Grace Baptist Bible Institute
2 Timothy 2:2 is often quoted by those who have bible schools or preacher’s training since this is the pattern that God uses to train up the next generation of pastors and teachers in His churches. However, the second part of verse two is often forgotten about. The goal of any training should be for those men to be “able to teach others also” and they themselves continue the Lord’s work when we are gone. Thailand is not promised to forever have western missionaries bringing in their western money to support churches, bible schools, and other ministries. Thai men must take up the role of pastor, teacher, and missionary if the gospel is to spread far and wide throughout Thailand. Everything we do here at GBBI is with this goal in mind. While I aim to teach, guide and direct the men that the Lord has placed here with us, I am ultimately hoping they will take my place one day. My prayer is that the Bible school and Church will be fully functional without me and the support I am able to bring to it each month. I can already see how a few of these men are stepping up and training for these leadership positions and it is truly a blessing to see their eagerness for the people and the Lord’s work here in Chiang Mai. Please pray for this!
Over the last few months, the men in the church and I have been meeting to discuss the Bible school next year. We have gone over our teaching schedule as well as recruitment options. I trust the Lord has prepared 20-24 men who are hungry to study His word. Please pray with us about this! Also, we are thankful for the many relationships we have built through the publishing ministry and Church and we pray that other like minded missionaries would also recommend men to study with us here at GBBI. The Christian community is small here in Thailand so we are thankful to provide the opportunity for sound biblical training, followed up by an internship program that will better prepare these young men to faithfully serve their churches back in the villages. Our first set of students spent two years with us studying. However, I really felt that for those who truly desired to pastor, this just wasn’t enough. For the next group of students, we are inviting them to spend two years studying basic Bible doctrine and theology. Making sure they have a solid foundation is imperative! Then, for those I feel are truly called into the ministry, I will invite to spend an additional two years of study where we will specifically focus on pastoral ministry training. They will intern with our church and a couple other sound churches in Thailand as well as work on sermon preparation, sermon delivery, and ultimately learning how to serve in the church. Lord wiling, the church here can then determine if they are ready to be sent out as missionaries to villages all over Thailand. This is the biblical pattern, that all things are done through local churches.
Grace Baptist Church - Doi Saket
Starting a church is certainly a big commitment but ought to be a missionary’s first priority! It take discipline and faithfulness to the people to gather together consistently. With ministry opportunities everywhere you turn in a place like Thailand, it is easy to put the church on the back burner with a “we’ll get to it later” mentality. However, I do not know how anyone can do real mission work without a local church to minister out of and yet I know many missionaries who are attempting to do just that. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this is what has led to the poor state of churches in Thailand. So few healthy churches exist and I hate to think that missionaries have had a part in making this happen by not prioritizing the local church themselves. The people here desperately need to see healthy churches modeled! So, while starting a church has been time consuming and has not allowed me to travel into the village as much these past couple of years, my ultimate goal is to help establish a church that can send missionaries to those villages full time for years to come. Ultimately, my visits, while encouraging to the people, do not really help them for the long term. They need faithful pastors who know, understand and can faithfully teach the Word to their people on a regular basis! I pray the Lord would use Grace Baptist Church here and the Bible school to provide for this need here in Thailand!
I am also thankful to report that Grace Baptist Church is growing! We now have five men including myself who can preach! We have all been meeting every week to discuss sermon prep and during this time I have been going over my sermon outline and how I study for a sermon. They are also given assignments each week to prepare for the weekly meeting. I ask them to prepare a sermon outline as if they were going to preach, and then we go over it together. This way I can get an idea of their growth in studying God’s word before they ever enter the pulpit. I am so thankful that the Lord has given the church here men who are called to preach. Lord willing, this number of preachers will continue to grow and as I mentioned earlier, as the church sees these men’s lives, convictions, doctrine, and gifts of preaching and teaching, someday GBC can send these men out as missionaries when they are ready. The churches in Thailand need Thai missionaries more than western missionaries. Please pray that the Lord would raise up THAI men to be sent out of sound New Testament THAI Churches.
Grace Bannasan - Publishing Ministry and Bible Distribution
I want to thank everyone who has sent extra love offerings for bibles. Bible distribution will continue to be an ongoing issue until the price of bibles in Thailand decrease. Until then, we will continue to give God’s word out to as many as we can with the funds we are given. Praise be to God! His word will not return unto Him void!
We have many projects in the works and have been extremely encouraged by the interest in the books we have printed so far. The books we are printing are unlike anything that has been distributed here in Thailand so we weren’t sure how they would be received. However, we have heard that one of the professors at the main seminary in Bangkok has made one of our books required reading for his class! Praise the Lord! I want to thank the churches and individuals who have given towards the printing ministry. I realize it can sometimes seem unnecessary to print books and while this is certainly not our main ministry we have first hand seen it have an extreme effect on several churches and ministries to the glory of God. In my last letter I mentioned that women pastoring is a huge issue here in Thailand. Just last month we printed a book that outlines the biblical view on the office of pastor and who is qualified as well as who is not. We were shocked to see that it was our most requested book this month! Praise the Lord! Another big problem in Thai “Christianity” is speaking in tongues. We have been discussing with another trusted and biblically sound local Thai pastor, and friend of mine, the possibility of him writing a small booklet to cover this issue. He is willing to do it at no cost and Lord willing we will be able to raise the funds to get this printed and distributed to churches, bible schools, and other ministries across Thailand sometime early next year! Also, we have sent out a complete set of theology books to over 150 pastors throughout Thailand in September. Please pray that they would read them and be encouraged to run to the scriptures as they study the answers to questions many of them have never yet considered.
I am so thankful to have the opportunity to immerse myself in Thai study as we wait for the next group of bible students. I have been studying Thai five days a week for several hours per day. I still have a long ways to go, but my biblical Thai, which is another language altogether, is finally coming along. I am becoming more confident to read the Thai Bible, pray, and present a simple gospel message. Brittany and the kids are also studying Thai each week. We all still need your continual prayers regarding language learning. May the Lord continue to give us the ability and opportunity to study and understand the Thai Language.
Brittany and the kids are all doing really well. Brittany is still going on about her new clothes dryer! I am not sure if I remember her ever being this excited about an appliance! Thank you to those who gave towards this need! The kids are all working on their last couple weeks of school before they take off for a couple week break at the end of the year. When they return to school in January they will have midterm exams so we appreciate your prayers for the two older ones as they prepare for that. The three oldest kids all do their schooling on a computer and are now having to swap computers around because one of ours needs a new motherboard to function properly. The cost is prohibitive for an eight year old laptop so it ultimately needs to be replaced at some point. Your prayers are coveted regarding my wife and kids. Missionary life is difficult for the kids in particular at times and while they handle it gracefully, I strive not to forget that their normal is different than that of most other kids their age. I am thankful for a family that is all fully supportive of the work here in Thailand. The entire family considers this home now and even our oldest two are considering college options that are either local or are planing to pursue degrees that will allow them to return to Thailand in the future. We are all thankful for the opportunity to serve the people here and appreciate the love and support you provide for both me and my family by allowing us to do so. Praise be to God!
For HIS Glory,