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.

22 January 2012

Moving on in tears ....

Yes, we are planning a move from Samut Prakan to another part of Thailand by the end of this year - to do similar ministry. After 3-4 years of sweat and tears, God blessed us with the official opening of our church plant in our local slum community (see photos after this 1st paragraph). This seemed impossible 7 years ago (end 2004) when we did the surveying and then even more impossible when we started the reality of working there 4 years ago in 2008. But God does more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20,21 - my life favourite verse). During that time we have seen God bring people to Himself in a new faith, and taken us through some incredibly difficult times, given us strength through discouragement, gave us the opportunity to train a team of Thai leaders and now He gives birth (officially) to this new church! We are hanging around for a few more months yet, until we are sure they are fully equipped to reach out to new slum communities in our city.

Picture 1: The church gathering from the back

Picture 2: The "front door" of church :-)

God is faithful .... as a quote from my autobiography says "Never doubt His faithfulness and His character to do more than what you can ask or imagine. Believe in the impossible and what mankind says is unattainable until, through God’s strength, it becomes possible and attainable."

Moving on doesn't mean abandoning an area or ministry (i.e. the urban poor) .... it means giving it freedom to 'fly on its own' - in a similar way that God called us to do with our children when they became adults. 'Flying on your own' grows maturity and dependence on God like nothing else - we've seen that with our own children. Now we hope to see it with this new church plant.

God has convicted me strongly in this country (and taught me through some very hard lessons) to be careful to hand things over to local believers (when the time is right) and remove myself from the temptation of squashing their initiative with my control tendencies.

I have observed Jesus' example and Paul's example of an incarnational approach to ministry. But they never stayed in a place for very long. In Jesus short time of ministry He lived in at least 3 different places (Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth). In His ministry He travelled extensively to many places - moving on when He sensed the time was right! Paul, while being very incarnational, only planted himself in any location for up to 2 years (his longest was in Corinth for 2 years).

I firmly believe I see the best fruit when God uses me (only by His Grace for an deserving sinner like me) to pioneer a new work where people haven't heard about Jesus, see God bring them to Himself and then grow them into a new church. What comes next is incredibly hard for me - MOVE ON !! God is now telling me to do just that. He is also telling me to maintain an apostolic connection for the rest of my life with the slum ministry in Samut Prakan. He is now telling me to follow His path to work in reaching the great unreached region of Isaan.

I choose to obey my God - in tears I choose to move on .... watch this space over the coming months as we share more of the vision to reach the 21.5 million Isaan people group of North East Thailand - where the poorest of the poor live in this country.