Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas in Sawang Dandin, 2007

For weeks our Santisuk Baptist Church has been preparing our Christmas Cantata, composed of arrangements of traditional Christmas music from western culture and Asian melodies, under the direction of Mrs. Thongbai, a member. Tonight we sang for the Sawang Dandin Baptist Church Christmas program. Few choirs in our part of the country can sing in harmony with just a piano. It was lovely and well appreciated by those who attend, we will also sing in two other churches here in the area.

We nearly filled our new auditorium tonight with over 160 attending our Annual Christmas program, held on Sunday, December 23, 2007.
The partially finished youth center provided extra dining room plus two "just finished" in time bathrooms. We had three programs actually, a youth party at 5 PM, followed by a buffet dinner, and then the Adult Christmas program.
The children worked for weeks on the Christmas pagent that they presented for the Adults -- it was part of the commication of the Gospel to many of the parents, and helped the children understand more about the birth of Jesus the Savior.

Pray for the lives of many who attended including the parents and friends joined in the meeting.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

English Evangelism Classes Saturday December 22

Our youth ministry is growing each time we meet in our new church. Gail tells me we had 54 students today. Many of the kids stayed their entire Saturday, playing board games, learning piano, reading books and so on. Tonight as we were eating supper 8 more showed up and a about 20 minutes later, a couple of parents dropped in to see our new house and center (bringing their daughter who is also just “goofing around” tonight.
The Youth Center building will be used for the first time for our Christmas party. Two additional bathrooms will make everyone more comfortable and the additional classroom space will also be very useful. There are still a few more items to finish yet but praise the Lord for the provision of the new building at a time when we need it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Preparations for Christmas

Our local kids are preparing a Nativity Play, and here they are singing, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" the close of their program for our Christmas Party, Sunday, December 23, 2007.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday School in our new Church Center

Nearly 40 children are enrolled for our Sunday School Classes now. One advantage of our new center location is it is "off" the main road, and in the center of a community with lots of children. It is a safe walk (or bicycle ride) for most of the children who attend our new center's Sunday School classes. Though our new center is very roomy, we already can use the expanded "youth center" facility which is still being remodeled and expanded. After it is finished, we can divide up our classes into more groups.

Another advantage I have found for the new center is our offices are connected to the building used as our church. When I need a few more pages printed off or something, I only have to step into my office to get it. How the Lord has blessed us with the new center.

One of the favorite things our "kids" like to do is coloring the line drawings from the Bible they are studying. I have lots of coloring book materials related to the Bible stories being taught.

The smiling third grader on the left Miss Tim, is one of our newest believers, and she recently saved enough money to buy her own complete Bible.

Right now, in these few weeks before Christmas, we are preparing for our annual Christmas Party. The children are all excited about participation in a nativity play about the first Christmas written by our single co-worker Miss Kaew, here leading in the explanation of the play to the children.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

New Sign Sawang Dandin Baptist Church and Baptist Gospel Center

"Kris-ta-jak Baep-tis"
God has blessed us with a very accessable and quiet location away from the noise of the main temple and traffic noise. As you can see, we have ample parking and room to expand in the future.
Here is our sign, right on a curve of the road, and very visible from a long ways, clearly identifying our new Baptist Church Center at our new location. In this picture, we are in the "Dry season" and the grass is pretty much "scrub" as it is everywhere here in North east Thailand.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More Kitchen Work - Mom Gail's Pad

One of Gail's gifts for our Church center is decorating and here is our Christmas tree all part of our holiday here. We used to think, let's not introduce our holidays here, but Thai are already selling and buying the lights and trees to celebrate Christmas -- not knowing the reason. We use this interest to identify with something they are very interested in and preach the gospel. Thai people have lots of holidays too. So this gives our Thai Christians (and some of them are youth) a time to celebrate our Lord and feel like they have something special no one else has, and we do! You should see the eyes of the small children light up as they look at the sparkling decorations in delight!

Here is our nearly finished kitchen with new granite counter tops. Part of our ministry here is entertaining and now that this is our "Church Home" we need the new remodeled kitchen for our church. It is off the multi-purpose church auditorium in an "L" or "7" configuration depending where you are standing. Making it very accessible and useful for our special meetings. Gail and I are feeling more blessed this Christmas than we can remember. Thanks for joining us in praising the Lord for his goodness.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

All Classes and Meetings now at new "Center"

Snack time for our Saturday English Evangelism Class, just before Miss Kaew teaches in our new auditorium.

