Duane speaking at ordination service
The Ordination Prayer
Erin and Shannon singing at the service
Some of the participants in the service
We trust you all had a good holiday celebrating the birth of Christ and are enjoying a good start to 2011!
We are happy to report that our new year got started in a special way with Duane being ordained. The service was held January 2nd at the Springfield Baptist Church in Akron, Ohio. In addition to Rev. Larry Baldridge, pastor of Springfield Baptist and Duane’s sponsor through the ordination process, participants in the service included Rev. Robert Hughes who has known Duane since he was small, and Rev. Roger Alber a long- time friend going back to our teen years on the staff of Camp Koinonia in northeast Ohio. Rev. Stan Murray came representing International Ministries, Rev. Robert Cassady represented the American Baptist Churches of Ohio and Rev. Kevin Slyh of the FBC of Canton represented the Akron Baptist Association. The Karen Baptist Churches of the USA was represented by Rev. Hsa Moo of St. Paul, MN, a Karen adult choir and youth choir from the Akron Karen Baptist Church sang and Thra Mue Hti Moo from Ft. Wayne, IN came to help translate. Our daughters, Erin and Shannon sang a self-adapted version of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision” to round out the program. It was very special having so many come representing so many important times, places and people in our lives and Christian walk.
Many have assumed that Duane was ordained long ago. However, his training in college was related to soil and water conservation and it was this background in water management that led to our first work in Thailand among the Karen. The American Baptist Churches of Ohio have a track for ordination based more on experience than formal education and with over 20 years of mission work, Duane more than filled the requirements. So, for most of 2010, Duane was fulfilling the final requirements, and preparing and defending his ordination paper.
Why get ordained now? For the Karen, only ordained pastors perform communion and Baptisms. Of course, weddings and funerals also call for ordained pastors. Duane was getting requests to lead these kinds of services so finally decided the time was right to go ahead and pursue ordination. Also, it is getting close to the time when we will need to decide whether we’ll remain in the US or return to Thailand, but in either case, ordination would be beneficial.
January is also special in that we will both return to Thailand, leaving on January 10th. With the health issues Duane was dealing with last year, we haven’t been back to Thailand in nearly two years. We’ll be meeting with our Cooperative Baptist Fellowship team for the first several days of our stay in Thailand. After that, we’ll re-connect with some of our partners and visit some of the refugee camps and evangelistic work.
Please keep the people living along the Thai – Burma border in your prayers. Fighting inside Burma that erupted in November has continued and is driving Karen villagers out of their homes and into Thailand. The Thai army however, is forcing them back into Burma as soon as the sound of gun fire fades even though soldiers are still in the area, land mines are being laid and it is still dangerous. A recent report from the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) estimates 7000 people are seeking refuge in Thailand gathered in numerous small groups along the border. The TBBC also reports that food and building supply rations for the refugees in the camps will have to be cut this year due to a lack of funds.
This will be an extra special trip in that when we leave Thailand, we’ll go on to visit our son Sean in Egypt for almost a week. As you know, he is living and working in Cairo for a marketing company. He has arranged to have a few days off to show us around and has even planned an outing for us to stay in a desert village for a night. This will be our first visit to Egypt so we look forward to it. We’ll be home in Ohio again on February 4th. While we are gone, Shannon’s grandmother will stay with her at home so she will carry on with her regular school work as a senior in high school and Erin will be beginning her spring term at Judson University.
As always, we are grateful for your prayers and support. Blessings to you all!
Duane & Marcia Binkley