Christmas School Outreach Program Moves to Petchaburi

Technical College students helping Mr. Dennis with the spelling Christmas activity

On December 16 the LHMT team moved to the city of Petchaburi and conducted the Christmas School Outreach Program in two schools. The schedule in Petchaburi was organized by Pastor Chaowarit Kusawadee from the Petchaburi Full Gospel Church. From 10:00-11:30am the team did the program for 200 students at Petchaburi Technical College. Although these students were older than those in all of the other schools, they still enjoyed learning the spelling Christmas, singing the Christmas songs, participating in the activities and receiving the prizes and gift sets.

After lunch the LHMT team went to Suwanrangsarit School, where 600 students from primary grades 4-6 and junior high grade 1 participated in the songs and games. Instead of showing a Christmas video, the team did the activity of spelling Christmas and using each word to start another word that helped explain the true meaning of Christmas. This time the program wasn’t conducted in a regular school meeting room. It was somewhat unusual for the LHMT team to clearly tell how Christmas was about Jesus coming to the earth, being born as a baby and then suffering and dying for the sins of all people, as the students packed a ceremony room in the neighborhood temple.

Some novice monks learning about Jesus

Among the students were 10 boys wearing the saffron-colored robes that indicated they were doing their special study with the temple monks. In one corner of the room stood a very large image of Buddha. These were very clear reminders of the great need to share the true meaning of Christmas with the people in Thailand.

Some students still wanted to hear more about Jesus from the LHMT staff after finished the activity

The school outreach schedule ended the next day, as the team did its final presentation of the trip at Praemrudee School in Petchaburi. From 12:30-2:00pm 107 students in primary grades 1-6 had fun singing, watching the puppet show and “Red Boots for Christmas” video, and receiving their prizes and gift packets.

After each presentation the LHMT director and staff received many positive comments from the students, teachers and school principals. Several principals asked if LHMT could return to their schools next year to do another Christmas program or to come at another time of year to do some other program. Some teachers said they would like to share this information with students in other classes, who weren’t able to attend the presentation. A few English teachers wanted to get copies of the words and music for the beautiful Christmas songs, so that they could teach them to their students. One principal asked if it would be possible for LHMT to do an English camp at his school sometime before the end of the school year or during the school break.

Although the schedule of the Christmas School Outreach Program was very busy, the LHMT team was very thankful for the positive feedback they received and about the many things that God already had accomplished through them. They were most excited about being able to share the true meaning of Christmas with nearly 3,000 students, teachers and parents in twelve schools in Guiburi District in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province and Muang District in Petchaburi Province. But, they also were happy that so many more people now know about Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand, that they were able to start some good relationships with the school principals and teachers, and that they helped the local churches make connections with the schools in their communities.

The LHMT team pray that many of the teachers and students will accept the pastors’ invitation to join them in their churches’ Christmas activities and look forward to hearing from the pastors and church members as they do their follow-up activities with the schools in the coming months.

Nearly 2,000 Students and Teachers Hear The Gospel in Guiburi

Almost everyone in Thailand is familiar with Christmas, at least with a limited idea of what it is.  Throughout Thailand special Christmas decorations will appear in December and shopping malls and large department stores will have Christmas sales.  Some stores will sell artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, Christmas lights and other decorations.  Most Thai people know that Christmas is a major holiday for Westerners.  They know that it is a very happy time when people give each other gifts, but they don’t know why.  Many Thai people have heard something about Santa Claus, but only a very small number know that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

The LHMT staff coordinated with the local church to conduct the Christmas school outreach in Guiburi

Each year LHMT receives invitations to visit schools to do presentations about the true meaning of Christmas.  The principals and teachers want their students to learn more about this important Western holiday.  This is a great opportunity for LHMT to share the Gospel with thousands of students and teachers and to help local churches make connections with schools in their communities. 

The Thailand Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHMT) director and staff recently spent three days in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.  From December 13-15 the LHMT team did activities in nine government schools in and around the town of Guiburi.  The itinerary was arranged by local pastors and church members, who also assist with the presentations and do follow-up activities with the schools.

The LHMT staff did a 90-minute program in each school.  The program always began and ended with a prayer from the local pastor.  Then the LHMT staff led the students in doing fun activities and singing Christmas songs.  Throughout the presentation small gifts were given to the students. 

Students had lots of fun with the skits and songs

In the kindergarten and primary schools the LHMT staff did a short puppet show and then had the children watch an animated Christmas video.  At each primary school the students saw either “The City that Forgot Christmas” or “Red Boots for Christmas.”  Both of these videos were produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries in the USA and dubbed into the Thai language in Bangkok.