This is our first week for teaching children on Saturdays.
I was given a projector which was damaged in a car accident and worked poorly. But this week I fixed it just in time for the Thanksgiving program. Now that it is working like a new projector, we showed a video of creation and Christ's birth for our young kids until their parents came. On the new "projector wall" designed for this, the video not only captured the attention of the children but also the parents who came to pick them up! How the Lord has blessed and how thankful we are.
We are still building the new Youth Building and the workers are stopping for their annual rice harvest time now. Many have stopped in to see the new center and are amazed how the Lord has blessed. God has been so good to us.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving and House Warming

Miss Kaew showing her new lovely home, a place to serve God, provided by the Lord.
How the fire has been a blessing to Sawang Dandin!
November 22, traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We have lots to be thankful for this year. And we are sharing it with our friends, English students and fellow Christians here. Gail cooked up two of the largest turkeys we could find with all the trimmings, including cranberry sauce (now sold in Thailand!) and of course apple pie and pumpkin pie for desert.

This little cute girl is the niece of one of our construction workers.

Mrs. Nari and her brother, from Nong Mek church.

Miss Phat, Miss Kaew, Miss Walangkana, Miss Cheryl all joining in our Thanksgiving time here in Sawang Dandin.

Miss Cheryl sharing and blessing Miss Kaew's new house.

More cooks, make light the work and the best broth in Thailand!

This is fun and delicious

Finally, work being done on the youth building.

Ministry Progress!

These days our Sawang Danding Baptist Church team is busy in the ministry again teaching English. Here is our "Adult Evangelistic English Class" meeting twice a week studying English Conversation and Bible. Nexts is Miss Kaew, our single co-worker teaching some of the elementary school age children the Bible.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Leadership Meetings and other news

During the past month, most of the building project was done for the main building (Where our apartment is and the Church auditorium is) and the Parsonage building. We could secure the home well and were able to participate in Thailand field-wide activities during the month of November.


This is the Leadership board for the Association of Romprakhun Fundamental Baptist Churches. as well as the Thailand Association of Baptist Churches for World Evangelism (or TABWE)

(Front row) Pastor Phonsak Sukachintanakan, Chairman; Pastor Bualiang Srimukda, Vice-Chairman; Pastor Phairat Prasitnok, Treasurer; Pastor Sakchai Prathesa, Secretary; Pastor Sutorn Khama; Pastor Somchit Jaengprai; Pastor Phairat Senakhun; and Pastor Wirasak Tuchinda. (Back Row) Advisors, Rev. Charles Holms, Rev. Donald Craft, Rev. Arturo C. Inion, and Rev. Kiatisak Siripandorn.

The Association of the Romprakhun Fundamental Baptist Churches is a body made up of elected pastors (front row). and appointed advisiors (back row) for our group of more than 30 churches and gospel centers in Thailand.

This leadership same group of men have been appointed by our fellowship of churches to be the Board of Directors for the newly formed Thailand Association of Baptist Churches for World Evangelism (or TABWE), the Thailand missionary arm of the Fellowship of Romprakhun Baptist Churches, a group of churches founded by the Philippine Association of Baptists for World Evangelization.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Life Camp and Workers Retreat, progress!

One of our young men, Art, was baptized in the waterfall pool on the campgrounds of LIFE camp. Here are some pictures and we trust you will pray for him. Art has a good testimony and has been winning his friends and family members to the Lord. Pray for him and future decisions for the Lord. Our fellow pastor, Surasit (below right) preformed the baptismal ceremony. He is a full time school teacher but announced this week how he desires to give his life full time to the Lord and "retire" early from teaching. How we rejoice to see true growth among our churches.

We just completed the week of "LIFE" camp (an acrostic for Learning Intensive Free English) hosted by one of our fellow churches in Bangkok last Thursday. We took four vans from our area with students from our local schools and colleges. Our purpose in English camp, of course, is English Evangelism and we praise the Lord for the many presentations of the Gospel during the week through preaching and "buddy time" and other opportunities. Most of the campers have been under the teaching of the Word of God in our local ministries and this is a great time for the campers to be away from family and peer pressure -- it is no wonder that each year up to 75 campers place their faith in Jesus Christ. One of our teens was baptized in the waterfall pool there and at least one young lady, "Bia" trusted the Lord from our area. There are so many blessings to share with you we could write many pages in our Blog.

