A team of 20 members from City Harvest Church brought the love of Christ to Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Valentine’s Day. Lau Quanhan, a member of the team, reports.
Going to Chiang Mai in the midst of a cold Thai winter is not for the faint-hearted, but the 20 City Harvest Church members were single-minded in their vision: they were there to help establish a local church.
Chiang Mai Harvest Church is being started by two graduates of City Harvest Church’s School of Theology, Suriya Kiatorankul and Thasanee Thisrechai. These pastors have a burden to reach out to the youth of Chiang Mai and bring the love of Christ into their lives. Upon graduation last year, two of them returned home and gathered a group of six people to help start CMHC.
The Singaporean mission team was in Chiang Mai from Feb. 9 to 12. A group of 12 people formed the operations team and was led by mission’s director of City Harvest Church, Bobby Chaw. They worked hand in hand with Kiatorankul and Thisrechai to look for a suitable piece of property for the church to hold its weekly worship services. The remaining eight formed the events team, tasked with organizing two outreach events for the local high school and university students.
Valentine’s Day is a major event celebrated in Thailand. The team took the opportunity to conduct evangelistic events in celebration of this season of love. The team led by Veronica Tang, a zone supervisor in CHC, set up booths providing different activities for invited guests before the services start. The photo booth with silly wigs and fancy spectacles proved the greatest hit with the students, attracting a huge crowd.
The young church with only six members managed to bring in a total of 80 people for the two events that weekend. The CMHC youth conducted team games that gave their invitees a chance to get to know each other. Couples were also invited to dance to popular Thai Songs.
The sessions started with a treat from the dancers from O School. The fusion of hip-hop, reggae and modern dance enthralled the crowd and soon, everyone was in the mood for dancing. The youths were all excited when the dancers got them on their feet and taught them a short dance sequence. Once the youths were familiar with the steps, the dancers searched for the best male and female dancers and awarded them iPods.
Dancer Gin Lam took the stage to share her personal testimony. She told the young crowd that even when she had reached a certain pinnacle as a professional dancer, she did not know what she was living for. It was only when she found Christ that she found her purpose and fulfilment in life.
Lam’s touching testimony set a tone for the preaching of the word. As Kiatorankul preached a message of salvation, explaining that one is not saved not through works but only through Christ alone, the youths listened with open hearts. On the first night, all the visitors responded to the altar call. