Hundreds of Young Christians Get to Know Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand

LHMT staff sharing ministries to attendees

Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) was joined to set up a ministry booth and product sale during a weekend ministry program organized by Youth for Christ, More than 800 young people participated in the activities on April 6-8, 2013 in Nakhon Nayok Province in central Thailand.

Youth for Christ, chairmen and leaders from the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand, the Church of Christ in Thailand and the Baptists conducted Bible studies, gave presentations and led activities that encouraged the Christian youth to consider serving God with their lives.  Along with the other ministry organizations that were there, LHMT was given time to share with all the attendees about our ministries and how they could take advantage of the LHMT ministry materials and programs.

Each day the schedule included special time for everyone to visit the different ministry booths and purchase products.  During the weekend 273 people registered to begin receiving the LHMT Gospel text messages on their cell phones and 165 new Christians and non-Christians enrolled in the LHMT Bible Correspondence Course (BCC).  One young man, Mr. Supeerapan Gueadpan gave donation for our text messaging program.  He said, “I appreciate receiving the LHMT text messages for the past 4 years and I realize how valuable they have been for me.  I want to help LHMT provide these encouraging Gospel messages for other people also.”  We thank God for this young man’s donation, especially because we know that most young people don’t have very much money.

The LHMT staff enjoyed interacting with so many young people who believe in Jesus and we’re thankful to be able to help nurture some of them through our BCC.  We pray that God will use the BCC to more clearly reveal himself to the unbelievers who are just beginning to study.

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Thai Families Enjoy Songkran Together

April 13 is Songkran Day in Thailand.  It’s one of the biggest holidays of the year and usually extends for 4-5 days.  In some parts of Thailand the celebrations can last more than a week.

Songkran10Thai people traditionally have seen Songkran as a time for cleansing in hopes of washing away bad karma from the previous year and gaining good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.  Many Thai people give their homes a good cleaning during Songkran.  It’s also a time for cleaning Buddha images in their homes and local temples.  Originally this idea of cleansing was used as a time for blessing the elders in the family.  Children would take a small amount of water and pour it on the hands of their parents and grandparents to show respect and as a wish for good luck and good health.

Coming at the hottest time of the year, Songkran now has become a national water festival.  In addition to pouring a little water on their elders, many Thai people now use cups, buckets, water guns and even garden hoses to spray water on anyone and everyone around.  Some people ride around with large drums of water in the back of pickup trucks, throwing water on cars, on people riding motorbikes and people walking along the street.  In some neighborhoods Songkran has become an extended community water fight.  This is a time when Thai people really enjoy celebrating and having a good time.

In recent years the Thai government has announced an extended time for Songkran.  This year the official holiday runs from April 12 until April 16.  This makes it a good time for people to travel long distances to visit their families.  A large number of people living in Bangkok return to their hometowns and villages during Songkran.  Some businesses close and many street vendors disappear.  Highways are jammed, trains are overcrowded, planes are fully booked well in advance and many additional inter-city buses are scheduled to try to accommodate the huge number of people traveling throughout the country.

Our Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand office is closed during the Songkran holiday.  Our staff are visiting their families in northeastern, central and southern Thailand.  They’ll also take this opportunity to rest and relax from their work.

Please pray for us as we travel and use this extended holiday weekend as a time of refreshment and reconnecting with our families.

LHM Thailand Assists with TCLC Youth Camp 2013

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFrom March 25-28, 2013 the Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (TCLC) conducted its annual Youth Camp.  This year the camp was held at Baan Khun Klang Church on Inthanon Mountain in Chiang Mai Province in northern Thailand.  The participants who traveled from Bangkok and southern Thailand, really appreciated the cooler weather and fresh air of the rural setting and the higher elevation. 

Under the theme “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,” based on Philippians 4:13, a total of 70 youth and adults did Bible studies together, worshiped together, played games together and ate and slept together.  One of the goals of the camp was to develop closer relationships between the youth, who live a long distance from each other.  Having so much time together during the camp helped to accomplish that goal.

Each morning started with the participants dividing into smaller groups for Bible study and discussion, followed by a time of worship.  All 4 of the TCLC pastors who attended led Bible studies and teaching sessions.  Each day was closed with a time of worship and prayer.

One unique aspect of this Christian youth camp is that 15 of the 54 youth who attended are not Christians.  Many of the others are new believers.  The camp provided an excellent opportunity for them to learn more about the Bible, to be strengthened in their faith and to interact personally with other youth and adults who can help mentor them and serve as Christian examples for them.

The LHM Thailand director and staff made the 12-hour trip from Bangkok by van on March 25.  During the next 2 days they conducted a session which included 4 outdoor activities to help camp participants build relationships and trust with one another.  The LHM Thailand staff also helped with some big games, led singing and worship and did some ice-breaking activities. 

This is the second year that LHM Thailand has helped with the TCLC Youth Camp.  We received very positive feedback regarding our involvement and have been invited to help again next year.  Through the camp the LHM Thailand director and staff are able to build a stronger relationship with the TCLC, assist in training their youth and share pamphlets and other materials with them. 

At the end of the camp, 45 people signed up to receive Gospel text messages each week and 5 enrolled in the LHM Thailand Bible Correspondence Courses.  We also plan to make follow-up contacts with the 15 non-Christian young people who attended the camp.

We thank God and the TCLC for the chance to help with this camp and we look forward to joining the camp next year and to doing more ministry activities with TCLC pastors and churches in the future.

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Annual Regional Workshop Held in Cambodia

2013 Regional Workshop42From March 9-16, 2013 the Lutheran Hour Ministries Asia Regional Director, Mrs. Gunya Na Thalang; the Europe Regional Director, Rev. Peter Kirby; the 8 Lutheran Hour Ministry country directors from Asia and 3 directors from Europe participated in their annual regional workshop.  They received updates about the ministry in each country, shared ideas with each other and received helpful information from a special guest speaker.  This year’s workshop was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

2013 Regional Workshop332013 Regional Workshop11 Although Rev. Dr. Douglas Rutt, Director of the International Division, was unable to join the workshop, he gave greetings and encouragement to the group via a Skype video conference call and LCMS missionary Rev. Dr. Fungchatou Lo provided the opening devotion.

The guest speaker was Mr. Erik Lai.  Erik is currently the General Manager of Glad Sounds, a leading Christian books and music distributor and chain store in Malaysia. Glad Sounds, a ministry of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia, owns and operates 10 retail stores in major cities throughout the country.

2013 Regional Workshop352013 Regional Workshop44Erik did 10 presentations about topics related to using media in mission, how to communicate effectively, ideas for funding the ministry and leadership qualities.  The information that Erik shared with the country directors was very practical and helpful.  The country directors are confident that they will be able to adapt it to their different ministry situations.

In addition to the meetings, the workshop participants also had the opportunity to visit some historical sites.  They saw the Killing Fields and Toul Sleng prison, where many people were incarcerated during the Pol Pot regime.  The group also made a trip to Siem Reap, where they explored Ankor Wat. 

The LHM Thailand director arrived in Cambodia one day earlier than the others, so that she could help with the preparations for the workshop.  Mr. Phin Naro and his staff did a very good job of organizing the program for the week and everything went very smoothly.  All the country directors enjoyed seeing ministry in action, watching the puppet show and film, visiting the Cambodia ministry center, meeting the staff and the warm hospitality of the Cambodian people. 

We could tell that God’s Spirit was blessing our time together during the workshop.  By God’s grace the country directors were able to gain new ministry ideas, build closer relationships with each other and learn about the culture and people of Cambodia.  We thank God for giving us a good week and we look forward to next year’s regional workshop.

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