Of course, one thought that stuck Gail and me as we traveled home after camp, and that is this time we were returning to a lovely nearly completed home and ministry place. What a contrast to the situation we faced when we were traveling home from the annual camp and heard our house was afire. In the end we believe God wanted to bless us in a special way that we never experienced before and he had to test us first. And we can testify that we found the Lord faithful in the hard times as well as the easy times.

Here are some recent pictures of the interior of our facility at the Sawang Dandin Baptist Church:

This is our new "Auditorim" facing toward the entrance and the front windows. Gail is sewing (her hobby!) In this picture you can see the new curtains which really have dressed up the auditorium. The second picture is a a picture of the "living room" which is a corner in the large room.

Below is a snap shot of the newly remodeled two bedroom Thai style "parsonage" recently purchased adjacent to our church building. This will be the home initially for Miss Kaew, our single woman co-worker and her mother. The workmen just finished the interior and exterior today (the yard needs some cleaning up of course!).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This is an artists conception of the new Youth building, Garage and storage building which will be under construction during November. At first we were thinking about making it housing for Miss Kaew but the new additional property added next door was much nicer and will be a nice "Parsonage" for the future church here. The youth building will now have space for two new bathrooms on front of the building doubling our bathroom space and providing the youth building with new bathrooms. The right door will be the garage and the left door will be outside access for the storage room (Lawn mowers, sport equipment and other items). The large 24 foot by 36 foot center room will be suitable for ping pong tables, English Classes, and other youth activities. It will also have two guest bedrooms usable for Christian youth from other districts who may be studying in our district. The overall structure is quiet large at 45 feet by 40 feet (including the bathrooms). We have recently replaced the entire roof with tile, making the building quiet a bit nicer looking than before.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Remodeling the Additional Property for Co-worker Miss Kaew

This is a panoramic shot of the new lot adjacent, just purchased as an addition to our church/house center. It is now being remodeled with new floors, ceilings, bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and a fresh coat of paint. We have agreed with our carpenters to finish this for us while we are in camps and other activities over the month of October. The "Road" we put in here goes through the back of our church/house center. The entire cost will be just over $5,000 dollars. We are especially happy because we are now free of a very messy and noisy drunk neighbor who sold the house and property to us for just $4,500. How the Lord has blessed to make our new property even better today.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Finishing touches, Property expansion, Youth center

Over the last week, our volunteer helpers from Lapeer, Michigan, Ed and Carol Bowman, helped us with some of the finishing touches which really take a lot of time. Ed designed and assisted in the creation of some new kitchen cabinets, has been renewing our furniture, some of which was damaged during the fire and rebuilding process. Carol and Gail have had a wonderful time, doing things women like to do -- fellowshipping and working together as Carol has used her gifts, encouraging, cooking, shopping, sorting through the jumble of things as we now start living in our new home, and most of all being a friend for Gail. Ed is an employee in the automobile industry, and Carol is a nurse, but they took their three week "vacations" so they could serve the Lord here helping on the mission field. What a blessing!
One of the many help projects Ed helped accomplish this week was the design and layout of new kitchen cabinets (in this picture, still unfinished) made from wood left over from the removal of the upstairs after the fire.

Another pleasant surprise this week was the offer from our neighbor for purchase of land and a small house in an adjacent property at a bargain price of $4,500 dollars, providing more road frontage and additional housing for our Thai co-worker, Miss Kaew and her mother. This house will be a lot nicer housing for them after it is remodeled and will free up the other building (our former garage building) for future use as our youth center, and garage.

This "Youth Center" will provide space for things like additional class rooms, computer lab, game room, and parking for our van. All of this will be rent free facilities for the growing Sawang Dandin Baptist Church.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Joint Meeting in New Auditorium

Special Music by the Santisuk Baptist Church in our newly finished auditorium:

