I've been away nearly two weeks with a mission team from First Baptist Riverside serving God in Thailand. We led a five day retreat for the Thailand Baptist Mission Fellowship, a group of about fifty missionaries and their families. These missionaries come from the United States, Australia, Britain , Germany, Japan, and India. The members of the Thailand Baptist Mission Fellowship serve in stressful ministries in Thailand rescuing women from the sex trade and human trafficking, operating an orphanage for children whose parents have died of AIDS, doing street ministries in the cities, evangelizing and helping improve agriculture and business among the hill tribes, and training pastors of local churches.
At the retreat we led programming for adults, youth and children. Usually the missionaries have to lead their own retreat, meaning that some of them are working instead of getting a break. The theme of the retreat was "Treasure Quest" as we helped the adults and children discover the treasures God has made available to them as they serve him. Torrie and Barbara led the children's ministry, Connie and Ed led the youth ministry, Nick was our worship leader, and Diane and I led the adults. We also facilitated a get-acquainted activity at the beginning of the retreat, a "Treasure Quest" at the end, as well as providing spa treatments for the missionaries.
It was amazing to meet the missionaries who are serving God in Thailand. They are a dedicated group of people, serving God passionately under difficult conditions, with love and compassion for the Thai people. While we were in Thailand we were able to visit the New Life Center housing about fifty girls rescued from the sex trade and human trafficking. We also visited the House of Love, an orphanage for children who families have been devastated by AIDS, and a preschool to help disadvantaged kids get a head start before they go to school.
We had a couple of days to do some sightseeing in Thailand. One day we explored old town Chiang Mai and learned a lot about the culture and the religion of Thailand. The other day we visited Doi Inthanon National Park, the highest mountain in Thailand, known for beautiful waterfalls and temples. We visited a Karin village, one of the hill tribes that has become largely Christianized through the work of Baptist missionaries.
This Sunday (November 8th) in worship I'll be able to show some pictures and talk about the work we did in Thailand. This Sunday we'll also continue our study of "JESUS: God and Man" and learn about Jesus' miracle healing the demon possessed boy in Mark 9. On Wednesday, December 9th at 6:30 p.m. our Thailand Mission Team will lead an hour program to give a more in depth report of our trip with additional pictures and display items. We hope you'll join us.