As I begin writing this update, I am sitting at my desk in Northern Thailand, drinking a cup of coffee, sitting in our new building, in my new office, and thinking about the goodness of God and what God might want me to share with you today.
Since you have not heard from us in quite a while, let me just take a few moments and walk you through certain things that are going on that will help you know how to pray for us.
Let me begin by saying that even though our world may seem to be falling apart, God’s work of redemption, reconciliation and restoration is continuing to flourish here in Northern Thailand. Even during one of the most horrific pandemics our world has ever seen, God continues His work of transformation.
* GOD IS AT WORK BUILDING HIS CHURCH
Many people have a misunderstanding of the local church. They seem to think that the local church is the building where people congregate for meetings. But the truth is that the local church is not a building but it is a group of believers that come together as a church family.
Another misunderstanding of the local church is that meeting together on Sunday morning is man’s idea and it is not really important. However, that idea goes against what the Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25. The great news we want to share with you today, is that in the heart of some of the least reached people and people groups in our world today, God is at work changing lives and building the church here in Northern Thailand, and one of those local churches is called Baan Athitaan Church.
We thank God for the recent opportunity to open back up from the previous COVID restrictions. We had a wonderful church service this past Sunday with 160 people praising our Lord together in our new building. God is Good. If you have Facebook and would like to see some pictures from this past Sunday you can simply click on the link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.6714210025286419&type=3
Many of the people we see come to Christ are the first person in their entire family to become an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. Please keep us in your prayers as we sense a great move of God during this time and as we begin to approach the Christmas season where Thai people seem to be very open to hearing the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
* GOD HAS OPENED UP ENGLISH CLASSES THROUGH GRACE LANGUAGE SCHOOL
*GOD HAS GIVEN US AN AWESOME ESL OUTREACH FOR CHILDREN ON SATURDAYS
*NEW BUILDING UPDATE – Multi-Purpose Facility.
Praise God for this new multi-purpose building. It is both beautiful and extremely practical for us. We still have some final touches that need to be done for Building A and Building B to be completed but the building was well enough to move in on July 17, 2021 and on that day we had lots of help from many places and especially from the awesome young people at Baan Eden.
Here is a great video clip of our move date – July 17, 2021 that Gahn Rattanasongkarm put together for us. Thank you Gahn for loving your church family and being a good example of what it looks like to serve God through your church. Love you. Pii Michael.
We also thought you might want to see a picture of the property 4 years ago and then 4 years later taken in the same spot.
We also took some pictures just a moment ago and posted them in Facebook. If you have Facebook, just click on the link: https://www.facebook.com/www.gontim.org/photos/a.5120976741251435/5120973177918458
Even though we have “moved in already” we still have some construction and projects that are still far from being complete. One picture below was taken today of “building C” which will be designated for female staff housing as well as a guest speaker apartment.
*EQUIPPING THE NEXT GENERATION – Theological Education Through Online Studies at Thailand Baptist Theological Seminary (TBTS) in Bangkok.
We believe in joining God in equipping Thai leaders and helping them to grow in their ability to lead. Over the last 10 years, we have been very intentional about inviting guest speakers who are very capable Bible teachers to come for a week or two weeks and dedicate that time to equipping our full time staff with both Biblical knowledge and skills to interpret the Bible as well as equipping our full time staff with other leadership skill like “time management,” “team building,” and many other topics. But because of the COVID problems we have not been able to have any volunteers come from out of country and God opened up a door for 4 of our 5 Thai staff to become “on line” students at the Baptist Seminary in Bangkok. I am so thankful for the relationship that we have with A. Chaiwat and for his opening up the opportunity for our Thai staff to study online at TBTS while still living here and working here in Chiangrai. What a great blessing this has been and we would ask that you specifically pray for Ja, Jay, and Ball as they are in their second term of studying 3 courses while working full time and also pray for Bee as she in now taking 1 course this term. Please pray for them and for their growth as a new generation of church leaders.
* OTHER AREAS OF PRAYER WE WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU
You have heard me say on many occasions, one of the most significant things that I do while serving as God has shaped and gifted me is to faithfully, boldly, gently, and clearly teach God’s truth almost every Sunday morning to our church family that is made up of over 23 different people groups from all over the 10-40 Window and is also a mix of several international groups. Our desire has always been to plant a community purpose driven church that welcomes every ethnic group of people that comes through our doors and not segregate their ability to serve based on ethnicity or nationality but based upon gifting, calling, and heart. We are truly becoming a vibrant and active community church and I believe we have the blessing of God upon us at this time …… in this place ….. and for His purposes and His glory.
As I put the final touches on this newsletter yesterday, Liz was teaching level 4 at GLS, Dallas was teaching level 6 at GLS, and Hope was at home having some grand parenting time with Mary Ella. Please keep them in your prayers as they make adjustments and follow the Lord’s leadership step by step for His glory. Here is a recent picture of Dallas, Liz, and Mary Ella.
Please continue to pray for Hope as she now in her 2nd year of taking the lead role as Head of School at Chiangrai International School serving along side Khun Ning. God has gifted and prepared her for this role for such a time as this. Please pray for them as they seek to create an environment where the light and love of Christ can flourish in this international school environment and the help the teachers to embrace the love of Jesus that can then be poured out into the lives of all of their students.
Please pray for what God is doing right here in the heart of Southeast Asia. As Henry Blackaby has said many times, God it truly at work all around us and He invites us to join Him in what He is doing.
We love you and miss you, but at the same time, are very happy to serve our Lord Jesus in this place, among these people, at this season in life, and for God’s redemptive purposes.
May God richly bless you. Thank you for your kindness generosity and for sending us to Thailand. Any gift you would like to make toward our normal, everyday ministry, no matter how small or how large, helps us reach people who are the first persons in their entire families to know Jesus.
Until the People in and around Northern Thailand know Him,
Michael for the team
“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5
Financial support can be given through NTIM....
Northern Thailand Impact Ministry (NTIM), P.O. Box 26115, Birmingham, AL 35260 USA Main Website: www.gontim.org
NTIM is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in the USA. We are committed to connecting people in need with people who care and are focused in the heart of Southeast Asia where poverty is high, education is low, needs are great, unreached people groups (UPGs) are all around us, and the love and message of Jesus is needed to transform lives.
You can send donations to support God’s work to NTIM. All donations made are tax deductible and can be made either online at www.gontim.org or mailed to NTIM, P.O. Box 26115, Birmingham, AL 35260
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