Reaching families, business leaders in Thailand
From Gregg & Julie Nicholson: United World Mission Thailand
Last weekend Julie and I went with 11 Thai couples to a weekend couples retreat to focus on building strong families. This was a great time to get out of the city and go deeper with Thai couples like us who are seeking to love each other well and raise our children to be godly young men and women.
We partnered with a ministry called JH Ranch out of Birmingham that specializes in couples retreats and parent/child retreats. It was a powerful retreat, and we even had 2 couples who are not yet believers come as well.
Our parenting classes at the International Community School (ICS) where Julie teaches and the kids attend, are providing a natural way to build relationships and share the gospel.
- Pray for these couples as we seek to build godly families and share the gospel with those who do not yet know Jesus.
Pray for Thailand’s future:
October 13th marks the one year anniversary of the King of Thailand’s death. There will be a Royal Cremation service on Oct. 26th and the official coronation of the new King, Rama X. Along with the entire nation, we have dressed in black for an entire year. This is just a taste of how much the past king means to the Thai people. He was the longest living, reigning monarch in the world at the time of his death, and he was a working king who diligently sought to improve the life of the Thai people.
The end of this time of mourning begins times of uncertainty for the nation. We are still under military rule with on-going censorship and protests squelched by the Thai army. The Thai people called the former king, their “father and king.”
- Pray with us that the Thai people will now become more receptive and desire to know the King of Kings and our Heavenly Father who is the only one who can Iill the emptiness in our lives.
- We are praying that with the passing of the king, God will usher in a new era in the kingdom of Thailand.
About our ministry: Find out more at http://uwm.org/
What do we do in Thailand? We try to share in each prayer letter parts of the work that we are doing here to give you a picture of the ministry here. However, unless you’ve been here, it’s like a connect-the-dots picture. So I want give a brief overview of the work we are doing on three levels.
I have the privilege of serving on what is called the Thailand Evangelism and Church Planting Committee. This is a national planning committee made up of denominational leaders. We work together to plan and implement nation-wide ministry projects. The national plan has seven tracks: Prayer, Church Planting, Evangelism, Leadership Development, Youth, Mercy Ministry, and Media. For example, right now we are working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to plan for a Franklin Graham Festival in November 2018.
This will be three days of evangelistic services in Bangkok and in the South of Thailand. This will be a great opportunity for thousands o people hear the gospel and for churches to work together throughout the city.
Another national initiative that is going on now is the 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting for Thailand. This began on Oct. 1st and goes through Nov. 9.
I work with Bangkok pastors and leaders to doing leadership training and coaching regionally. I am a Discipleship trainer and I have also been trained in Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership training. I travel with a group of Thai Church Planters to do training throughout the various regions in Thailand.
Over the past year we have been able to train over 230 church planters. This is very exciting as we have seen the number of churches being planted in Thailand double in the past decade to almost 1 new church every day. This is still not fast enough when we realize that more than 68% of Thailand’s 67 million people do not have a church in their area. So although the progress is encouraging, we still have a long way to go.
Seven years ago, we moved to another part of the city to help with a church plant, called Bangna Christian Fellowship. This church is the vision of Thai Christian business leaders, so we have partnered with them to see this church established.
This has been exciting as the church has grown to over 70 people attending regularly. The church was launched from a new English international congregation, and now we share the same facility to worship. We are targeting upper middle class Thai families who are able to impact their country and culture. Many missionaries in Thailand focus on reaching the poor or marginalized (prostitutes, poor orphans, etc).
So after working to reach college students for 15 years here, we felt God leading us to join with these business leaders to reach another kind of unreached people group in Thailand, the upper middle class who are able to send their kids to the private school where Julie teaches. It’s exciting to see business owners, doctors and other professionals reached while ministering to the marginalized as well.
Another part of my job description here is team leader. I have the privilege of leading three other missionary families. These are younger missionaries, and we all work to accomplish our mission of helping Equip Leaders, Establish Churches and help churches Engage in Holistic Ministry.” One exciting part of this is that we will be establishing Bangkok as a missional hub for training national and international short and long-term missionary interns.
This will focus on helping those who desire to come and try ministry overseas to be trained in Spiritual Formation, Leadership Development and Practical Ministry experience through our partners.
International Community School-ICS:
We are thankful to be a part of the ministry of ICS. ICS is a Christian school with a ministry focus on reaching Thais through quality Christian education.
Julie serves as a resource teacher helping students with learning disabilities. As I’ve mentioned before the school is a mission Iield in that 80% of the students and their families are not Christian. So we have the opportunity to build relationships and share the gospel in a natural way. Also, a Thai business leader and I lead a parenting class each week where 30-50 parents attend Thursday mornings from 7:30-8:30 after they drop off their kids. As Julie ministers to the kids and I work with the parents, we both sense God is at work in he lives of these inIluential Thai families.