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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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.