St. Matthew Church Mission Trip 2-10 June 17

On the 2nd of June, a team of 9 ecstatic members left the sunny island of Singapore to embark on a God fulfilling mission trip to Ban Chang, Thailand.  This dedicated team was tasked to conduct English Camps in several schools, namely – Wat Kiirii Primary School, Wat Banchang Primary School and BKW. Also, there was a fun day planned with many games and activities in store for all invited children and friends from the nearby neighbourhood in the Rainbowland Children Development Centre (RCDC).

Our Journey Begins…

Pastor Chan and church members came to send us off for our 10 days in Ban Chang!
Treasures in Heaven for those who loved the King!
Our brave and cheery soldiers with their gifts!
Fashion in action
Mass games at the schools…
Who is the scissors, paper, stone champ?

 

Lesson time is no less fun either!

 

Time at Bethlehem house


Funday @ RCDC

 

Soon, it was time for us to go home…

What a wonderful and meaningful 10 days of mission trip it was for the team in Ban Chang! We truly thank God for all His providence and strength throughout the entire journey which allowed us to overcome any bumps along the way! We give our greatest and heartfelt thanks to all who have kindly hosted us for meals, church members as well as teachers and translators.

May God continue to bless them and keep them clothed in His everlasting love.

 

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St Matthew’s Church Mission Trip 22-29 Jul 16

This year, the St Matthew’s Church mission team went to Ban Chang, Rayong on 22-29 Jul 16.

Here are some thoughts from the team members:

What you see in the video is just 10 of us but there are actually a lot more who went with us. Mission trip is not confined to those who are going but the whole church has a part to play in praying for the mission point and the team heading down. – Diana Cheong (1st trip to Ban Chang)

When we celebrate missions, we must do so with the same rejoicing when one soul is saved, for that is an end product, even if we are not there yet. – Vernon Lim (1st trip to Ban Chang)

We want our children to lead Christian life. How better than to do it by example. We want children to serve and do Gods work. So we need to take first step in showing them as parents we trust and have faith in this God and His works. So we do his work. When we trust Him, we know in His care we put our children’s faith. – Yeong Ching (1st trip to Ban Chang with her 1 year old daughter!)

Watch the video to find out what happened during the whole trip…

Credits:
Photos and videos by St Matthew’s church mission team members.
Music by เพลงคริสเตียน: นิมิต (Vision)

Reflections from an unexpected trip

Trip Dated: 1-11 December 2015

I first visited Ban Chang, Thailand with my church team back in June 2015. Our main focus during that trip was to teach English at the neighbourhood schools. During that trip, we also got to meet the wonderful kids of Bethlehem House. Though they look all happy and delighted whenever they meet us, I felt that underneath the smiles, there was some kind of a “need which I could not put my finger to”. As I was flying home from that trip, I told myself that I would probably not give much thought about these kids a month or two down the road.

Six months later, I found myself on the flight back to Ban Chang.

Back in August, two months after returning from the June trip, the “need that I could not put my finger to” was peculiarly still in my head so I decided to meet up with Maggie to find out more about Bethlehem House. Over a two hour dinner, I got to find out more about the House and after much discussions and meet ups over the next two months, we both felt that I should stay in with the kids to go through life with them and see how their daily routine is like, hopefully getting a better understanding of their needs and in turn see how we can help them.

The 10 days at Bethlehem was a fruitful experience for me as I really got to see how life is like for the kids at the House. On school days we wake up at 5.30 in the morning, do devotions and have breakfast together, see them off to school, watch them come back from their studies, have fun playing sports and games with them in the evening, see them (especially the girls) stay up late to complete their homework, watch cartoons together (the boys love Dragonball) and tuck them to sleep at night. And then repeat for the next school day.

The interesting part during the trip was the public holidays we had. As it was the king’s birthday on Saturday (5 Dec), we had the honour to be invited as a church (Christ Church Ban Chang) to pray for the king during the celebrations in the town. It was a memorable experience being able to join the team from Christ Church Ban Chang on stage to sing “How Great Thou Art” and to have Pastor Anong pray for the king. The celebrations ended with us standing together in the wet muddy field as we watch the crackling fireworks set the night sky ablaze with beautiful colours. The other public holiday was Constitution Day (10 Dec) so some of the people from church decided to bring the Bethlehem kids for a day out to the beach. It was a day of playing in the water, burying people in the sand, lunch under the shaded trees and taking Polaroid shots of the kids. It was great seeing the kids letting their hair down and enjoying themselves at the beach, especially those who came from Chiang Mai as they do not get many opportunities to visit the seaside in their hometown. At the end of the day, though they were tired, you could see the look of joy and satisfaction in their faces.

Though it was just 10 days and there is probably much more I have yet to see and understand about them, staying in with the kids allowed me to have an insightful glimpse of their way of life. To be honest after just 5 days, I was struggling to wake up at 5.30am to help the caretaker prepare breakfast, so it is really impressive how the kids can wake up on time (most of them) every morning to not just prepare for school but also to do their dormitory area cleaning. During the stay, I am also thankful for the time spent with the kids, which allowed me to see the other side of them, the kids just being themselves. Some of these moments include listening to them grumble about the amount of work they have, seeing them make that intimate and emotional call back home to their families, seeing them listless after a bad day at school or simply adoring the kids’ Kodak-moment surprised faces when we threw in a birthday cake surprise after dinner for the December babies.

Looking back, I was hesitant about going back to Ban Chang as I questioned how much I could contribute to the House with my lack of the Thai language. But God always has His ways of working things out for His plans and I thank God for giving me the strength and courage to help and contribute in little ways, one way or another.

