Features, Highlights

Nong Bua Lamphu Methodist Church: A ‘lamp in the darkness’

Consecration Service for first Methodist church planted in northeastern Thailand by MCS

“LAMPU” in Malay means lamp. Although not a Thai word, it is an apt imagery used to describe The Methodist Church in Singapore’s first church planting project in northeastern Thailand in the Isaan region – the Nong Bua Lamphu Methodist Church (NBLPMC) – a joint partnership project between the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) and Wesley Methodist Church.

Consecrated on Aug 5, 2005, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, who presided at the occasion, referred to the NBLPMC as “a lamp in the darkness”.

Using different illustrations and analogies to bring home the message of the transforming power of God’s light to bring new life to the lost, he urged the local congregation to live as “children of light” by loving one another and serving in God’s name.

Attended by more than 100 Nong Bua Lamphu church members, other Thai church group supporters, the Mayor of Nong Bua Lamphu, Mr Rakpong Na Ubon, Wesley mission members and delegates from the MMS and Wesley MC, the two-hour consecration service bore testimony to the fruits of labour from seed sown almost two years ago in October 2003 when the MMS and Wesley MC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to plant and nurture a church in Nong Bua Lamphu.

Nong Bua Lamphu in Isaan was chosen as it is one of the poorest regions of Thailand with a large unreached people with less than one per cent Christians amongst them. Missionary activity in the region is also relatively low in view of the16 million Thais living there.

The NBLPMC allows the Methodist Church to evangelise to the city as well as its surrounding villages.

As part of the consecration service, four people were baptised by Bishop Dr Solomon.

The occasion was special for Wesley Methodist Church Missions Chairman, Mrs Wong Hwee Cheng, and Missions Field Development Sub-Committee Chairman, Mr Melvin Tong, when one of the four baptised stepped forward for the ritual.

Said Mrs Wong: “On a mission trip in July 2003, mission members had prayed for Oi, one of the villagers baptised today. I remember distinctly that she was then earnestly searching for the truth when we and Pastor Sanit shared the Gospel with her.

“Her baptism is especially meaningful to me and reminds me once again of God’s mercy and promise if we remain obedient and faithful to His call.” Children from the NBLPMC as well as two mission teams from Wesley MC put up lively performance items to celebrate the occasion.

The Mayor of Nong Bua Lamphu, Mr Rakpong Na Ubon, thanked the MMS and Wesley MC for being a part of their community and contributing towards social development.

He acknowledged the NBLPMC’s contribution to community service as well as to teaching English and supporting scholarships to develop children and adults in the community.

The occasion culminated with the unveiling of the NBLPMC signboard at the church entrance followed by a sumptuous meal for all participants.

Alvin Hang is the Secretary of the Missions Field Development Sub-Committee of Wesley Methodist Church.

Gratitude and joy

“We are grateful to God for giving us this wonderful opportunity to serve Him in this pioneering work amongst the people of the Isaan region. During the last two years since we signed the MOU, Wesley has sent many teams to support the work and growth of the NBLPMC. The consecration service is just the beginning of God’s work here and we are committed to give our full support to see His Kingdom grow in this region through NBLPMC.”

— Mr David Wong, LCEC Chairman,
Wesley Methodist Church.

“One hundred and twenty years ago, the Americans came to Singapore and shared that God loves us. God left us with a legacy to share this good news and today we are very happy to share this same truth and blessing with the people of Nong Bua Lamphu. On behalf of Wesley Methodist Church, I wish to commend Pastor Sanit and his family and their coworkers to you. May you find in them new and trusted friends who will help to point you to Jesus, who alone cares for us.”

— Rev Lilian Ang, Pastor,
Wesley Methodist Church.

“We rejoice with the NBLPMC team and Wesley Methodist Church on this occasion of the consecration of the church. The MMS planted its first church in Rangsit 10 years ago. Today, five churches have been consecrated and we are seeing God’s work in Thailand grow from strength to strength. We also look forward to the continued growth of the NBLPMC and pray that God will provide more missionaries from Singapore to serve alongside the local team in Thailand.”

— Rev Dr Clarence Lim, Director,
Methodist Missions Society.