Grants received for Thailand Anabaptist Gathering
Posted on November 30, 2018 by Jon Trotter
The group at the Thailand Anabaptist Gathering, 2018. Photo courtesy of Mark and Sarah Schoenhals
By Carol Tobin
Traveling for up to 14 hour by public bus, van and train, Anabaptist believers from Thailand and Laos gathered together in Chonburi, Thailand, for a rich time of lively worship, fellowship and interactive teaching at the 4th Thailand Anabaptist Gathering (TAG), October 8-12, 2018. The group of over 150 was comprised of persons carrying connections with Brethren in Christ, Eastern Mennonite Missions, Rosedale Mennonite Missions, Mennonite Church USA and Canada, the Hmong 9th District Mennonites, as well as the Mennonite Brethren.
Cesar Garcia, President of the Mennonite World Conference, his wife and administrative assistant, Sandra Baez, and Victor Wiens from the International Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and MB Mission, were the speakers. They covered topics of Anabaptist theology and our reliance on the Holy Spirit. The teaching times were full of small group discussions, short skits and impromptu testimonies. One of the local MB leaders reflected, “I understand now the idea of the priesthood of all believers and why the Anabaptists encourage everyone to lead and have input. It is a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ.”
Generous donations for speakers, translated Anabaptist materials and the retreat venue came from MWC, EMM, Mennonite Endowment Fund, and the two Thai Foundations the MB’s have in Chonburi (TMBF and Abundant Life Foundation).
Days began with corporate prayer. Karen Huebert-Sanchez, serving with MB Mission in Chonburi, shared, “We prayed for our personal communities and for Thailand and SE Asia to experience revival and a great coming to Jesus for the masses. We heard testimonies from new believers who were saved from drug dealing and mafia life, and cried with our brothers and sisters from Laos as we heard about the persecution they endure for the sake of the gospel.”
Believers celebrate baptism and communion on the beach. Photo by Kris Garis
The event included a visit to a nearby beach. Gathering in the shade of palm trees, ten new believers shared how they turned from sin and idol worship to follow Jesus. Then out in the ocean, each person was baptized by someone from their own church, while hundreds of holidaying Thai people watched curiously. Participants cheered from the shore and joyfully sang “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” before gathering in the shade for communion using Thai sticky rice and juice. Some of the group were inspired and began witnessing and handing out tracts to people on the beach who were interested.
There is much gratitude for unified hearts and deep bonds of friendship that were formed at the gathering. May God to use this for God’s glory and to bring many to faith in Jesus Christ.
Article based on a report from Karen Huebert-Sanchez, MB Mission, Chonburi, Thailand.