As I left Bethlehem on my last day, I gradually got a clearer picture of the “need(s) I could not put my finger to” compared to when I first arrived. But then something else cropped up. Now I could not put my finger to how exactly to resolve the needs. As I lay awake in bed late one night, feeling a little discouraged about the needs of the House as the boys were sound asleep around me, it dawned upon me that what is so special about this place I am staying in is that they have God. I am assured that the kids and I serve a loving and powerful God who does not forsake His children and will make sure that they are well taken care of and are brought up in the right way. Presently I may not see how things will eventually turn out, but I’m certain God already has His plans.simon-banchang reflection

As the Bible says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Let’s continue to keep Bethlehem House; the kids, the staff and the volunteers, in our prayers and may God continue to do His mighty works in this place. Who knows, you may just find yourself being part of God’s plan to respond to the needs there. Eventually when things start to work out, which may be months or years down the road, remember to share and testify of how God worked out His amazing plan for the kids, which just a little while ago someone else could not put his finger to.

Image and writing contributed by Simon Chow – St Matthew’s Church

A Short and Sweet Mission

Matthew 5:14-16 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

First Day: Met up with the mission team at church consisting of (Maggie, Weng Khiong, Pastor Nic, Joel & myself). We made our way to the airport, got on our flight, landed safely in BKK, collected our luggage and made a 2 hour drive down to BC.

First things first, as always, it was to prepare materials, prizes and other stuff for teaching at Wat Khiri. We bought our stuff at Tesco, had a sumptuous dinner and made our way back for a good night’s rest in preparation for the work that was to come.

Second/Third Day: Off to Wat Khiri for a short 2 day English program! 🙂

And we taught them the universe…solar system

Let the Memory Games Begin:

  1. 2 sets of the same placards are used and lined up randomly face up in rows across the floor.
  2. Students are given 1 minute to memorize where the cards are placed before they’re flipped face down
  3. Split the students into 2 or more groups and the let the games begin!

memory game

ART of ALIENS
Students are given a chance to show off their creativity skills!
Time: 1 Hour
Objective: Draw an alien to the best of your imagination

Guess who’s the alien?
alien boys

 

On the Fourth and Fifth Day: Building up the guest room in Bethlehem House!

The Bethlehem Kids played their part.
smooth wood
 
Just finishing up the remaining pieces…
building shelf
 
The final product! (Trust me.. you can’t get this at IKEA)
display shelf more display shelf
 
Welcome home stranger!brilliant room
 
Never forgetting our mission…
Proverbs 22:6
Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older they will not leave it

What Happens When A Creative Team Goes On Mission

It was a cloudy, drizzly morning when we made our way to the airport, armed with 5 boxes of 2nd hand English textbooks for Lat Krabang Anglican Church (LKAC), and a whole lot of cheerful enthusiasm. After all, we were embarking on a creative arts mission to make-over the guest room at Bethlehem House in Banchang (which will house future small-sized mission teams), as well as teach handicraft to the kids staying at Bethlehem House – a start to our #retirelazarus project (click to read more on #retirelazarus project here).

Along with the books, we also lugged with us 15kg of old t-shirts; required for one part of our craft workshop, and a whole stash of Thai baht in anticipation of our first stop in Bangkok – to shop at Sahm-peng (Chinatown) for locally available materials that we could use to make sustainable, authentic crafts.

In 6 short days,

We flew across the oceans…

We shopped (never knew you could have so much fun in a hardware shop)…

We drew…

   

We deconstructed…

We lacquered and painted…

    

We taught (craft, drums & dance)…

photo

We ate (lots and lots)…

We ‘wefied’…

We visited with the Yaps at LKAC…


And we found new flight companions for our next trip. 😍

From Bangkok to Banchang to Lat Krabang and back to Bangkok, before finally returning to Singapore, it was truly the most efficient, exciting, fun, inspiring and fulfilling short-term mission trip ever.

Posted by St. James’ Church (Singapore). All photos by Kristen Kiong & Jonathan Au. 

Little Girl Lost

She lives in a little wooden shed that houses her whole life.

A queen sized mattress covered by a worn, tattered and filthy bedsheet that sleeps 3 persons – her dad, stepmom and her.

A small cooking stove, mismatched utensils hanging off the wooden panels of the walls, a saucepan, one small lamp and nothing else much.

She eyed us with huge limpid eyes, hugging a file stuffed full – her precious few possessions from school, and wriggled her toes; they stuck out of her torn and tattered socks.

Her father talked us through her case as we took photos of the home.

girl_with_doll

Her father is an alcoholic. Her stepmom, also an alcoholic, chased the girl around the surroundings of their home with a knife when she was drunk and cut her deep in the leg and arm. The scars still bear their marks this day.

For her safety, we decided to bring her into Bethlehem House.

She is but all of 8 years old.

And when her parents left her at the church office so that we could bring her to Bethlehem House, she clung to her stepmom and wept, her small skinny frame shaking so violently I thought she would splinter apart.

And I wondered. What could cause a girl such grief to leave her stepmom when the very woman that she clung to was the very same person who inflicted such grevious hurts on her?

She has been in the care of Bethlehem House for 6 days now.

Still very new, still adjusting, and probably still missing home a lot.

Tonight, she came running up to me, tore a huge flower sticker off its backing, and stuck it on my shirt.

And smiled such a wide smile, it made me smile back unreservedly and hugged her.

First published on 16 Feb 2013 by Maggie Yew