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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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What happens when too many show up at church for Christmas

Christmas in Thailand is so very different from in the States, where it tends to be mostly focused upon family.  Here, the focus is upon reaching out to the lost so they can find Christ.  At great personal sacrifice, the Thai Christians have Christmas outreach to everyone in their village.

At one of our newest Pioneer Pastor churches, Abundant Blessings Church in Sukhothai province, had their Christmas outreach event last week.  This also served as the Grand Opening for the new church building that was constructed.  Pastor Santi and all of the members of Abundant Blessings Church volunteered all of the labor to construct the church building, including members in their 70's and 80's!  It was a time of great celebration to worship in the new building.

The local police let Pastor Santi borrow the Police Checkpoint sign
and traffic cones for the Christmas outreach event.

Pastor Santi is a farmer who is a lay pastor who is in the midst of his Bachelor of Ministry degree studies through Global Theological Institute, the Bible college which the Thailand Methodist Mission sponsors.  He is a gifted evangelist and a diligent worker, so it was no surprise to us that this Christmas would be well attended.

We were prepared to receive 250 children and teens as well as the adults in their families.  This is a rural area, so it seems like people come out of nowhere when they show up at church.  The night of the Christmas outreach came, and we were overwhelmed with people.... instead of 250 children AND teens, we had 280 children and over 80 teens, and about 200 adults!  We have no idea how everyone was fed, but everyone had plenty to eat (the pots of food never seemed to empty).  There was a bit of concern over not having enough gifts.. but Pastor Warin of Fire of Glory church (their church sent a Thai mission team to help the church in Sukhothai) saw that we had two 4 gallon tins of cookies and snacks in our car that we had brought for a revival service the next day.  She opened the tins and her and the members of Fire of Glory church filled gift bags with the cookies and snacks so we would have enough gifts for the children.

The children were packed "like sardines" on mats at the front of the church.

There were so many people that came to the church, that a few hundred people had to sit outside and watch and listen through the open doors and windows.  We were blessed that the village chief came to give his blessing to the church.  It is always our intent to build bridges with the community leaders.

Pastor Santi preaches the Good News of Jesus Christ to all of the villagers
that came to the Christmas outreach.
For most, this was their very first time to hear the Gospel.

We want to thank you, our prayer warriors, because we know that this event had a great turnout because of your prayers.  When you pray, mountains move in Thailand!

Sherri and I wish you a Blessed Christmas and New Year!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Your prayers made all of the difference for the 2016 VIM Team

Thank you prayer warriors for lifting up intercessory prayers to the Lord each day for the past several weeks for the 2016 VIM Team.  We faced an onslaught of spiritual battle and your prayers made all of the difference.  Sherri and I have both experienced medical issues as the time approached for the mission team to arrive.  We are blessed to have a team of missionaries that are wonderful and highly capable.  Missionary Joshua Johnston served as the guide for the team during our time of need and we are very grateful for his service to the Lord.

VIM team member Kristen with children at
Blessing Home in Pattaya

The 2016 VIM Team was needed to help the Thailand Methodist Mission in two strategic locations to serve Thai people in mission in many vital ways.

First, they helped to paint the outside and inside of the Special Blessings Center, a new ministry initiative of TMM missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown for special needs children.  A fourth Blessing Home center is also opening at the same center.  They worked hard in stifling heat to get this center up and running.  The place looks beautiful now and very welcoming with bright cheerful colors.

Second, the team also led an English Camp there, which helped to introduce Carol and Vicki and this new Christian ministry to neighbors.  This was very successful and networks of relationships have been built.  None more important than the new and very positive relationship with the village chief and his family (this is very important in Thai culture), who attended the English Camp at was happy that Vicki will begin teaching English to needy students in the area free of charge.

English Camp at Special Blessings Korat

Third, the team, led by Pastor John Kalz of Buechel UMC, partipated in the Grand Opening service of the Blessing Home TaPhraya Center.  Our brothers and sisters of Buechel UMC sponsored the cost of construction on this new center, and John was able to represent his church through the ribbon cutting and dedication of this new church.  It was a great time of celebration and the presence of the VIM team gave significance and gravitas to the Blessing Home TaPhraya Center in the eyes of the community leaders.

