Malones in Isaan Thailand - Working amongst the unreached of Isaan

Follow the adventures of the Malones in Thailand as we work with urban and rural peoples in the Isaan area in Thailand. We aim to share the Good News of Jesus with the Isaan and mobilise for 5 teams across Isaan. Previously, we were with the poor in Samut Prakan (part of Greater Bangkok). If you would like to work with us (short or long-term) please don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

21 March 2010

Cell church in the slum

Just wanted to give you a 'small peek' into the cell group we run in Klong Da Nu slum community. Every Thursday we meet with 3 believers and are often joined by neighbours or other interested people who want to see what it is like to worship the Living God. Klong Da Nu is a community of around 700 people.

video

This video was taken last Thursday. If you have problems viewing the video here, you can also view it on my YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/malonephil
along with other videos there.

This is very early stages of church planting in an urban slum community. After 18 months of working in this community we feel a part of it. God has used this time to build credibility for His Name amongst a people who are hurting from a range of issues in their lives and background. God has given many opportunities from these many friendships to share about the Good News. It is long and hard work, but a privilege to testify to the faithfulness of God in our our own lives.

Faces of Klong Da Nu Community


Please pray for us as we continue to work in this community on days when the temperature reaches 40 degrees with high humidity. You may notice in the video a wet towel around my neck (this is a necessity at this time of the year).

We are now in the midst of the lengthy Thai summer break when schools are closed and many return to their rural provinces for time with their wider families. It is also the Thai new year in a couple of weeks. So, from Monday 22 March we will be on holidays for around 4 weeks (which will include a conference with our mission agency in the middle of that time) and include a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary with all our children. So, we probably won't blog again until late April :-) Happy new Thai year.

09 March 2010

Some Challenges in Ministering to the Poor

1 John 3:17 challenges us: "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" This verse rings in my mind as I spend time in poor communities visiting friends from church, eating lunch with english students, chatting with people sitting along the path and building relationships.

I see one couple from church trying to rebuild their termite-eaten house one side at a time so they still have two walls and half a roof to sleep under for the several weeks it will take them since they don't have the money to hire help. The have been able to buy some timber and tiles with money they have saved up from her $8 a day 4 day a week job since he stopped drinking and she stopped gambling, but it has now run out. I should mention too that they look after her 10 year old grandson whose parents were both sent to jail on drugs charges and are now both dead, one from a disease, the other from capital punishment. My whole being wants to use funds donated by our friends around the world to give them all they need to have a decent home that will not fall down around them again in another year, as well as the money needed to request electricity connection to their house. As you read this you're probably thinking, well what's the problem, why don't you??



To put it simply, poverty is not just about lack of material things and so is not fixed by just giving material things. For example, we don't want to cause a dependence on charity, especially from foreigners, to replace a dependency on gambling, or worse, to take the place of a dependence on God. We have already agreed with our pastor that most of our giving should be done through the local church and are thankful for the wisdom he has shown in meeting the needs of the poor.

We did give an agreed amount through the church to the above family to buy good timber for the posts and tiles for the roof, and the men from the church helped with labouring one Sunday afternoon. It still is not the house of their dreams, as they had to use the corrugated iron from the old roof to make the walls until they're able to save up enough again to buy fibro for the walls.

Meanwhile, I'm still struggling with the questions of who to help, how best to help in a way that will bring people closer to God, and how much of my desire for people to think well of me is tied up in my desire to help. Most importantly, I'm learning that this community needs God's love even more than any material help we can give, as addressing their spiritual poverty will go a long way towards 'fixing' their material poverty, which brings me back to the verse I began with: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (v16-18) And let us not love just with money, but with our whole lives. Isaiah 58:10 tells us to "spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry," not just to spend our money on them. There are so many other stories we could add to this one which show that our first response is not always the best, so please pray for Godly wisdom for us in everything we do.