While we were in Phuket it was great to catch up with Benjamas (Ben). It is some time since we had seen her and the last time was in Bangkok at the Glory Church. ben is from Udon Thani and was invited as a young women to become a member in the Shalom Hostel for girls at Ramkamhaeng, Huamark, Bangkok, a ministry of the Kokkos Foundation. Although she had grown up in a Christian family it was at the hostel that her faith become personal and real to her through the Bible Studies conducted in the hostels and the teaching at the Glory Church.
Ben had become engaged a few months ago in Phuket to a young Christian man, Nan. They had met at a Christian Camp and over the years had fallen in love. Their wedding is planned for the 19th July, 2014.
It was great to have an evening with them and encourage them prior to their marriage. Ours was the first wedding present they received. They are a fine Christian couple with a real desire to serve God. We will maintain contact with them and seek to mentor them as best we can from a distance.
Since becoming involved with people in Thailand, Kevin has had an interest in the Christian mission work associated with CB churches.
In 1995 when Kevin first visited Phuket for a mission conference he was introduced to Mr Arnold Clarke, the son the pioneer missionary, Mr A.G. Clarke to China.
Christian Assemblies begin in Thailand
Arnold Clarke was born in China and was imprisoned because of the cultural revolution. On his release he had to leave like many missionaries and he went to Australia. In 1954 he went to Thailand and started his ministry in Phuket using the Chinese language amongst Chinese because many of them had also moved there because of the unrest in China, also using translation into the Thai language.
The Sea Gypsies (Urak Lawoi) get some Attention
David and Doreen Hogan had gone to Thailand from Australia in 1957 and moved to Phuket in 1965 and began to make contact with Sea Gypsy (Moken) peoples along the coasts eventually concentrating on the Urak Lawois peoples. Doreen was a New Zealander.
The Urak Lawoi are a sea-nomadic people who have used these lands and islands along the Thai coast for centuries. Public knowledge about them is very low and little knowledge is known of them. The Thai Government continues to give them status and legal occupancy of the land they have lived on. Like many traditional cultures they face the challenge of maintaining their traditional practices and preserving their way of life which relates closely to the environment they live in.
Stephen and Raewyn Pattemore went to Thailand in 1984 to work alongside Raewyn’s parents, David and Doreen Hogan, in church planting, pastoral care, Bible translation and literacy. The Urak Lawoi’ New Testament was completed in 1997 and printed and distributed in April 1998. Psalms and Proverbs were published in 2011 in a diglot version with Thai. Currently consultant checking on the Old Testament historical books is nearly complete in preparation for publication. This one family has provided this marginalised people group with God’s precious word in their own language. They have also made a significant contribution in raising awareness of their plight and the preservation of their history and artefacts.
We have been visiting Thailand for the past 20 years so it was great that Yvonne and I could visit again. We were able to have a holiday for the first few days in the beautiful Mangosteen Resort at Rawai in Phuket. It was great to relax, read and swim in such a lovely location. This was Yvonne’s first visit to Phuket but Kevin had been there a number of times on mission visits, the first in 1995.
Many of our friends questioned us going when the country was under a military junta. However, life goes on and Thailand has always had their way of control the issues. This is a country that has not been ruled or influenced by any colonial power.
Our posts on this blog will highlight some of the memories during our time in this beautiful country.
The Resource Development Foundation (RDF) was really born in 1971 when Yvonne and I lived and worked in what was then a British Colony called the Gilbert & Ellice Islands. It has now become two independent countries known as Kiribati and Tuvalu. Ever heard of them? Do you know where they are? Well, they sit almost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and spread across the equator.
Kevin gained a contract with the British Government to develop a technical training programme to provide a skilled workforce for the electricity needs of the Islands. They had diesel generators on many of their islands and distribution systems to deliver electricity to the residence.
While there we became involved in voluntary work as well preparing people for life both physically and spiritually. So it was a holistic approach to the development of the nations resources. Physical resources and human resources. Both the peoples spiritual wellbeing and their physical needs. Hence the name ‘Resource Development Foundation’.
This has been our life’s vocation as we have lived and worked in New Zealand, Gilbert & Ellice Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea as well as frequent visits to places like Thailand and China.
Our blogs will enable you to enter into our lives as we have endeavoured to live them in a way that brings honour to the God we trust and serve.