Pua Mission Trip March 2019
A team of 12 members, including 3 newcomers headed to Kathy's Home in Pua, Thailand, over 1-4 March to conduct the quarterly English camp. Read about the trip as well as reflection from the 3 newcomers – Ps Ian Buntain, Caleb Lee and Benedict Seah.
The team comprised 12 members: (clockwise from backrow left) Tan Kim Song, William Lenn, Karen Lenn, Sherri Buntain, Pastor Ian Buntain, Beh Soo Hee, June Kiew, Susan Tan, Kiew Won Lee, Ngiam Siew Kim, Caleb Lee and Benedict Seah.
We were delighted to have three newcomers for the trip: Pastor Ian and two of our young adults, Caleb and Benedict.
The team felt especially privileged to observe first-hand the pastoral ministry of Ps Ian and Sherri as they interacted with the students. Despite this being his first trip, Ps Ian was not afraid to be actively involved with the teaching, taking a special interest in those who were weaker in English. He followed the lesson plans closely and not once did he take his eyes off the class. He was an encouragement to the kids, sharing his life’s experiences and encouraging and ‘high-fiving’ them on their little successes in the classroom.
Similarly, despite having the tough job of teaching past and present perfect tense to her class, Sherri was actively shepherding her class in the ways of the Lord. In her last class, the teenage girls were in rapt attention listening to her advice on being a good father and mother. Her response to a question asked by one of the girls on how to choose the right husband also provided the teenage girls with Godly and helpful guidance. (Answer: Does he bring me closer to God?) We thank God for this faithful couple who modelled the love, humility and servanthood of Christ.
Visit to Maesanan Village and Tat Luang Waterfalls
It has been quite a while since we last have newcomers visiting one of the Hmong villages on Sunday morning. So it was a joy that Ps Ian, Sherri, Benedict and Caleb could visit Ban Don Phraj Wan Church in Maesanan on Sunday morning to worship with them and enjoy a lunch in the village. Maesanan is the main village where most of the students boarding at Kathy’s Home are from.
And for the first time, the team also made a trip to Tat Luang Waterfalls after the English camp. Twenty minutes' drive away from Kathy’s Home, Tat Luang Waterfalls is where the children at Kathy’s Home are usually baptised, and most recently in February, five children from Kathy’s Home were baptised here.
Left: Visit to Tat Luang Waterfalls. Right: Baptism in February. Mak with (L-R) Manee, Pichawee, Panitpon, Pastor Ning, Piraporn and Taksinawat.
What Our Newcomers Say:
As my first trip to Pua, it was encouraging to witness the fruit and power of God's work away from home. Uncle Mak and Auntie Narola's faithfulness in ministering to the Hmong people was especially inspiring to me. Having the privilege to see the church of Mesanan village worship God wholeheartedly was really moving, and I was touched by their hospitality to us. It was helpful and enriching to experience first-hand the support that churches provide each other with. Continue to pray for the youths at Kathy's Home, that they may each get to know God personally and intimately, trusting Him with their lives, and taste for themselves the freedom of Christ.
The Pua trip was a great eye-opener for me mainly because it allowed me to know more about the Hmong people, who have their children staying at Kathy's Home. It was insightful to hear from all the aunties and uncles about how we are helping the Hmong people through their challenges and that teaching English is just one of the many ways that can benefit them. However, I am reminded that our main purpose is to encourage them with the gospel and so we should pray that God will continue to complete the good work He has started in the Hmong people, just as He is doing it in us.
Pastor Ian Buntain
As a career missionary, I have long felt that the greatest weakness of short-term mission trips, is that beyond being a worthy expression of our desire to be involved in God’s mission in His world, they tend to have no clear, long-term, gospel-centred mission strategy. In other words, feeding and caring for orphans is a worthy ambition, but is it sustainable beyond the attention or lifespan of the benevolent providers? Teaching nationals English (or Math, or Science, or any other skill) is a good thing, but does this satisfy the requirements of the Great Commission?
That said, what makes our Pua mission efforts the exception to this ‘norm’ is a strategic partnership with an experienced missions partner who is fully engaged in a reproducible, gospel-centric missions focus: Church planting and training.
On Sunday—along with Benedict and Caleb—Sherri and I had opportunity to travel to Mae Maesanan village to experience something that will survive long after the members of our missions team are no longer able to travel to NE Thailand: a sustainable, locally-led Hmong church.
What most impressed me? 1) Aside from translating for me, our missionary did nothing in the service. The entire meeting—from beginning to end—was led by villagers who were reached and trained by our missionaries. And even better than this, 2) after the service, our missionary was not afraid to let ‘his guests’ wander around in the village, while he met with church members for additional training. A great missionary wastes no opportunity to invest in the next generation of national leaders…even when visitors are there.
What a blessing it is for Grace not just to go, but to specifically support the reproducible missional strategies of Mak and Narola Sanglir! May God be glorified!
Please check out Kathy’s Home Facebook for more photos!
We give thanks to our Lord for:
- 12 teachers – definitely a record, and three wonderful newcomers.
- Mak and Narola’s ministry to the children and the Hmong villagers.
- the 5 children – Pirapon, Manee, Panitpon, Phichawee and Taksinawat – who were baptised in February, we rejoiced with them as they took this step of obedience for the Lord.
- the joy, privilege and blessings of being part of this ministry and the love the team members have for one another.
- for the 5 children who were recently baptised that they will grow in their walk with the Lord and be a light to those around them, modelling and guiding others to Christ.
- for all the children at Kathy’s home and especially those who are graduating, that they will continue to depend on God for His provisions and His faithfulness and allowing Jesus to work in their hearts.
- that God will continue to strengthen and bless Mak and Narola as they labour for Him, that they will remain steadfast, immovable and always excelling in the Lord’s work.
- for Pastor Ning and his wife to have wisdom, patience and love as they shepherd the children at the home.
- for Nokton who, Lord willing, will be joining Kathy’s Home end of this summer after completing his language studies in Bangkok.
- for the GBC team that we will continue to turn towards God, lean on Him and be filled with His joy and love as we serve in this ministry.
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