He has given 20 years of faithful missionary service
ON MARCH 14, 2009, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon affirmed what we have known for a long time. He ordained the Rev Henry Yeo as an Elder of The Methodist Church in Thailand. This young church now has two Elders and three Deacons.
The other Elder is the Rev Prasert Pornkiratikul and the three Deacons are the Rev Phisut Khongsukthara, the Rev Prasarn Chaisrimonthon and the Rev Somphan Sangkhen.
The ordination service was the high point of the 4th Annual Meeting of The Methodist Church in Thailand which began in Chiang Mai on March 13. Present at the service was a nine-member delegation from Singapore led by our Bishop.
A day before the meeting began, the Bishop conducted training sessions for about 30 pastors and church leaders.
The theme was “The Wesleyan way of Growing Churches”.
In my report to the Annual Meeting as Missions Superintendent, I said that “our vision is to plant 100 new, self-supporting, disciple-making and multiplying churches in every province by 2020.
“For that to happen, we will need to learn how to plant churches that meet in homes led by lay pastors. And each church should have at least 30 baptised adults that meet in three cell groups.”
I also reported that there had been discussions on several issues that would be important to include in the Thai Methodist Discipline.
“There will be three main sections:
• Historical Section
– so we remember what the Lord has done through His faithful servants;
• Doctrinal Section
– to ensure that our church remains true to the Gospel of Jesus; and
• Church Government
– to provide a clear structure for leadership.
“We also recognise that providing good education helps to build good relationships which helps us to share Christ.
“We will help churches to start nurseries, kindergartens and English Language centres that are self-supporting.”
The Rev Yeo has been instrumental in forming The Methodist Church in Thailand. He and his wife are firmly united in their desire to lay down their lives for the people of Thailand. They are uniquely gifted and have a fierce passion to share the love of Christ with children and youth.
They have established the Vineyard Kindergarten which has been so effective that parents for the last few years have been pleading with them to start a primary school. This will be their huge challenge in the year ahead. Their plan is to start small and ensure excellent quality.
The Methodist Missions Society hopes to begin two Primary 1 classes in May 2010 for 50 students.
So far, we have received donations amounting to $200,000 – which has enabled us to purchase land. We are praying for a further $400,000 to build enough classrooms for 300 students.
More than 100 years ago, The Methodist Church in Singapore was blessed by the sacrificial giving of Methodists from around the world which helped us purchase property to build schools and churches. I believe the time is right for us to bless the nation of Thailand with this gift of a Methodist primary school.
This is the Rev Yeo’s own testimony:
“I became a Christian when I was 16 years old and two years later I made up my mind that I wanted to be a missionary. Thank God for the influence of the Keswick Convention and some biographies I read.
I had a great time as a professional soldier in the Singapore Armed Forces. But in August 1988, at the age of 30, I decided to leave my career and joined Youth With a Mission (YWAM).
Charis Methodist Church affirmed my call and began supporting me. It has done so consistently for the past 20 years. After six months of discipleship training and a further six months of leadership training at the University of the Nations, I left for Bangkok, Thailand in February 1990. Of the six years I spent with YWAM, I was co-pastor of a church in Bangkok and eventually took over as Pastor-in-Charge.
I met my wonderful wife, Sungwan (Tuk) while pastoring the church in Bangkok and we got married in March 1996. Soon after that, we left for furlough in Singapore for two years. During that time, my wife realised her special gifting with children.
During our two-year stay in Singapore, we decided to join the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) and in February 2000, we returned to Thailand and I took over the role of Country Coordinator for MMS in Thailand.
In our first year, Tuk, while in her eighth month of pregnancy, started “Miracle Kids”, which eventually developed into what is now our Sanphranet Methodist Church.
She also started the Vineyard Child-care at the Sanphranet Church and then in 2004, she started the Vineyard Kindergarten at Shineforth Methodist Church.
In August 2006, we had the privilege of taking study leave and I did a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Again, we saw the wonderful providence of God through the generosity of so many supporters mainly from Charis but also from the wider Methodist family.
I am grateful to the Bishop and the Field Board of Ministry for considering me worthy of this ordination. My family would like to take this opportunity to specially thank the leaders and members of Charis Methodist Church for giving us their generous support all these past 20 years.”
Please consider helping The Methodist Church in Thailand to build a Methodist primary school in Chiang Mai. Every gift, no matter how small or large, will be gratefully received and duly acknowledged. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further information (Tel: 6478-4818, Email: mms@ methodist.org.sg)
The Rev Dr Norman Wong is the Executive Director of the Methodist Missions Society.