Earlier this year, I coordinated the fourth overseas experience for members of Adelaide Hills Lutheran churches to visit Nan province in north-eastern Thailand. This year’s five participants were members from Trinity Lutheran in Spring Head, St John’s Lutheran in Woodside and Lobethal Lutheran. Our mission was to: assist Lua evangelists and villagers in Ban De […]
Earlier this year, I coordinated the fourth overseas experience for members of Adelaide Hills Lutheran churches to visit Nan province in north-eastern Thailand. This year’s five participants were members from Trinity Lutheran in Spring Head, St John’s Lutheran in Woodside and Lobethal Lutheran.
Our mission was to:
- assist Lua evangelists and villagers in Ban De Lai to enclose the church building we helped construct in 2020, and add a verandah and toilet
- assist evangelists and villagers in Ban Hoi Tong to re-roof their church building and tile the floor and verandah
- re-connect with evangelists and Pastor Tovo, from the Malagasy Lutheran church, and his family
- facilitate the Saturday club for children in Ban Den, which included sharing a Bible story, a craft and playing games together
- worship with locals
- visit and pray for villagers we met, and
- be inspired by the strong and active faith of the Lua and Thai people.
We served alongside Lua evangelists to complete the projects. Through hand signals, using Google translate and their limited English, we were able to strengthen friendships. We also experienced our hosts’ generous hospitality and celebrated the end of the projects with a banquet.
It was incredibly rewarding to go to Ban Hoi Tong, in the mountains near the Thai/Laos border. Members of the church and non-members in this village helped re-roof and tile the floor of the church building. This is what these trips are about – using our gifts to serve with others as examples of Christ’s light to those who don’t yet know him as Lord.
Although the locals may not have the relative wealth we enjoy, their abundance of love for God and one another is inspiring. As we served, we were blessed by those who welcomed us, joined us in service, shared what God has done and continues to do in their lives, and excused our cultural faux pars and misunderstandings to continue to build relationships.
Service begins with God in whose image we are made. He gives us all we need to assist, love and receive blessings from those who live in a different country and culture. We were thankful for being kept safe, challenged to interact with people we don’t know well or share a common language with, and provided a place where we could use our God-given abilities alongside others.
We also thank God for the generosity of those who donated toward the building projects and those who surrounded us with prayer support.
This was an incredibly rewarding experience that provided so many moments which helped us to grow our faith.
This story was also published in the August 2023 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.
If you, your school or your congregation, would like to know how you can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email email@example.com. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/start-a-partnership/
Read more stories about congregational partnerships at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/congregations/