Thursday, November 7, 2019

Thailand Now

A Very Important Announcement
Now when he had departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him; and he greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart?” And Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said, “If it is, give me your hand.” And he gave him his hand. - 2 Kings 10:15.
If you have never read John Wesley’s sermon on 2 Kings 10:15, just Google it under “John Wesley catholic spirit.”  It is an uplifting sermon worth the time to read and it sheds light one of the distinctives of Methodism.  As Methodists, we are a part of the Body of Christ, which includes believers of various denominations and groups who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  Serving cooperatively with others outside of Methodism is an important part of our Wesleyan DNA.
This is also the norm for Thai Christians, who work together, side-by-side, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. In Thailand, believers from different denominations eagerly recognize each other as brothers and sisters; together we form the Body of Christ.  And this is how the Thailand Methodist Mission has always operated.
So, in the “catholic spirit” of John Wesley, we have a very important announcement to make: On January 1, 2020, the Thailand Methodist Mission will change its name to Thailand Now.  Our mission and faith remain the same.  Only our name is changing.
Why the name change?  First, we are changing our name to Thailand Now, because it best represents who we are as a mission organization.
Each of the ministries of the Thailand Methodist Mission have strong Methodist connection and support: the three Blessing Home anti-trafficking centers; Special Blessings Korat; the Abundant Life Savings Group and Financial Training program, and the Pioneer Pastor church planting program.
‘On the ground’ each of these ministries also works inter-denominationally, with different Methodist and Wesleyan church organizations as well as Overseas Mission Fellowship, the Assemblies of God, and indigenous Thai groups.
In Thailand, our missionaries and ministries have always worked cooperatively, and inter-denominationally. We’ve never exclusively worked with only one group or organization. In a nation where only one percent of the population is Christian, it is essential for Christian organizations who serve the same Lord, to serve together in harmony.
To put it simply, working together as the Body of Christ, with its varied expressions, is what we do.  Our new name, Thailand Now, better reflects the cooperative, inter-denominational way that our ministries have always operated in Thailand.
And now, for the second reason:
“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”  -  2 Corinthians 6:2
Our new name, Thailand Now, also evokes the immediacy of 2 Corinthians 6:2.  NOW is the time of God’s favor.  NOW is the day of salvation. Our Thai brothers and sisters understand this very clearly. Weekly, in worship, Thai Christians sing songs that call believers to pray for their nation, and that remind them of the urgency to share with others the salvation that is available through Jesus.
The urgency of the need to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ is also what compels us as missionaries to serve.  NOW is the time to bring the gospel to unreached people in Thailand and to plant new churches. NOW is the time to help vulnerable children to stay in school and out of the brothels.  NOW is the time to help children with special needs to succeed.  This is why, January 1, 2020, we become Thailand Now.

Monday, October 28, 2019

2019 Mission Trip

These last couple weeks we had the VIM 2019 Mission Team come to Thailand. It was a really interesting experience being a guide and helping to plan and organize this trip because it was this same trip that Allie and I went on 3 years ago, where we first met Mike and Sherri and learned more about the mission of TMM. I remember there being so much to take in during that time. Now, 3 years later, we were part of the team guiding members from the US to experience our ministry first hand and learn more about the amazing work God is doing here. And I’ll tell you what, boy did they have a lot of questions! But really, being able to provide insight into this culture, these people, and the churches here in Thailand really can keep you talking for quite a while!

It was a great trip. We travelled all over Thailand visiting multiple of our Blessing Home locations and churches that Pioneer Pastors of TMM planted over the years. The team put on mini-English camps at these locations, prayed over the congregations, the leaders. and the communities they are placed in during our prayer walks. This was truly an exciting and encouraging time for the churches.

Team at a church planted by Pioneer Pastors with TMM

I heard team members mention multiple times about how they hadn’t seen any other churches as we travelled around Thailand. I too remember being shocked by this. It’s hard for us to truly understand living in a country that is only ~1% Christian. In Thailand, 75% of counties do not have a single church in them. While in America, on average, there are over 100 churches per county! TMM works with Thai pastors, leaders, and other Christian organizations to help plant churches in unreached areas. We help with Bible college education, financial and business training, and planting self-sustaining churches.

Green areas are counties with at least 1 church, pink areas are counties with no churches

We also attended a graduation ceremony at Global Theological Institute to see the individuals who have dedicated their lives to be pastors in Thailand. These men and women would not be able to attend school without the faithful support of you all in America towards TMM’s Pioneer Pastor ministry. I was particularly excited to see two of the graduates. Det and Dao are hardworking, faithful leaders in the TaPhraya church that was planted by our home church here Pattaya. We are overjoyed to see them complete their studies and finish taking over the role as lead pastors in this church. They are also faithfully and lovingly running our Blessing Home programs in TaPhraya, effectively keeping these children in school and out of the sex or drug trade. Please pray over each of these graduates as they start their career of sharing the gospel with their communities.

Pastors Det and Dao graduating from Global Theological Institute