Missionary Stories

Celebrating Founders Day at the Family Village Farm!

Soon after I arrived at the Family Village Farm from Chennai, many of the volunteers came together for some nice hot chai (spicy tea). There were six of us, with one young man, who was celebrating his 19th birthday and five women, age range probably from 22 to 75.  There are a couple of other young volunteers who had gone away for the day. Their time as volunteers here ranged from five days to over six months. One of the volunteers, Rachel Beck, was the first baby adopted from this home founded by Pauline King, MD. She was adopted by a couple in the USA and comes back here every couple of years to volunteer as a way of showing her gratitude for this home and the woman that saved her life.

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Finding Peace at Pravaham

Pravaham.jpgToday I visited the other half of my Global Ministries assignment.  From the beginning I had been unclear as to what the "girls college" was and what I might be able to do to be helpful.  I had read about Pravaham on their website and was hoping this was the place as one of the greatest passions in my life is working for peace and justice and the oneness of us all.

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Sweet December

With a new year brings new energy to life in the village of Huay Ma Lai and Saha Christian Suka School in rural southwest Thailand.   For Christian Karen people, December was an exciting time of the year preparing for the birth of Christ.  Similar to Advent, Sweet December is celebrated throughout December as a time of harvest, family, and the joy and hope found in Christmas.  On November 30 people stay awake all night singing songs, worshipping, playing games, and dancing to welcome in the month of December.  Then, throughout December different groups from churches, villages, children's homes, and the refugee camps came door-to-door, singing Christmas carols. Often around ten or eleven in the evening, they were heard at the front of our house, flashlights and candles in hand, singing beautiful Karen Christmas songs. Throughout the year Thai people often go to bed early and arise early. So, with groups coming to sing late into the night, our village was radiating with extra energy and cheer. 

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Enriched by Refugees

Nicole Betteridge serves as a Global Mission Intern in Thailand. Her work is supported by Week of Compassion.

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Supporting the Church in Southeast Asia

Living in Southeast Asia as a Global Mission Intern has greatly challenged and strengthened my faith and relationship with God, other people, as well as a how I see myself.  While I would never deny my faith was developing for many years before I began working internationally, serving in Thailand and Laos has tested and increased my faith in more powerful ways then I ever thought possible. I strongly believe that it is in those moments of most discomfort, questioning, and unfamiliarity where God and my understanding of church is most visible, and many of those moments have taken place in the last couple of years.  While I have served in both Thailand and Laos, I have a unique perspective of the church in SE Asia. Nevertheless, supporting Christians has been difficult at times.   Working to sustain the church in Laos and Thailand comes with many joys as well as challenges. To me, sustaining  “the church” is not about having a beautiful building or any building for that matter, or memorizing and reciting scripture or fundraising, because the church is very alive without any of these elements.  Church is found in the relationships we build with others (no matter how similar or  different they may be from us), uplifting people, about places we can feel safe to be our true selves, about unconditional love, and about forgiveness.

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A Busy Time in Luwuk and Makassar!

I am writing from the city of Luwuk on the eastern tip of Central Sulawesi. We have just finished a training for local church elders in Palopo, South Sulawesi, and are now starting a workshop on social analysis and program planning for the Christian Church of Luwuk-Banggai (GKLB) (The “we” in this case is CGMB partner Oase Institute of which I am a member). After years of enjoying its reputation as an out-of-the-way place where nothing ever happens, the Luwuk-Banggai area has become the site of a small gold rush, one of the nation’s largest natural gas processing plants, and the rapid destruction of indigenous forests by oil palm plantations. Luwuk now has the feel of a frontier town, with mining and oil workers filling the makeshift hotels such as the one where we are staying.

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