Expanding Opportunities in Thailand

The four American travelers with some Thai women. L-r in back: John Beukema, Kyle Bushre, John Hetrick, and Jeff Bleijerveld. (click to enlarge)

A service in one of our churches in northern Thailand.

A footbridge into a Thai village.

John Netrick with a friend.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

In January 2012, I visited Thailand with three men from King Street UB church in Chambersburg, Pa.–pastor John Beukema, John Hetrick, and Kyle Bushre. We were joined by Carol Chan, who chairs the missions commission for Hong Kong Conference.

Global Ministries is interested in ways to partner with Hong Kong Conference to expand our ministry in Thailand. We have effective work in the mountains of northern Thailand–two churches, one church plant, and other ministries. Now we’d like to expand our work into the more populated areas–in particular, the city of Chiang Rai.

At the same time, King Street has been looking for a partnership that would enable them to be involved in church planting among a relatively unreached people group.

So it was a vision trip for both Global Ministries and King Street. Out of the trip came multiple opportunities.

Church planting. The Council of Churches in Thailand has been very generous and open-handed to Hong Kong and Global Ministries regarding any efforts we want to pursue in Chiang Rai. A building now being used by World Vision will become available soon, and they offered it to us.

Carol Chan with the pastor’s daughter.

Teaching English. A number of countries in South Asia, including Thailand, are working to create a free trade zone. The common language would be English. As a result, those countries are greatly interested in getting their students up to speed in English skills.

In Thailand, the government is providing substantial funding to schools—including salaries, housing, and travel costs–to bring in native English-speaking teachers. They are basically waiving the visa process. If you have a contract with the school, whether it’s a secular or private school, you are in.

Small business enterprises. Young people from the mountain areas are finding it hard to continue working in the tea harvesting in- dustry and are looking for work in the larger cities. Such persons, sometimes naive, often fall prey to persons who trap them in lives of slavery and prostitution.

We’re interested in finding persons willing to expand their businesses to provide training and employment opportunities for these young people. Interestingly, silicon chip manufacturers in Bangkok are looking to expand their operations into the north to avoid the typhoons which often disrupt their operations. This presents both job and church planting opportunities.

As you can see, we have some open doors in Thailand. We have a number of offers of assistance and opportunities to initiate a new work, and would be interested in speak- ing with persons possessing relevant skills.

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