Grand Opening Service of Blessing Home TaPhraya

Pastor John Kalz of Buechel UMC cuts the ribbon
at Blessing Home TaPhraya

Fourth, the team led an English camp at Blessing Home TaPhraya as well as activities for seniors in the community.  The English camps were led under the experienced leadership of Karen Campbell of Settle Memorial Church in Owensboro, Kentucky.  Karen leads annual English Camps in the Czech Republic, and we were blessed by her service here in Thailand.

Fifth, the team participated in baptisms at Blessing Home Isan in Nonsomboon.  Pastor Doe of Grace Church of Nonsomboon (the church connected with Blessing Home Isan) and Pastor Sherri Morrissey (Co-Director of the Thailand Methodist Mission) baptized 12 people, 10 of whom were the fruit of the ministry of Blessing Home Isan and 2 who were the fruit of the ministry of Special Blessings Korat.  Blessing Home Isan and Special Blessings Korat are under the leadership of TMM missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown.  It was a great pleasure to see the lives that have been eternally transformed through their faithful service together with the Thai Christians who serve the Lord sacrificially and with loving devotion.

Baptisms at Nonsomboon.

There were many pastors on this team, so we and the Thai Christian enjoyed hearing many of them teach and preach God's Word in the churches.

We just want you to know that your prayers move mountains in Thailand.  As prayer warriors, you serve as the powerhouse of the mission.  Praise the Lord!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Please Pray for the Kentucky Conference VIM Team

God has answered your prayers for rain!  Thank you for your faithful prayers!

Most regions of Thailand have had severe drought for the past two and a half years, causing deep poverty as farmer could not grow rice and other produce.  Over 2,000 villages had no water, the wells were empty and the river beds and ponds were dry.  Now we have had very solid rainfall for the past 3 months, and the situation is turning around.  When you pray, great things happen here in Thailand!
We have another prayer request, and this one needs your prayers over the next two weeks.  The Kentucky Conference VIM Team (joined by others from outside of Kentucky) will be coming 2 weeks from now to provide English Camps at two key locations.

Nakhon Ratchasima Province

The first place they will serve is at Hua Thale in Nakhon Ratchasima to help kick off a new ministry of the Thailand Methodist Mission, directed by TMM missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown.  Carol and Vicki have opened a center in Hua Thale which has a population of over 25,000 people and no Christian church of any kind whatsoever.  This is an unreached sub-district, and the VIM team will help the TMM missionaries and Thai Christians to start 3 new ministries at this location.

There will be a new Blessing Home located at this location, and the English Camp that the VIM will host at this location will help Vicki and Carol to get to connect with families in this area.  During English Camp, children will be able to enroll for free English classes at this new Blessing Home center.
In 2017, it is our goal to start a Pioneer Pastor church plant at this location as well.  Please pray that God will lead us to the right pastor to serve at this location.  This will be a game changer, because when a sub-district goes from ZERO churches to ONE church, now the Gospel of Jesus Christ can begin to transform lives in the community.

TMM Missionaries Carol Fare and Vicki Brown with Kao Hawm.

The main ministry that is being initiated here is Special Blessings, a ministry to help young children and families with special needs.  This is a very exciting and greatly needed ministry.  Please click on this link to see the Special Blessings website > http://www.specialblessingskorat.org/

Sakaeo Province

The second place the VIM team will serve is at Blessing Home TaPhraya in Sakaeo Province.  Last year’s VIM team came to serve at this location, and they saw the deep poverty and the people’s need for Jesus, and their hearts were deeply touched.  Rev. John Kalz, pastor of Buechel UMC spearheaded a campaign to raise funds to build a church building there that would also serve as our third Blessing Home center.  Now Pastor John will come to dedicate the new Blessing Home TaPhraya center.

Missionaries Joshua and Jessica Johnston have complete their year of immersion language study and will be moving to Blessing Home TaPhraya in the few weeks after the VIM team has served there.  Please pray for Joshua and Jessica, because they have many details in this move, and the most difficult one is concerning visas, which will need to change when they go to this new location.  Obtaining visas for missionaries is becoming more difficult each year, and nothing is more important than keeping missionaries on site.  So your prayers are essential.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Some ideas for ways to help the Thailand Methodist Mission

Usually we send updates on the prayer requests and praises about what the Lord is doing in Thailand, but today we have some news for you and your fellow church members.  While we have been visiting churches during the past 6 weeks, many of you have asked for ways to help the ministries of the Thailand Methodist Mission.  So here are a few ideas.

Does your church or community have a craft fair this fall? 

