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, 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!