they moved next door to a mega-brothel that employs a few hundred workers.  The mother was able to give instructions to her 7 year old daughter, who helped to make food and deliver it to the workers inside the brothel.  We have seen desperate situations like this many times in Thailand and it usually ends up with the child becoming a worker in the brothel.  TMM stepped in to intervene to save this mother and child.

Through your help, this woman has undergone several operations and is now able to walk and can do light lifting.  She and her daughter received Jesus 2 years ago, and we have never seen two Thai believers who were so hungry to read God's Word.  Every day, both mother and daughter read the Bible and other Christian books, and they always have tons of questions to ask us.  God has called the mother into the ministry, and soon the mother will begin as a Bible student with TMM providing scholarship funds for her.
This is the first guardian of a Blessing Home child to go to Bible college.  Praise God!

30 new believers were baptized.
Both mother and daughter were recently baptized and we had the great privilege of participating in the baptism ceremony by giving words of testimony on their behalf.  Over 30 new believers were baptized.  God wanted to make sure everyone got wet, including the rest of the congregation.  The rain came down in a torrent.  We were all soaked.  But it was a joyous time.  Rain is a symbol of God's divine providence, and we believed it to be very appropriate for this occassion.  Through your faithfulness, God helped to save these  two and give them a new life in Jesus Christ and to overcome disabling injuries.  God is good and so are you!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

We praise God for our prayer warriors back home

Time and time again we have seen the power of God at work through the prayers our prayer warriors back home in the States.  Your prayers are truly the powerhouse of the mission, and we are very grateful for your faithfulness.  Thank you!

Whenever we ask for prayer we always try to give an update so you can know how the Lord has answered your prayers.  But sometimes we have a prayer request that requires a long time of prayer.  This is one of them and now we have an update.

Last year, we asked for all of our prayer warriors to lift up Pastors Jerron and On and the Mai Ya church because they were facing systemic persecution by local government officials.  
Here is the link to the original post from January 2012  http://msmorrissey.blogspot.com/2012/01/polar-plunges-and-persecution.html

Members of the church at Mai Ya

Every rural sub-district in Thailand has a life insurance program that is funded through the national government but fully operated and controlled by local government officials at the sub-district level.  Members of the community can participate in the life insurance program by paying monthly premiums to the sub-district mayor.  Many of the older members of the community have paid into the program for many years.  This provides a safety net, so that the farm does not have to be sold to cover the expenses of someone in the household who has died.  The sub-district mayor and the village chiefs of the sub-district of Mai Ya made a law a few years ago that anyone who became a Christian would not be allowed to participate in the life insurance program and would forfeit all of the money they paid into it through the years.  This hit Mai Ya church very hard, because some of them had paid premiums for many years and then when family members died, they had to borrow money to pay for the funeral expenses.  This debt was crushing them.

This law was clearly illegal.  But we asked you to pray that we would find a solution that did not involve the courts.  The reason why is that we could have won the case in court, but the public officials would have been humiliated and there would be broken relationships that would extend for generations.  Pastors Jerron and On and the members of Mai Ya church decided to intentionally reach out to the sub-district mayor and village chiefs to build good relations.  Ministries and events were done to help the local schools and community.  They did this for a over a year, patiently bridging the gap with the local leaders and the community.  Last month, all of the members of the Mai Ya sub-district met for their "town hall meeting".  The members of the Mai Ya church presented their case, and the community voted to stop the discrimination against Christians and allow them to participate in the life insurance program.  They also voted to retroactively reimburse the families of Mai Ya church who did not receive death benefits because of the old law.  

Pastor Jerron reported that after this ruling, many members of the community have visited Mai Ya church and have expressed interest in learning more about Jesus.  God is good!

We also thank everyone who prayed for our safety as we traveled all across Thailand these past two weeks.  There were many people who replied with prayers by email and blessed us greatly.  Last Sunday, we had near miss on an expressway, two semi-trucks had to swerve to miss a car and they came into our lane.  It was one of those times that time slowed down.  Sherri managed to steer the car, "threading the needle" between the truck that was 3 feet into our lane and the van on our right.  It is a rare thing that we ask for prayer for our travels, and something moved us to do it this time. Well now we know that your prayers protected us from disaster.  Again, thank you.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Much prayer is needed over the next two weeks

We are very happy to be back in Thailand and there is much for us to do and we need your prayers.
  • Over the next two weeks, we will be on the road traveling all over Thailand and we need God's divine protection.  
  • There are two new possible church plants in process, and we are seeking wisdom from God as to how to proceed (or if we should proceed with one or both at all).  Please pray God gives us clear direction on this.
  • We will begin the process of looking for land to purchase for the new Blessing Home Isan building and finding a contractor to build it.  Please pray for God to lead us in this.
Blessing Home Ground Zero is making a very significant transition to using a new computer database for selecting children for enrollment (we call this triage, because we cannot take in every child, so receive those in the greatest need or facing the greatest danger) as well as tracking the children.  The new database rates each child according to how many "red flags" that show that they are highly likely to be trafficked.  

Here are a few of  the "red flags" that we look for:
  1. Extreme Low Income (1 or 2 red flags, depending upon household size and income);
  2. Guardian is NOT related to the child (2 red flags if NOT related, one red flag is guardian is NOT a parent or grandparent - the more distant the relation, the more likely the child is to be sold to a brothel or drug ring);
  3. Guardian is older than 60 years old and parents of child are not present and do not help with finances (1 red flag - this child is in great danger if the guardian loses their health);
  4. Guardian is a sex worker, drug addict, or sells drugs (2 Red Flags);
  5. Parent is unable to work because of disability OR is in prison (1 Red Flag);
  6. Child is being trafficked (4 Red Flags);
  7. Child is disabled (2 Red Flags)
Pastor Banya and staff as they are being trained this month to implement this new system.  This will help us to keep better records and track the children better than the paper record system that is presently used.  Once they learn the new system, it will actually be easier than what they are doing at this time.  But any change, especially making the leap to computers, can be stressful.
  • Please pray for Pastor Banya and the staff of Blessing Home, that they will learn and implement this new system without stress.
Jen (the child in the pink Minnie Mouse dress) is the oldest child in the Blessing Home Pre-School.  Jen is 7 years old and you can tell she is taller than the other children.  Because Jen is challenged with autism, she will not be able to go to public school like the other Blessing Home children.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Polar Bears and some really awesome news

Last month, Pastor Dave Martin and some courageous souls from Hope UMC in Troy, NY took the Polar Bear Plunge to raise money for missions. (the date on these pictures is wrong, someone is like me and never sets the date on the camera).  Somehow, we think the clergy collar was ineffective at keeping Pastor Dave warm, LOL.

Also, some great news.  TMM has now met and surpassed the goal for building the new Blessing Home Isan center.  Thank you very much for everyone's faithfulness, generosity, and big hearts, which made this possible.  Now we will be very busy in Thailand with the purchase of land and construction of this new life saving / life transforming station.

God is good!

Brave Pastor Dave takes the icy plunge to help raise funds for missions.

The Polar Bears of Hope UMC in Troy, NY

We have all of the funds needed now to purchase land and build the new Blessing Home Isan center!