On June 19 we did an Equipping the Saints (ETS) seminar at Thai Ezra #1 Church in Chaiyaphum Province. This was the first activity for our staff in the new fiscal year that started June 1. The seminar was hosted by Pastor Supee Bunyanuson. Before making the 6-hour drive to Chaiyaphum, we were told that 20-25 people would attend from two or three churches. Just to be safe, we prepared 30 gift packets to give to those who would join the training. When we opened the seminar with a time of worship, we were very happy to discover that there were 41 participants from six churches. After returning to Bangkok we sent additional gift packets for the extra eleven people.
From 9:00am until 5:30pm we presented the seven modules that make up the ETS training. Because of the hot, humid weather, we knew that it would be difficult for the people to listen for so many hours. To make it easier and more enjoyable to learn, we used music, skits and other activities to present the information. It also helped us build good relationships, as we all had a good time together.
Using a PowerPoint presentation and paper chart, the LHMT director presented Modules 1-3 in the morning. The first module was an introduction to the ministry of LHM and in Thailand. Module 2 provided information about why we do evangelism. Included in this session were many Bible passages that show us the importance of sharing the Gospel with others. In the next module the director helped everyone understand who we evangelize and the best ways for us to communicate with them. Modules 4-7 were led by our LHMT staff. During the fourth module they gave some very practical ideas about simple ways to share the Gospel. They showed how we can use our fingers to list five basic Gospel points and how a bracelet with different colored beads can serve as an outline for a Gospel presentation. During the module the LHMT staff also shared some ‘tough questions’ and topics that can be used as a way to lead someone into a conversation about God.
Hospitality was the main focus of Module 5. Seekers and other strangers who come to a church for the first time are usually very nervous and uncomfortable. Knowing different things that we can do to help them feel warmly welcomed is an important step in making it easier for them to come back a second time. During Module 6 the participants learned how LHMT uses local media to share the Gospel and to connect people with local churches. Understanding the best ways to use Christian communication will help them and their churches more effectively spread the Gospel within their communities.
The last module concentrated on how we can all work together in the future to let the people around us know the truth about Jesus and the salvation that he has won for all people. Each of us has a role to play. LHMT is eager to help by providing training, Gospel tracts, booklets and other evangelism materials. By working together as partners, we can help each other reach out to the non-believers around us. At the close of the seminar 19 people were commissioned as LHMT volunteers. We look forward to working with them in the months ahead.
We thank God for blessing the ETS training. We received a lot of very positive feedback and we were asked to return to Chaiyaphum Province in the future to lead another training. They said, “Now that we know who you are and the training that LHMT can provide, we want you to come again. We’ll bring many more church members to the next training.” In October more than 100 members of the churches in Chaiyaphum will join together for a 3-day camp. We have agreed to help with that camp.