(Update from Stan Murray, International Ministries Area Director for Southeast Asia and Jonathan Hilsher, Coordinator of Volunteers)
A short-term mission team of American Baptists has safely returned from work in Thailand after being delayed a week due to massive political protests, which had forced the closing of the Bangkok airport.
The Discovery Team departed on Nov. 16 to engage in mission work in Northern Thailand. This group was made up of 12 American Baptists from four states (Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Oregon, and Indiana) and from five different churches. However, they were all united in a desire to demonstrate the love of Jesus and to bring running water to a remote tribal village in Thailand. They partnered with missionary Mike Mann and the Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP) by investing resources and effort in working alongside villagers to build a water system.
The team planned to return home on Nov. 25, but protesters shut down Bangkok’s international airport just hours before their departure to the US. The team had to stay at the Bangkok Christian Guesthouse to await a solution to the political impasse in the country. United Airlines, on which they were flying, was unable to fly out of Bangkok due to the airport closures and there were no viable options within Thailand
Eventually, the team undertook a 1,200-mile trip south through Malaysia to Singapore. Mike Mann and our Thai partners were incredibly helpful and supportive of the team and made the arrangements for this long journey. The team arrived safely and is now en route to the United States. There is no doubt that the prayers of many sustained the team throughout this time of uncertainty!
Despite the many difficulties, some members of the team are already thinking about returning next year to support the ongoing ministry of Mike Mann and ITDP.
• Praise God for providing for the needs of the teams and the helpers who came alongside them.
• Pray for our missionaries serving in Thailand (some of whom are now on U.S./Puerto Rico assignment): Duane & Marcia Binkley, Kim Brown, LaMon and Pat Brown, Scott and Tan Coats,
Annie and Jeff Dieselberg, Chuck and Ruth Fox, Lea Lindero, Becky and Mike Mann, Jan and Larry Martin, Kit Ripley, Karen Smith