LHMT Staff Help with Lutheran Youth Camp

From March 27-30 the Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (TCLC) conducted a camp in Maetang District near Chiang Mai for young people from their churches.  More than 100 youth attended, including about 15 friends who are not Christians.  Using the theme, “This We Believe,” the main teaching sessions focused on some basic Bible truths.  These sessions were taught by several TCLC pastors and missionary Rob Meister.

The TCLC leaders understand that it’s important for the young people in the TCLC churches to learn the foundational truths of the Bible from the Lutheran perspective.  Some of the youth who attended the camp will be Sunday School teachers, pastors and church leaders in the future.

The camp was held in a quiet campground, where all of the boys slept in tents and the girls stayed in some simple houses.  Small group Bible studies were held in shaded areas under the trees.

On March 28, 2012 two Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) staff traveled to Chiang Mai on an overnight bus and were taken to the camp site early the next morning.  Soon after arriving at the camp, they assisted the staff of Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation Thailand in leading the morning worship.

At 1:30pm Mr. Lek introduced LHMT to the campers and informed them of the many types of ministry that LHMT does, especially how media is used to share the Gospel in many areas of Thailand.  Then Mr. Lek and Mr. Tak led some fun games and sang songs with the campers in the shelter used for the large group teaching sessions and worship.

At 3:00pm they took the campers to an open area where everyone participated in several sports games.  For each of the activities the teams collected points in an effort to build team unity.  They ended the day with an evening campfire.

One of the goals of the Youth Camp was to help the campers get to know each other and to begin building relationships.  Because some live in southern Thailand, others came from Bangkok and the rest live in different areas of northern Thailand, most of them didn’t know each other before attending the camp.

To help them with their relationship building, LCMS missionary, Dennis Denow, led the campers in several team building activities during two days of the camp.

At the end of the camp on March 30, the LHMT staff helped debrief the campers about their experience.  Everyone seemed to have very positive feelings about the camp and were happy they could attend.  We’re very happy that 75 of the youth signed up to receive the encouraging Gospel text messages that LHMT sends to more than 5,000 mobile phones each week and 13 asked to study the LHMT adult Bible Correspondence Course.  Also, 5 of the younger campers requested to begin the Children’s Bible Correspondence Course.

The TCLC leaders are excited about the number of young people who attended the camp and how much they enjoyed participating.  Plans for next year’s Youth Camp are already being made and LHMT looks forward to being involved again.

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Directors from 12 Countries Attend Regional Workshop in Bangkok

Dr. Rutt leading a workshop session

Lutheran Hour Ministries directors from Australia, Russia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka came together in Bangkok from March 26-29, 2012 for their annual regional workshop.  This was the first time that the three regions met together for the training in Bangkok.  The workshop was led by Dr. Douglas Rutt, Director of International Ministries for Lutheran Hour Ministries and Mrs. Gunya Na Thalang, Asia Area Counselor. 

Mrs. Gunya speaking to the country directors

Although the sessions regarding strategic planning, communication, fund raising and holistic ministry were conducted by Dr. Rutt, the country directors spent a lot of time learning from each other.  All of the directors shared how they used media, special events, youth programs and other activities to share the Gospel in their countries.  They also exchanged ideas on the different types of training and follow-up activities they were using. 

This workshop was a good opportunity for the country directors to get to know each other better, especially for the three who recently started serving Lutheran Hour Ministries.  Both Vietnam and Cambodia have new directors and the ministry center in Indonesia was just reopened after being closed for 10 the past years.

LHMT director showing ministry locations in Thailand

In addition to touring the Thailand ministry center, the group was able to visit a large local market and a modern shopping center, enjoy eating at some excellent Thai restaurants, attend an impressive cultural show and attend the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Thailand ministry center.

Learning about making Thai pottery

Dr. Douglas Rutt and Mrs. Gunya Na Thalang were able to stay in Bangkok a few extra days.  This provided an opportunity for Dr. Rutt to learn more about Thailand by visiting one of the royal palaces in Ayuthaya Province and an area where many local handicrafts are produced.  By the time that the directors began to leave Bangkok to return to their home countries, they felt like they had come to know each other quite well.  Everyone is confident that this workshop will make it easier for them to encourage each other and to work together in the future.

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LHMT Celebrates 20 Years of Ministry Blessings

Every year the director and staff of Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) plan a Thanksgiving Banquet and program to show appreciation to their supporters and others who are friends of their ministry and to do fund raising.  But, this year’s banquet was special. 

On Saturday evening, March 24, 2012 approximately 200 friends and supporters of LHMT gathered together to celebrate their 20th anniversary of ministry in Thailand.  Under the theme “20 Years of Ministry Blessings,” the evening’s program focused on thanking their friends and supporters and thanking God for the wonderful way in which he has guided and provided for LHMT through the past two decades of ministry.

A number of special international guests also enjoyed the festivities.  Lutheran Hour Ministries country directors from Australia, Russia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka arrived a few days before their regional workshop, so that they could attend the celebration.  To make the evening even more special, each of the visiting country directors brought items from their homelands that could be included in the silent auction.

Dr. Douglas Rutt, Director of International Ministries for Lutheran Hour Ministries and Mrs. Gunya Na Thalang, Lutheran Hour Ministries Asia Counselor, were also present.  Dr. Rutt brought greetings from Mr. Bruce Wurdeman, Executive Director of Lutheran Hour Ministries and the staff in St. Louis and gave the message during the opening worship time.  In his message Dr. Rutt talked about the fact that Christianity is not a Western religion, as many people think.  In fact, Christianity is growing in many Asian countries, such as China.  Dr. Rutt also mentioned how good it was to know that LHMT didn’t stop doing ministry during disasters, such as the tsunami and recent flooding in Thailand.  Instead, LHMT used those disasters as opportunities to demonstrate God’s love to the victims by providing for some of their physical needs and by sharing the Good News through Gospel booklets and personal conversations. 

At the end of his message, on behalf of the Lutheran Hour Ministries headquarters in St. Louis, USA, Dr. Rutt presented LHMT with a beautiful lacquer picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

In addition to special music provided by some friends of LHMT, two pastors gave testimonies about how they have appreciated being partners in ministry with LHMT in their communities in the past.  

To help everyone see some of the great things that God has done, a video was shown that highlighted many of the programs and activities that LHMT has done throughout its history.   The lanterns that served as the centerpieces on the tables were reminders that our focus should always be on Jesus.  Attached to each lantern was a note that read, “This light represents the light of Christ in our midst, as we serve together to lead people living in darkness on their Journey Into Light.”  Journey Into Light is the local name for LHMT.

We thank God for his goodness to us and for giving us the privilege of serving him through LHMT/Journey Into Light.  We pray that we will be able to continue serving him for many years to come.

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