Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today is Thursday, August 9, 2012,

I am finally getting an opportunity to update our blog. I had some access issues and now that is resolved!

What’s happening here?

Gail and I have been on furlough for almost 3 months for the summer months of 2012 and have enjoyed some good times visiting some of our individual supporters and all of our children, and our eight grand children. We praise the Lord for his continual provision for us and the meeting of our daily needs. Two significant milestone were also passed this summer, I turned 60 and we celebrated our thirty-ninth wedding anniversary. It is a funny feeling to have these numbers since we both feel that we have a lot of years ahead of us serving the Lord.

One recent highlight was a on-line meeting with our mission financial administrator who went over our accounts and notified us of our outstanding support needs before we return to Thailand. It is mission policy for this minimal amount to be listed as our support commitment from our supporters. This amount is the combination of individuals and churches who are financially supporting us.

He broke down the remaining support need and made a suggestion that we need to raise 1,150 dollars a month in order for him to approve of our return to Thailand.

The amount we need to raise will be monthly support for only about 5 more years before we can on “retirement status” meaning that I can retire, collect Social Security, and retirement, greatly reducing the support needs we need to carry on our work.

Why has our financial support dropped? Well the explanation is complicated:

First of all the “Cost of Living” for all Americans has gone up. This includes the results of inflation, which has increased for example, the cost of Health insurance (double what it was just 10 years ago).

Second, the worldwide financial market losses has cut deeply into investments and hurt not only our support but also our mission administration which was previously supplemented by dividends to finance the mission operations. Now we are contributing more to the fund as members of the mission.

Third, we have been missionaries for over 32 years serving in Thailand, and a number of our supporters who backed us years ago are now with the Lord. Others are retired and some laid off, meaning they cannot support us or cannot increase our support.

Since we have spent nine years without a furlough, we have some catching up to do. We are as I said above, having to find new support now.

Perhaps the Lord has challenged you to be an individual supporter that will get us back to service soon. Your gift should be sent to ABWE, Inc., PO Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8585 Please include a note, "For the work and ministry of Don and Gail Craft, account number 0130353." And if you want to support us regularly, please indicate your desire to do so.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Ministry in Sawang Dandin

Romans 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

The ministry God has chosen to lead us into is in a far corner of the world. Perhaps some might think it is unimportant and obscure since we live in a town which is not considered a huge town or financial giant among world cities. In fact, our town is almost devoid of any industry. We are roughly 340 miles from Bangkok and half way between two provincial capitols. There is a plan to develop this city into a provincial seat that has been delayed mainly because of the economy. Yet, there are 152,000 people registered residents here, though most families have at least one working elsewhere to support their families. There have been many gains in recent years developing the regional economy for agriculture, in particular Sugar cane production and rubber plantations. But most local salaries are still below national minimum wage. Many of the local youth grow up to move and work elsewhere to acquire work that would be gainful enough to support them since other than sales, government and education, Sawang Dandin offers very little opportunities.

Our Baptist Center, composed of three buildings and a open air Basketball/sports area is located just outside the edge of the city limits. It is in a particularly quiet and secure locale being on a side street off the main road and with a high elevation, which is good for a church property. While other areas in Thailand are enduring are flooding, and unlike our former rented church location, we are high and dry on a hilltop. Parents who send their children to our English ministry are also happy about our center location since it away from stores and busy streets. Gail opened a small snack shop so children who attend special classes do not want to leave our center to get snacks, and the profits are used for the prizes used for bible memory and group games.

Kids Games a great success!

Four wonderful days for our group here at Sawang Dandin Baptist Church. Our first day was "leadership training" classes for those participating as leaders. This was a new concept for camping, which includes youth in the work and leadership process and equipped them for the following three days of camp. A side benefit is we have youth who learned a number of principles about Christian leadership. It was no wonder that on the final day, at least nine people dedicated their lives for Christian work. Kids Games included lots of fun games for kids with a Bible focus, Bible memory, and a jam packed, fast moving program where the youth were not bogged down in classroom activities. After all, they are on their semester break from the public schools, so this was a welcome change of pace. A few schools in the area had already begun the next term conflicting with the camp schedule, something we often face here during the three week break, cutting into the numbers who attend. But still the quality of the camp was wonderful and the results point to the success of the kids games camp

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kids Games in Action!

Very pretty and talented Miss Debbie Meiers (back) came to help us for two months from her home in Wisconsin upon recommendation of her pastor and has been an amazing delight with lots of musical and interpersonal skills with our Thai students. Here is Debby with some of her English Classroom. She amazed all of us when she memorized the Thai words to Thai versions of songs and sang duets and parts with her crystal clear voice. Debbie continues to learn Thai expressions and has a lot of energy -- the kids here all have fallen in love with her. Also in this picture is another Church Planting Assistant from the Bangmot Baptist Church, a fellow Romprakhun Baptist Fellowship Church near Bangkok, Miss Warang, one of the favorite helpers at our camps.