Dear Friends, Family, and Partners,
We are writing to follow up with our friends, family, and partners in ministry on some of what God is doing here in Thailand and to bring you into the loop as to what we envision for the days ahead regarding our project of “Lighting up the Darkness.”
God has already provided us with an awesome piece of land that is now officially registered and owned by Channel of Blessing Foundation, which, for all practical purposes, is the Field Foundation of NTIM. Many of you have given specifically for the purchase of land over the past two years and because of your generosity, we were able to complete phase 1 of our project which was the purchase of land.
We are now beginning Phase II and want to ask for your help as we begin this new phase of preparing to put up a useful multi-purpose facility that can be used to expand the Kingdom of God and enhance our ability to reach some of the least reached people groups in our world today. Below is a picture of piece of land God has given us.
Short Background Summary
We have been sensing from God that it is time for the work here in Thailand to establish a more permanent presence and say to “the darkness” that God’s work of transforming the Thai people in Northern Thailand is here to stay! Hope and I have been in Thailand for almost 19 years now (Jan 13, 2018 will be our 19 year anniversary), including the first two years in language school in Bangkok when our children were young. We moved to the city of Chiangrai in Northern Thailand in July 2001, 16 years ago. Chiangrai is considered the heart of the Khon Muang unreached people group (also known as the Northern Thai people). This is the third largest people group in Thailand, with somewhere between 6-7 million people. It is not only one of the largest unreached people groups in Thailand but it is also a part of what many call “World A” with less than ½ of even 1% claiming to be followers of Jesus. Not only is Chiangrai the heart of this very needy unreached people group, it is also where dozens of other unreached people groups live that have connections not only in Thailand but also in Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and China.
It was July 2001 that our family moved up North from Bangkok with a sense of a very clear calling from God to establish an English language school and to utilize this platform not only to bless the community but to utilize the relationships developed through the platform as a means to plant what we envisioned as a “mother church.” Our desire was to start as a house church but then to grow and establish a strong purpose driven “mother church” that had the DNA capable of truly impacting Northern Thailand for Jesus and beginning a discipleship movement that would ultimately be used of God to facilitate additional church planting and the sending out of national Thai missionaries from this “mother church.” This church is now officially called Baan Athitaan Church and this month of October we celebrate 16 years of existence of seeing hundreds of Thai people give their hearts to Jesus and begin to learn to walk with Him as a deeply committed follower of Jesus.
We can affirm and have had several partners affirm that God has had His hand of blessing on this work since its very beginning, not because of who we are or how smart we are, but simply because we received and embraced with joy the vision God had for this work and have tried to honor God and to be faithful to this calling and vision now for 16 years in Chiang Rai. What started in our home as a house church on our first Sunday in October 2001 with 8 people, our family of 6 and 2 other people, has blossomed into a very warm, vibrant, and active church family representing as best we can identify at least 23 different language/people groups that all come together to worship our great God at Baan Athitaan Church every Sunday morning.
We are not saying any of this to boast at all because we are very much aware that “apart from Jesus we can do nothing,” but we have been blessed by God in part simply because we have tried to abide in Christ and let His Word abide in us and we have intentionally tried to honor God by joining Him in what He has been doing and in what He wants to get done. Where many missionaries in Thailand claim that the work is hard and the Thai people do not want to follow Jesus, we want to proclaim a very different message and one we consider consistent with the teachings of God and that message is this: that God is at work all around us. Over the last 16 years in Northern Thailand, we have experienced seeing and being involved in hundreds of Thai people giving their hearts to Jesus and many of them becoming the first persons in their entire family to become followers of Jesus. This is not the work of man but is the work of God, and to Him belongs all the glory and honor. Not only have many of you donated money to NTIM for this work in the past, but also many of you have come on mission trips to help in this work and you too have shared deeply in this blessing.
As we have shared many times before, we have been very careful to build the flock and work of God before ever purchasing a piece of land, and we are now very happy to say that we have purchased a piece of land but without a building, we are still having to rent our current building until we can put up our own building. We believe it is God’s timing to say to the darkness that we are here to stay and to establish a permanent beach head for God’s work through putting up a multi-purpose facility where we can also keep the costs of English language learning at a level where anyone from any socio economic background can study with us. We have now begun phase 2 of the project and that is raising funds for the building materials and mobilizing volunteer teams to come and help us put up this multi-purpose facility. This facility will house the Field office for NTIM. It will also house Grace Language School, and offices for Baan Athitaan Church. This building will be used to bring glory to God every single day. Every single day this building will be used for the purposes of teaching, evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, church planting and the expansion of the kingdom of God.
We are in the process of working with a key partner in the US that will help us coordinate volunteer construction teams to come out and help us put this facility up for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. We are also in the process of planning to work with another key partner who represents an Australian organization that will help us supervise the construction process. We are estimating that the building materials, and required permits, will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 for the totality of Phase 2. That total cost of $300,000 is based upon an assumption that we are able to utilize volunteers teams to do the bulk of the work which we believe is not only possible, but will bring Honor to God as Christians all over the world work together for the sake of the Great Commission and reaching some of the least reached people groups in our world today.
We can envision beginning the construction process as early as January 2018, but more likely closer to March, depending upon how quickly we are able to raise the funding needed. We currently do not have anything in the bank for our building project having recently spent it for the purchase of land but we believe God is able to do more than we ask or think, and we really believe that God is going to begin providing those funds soon through the generosity of His people.
We Invite You To Join God in What He is Doing in Northern Thailand by Buying Some Bricks
We want to implement an idea of “buying bricks” in order to raise this $300,000 dollars needed. In order to make it easy to understand and easy for everyone or every family to be able to “donate” and buy at least one brick we are setting the cost of each “brick” at $25. If we take the total cost of $300,000 needed and divide it by the cost of 1 brick ($25) then we need donations for 12,000 bricks. 12,000 X 25 = 300,000. What we are asking each of you to do is to pray about donating or “buying” as many bricks as you feel the Lord would have you purchase. For some of you who are on very tight budgets, that may mean buying only 1 brick and sending in to NTIM as a donation
Please also consider advocating for us and sharing this need with some of your friends or with your Sunday School class or with churches that may have a heart for reaching the unreached and want to join God in making a huge difference for the advancement of God’s kingdom in very needy places. Remember also that NTIM is a registered 501c non-profit organization in the USA allowing all of your donations to be considered tax deductible. These donations can be sent to our mailing address in Birmingham, AL or made online at our website at www.gontim.org
If you are from a country outside the USA and would like to make a donation directly to our foundation here in Thailand, you may do that by sending a wire transfer to Channel of Blessing Foundation. Bank Name: Bangkok Bank, Swift Code: BKKBTHBK, Bank Account Name: Channel of Blessing Foundation, Bank Account Number: 537-040-7594. If you do that, please follow that up with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we will be able to allocate those funds according to your designation.
Thank you for your prayers, your partnership, and your commitment to the great commission of our Lord Jesus. Thank you for joining God in this project and for buying some “bricks.” May our God bless you for your generosity for the sake of His Kingdom.
Your Servants To The Unreached In And Around Northern Thailand,
Michael for the team
VP and Director of Field Operations for NTIM
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, darkness is everywhere, and the love and message of Jesus is needed to transform lives.
Reaching, Teaching, Discipling, Equipping, Training, and Serving People in God’s World through acts of love and compassionate is what NTIM and our ministry team is all about.