Rev Jeff Walsh, World Outreach Director for ACGC, recently reported in the Weekly E-News as follows….
Since the death of John Middlewood (Christian Mission leader and missionary) last November, our concerns and prayers have been focused on the future of the ministry of the Christian Mission ban Naratchakwai (CMN), located in Nakhon Phanom in northeast Thailand. John not only oversaw and directed the ministry, he was our source of information and prayer needs. From February 16 – 20 Asia Team Leader Ernie Schache and I (Jeff Walsh) visited Nakhon Phanom. While it was a sad trip because of the loss of John, we were at the same time encouraged by the resolve of the leaders at CMN to continue in ministry (pictured L-R: Pastor Boontaa, Maeo, Jeff, Ernie).
CMN’s leadership team now consists of John’s widow, Maeo (Wipada Kaewbhudta), Boontaa (who serves as a part-time pastor), and five young ladies who have committed their lives to Christ (pictured L-R: Parn, Bee, Lita, Ploy, Job and Maeo). This leadership team has forged a plan to continue in ministry treating 2015 as a “trial year.” The plan is to continue regular Sunday worship gatherings, including a fellowship meal once a month. Christmas and Easter programs have been key ministry opportunities, and plans are to continue with these. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (done for the first time last year) programs will also continue. Saturday children’s programs continue, with 15 – 30 children attending regularly. Other planned programs are occasional youth camps, scholarship aid for students, and monthly food distribution to the elderly. And the Soup of Love outreach ministry will continue.
Some things cannot continue for the time being, since John was in a unique position to do them. These include English programs in local elementary and high schools, as well as English camps. Finances are always part of any functioning ministry, and the financial picture for CMN has changed dramatically with John’s death. New sources of financial support need to be found. Change happens in life and ministry. Adjustments need to be made. Uncertainties always exist. But none of these are reasons to stop. Christians are a small minority in northeast Thailand. However, fervent prayer and dedicated ministry are growing the churches there, including CMN. Maeo, Boontaa and the young ladies at CMN are doing the work of Christ’s kingdom. They need our continued prayer, support and encouragement.”
Sunday morning worship services have continued, as have Saturday (9 am to about 3 pm) activities for the children and young people who are part of the membership of the group, which include preparations and rehearsals for the Sunday morning service. The Saturday activities are planned and led by the five young ladies mentioned in Rev Walsh’s report as are the Sunday services, with Pastor Boontaa preaching, praying and leading communion when it is held each month. The young lady leaders also teach Sunday School for the children during the latter part of the services. A Fellowship Lunch for all those attending is provided after the service on the last Sunday of the month.
Below are some pictures taken at the service on Sunday 29 March and at the Fellowship lunch after the service.
Please pray regularly for the ministries at CMN, for those who have leadership responsibilities and for those who attend the services and activities. In setting out the program for this “trial year” the Leadership Team has concentrated on faithfully sharing the message of Life in Jesus Christ, and in reaching out in many practical ways to the children and young people, and to show Christian care and compassion to the elderly folk and those who are alone and shut-in in their village and surrounding villages. Those present at the service on Sunday morning 29 March are pictured below.
The budget they have prepared to cover the year’s activities is a very realistic one but there is a fairly large gap between the budgeted figure and present, known, available funds. The members of the CMN Leadership Team is looking to the Lord, through His people, to provide the difference and confirm that they are seeking to minister in the centre of His will for them, for CMN and for those to whom they minister.
Please pray regularly that the Lord will provide the necessary funds to allow this vibrant ministry to continue.