The Brown Family - Summer 2018 Update
The Vital Message, Year 14, Number 2
It's hard to believe that we've already been back in the USA for over 100 days. How is that even possible? It truly feels like we just landed. Even after more than three months, hardly a day goes by when we don't experience some form of culture shock. From the exceptionally large variety of food options in the supermarket, to the extreme lack of Thai food options in our community, from the very high costs of everything here, to the challenges of finding suitable healthcare for Rebecca. All in all, the adjustment to life back in the USA has been more challenging than we ever expected. And don't even get me started on the rain. This summer's rainy season in Florida makes Bangkok seem like a desert.
But this newsletter isn't supposed to be about life now. In fact, it is more about my recent prayers and reflections on the opportunities and needs in our beautiful nation of Thailand. Did you know that there are more than 80,600 towns and villages in Thailand? The Thai word for these places is หมู่บ้าน, pronounced "muu" with a low tone + "baan" with a falling tone (mū̀b̂ān). In Thailand, a mū̀b̂ān can have a population of anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands. Here in America, the subdivision we live in with a few hundred homes would be a single mū̀b̂ān. And Polk City, the town nearest to us, with a population of nearly 2,000, would also be one mū̀b̂ān.
Much like the USA, Thailand is a nation where the majority of towns and villages are in rural areas. However, unlike America, the majority of mū̀b̂āns in Thailand are lacking one very important feature - over 77,000 of them have no churches and no Christians know to live among their people.
It's hard to imagine that 96% of the nation of Thailand could have no Christian presence whatsoever. That means, for the Thai people living in those places that have never been touched by the gospel, there is absolutely no chance for them to ever hear about Jesus, much less make a decision to follow him. This truly breaks my heart!
It is out of this broken heart that we are pursuing every opportunity to speak in churches, Sunday School classes, small group meetings, home cell group meetings, anywhere we can where we can share about the needs and opportunities in Thailand. While it is true that we need to raise a budget of about $130,000 to fund the next five years of our work in Thailand, our greater need is for volunteers who will come along side of us to bring the gospel to those in Thailand who have never been reached with the good news. Our goal is to have at least 200 who will come and serve with us over these next five years.
There are several ways that we can bring Americans to help us in this task. Our ongoing method is to bring in students from USA Assemblies of God universities. These students come to study with us at APSAI, our study abroad program in Bangkok, Thailand. We have an opportunity to have a dozen or more students to serve from 12 to 16 weeks with us each school year.
Even if our study abroad program filled to capacity each semester, we still need more who will come. We need Christ followers with a heart to serve who will give us a few weeks during strategic times of the year, the Thanksgiving to Christmas timeframe being the most urgent. We need summer interns who will give us a month to three months to serve our ministry communities in Bangkok and engage in outreaches throughout the country. We need a hand full of brave souls who will commit to coming to Thailand for a year or two to assist us with our study abroad program and our ongoing outreaches across the country. And we desperately need a dozen or so who will commit to a lifetime of service among the Thai people, learning their language, understanding their culture, and being the only light of Christ that they may ever have an opportunity to see in their lifetime.
Pastors and Missions Directors, if you would like Wayne to share the needs and opportunities in Thailand with your congregation, please contact Wayne at Wayne.Brown@agmd.org with an indication of your desire and the best phone number Wayne can use to contact you. Wayne has several openings in his schedule, especially on Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights, as well as other days and evenings for visiting your smaller ministry groups. He will travel anywhere for an opportunity to share with your church family.
This is our task over the next 12 months, to share the needs and opportunities in Thailand, in hopes that God will call people to come and serve with us. It is more than just a task, it is our heart's cry, Lord of the harvest send laborers. If the Lord is speaking to you about coming to Thailand, there are two things we need you to do right away. First, tell your pastor and follow the guidance you receive. Second, contact Wayne at Wayne.Brown@agmd.org.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much.”
- James 5:16(b) MEV
Did you know that everything we do in Thailand is only possible because of you. As missionaries serving among the least reached peoples of the Buddhist and Muslim world, we depend on your daily prayers and monthly financial support. Both are critical to our ability to continue in our ministry. Please join with us in prayer over the following critical areas:
1. APSAI, the study abroad program that we helped to create in 2011, is now in its seventh year. Pray that many students from USA Assemblies of God universities will sign up to attend one of the two full-semester programs in 2019.
2. Pray for our Thai ministry partners in Lat Krabang as they continue to pursue opportunities to serve this community. They strongly desire to see a church planted in this community. It is our desire to rejoin them in this work when we return to Thailand next year.
3. Pray for us as we reestablish ourselves in the USA for this next year. Pray for safety for Wayne as he travels throughout Florida and across the nation to raise funds and raise awareness of the need for workers in Thailand.
4. Pray for the upcoming APSAI recruiting events at Evangel University, Southeastern University, and North Central University. Pray for safety as Wayne travels and that many students will be called to study in Thailand.
5. Join us in praising God for His amazing provision for our housing and transportation needs. We have a beautiful and very affordable home with wide open spaces, making it very easy to care for Rebecca. And, we were blessed with two vehicles, one of which is wheelchair accessible, and both priced thousands less than they are worth. We have truly been blessed!
As Assemblies of God missionaries, we are dependent on prayer and financial support from individuals, families, businesses, and churches. We work in partnership with our donors back in the USA and the family of believers in Thailand to spread the gospel throughout this country. When you support our work with a financial gift, you become part of our ministry team, reaching the unreached with the good news, bringing light into spiritually dark places, true hope to those who've never heard about Jesus. You can make a donation to our ministry as well as setup a recurring monthly donation and faith promise on our donor management page at http://give.thevitalmessage.org/. On the donor website, click on “Give Now” to make a one-time donation or “Set up New Recurring Schedule” to setup a faith promise and an automatic monthly contribution.