“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:57-58)
Praise God for His protection, His guidance, and His wisdom. I am thrilled to write to you this morning and report that Team Thailand is “all systems go” once again! We have been able to reopen our Sunday services and to begin running songthaew (minibus) routes again. We were spared the worst of the virus here in our area, three hours south of Bangkok, while other nations in Asia have seen terrible outbreaks. The government enacted a very restrictive state of emergency decree, which is still in effect, so we are “slow opening” all the ministries. Travel restrictions and curfews are still in place, but for the most part, we are unhindered in the work.
International Baptist Church of Hua Hin
The team’s third church, and the one that I currently pastor, was able to begin public services on the first Sunday in June, and we have had visitors and folks saved each week. Our schedule has changed a bit to follow virus guidelines. Temps must be checked, masks must be worn, all chairs must be separated by a distance of 1.5 meters, etc. etc. This meant that all of our members could not come in at the regular time. Knowing and preparing for this in advance, I made the decision to begin holding Sunday morning services at our fourth church plant, International Baptist Church of Nong Plap. Up to this point, the church members in that area were bused in to our central location on Sunday mornings and would hold Sunday evening services in their local area.
International Baptist Church of Nong Plap
This church has now become fully autonomous. They are having Sunday morning and afternoon services, a midweek Bible study, and three weekly scheduled soul-winning outreaches. Our faithful team member, Pi Pong, has become the pastor and is assisted by Star, a vibrant young man who has dedicated his life to the Lord and has also proven to be a faithful coworker. I have asked our long-time team member, Bro. Chad Inman, to be the administrative pastor of IBCNP. He and his family have helped greatly in organizing the work there. Please pray for Pong and his wife Da, for Star and his wife Rain, and for the Inman family as they work together to reach the city of Nong Plap. In the first three weeks of holding morning services, their attendance has increased each week.
• June 7, Week One: 49
• June 14, Week Two: 73
• June 21, Week Three: 101
And we are still unable to open the nurseries due to virus restrictions! God is doing a great work through these humble servants, and we are thrilled to bring you this great report. Of course, we could not mention this church without remembering the labor of love of Pastor Randy and Carmen Shook, my parents, who started this church almost four years ago.
Reopening of Premier Language School
Several weeks ago, our English school received a surprise visit from the Ministry of Education. Of course, they were incredibly pleased with the cleanliness of the property and the professionalism of our faculty and staff. We have a tentative reopening date of July 11. Please pray that we will be able to reopen on schedule and that the students will be able to reacclimate to the classroom environment. More than half of the over 50 students in our English school are not members of our church. Many of their parents have not yet been saved. Our team took this opportunity, while so many here are out of work, to reach out to every student in our school and their families. We were able to take bags of groceries and the Gospel to these families and introduce these family members to Jesus Christ—the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
Continued Online Services
During the shutdown, we tackled, for the first time, the efforts of getting our Sunday and Wednesday services online. This has proven to be a useful tool. Many of our local residents, who have visited our churches, been saved, and baptized, and now identify as Christians, are not able to attend church faithfully because of work obligations. Most work six days a week, and many people are required to work seven days a week. It is great to see them taking part in online services as they are able. Of course, nothing could ever replace the face-to-face fellowship of the body of Christ!
Our team has been faithfully supported by several churches and individuals throughout the years, one of which, I was able to video conference with last month. I was amazed to find that although no representative from our team had ever visited this church in Canada, they have supported us since the team was first commissioned back in 2008. Thank you, Pastor Brian Johnston and Gospel Light Baptist Church of Ontario, Canada!
Our sending church, First Baptist Church of Hammond, has been a constant source of encouragement over the years, and we appreciate Pastor Wilkerson and all of our faithful family and friends there.
It would be impossible to thank everyone individually who has had a part in our work in prayers, in support, in letter writing, and in missions trips over the past 12 years. So, I will close with a heart of gratitude for all who have made this work possible. We will take the final account in Heaven together!
Serving the King in the kingdom of Thailand,
Bro. Tim, Mrs. Missy, Lauren, and Mark Shook
Miss Shari House
Bro. Chad, Mrs. Sarah, Harmony, Autumn, and Forest Inman