Saturday, December 27, 2008

First Christmas party for many happy Thai Children at our Center

There was not one sad kid in a group of over 80 who joined us for our annual Christmas party.
I could say that most have never had the fun of a Christmas party with lots of singing about our Lord, a Bible message, Bible memory, group games with fellow youth, and a big meal and gifts from each child who registered. We had children register only 75 cents each assuring each gift was carefully selected (most cost more than a dollar or two) and a chance to win the big prize (a big loveable stuffed teddy bear!) costing less than 10 dollars. Our friends in the local Lions club also added some cheer by giving gift bags with a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand cream, soap, pencils, pens and other school supplies. We also gave each child a Christmas theme gospel message. Needless to say, it is a Christmas to remember for these children.
Recently a grandmother and a widow, who cares for Sugas, pictured below, who is one of our regular students, told us thank you for two extra KFC Chicken meals we sent home with Sugas after Sunday night church. She said she had not had supper and did not have anything to eat and was so very pleased with the delicious supper we provided for her. That sure make you understand the Christmas spirit and reminds us how good we really do have it. I have always noted that little Sugas always ate a lot and went back for seconds when we provided meals for our childrens programs. Now I know why.
When this girl won the prize Teddy Bear, there was a great round of cheers! At least someone got it!

And there was lots of delicious Thai style food -- Here Ann on of our active members and a college girl is helping serve food. And this is the seconds (and Thirds line!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Caroling! All 33 of us!

"We WISH You a Merry Christmas, We Wish YOU A Merry Christmas, We Wish You A MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year."
Left is a picture of the Nativity scene using the very popular LEGO toys. This Chrismas, for our Childrens party on Saturday, I have found a whole set of LEGO pictures representing the Nativity and have the Christmas Story for the children told using these toys. Amazing!

One of the funnest things we have done this year was our Caroling outing with our area youth. For weeks the youth have enjoyed learning and singing Christmas songs to join in with the seasonal Christmas cheer. Actually this year we are having our annual Christmas party for the kids on Saturday the 28th because Thai schools and government offices do not close in Thailand, a predominantly Buddhist country, on Christmas Day. We have registered a total of 100 + children for our Christmas party gift exchange. But the "Caroling Night" was in the evening and filled with lots of singing at many of their homes, we also visited Kentucky Fried Chicken at the local Lotus Shopping Mall, though a special arrangement with the manager who had studied English at our center. We sang our Christmas songs had fried chicken, french fries, sodas, and a softserve ice cream. The KFC store was really a fun stop because they special service we received and the happy shoppers who stopped to see the singers, all 33 of us singing traditional Christmas song. We also had some Northeast Thai Christmas melodies and one very pretty song from Japan. The singers were feed cookies and snacks at most of the places we went and the last stop was where the largest group of kids in our group lived where we had cookies and Hot chocolate. It was great fun and a experience many will remember for a long time, celebrating Christmas in Sawang Dandin. This Sunday we are doing a joint Christmas Service Sunday night with Santisuk Baptist Church in Sakon Nakhon Province.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Week in Sawang Dandin at the Sawang Dandin Baptist Church.

Singing O Come All Ye Faithful

Sometimes crazy and a lot of fun with our Evangelistic English Classes. These youth from neighboring villages attend and study English with us each week. We teach English and the Bible as part of the our Saturday and Sunday School program. The singing is absolutely wonderful as our youth love to sing. We use a digital projector attached to the ceiling in the auditorium of the Sawang Dandin Baptist Center (where the Sawang Dandin Baptist Church meets). This makes singing even more fun since we have interesting graphics and colorful fonts. Some times we have just the piano, other times we have guitar, a small tom-tom drum, and Thai style cymbals to make singing even more fun. Some of our songs are just fun songs in English such as "English is Fun, It's for every one, Come play with me, and my ABCs."

Many of the youth have decided to become Christians after hearing the gospel.

Today we are clearing our new lot of stumps, rocks and leveling it for our new sports field. More pictures later on that.
Why a sports field??
We would like to make it so we can have a place for teens to come and play sports and have fun as well. We are hoping in particular to draw in more boys since English seems to draw girls by a factor of three to one. I guess boys want to play sports and girls like to stay clean, out of the sun and study books.
Pray for us here and God's provision for us during these days of blessed ministry. And a big "Thank YOU!" to the ones who have a part.

Merry Christmas from the Santisuk Baptist Church!

We are coming into the Christmas season and Santisuk Baptist is the host church this year for our joint Christmas party with the Sawang Dandin Baptist Church. Mrs Thongbai is leading a Choir with traditional and Thai Christmas music. The new auditorium is big enough to hold many more and in special meetings at night, we can seat over 100 people for our Christmas meeting and other special activites, something they could not do easily before.

Some of our over 100 youth (registered students who study at our center each week) who attended the Santisuk Baptist Church last Sunday to sing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" in Thai and English.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Expanded Santisuk Baptist Church Auditorium

For months the meeting ""room," a living room in the the home of Pastor Surasit Samarom has been full and overflowing each week for the Sunday worship meeting of the Santisuk Baptist Church in Sakon Nakhon City, the capitol of Sakon Nakhon Province where I have been working with Pastor Surasit now for three years starting a church. We have seem many come to the Lord and grow spiritually there.
But there was no more room! People were sitting in nearly every space in the room, up the stairs, and on the hallway to the kitchen and entrance way.

Finally we had a plan (necessary!) to knock out the front wall, closing in the car port and tiling the floor. Well, two weeks ago the church stepped out on faith and did just that. And we are now enjoying room and a beautiful new meeting hall.

Christmas, "Our" holiday

Years ago, we were generally afraid of introducing western holidays to Thai Christians, fearing they would transfer their meaning (special days for Buddhism, or such) to Christmas. Plus we do a lot of stuff at Christmas that has nothing to do with our Lord's birth in America. While we still celebrated with our family behind closed doors, we would forgo all the merry trimmings and things.

But in recent years, it seemed to us and our fellow Christians that the world has lots of holidays, days off school, bank holidays and we have almost nothing. That is when we decided to make our Christmas celebration a little bigger and have more activities. You should see the excitement as we prepare songs from our annual Christmas parties and present exchange. Plus we have seen lots of people wanting to know about the Saviour's birth that we celebrate.

So we now make Christmas a real holiday, "Our" Christian's own holiday to preach the word, to remember the time that our Lord, became "Emmanuel" of God with man. It is also a busy time as other holidays we enjoy together, with special singing, fellowship, carolling, eating and Bible study.

May we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas from people who celebrate "our" holiday.