After the students watched the video, the LHMT staff did a review activity to be sure the students understood the story.  The team asked the students questions about what happened in the story and the meaning of the story.  Many students were given a chance to answer a question and received a small gift for their answers.

Mr. Dennis Denow helped to give the explaination of true meaning of Christmas to junior high school

The LHMT staff only used the animated videos with the younger students.  When doing presentations for students in junior high school or older, they substituted an activity that used a lot of English.  Each letter in the word “Christmas” was associated with another word that begins with that same letter.  Through this process the true meaning of Christmas was explained to the students.  For example, the word associated with the letter C was “come”.  Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God has come to earth as a man. 

Students enjoy receiving the souvenirs from the LHMT at the Christmas activity

At the end of the activity the LHMT staff asked review questions of the students to be sure that they understood and remembered the words, so that they knew the real Christmas story. 

As the students left to return to their classes, each of them received a gift set from LHMT.  The gift sets for the younger children included a key chain, candy, and a Christian tract.  The older students received a notebook, candy and a Christian tract.

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LHMT Director Attended TCLC Meeting in November

More than 30 pastors and church leaders from Lutheran churches in northern, southern and central Thailand attended the Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (TCLC) meeting in Bangkok from November 22-26, 2010.  The main purposes of the meeting were to encourage each other, to strengthen the TCLC identity, to grow together for the ministry of the TCLC, to discuss how they can overcome the obstacles they face in their ministries and how they can serve together in their future work.

Rev. Dr. Jeff Ehlers was sharing about the importance of sustainability.

Two guest speakers did several presentations for the group.  Rev. Dr. Jeff Ehlers, chairman of the Garuna Foundation, shared with them about the importance of sustainability.  When the churches receive help from other organizations, they need to have a plan for how the project or program can continue after that outside assistance ends.  For a number of years the Garuna Foundation has provided financial help to the TCLC, but Dr. Jeff reminded the TCLC members that his foundation will not be able to help indefinitely and that the TCLC churches must find ways to stand on their own, if they ever hope to be strong.

Mr. Erick Lai (right) led several sessions about leadership

Mr. Erik Lai, the General Manager of the Glad Sounds, the book stores of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore, and also the Director of the Crown Financial Ministries in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, led several sessions about leadership.  He talked about the heart of a leader, strategic planning, how to cultivate people skills in your leadership, how to determine the most important priorities and make effective decisions. 

Both guest speakers did a good job and gave many important lessons for the TCLC pastors and leaders to learn from and to use in developing their ministries. 

The Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) director was able to sit in on the presentations and gained much valuable information.  She also was able to present the Ministry Presentation and the Memorandum of Understanding that will be signed between LHMT and the TCLC in January 2011.

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Listener Gatherings in Southern Thailand

The radio speaker meeting with some listeners at the local market in Phang Nga

Phang Nga Province was the site of two Listener Gatherings conducted by Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) staff on November 20 & 21, 2010.  During the weekend they wanted to build good relationships with some of the listeners and local church members and to announce the “Cheerful Life” radio program that was being broadcast in that area.

After traveling by van from Bangkok, the LHMT staff visited a local market to see if they could find some people who listen to the radio programs produced by LHMT.  They were pleased to discover 25 people who said they tune in to the program regularly.  They all mentioned how much they enjoy the programs.  One lady even suggested that it would be better if the programs were longer than the current schedule of 30 minutes.  Unfortunately, because they had to work in the market, most of these listeners were unable to join either of the Listener Gatherings that weekend.

The radio speaker was sharing about Jesus to the young listeners at Khok Kloi Church

The first Listener Gathering event was held at Sahatai Khok Kloi Lutheran Church in Taimuang District during the afternoon of November 20.  A total of 93 people, including 41 listeners, joined in the fun games and other activities and heard a Gospel message from Pastor Suchart Choojit.  This was a good opportunity for the people to get to know the LHMT radio speaker and Pastor Suchart.  Some of the people expressed interest in learning more about Christianity, so Pastor Suchart will be doing follow-up visits with them.

Some listeners enjoyed talking about the radio program with the LHMT radio speaker at Takuapa Church

On November 21 the LHMT team visited Takuapa to worship at Sahatai Takuapa Lutheran Church in the morning and to conduct a Listener Gathering at the church in the afternoon.  This time 73 people, including 27 listeners, came to enjoy the activities and to listen to a message from Pastor Suchart Srigagan.  Again, everyone who attended had a good time and Pastor Suchart was able to meet many people.  Now he will be able to follow up with them in the coming weeks.

Although many people were unable to attend either of the Listener Gatherings because they had to work, we thank God for the chance to meet so many listeners and other people.  We also thank God for the positive responses we got from everyone and for the opportunities for the pastors to continue contacting them in the future.

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