Many churches and communities do craft fairs near the end of the year in time for Christmas.  If you would like to raise funds to support children at Blessing Home, you can sell the same Thai craft items that we do when we visit churches.  Charlene Skaggs, one of the members of the TMM Board, has boxes of Thai items which you can sell on consignment to help raise scholarships for Blessing Home children.  If you are interested, please email us at thailandumc@gmail.com and we will be glad to connect you with Charlene. 

It is that time of the year when churches are forming their budgets for 2017.
Please remember the Thailand Methodist Mission in your church budget. 
$500 sponsors a Blessing Home child for one year.
$2,000 sponsors a Blessing Home young adult through one year of university study.
$5,000 plants a church through the Pioneer Pastor Program in a sub-district in Thailand that has no Christian churches of any type and are totally unreached.

Many churches and church groups are selecting projects for special Christmas offerings.

Bo is in her 3rd year of Nursing Studies through a
complete scholarship from Blessing Home Isan.
This year, we are seeking Christmas offerings for University and College Scholarships for Blessing Home kids who show exceptional abilities.  This is a life-changing opportunity, not only for the student but will change the trajectory of a whole family.  We will post more about this at a later date, but we are hoping many churches, Sunday School classes, women’s and men’s groups, and organizations will help with a special Christmas offering so we can have more scholarships.  

Through your generosity, 8 students are now receiving full scholarships for college and university but we have no more funds available for new scholarships for the children who are graduating from high school.  It would be wonderful to be able to help more of these children who come from families that average less than $150 per month in family income.

Is your church planning a building project?

Ban Dan Church in Sukhothai Province renamed their church to the
Abundant Blessing Church when they moved to their new building this year. 
Please pray and consider tithing from your building fund to contribute to the Buidling Fund of the Thailand Methodist Mission.  So far in 2016, your contributions have helped to build three church buildings in Thailand in sub-districts that never had a Christian church before in history.  This is a huge need for churches to become permanent and sustainable over many generations.

One last thing…..

If you are a shopper with Amazon.com please consider using AMAZON SMILE  at this url >>> smile.amazon.com  Amazon donates 0.5% of each purchase to a qualified charitable organization of your choice.  The Thailand Methodist Mission is registered with Amazon Smile.  The cost is the same as if you used the regular Amazon website.  The only difference is a portion of your purchase will go to TMM for the Lord’s work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Prayers needed for a new initiative..... and a huge praise!

We need prayers to surround our latest ministry initiative, the Bright Future Savings Groups.  There is a great need for financial and budget training that is adapted to the culture, language, and context of the Thai churches.  When we first came to Thailand, 54% of farmers in Northeast Thailand owned their own land.  Now only 15% own their farms and the effects have been devastating.  Much of this was because they took out loans that they could not repay. 

Bright Future Savings Groups meet each week for saving money together and to learn biblical teaching on finances and skills for family and small business finance.  These groups have started in four churches so far as a pilot program.  We have learned much about what needs to be adapted and tweaked to make the curriculum better suited to the Thai context so that this program can be highly effective and fruitful.

Bright Future Savings Group at Blessing Home Isan

Bright Future Savings Group at Fire of Glory Church

Bright Future Savings Group at Blessing Home Ground Zero

Bright Future Savings Group at Promise Church

At this time, we are developing curriculum for training the leaders in the four churches concerning budgeting and how to handle family pressure to use emergency funds for non-emergency purposes.  The curriculum and program needs to be designed to be usable by those who are illiterate or semi-literate, which is a great challenge.  Please pray for us because we have a quick deadline to meet to put together these materials for the leader training.

We are very excited to see excitement on faces of the members of these groups.  Many are saving money for the first time.  Most have never had an emergency fund.  Most have never used a budget.  None have received personal finance training before.  And they are very eager to learn more and to have victory in their family finances. 

We also would like to announce the completion of the Blessing Home TaPhraya Center and Church.  Pastors Det and Dao will lead the church there and missionaries Joshua and Jessica Johnston will oversee the Blessing Home ministry there.  We will have a special dedication service when the Kentucky VIM team goes there to do an English camp in October.

Pastor Banya and Joshua Johnston with the children of Blessing Home TaPhraya

Pastor Det picks up children to bring them to Blessing Home Ta Phraya.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Blessing Home TaPhraya Scholarships and Ban Dan Church Construction

Praise God!  The first year of school scholarships have been awarded at Blessing Home Ta Phraya to 15 students who would not be able to go to school otherwise.