This Sunday, September 30th, we held our first joint meeting with our two church planting ministries here at our newly rebuilt home / church property. After church we had a nice meal with our guest ministry team, Ed and Carol Bowman who just arrived here to help us with finishing up some projects as well as an encouragement. They shared some in the morning service and enjoyed the fellowship here. We have plans for a ministry filled month in October, including special classes, English Evangelism with the Romprakhun Baptist Church, with the LIFE camp (an acronym for Learning Intensive Free English) May 15-18, sponsored by the Emanuel Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan and our fellow missionaries and churches here. Last year over 75 campers trusted the Lord at this camp. This year they are expecting 600+ campers. We will be taking four van loads of campers this year.
A week later, we will be participating in the Worker's retreat with our fellow pastors, missionaries, and Bible school students, this year held in Bangkok.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Our house is now nearly completely painted and we are starting on the garage, storage and apartment building where we slept for two and a half months after the fire. Here is a night picture of the newly painted front.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Soon returning to full ministry in Sawang Dandin

We did not want to take a "break" from our ministry here, but the Lord has given us a good reason to concentrate on other things while rebuilding and recovery. We are almost ready and excited to go back to work unhindered in our church planting ministry here. Here are some highlights from the last year of ministry.

Our work includes, intensive English Evangelism Classes, oversight of two churches in process -- The Sawang Dandin Baptist Church, the Santisuk Baptist Church, Camps, semenars, and special meetings. Though we were very busy in the time of rebuilding, we continued to serve the Lord leading the two churches here, doing evangelism, discipleship, baptizing believers and meeting regularly as church bodies. In the next two months, there is the annual school term break when we participate in the LIFE Camp, hosted by the Bangkhen Baptist Church, Christian Workers camp for the Romphrakhun Fundamental Baptist Church Fellowship, plus lots of team meetings--we are also planning to take a much needed rest for a few days away from home. Pray for our ministry here.

All tiled, painted and ready to use, almost

Here is Gail, gracing the new big "Great" room now finished except the door thresholds (being done today).

The woodgrain look floors will make our Church auditorium a lovely place to serve the Lord.

The outside is still needing cement work, painting and we will now be able to finish the kitchen. Electrical wiring is now done.

He Giveth More Grace
(One of our favorite Hymns-and an encouragment through all these days!)
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!
--Annie Johnson Flint

2Corinthians 12:9 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Painting and laying floor tile

And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. --1 Chronicles 28:20

One of the things that amazes me each day is the fact that we are not just building for ourselves, but this will be a place of blessing for the Thai people here. Many have come to this location to trust the Lord since we have lived here. We believe God will continue to use this place as his "House" for many years to come.

Each day, we get a little more done--it is so encouraging. We are of course tired out from four months of living in the middle of a building project. That is, we have had first hand experience at removal of a burnt out upstairs, eliminating the rubble, inital planning, aquiring help to rebuild, planning and building, and trying to balance a budget and purchasing of supplies and materials at a fair price. Some things had to be planned and "re-planned" as we went.

We had an idea in our minds from the start of what we wanted the building to look like -- but we have had to make lot of changes from then up until now. We were, blessed by the prayers of the Lord's people, to have the Lord supplying, workers willing and able to make the house/future Sawang Dandin Baptist Church, exactly the way we wanted it. The Lord has supplied the funds in amazing ways--His providence! He has strengthened us when we thought we would never make it. God has blessed the work.

Today more interior work was done: Here is our men laying floor tiles and painting the walls. One of my best friends and an age mate here, Mr. Bate (picture at the top of the Blog) has arranged my workers for me, including his son (painting on left), Bate (spackling a window edge), Mr. Phai (a master skilled worker, doing the tile down the middle first) and Phai's brother, Wong.

Our electrical is nearly done, thanks to a young man who has been under our ministry for many years, Matt. (Eating dinner with us in this picture). Matt has done a wonderful job. I also helped him learn a few tricks he never knew about such as three way switches, and so on.

Gail now has her office set up. Here she manages the books. She not only handles record keeping for our team, but for other ministries here in Thailand. Her new desk seems to fit her nook just right. Her old desk was damaged by two break ins before the fire and the fire and water of the fire trucks finished it off.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Great Room

This is a picture of the "Great Room" as Gail likes to call it. It now has a lovely suspended ceiling with wooden beams (covering steel girders used in construction). From the ceiling, we suspended decorative fans with lamps provided for by my friends of the Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club in Hazel Park, Michigan. My lovely wife is sitting on our old furniture (we need to replace this, we know!) with two dozen roses given to her today. Soon we will tile the floors with woodgrain ceramic flooring. One of our young men here from our Sawang Dandin Baptist Church is doing an excellent job on our electrical wiring. There is still a lot of little things to do. But we feel we can see the "light" at the end of the tunnel.