A Great Start to the New Fiscal Year

We thank God for blessing the ETS training

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.

Jesus is the Best Friend

“I am happy that I have found the website of Journey Into Light and received the correspondence lessons which have made me know more about Jesus.  I am diligently studying the lessons I have received.  Thank you very much.” 

Ms. Nontasoung Siripatanangkul, a 15 year old student, lives in Lopburi Province and was searching and wanting to know more about Jesus Christ.  The members of her family are not Christians and she was the only member searching for God.  She had problems with friends at school and was unable to get along with them.  As a result she had to go and see a psychiatrist every two weeks.  She had no friends and was alone most of the time and felt very lonely.  She found a way out by learning about Jesus Christ through the website of Journey Into Light (JIL)

The JIL team suggested she take the correspondence courses which she did, and she thanks them for helping her to come to know Jesus Christ.  She knows that Jesus Christ will never leave her. No matter what kind of person she is, Jesus will always love her.  She is very happy to know Jesus who has given her life more meaning.  She says that her life has been transformed and she now feels the warmth of having Jesus near her and will continue to follow Him.

Currently, the JIL follow-up team has introduced her to Christian Sampan Church – Lopburi and has asked the church to nurture her and follow up.   Ms. Nontasoung wants to know more about God and requests prayers to help her continue to grow in her faith and also for her family that they too will come to know God as He has led her.

Visitors from the United States

 

LHM Thailand enjoyed the visit of the Garuna Team

The Garuna Foundation has been a friend of LHM Thailand for a number of years.  Foundation chairman, Rev. Dr. Jeff Ehlers, a former LCMS missionary in Thailand, organized a trip to Thailand and Cambodia for 11 people from Florida, Illinois, Arizona, and California.  They are eager to learn about some of the different ministries that are going on in Thailand, including the work that we’re doing through LHM Thailand.  This trip is part of the Garuna Foundation’s commitment to strengthening the relationship between Christians in the United States and Christians in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Rev. Dr. Jeff Ehlers, Chairman of Garuna Foundation

The foundation also provides funding for various ministry projects and partnered with LHM Thailand is assisting victims of the tsunami in December 2004 who live in southern Thailand.  Garuna also works with local Thai churches and helps the Luther Institute – Southeast Asia provide theological training in Thailand and Cambodia.

On Monday, July 14 we hosted the group in our office.  In addition to showing them the video of our various LHM ministries throughout Thailand, giving them a tour of our building and enjoying lunch together, we enjoyed talking for several hours.  The members of the Garuna team were very interested in understanding Thai culture and how it affects our strategy for doing our ministry.  They asked many great questions and promised to share what they learned with others when they returned home.

We always enjoy meeting visitors to our office, especially when they are as friendly and encouraging as the Garuna team.  We pray that they’ll have safe travel during the rest of their time in Thailand and for their visit to Cambodia.

Guests receiving the traditional lei welcome gift

Staff enjoyed meeting with the Garuna group

Team members getting the information about ministries

Everyone enjoyed the delicious Thai food

Serving God by Servicing Air Conditioners

Mr. Gittipaan Panyamankhong servicing air conditioners

Mr. Gittipaan Panyamankhong has always had a desire to share his faith with others, but he wasn’t sure how he could do that.  With the help of Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand, he now enjoys sharing his faith many times each week.

Mr. Gittipaan’s wife, Mrs. Prasert Panyamankhong visited the LHM bookstore a few years ago.  While there, she learned how LHM does its ministry.  She was impressed and started supporting the ministry by becoming a regular donor. 

When she introduced her husband to LHM, the director was happy to hear about a Christian man who could service air conditioners and hired Mr. Gittipaan to clean and repair the air conditioners in the LHM building.  During his visits, Mr. Gittipaan got to know the LHM ministry and staff.  He told them that he was eager to reach out to other people with the Gospel.  They encouraged him to share his faith with his customers and showed him a variety of LHM materials that he could use. 

Now Mr. Gittipaan enjoys giving LHM tracts and booklets to many of his customers and both he and his wife give monthly donations in support of LHM Ministries.

Mr. Gittipaan Panyamankhong giving donation to LHM Thailand

Demonstrating God’s Love

The city workers in central Bangkok didn’t really mind the heavy rain on May 26, because it made their job of cleaning the streets easier.  Clearing away the debris and dirt left behind after the government broke up the political demonstrations was a big job. 

Phratum Wanaram Neighborhood

But there was one group of people that didn’t appreciate the downpour.  Eight members of Peace in Christ Church and three staff from Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand were also in central Bangkok that day.  They walked through the rain and cleanup activities, so that they could deliver special gift packets to people living in the area of the demonstrations.  The lives of the residents in the Phratum Wanaram neighborhood had been greatly disrupted for more than two months.  During that time the small business owners lost all of their income and many day workers could earn no money.  When the military broke through the barricades to remove the demonstrators, the local people were afraid because of the shooting and the fires that broke out.  The stress and worry that they felt during those days is not going away quickly.  Because Peace in Christ Church is located there and one church member lives in that community, they wanted to bring hope and encouragement to the families living near their church. 

Booklet: Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Pastor Boonyune Suwinaiwongsa, pastor of Peace in Christ Church contacted LHM Thailand to ask for some materials that could be included in gift packets along with instant noodles, tins of sardines, and other packaged food items.  LHM Thailand was very happy to donate copies of the “Why Do Bad Things Happen?” booklet and some Gospel tracts and to have some LHM staff help with the distribution of the packets. 

LHM Staff delivered gift packets to 400 families

Between 9:00 am and noon that day, the team walked through the streets and alleys in the Phratum Wanaram area and delivered gift packets to 400 families.  They had many opportunities to sit and talk with some of the people, including the community chairman, Mr. Dang.  He mentioned that a few other groups have helped his community from time to time, but they usually only help once and never return.  The chairman asked if Peace in Christ Church and Lutheran Hour Ministries would be able to help again in the future. 

Residents in the Phratum Wanaram neighborhood shared the disruption

At lunch time the team thought that they were done.  But when they realized that there were some families in that community who had not received a gift packet, the team purchased more supplies and received additional booklets and Gospel tracts from LHM Thailand.  They spent the afternoon preparing another 100 gift packets.  The Friday morning the team returned to Phratum Wanaram and the rest of the families received their gift packets.

Even though there was no budget for this project, LHM Thailand was pleased to be able to help by using materials already on hand.  Not many Christians live in Phratum Wanaram, so this was an excellent opportunity to partner with Peace in Christ Church to demonstrate God’s love with the people there.

Pastor Boonyune Suwinaiwongsa, delivered special gift packets to people

Mr. Porntawee Santanawattana, church member who got effect from demonstration