The village chief and Pastor Banya awarded the scholarships in a special celebration in the 105 degree heat.  The village chief is deeply touched by the compassion of Christians like you who lift up the most vulnerable who live in desperate poverty. Thank you for making it possible for these children to go to school!  These are children who will have good opportunities for the future and will not be destined to work in the brothels of Pattaya.

On the left is a Blessing Home TaPhraya child with her mother who suffers with AIDS, which is rampant because of the sex trade.  AIDS devastates communities here, leaving orphans behind in its wake.  This girl will now have a chance for a future her mother never had.


Now we have construction of two new church buildings happening at the same time.  You have seen pictures of the construction of Blessing Home TaPhraya already.  And there is a church building being constructed by the members of Ban Dan Church in Sukhothai province under the leadership of Pioneer Pastor Santi.

Pastor Santi worshiping at the Fire of Glory Church camp

 The Pioneer Pastors who are lay pastors like Pastor Santi are truly inspirational leaders.  They are faithful workers for the Lord.

Pastor Santi not only leads his congregation, but he also:

  • studies full time via Distance Learning at our Bible college, the Global Theological Institute,
  • farms rice full-time as well as making and selling food at two markets in his area so he can support his family and ministry,
  • and he and the members of Ban Dan Church are doing all of the construction of the new church building themselves too.
Thank you for your prayers and support which makes it possible for us to work alongside Pioneer Pastors like Pastor Santi.  You make this mission possible.

Friday, April 29, 2016

VIM Team filling up.... and some praise in pictures

The Thailand VIM team for September 29 - October 10, 2016 is filling up fast, so if you want to be a part of this team, please apply soon.   Follow this link to get information if you are interested in serving on this UMVIM team >>> http://www.buechelchurch.org/umvim.  

We are honored to serve together with Thai Christian who lead the church outreach ministries in the churches connected with the Blessing Home centers.  At each location, there are big-hearted Thai Christians who go out and pick up some of the Blessing Home kids and bring them to church on Sunday.  Below are pictures from Blessing Home Isan and Blessing Home Ta Phraya.  The Blessing Home centers are always a part of a church because the local church is where disciple making takes place.

Elder Taungjon picks up the children at Blessing Home Isan every Sunday

Elder Det picks up the children at Blessing Home TaPhraya every Sunday

God is Good Church of Ban Bueng had a HUGE 3rd year anniversary celebration and they invited many of the churches in the region to come celebrate with a banquet and worship.  Over 450 people attended the event, and many churches participated in worship, bringing their worship music teams, as well as drama and dance teams to lift up God's name on high.

Here is a video of the Isan Dance Team from Life Center UMC (the church at Blessing Home is Pattaya)


Here is the latest picture of the construction at Ta Phraya.  The members have been working in the broiling heat of over 100 degrees to build the new Blessing Home TaPhraya Center.

We are excited about having the VIM team come to provide English Camp at this center in October.

God is Good!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bright Future Savings Groups and Construction of Blessing Home Ta Phraya

We can always tell that our prayer warriors are lifting this mission before the throne of God because we see the effects here in Thailand.

Sherri presents the Bright Future Savings Group program at Blessing Home.

Sherri is piloting a new ministry emphasis called "Bright Future Savings Groups" using a program developed by the Chalmers Center.  Bright Future groups teach financial and business knowledge and skills while the groups saves money together cooperatively.  The program has been proven to be very effective in many nations and we hope to use it here in Thailand to help bring large numbers of Thai Christians out of poverty and debt and onto more solid financial ground.    The pilot programs have begun at Blessing Home Ground Zero in Pattaya and Blessing Home Isan in Nonsomboon.

A very pleasant surprise happened in the Bright Future Savings Group at Blessing Home Isan.  Many of the adults brought their children and grandchildren to become members of the group so they could learn about finances and develop a "muscle" for saving money.  When the children came to the group, we thought they were just accompanying the adults, but then the children signed up and brought forth their money for saving.... and we were thrilled.  We are very proud of both groups.

Children and teens at Blessing Home Isan joined the Bright Future Savings Group! 

We will do the pilot program for 15 weeks and then these groups will continue to operate.  We will be making any adaptations needed to the program and will then begin to bring this to many other churches.  Our hope is to have many Thai trainers that can bring this to the churches throughout Thailand.

