Thai Good News Centre held its last service in Golden Mile Complex, a popular hangout for Thai people, on Sunday 19 March 2023 due to the en bloc sale of the building. Bishop Lu was there to preside while Rev Terry Kee gave a sermon on the various responses of man to the gospel, and […]
Thai Good News Centre held its last service in Golden Mile Complex, a popular hangout for Thai people, on Sunday 19 March 2023 due to the en bloc sale of the building. Bishop Lu was there to preside while Rev Terry Kee gave a sermon on the various responses of man to the gospel, and how TGNC had produced over hundreds of believers over its 30-year tenure in a shopping mall:
“When the idea of a Thai ministry came about in 1986 (by Rev Tapio from Lutheran Mission to the Thais and Rev Suk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand) and to have it in Golden Mile Complex, there was a notion of how dark and sinful the location was. Despite the darkness, the light of God can shine through. After much planning and discussion about the sensitivity of the work, they developed a name which was not so sensitive. And finally in 1989, the Centre was set up by a Finnish missionary called Salli, who could speak Mandarin and Thai.
In that era, many people were flocking to Singapore to work with the hope of better job opportunities, but life was still tough for them. For the Thais, they would attribute their suffering and difficulties to their karma, which means what you sow, you will reap in your next reincarnated life. The Thais thought they had to endure trials now because they had been deficient in their past life.
In John 9, Jesus was likewise queried by his disciples regarding a man born blind, whether this was the consequence of his parents’ sin. Theologically, what is called original sin came into the world through Adam and Eve, and as a result it brought pain, suffering and eventually death to all human beings. But it was not Jesus’ focus at the time—what was important was not to analyse the problem and who to blame, but to help the man out of his predicament. Whether in psychiatry or theology, one can debate and argue till the cows come home, but it is more pertinent to consider the person’s needs.
The Bible uses the physical to illustrate man’s spiritual condition—in this case it was blindness. And if one is blind, he cannot see his condition nor even the way to go. I recall a game I played in my youth where all were blindfolded and told to manoeuvre an obstacle course, and escape the room through a door. After a few minutes of stumbling and uncertainty, we removed the blindfolds and realised we were in the opposite direction of the door. It is likewise with the lost who need to be shown the way so they can see clearly and know where to go.
Ms Salli, in her loving welcome of the Thais, was used by God to lead many lost to Christ. I also remember Thavorn coming to the Complex on his off days, eating and drinking with the Thais, spending time with them by giving tracts and sharing the gospel.
As a result many accepted Jesus, and more than 10 of them became full-time ministry staff serving in Thailand; even after their retirement, they continue to serve. One was setting up a farm when he was approached by Thai Christians seeking fellowship due to lack of churches. He shepherded them, and recently a piece of land was donated to aid in building a church.
Another tent-making pastor ran a language school on the church premises to sustain himself and the ministry, and sold second-hand cars in the lot beside it. Once there was a gospel rally and villagers slept over in church on their way to the rally. The pastor let them use all the cars in his lot the next day. All these are beautiful testimonies of God’s love, as they are the fruit of the gospel work through TGNC.
God continues to use the faithful for His work, whether here or in Thailand, to bear His testimony and shine for Him in dark places. We simply need to be the faithful ones.”
TGNC had acquired a space in Golden Mile Complex in December 1994 and became a part of Lutheran Church Malaysia & Singapore (LCMS) in August 1995. When subsequently the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS) was formed, as a national church, TGNC became a ministry under LCS. Bishop Lu and Rev Martin Yee de-consecrated the altar and transferred the crucifix, the Holy Communion vessels and the Bible to Bedok Lutheran Church at the close of the service.
Reprinted with the kind permission of the Lutheran Church in Singapore. Visit the website to find out more about LCS.
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