1. On Saturday, we received the building permits for the church construction at Fire of Glory Church in Nonthaburi. This was miraculous for a few reasons. The first is that the government office did not charge us extra after the first blueprints that they made were of a building that would be much to expensive for us to build. The government architect showed grace towards Pastor Somsri and designed a second building for free. We have never heard of this happening before and we praise God because the budget will be very tight for constructing this building. The second miracle was that the government worker came in when the office was closed for a public holiday on Saturday, so we could have the building permits to begin construction today. We have never heard of this happening before either. Below is a picture of Pastor Somsri displaying the miraculous building permit.
2. We employ 2 full-time staff members named Boy and May, who are a wonderful young Thai Christian couple married for only a few years. They come 5 days per week to our home office to help us develop Christian education curriculum. 9 months ago, when we heard the great news that they would have their first baby together, everyone was quite excited. Baby girl Beenah was born two weeks ago, and she is always smiling (don't tell me it is just gas, I will cover my ears and say "la,la,la,la,la" so I can't hear you). Mother and daughter are both healthy and we will love having Beenah come to the office with her parents. (If anyone doesn't know already, Sherri is CRAZY about babies. When Sherri is holding a baby, she is in her happy place). Below is a picture of Sherri with Baby Beenah.
3. Last Saturday, we attended a ceremony to dedicate the land for a new church building at Pradumri Nakhon Pathom Church. Nine years ago, through the generosity of our church family at St. John's UMC of Aiken, S.C., we helped to plant this church under the leadership of Pioneer Pastors Ekerat and Da. Ekerat and Da were sponsored by us to attend Bible College and then did a full year of internship with us to prepare for this church plant, and the Lord has worked through them. Pradumri Nakhon Pathom church has solid leadership and they have been self-supporting for many years now.
A few months ago, they bought a house with extra land. Half of the house is used for a parsonage for Pastors Ekerat and Da and their family, and half is used as a sanctuary for worship. Not everyone can fit into the worship room, so many must sit outside during the worship service, but they had this problem at their old place that they rented for the last 9 years. They begin construction this week on a two-story building that will be completed (hopefully) in the next 4 months. Once this building is complete, they will have room to grow again. When a church is self-sufficient, self-leading, and owns their own building, it is a church that is solid and permanent. Praise God! And special thanks to everyone at St. John's UMC of Aiken, S.C., for supporting this church for their first five years so they could become strong and vibrant.
Below are two pictures, the first is of Pastors Ekerat and Da back in 2009 when they first planted the church (and did not yet have children). The second picture was taken this week at the Land Dedication ceremony.
4. October is Winter Break for Thai schools, and it is a time when many Thai churches baptize new believers because they have time to travel to the lake or ocean. Usually there are a few hundred new believers receiving baptism every October at the churches planted through the Pioneer Pastor program (and even more are baptized around Easter). We are invited to officiate at the baptism services of the churches, but it is impossible for us to make it to all of them.
When Thai new believers are baptized, it is celebration, and they shout out "Alleluia!" and "Thank you, Jesus" as they dance and sing with hearts that overflow with joy. There are never any dry eyes, as we all are overwhelmed by the Amazing Grace of our Lord.
Below is a picture of Sherri and I baptizing a believer from Abundant Blessing Church in Sukhothai province. Sixteen new believers were baptized from this church on that day and it was the first time that both of us performed baptisms together (usually one of us is officiating and the other is taking pictures).
Now for a few reminders.
A. Many of you have asked for information on the next opportunity to serve on a mission team in Thailand. The next team is coming to Thailand on October 11, 2019 - October 21, 2019.
If you are interested, please visit our Team Thailand website for more information > https://thailandmethodist.blogspot.com/
B. Please remember the Thailand Methodist Mission on Giving Tuesday, November 27 and throughout the Christmas season. We are asking for special offerings and donations to go to Blessing Home this Christmas season, because the Blessing Home Fund is depleted and we need help.
If you are moved by the Lord to donate to the Thailand Methodist Mission, check may be sent to this address:
P.O. Box 56
Mannsville, KY 42758
you may donate online through our website at https://thailandmethodist.org/donate/