 We are pleased to report that construction has commenced on the new Blessing Home Ta Phraya Center.  It should be complete in four months time.  Many Thai Christians from Life Center UMC in Pattaya are coming up to work side by side with the members of Ta Phraya church to build this center.  And they are working in brutal heat.... everyday has been above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the last week or so.  The deep commitment of the Thai Christians is inspiring.

All of the digging was done by hand!

Pastor Banya and members of Life Center UMC form the rebar for the columns.

Pouring concrete, one bucket at a time!

 Thank you prayer warriors!  You are the powerhouse of the mission!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Praise God! We have all of the funds needed to purchase a mini-van!

Thank you to all who gave generously to help reach the goal of $24,000 for the purchase of a new Suzuki Ertiga Mini-Van.

This is a much-needed vehicle that will save the mission money in the long-term because we will need to rent vans less often.  We will be able to do more ministry with groups of Thai Christian leaders and TMM missionaries because transportation will be much less expensive.

We included the corny graphic above, because everyone loves to see it filled in with red color.  We prayed that when we came back to Thailand we would have the full amount, and God answered those prayers.  While we were in flight back to Thailand a few days ago, the final amount for the purchase of the vehicle came in.  God is Good!

Here is a picture of a Suzuki Ertiga Mini-Van similar to the one we have purchased.   Our Ertiga will arrive in about 2 weeks.

This vehicle seats 7 people, with a bit of room for luggage too.

Please pray for us.  We have hit the ground running (as we always do when we get back home to Thailand), and we are tired and jet-lagged but have much work to do.  Your prayers are the powerhouse of this mission.  We are grateful for the ministry of our prayer warriors (that's you!).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Land Purchased and Construction Commenced for a New Blessing Home Center in TaPhraya

It is with great joy that we would like to announce the purchase of land and the commencement of construction for a new Blessing Home center in Ta Phraya in Sakaeo Province.  The purchase of the land has been in the works for several months, and we needed to wait for the proper documents before we could purchase the land.  Now we begin the process of raising the land by about 1 foot to prevent flooding, before we begin to build the center.

There is already a small one room house on the property, and we do not yet know if we will keep and fix it up or not.  But volunteers have cleaned all of the brush and trimmed the trees in preparation for construction.

We want to give our special thanks to Pastor John Kalz (pastor of Buechel United Methodist Church) for his vision for this new Blessing Home center.  John led the Kentucky VIM team this past summer that went to Ta Phraya to serve.  The team saw a great need for a Blessing Home Center in Ta Phraya and when they returned to the States, they shared the need with their churches who contributed to this project.  Buechel United Methodist Church led this drive and their generosity made this project possible.

Here are some pictures that we took several months ago when surveying the property.

Sherri, Pastor Banya, and Elder Det (leader of the Blessing Home TaPhraya ministry) survey the property.

TMM Missionary Shelby Gillespie and members of Life Center UMC of Pattaya, Thailand survey the land.

A view from the street.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

An Action Request, A Praise, and an Update (Yes, this is a Second Praise)

An Action Request
We need your help.  Pastor John Kalz is leading the Kentucky United Methodist Volunteer in Mission team (UMVIM) to serve here in Thailand on September 29 - October 10, 2016.  We are excited about this team because they will be providing Mini-English Camps (you would call it VBS - but no one in Thailand knows what that is) in two new locations helping the Thai churches to form new children and youth ministries in those areas.  Follow this link to get information if you are interested in serving on this UMVIM team >>> http://www.buechelchurch.org/umvim.  You do NOT need to be from Kentucky.  All are welcome to serve.

Here is the help that we need from you.  Could you please help get the word out about this mission team opportunity.  Attached to this email is a flyer that you can print several copies and post at church.  We appreciate your help, because we need a full team.

A Praise!
Many of you have been praying for us and other TMM missionaries because it is getting very difficult to receive long term visas now.  We had to scramble to get work permits and visas for some of our missionaries including us.  God has answered your prayers and we all are set for long term visas, Praise the Lord!  Staying in the country is top priority, because we cannot do the work God has set before us if we cannot live long term in Thailand.  We appreciate your faithful prayers.

An Update that is also a Praise

We are edging closer to the goal of $24,000 to purchase a new mini-van for the mission in Thailand.  So far a bit over $18,000 has been received.  Praise the Lord!