Carrying the light

Mennonite groups hold first Thailand Anabaptist gathering

February 22, 2021 | Web First
From a release by Pat and Rad Houmphan
Members of several Anabaptist groups in Thailand met together for the first time on Nov. 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Pat and Rad Houmphan)

Living Water Church in Borabu, Thailand, was honoured to host the first Anabaptist gathering in that country from Nov. 25 to 27, 2020.

Five Anabaptist missions organizations were represented: Eastern Mennonite Mission, Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Rosedale Mennonite Mission, and ourselves: Dayspring Christian Ministries International / The Great Commission Foundation.

More than 70 people attended, including Thai leaders and five missionaries. The meeting went well and everybody was encouraged and rejuvenated. Our schedule was full but it was also more relaxing, in that we gave everyone the opportunity to come up and share their testimony. Each group leader and all missionaries were encouraged to share about the work they were doing, the challenges they were facing in their ministry, and how their experiences might be an encouragement to others in similar service.

We prayed and laid hands upon each group after they had spoken and we were all encouraged by the Holy Spirit.

On the last day of this gathering, we had a foot-washing ceremony, followed by the Lord's Supper in our unique Isaan way. We used sticky rice for bread because this is the Isaans’ main food, and sticky rice sticks all grains together. We also use kaliap juice instead of wine.

At the end of the meeting we had a candlelight service. It was very touching to see the missionaries come up first, light their candles and, in turn, go and light the candles of their leaders. The Thai leaders then lit the candles of other Thai believers, and then all went outside and met under the cross of the church. This was symbolic of how missionaries go out and share the light of Jesus to Thai leaders who, in turn, carry the light to their own people.

The Houmphans served as missionaries in Thailand through the Commission on Overseas Mission from 1996 to 2002 and Mennonite Church Canada Witness from 2002 to 2011. They continue their work as independent missionaries in Thailand with support from Bethel Mennonite Church, Langley, B.C.

Members of several Anabaptist groups in Thailand met together for the first time on Nov. 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Pat and Rad Houmphan)

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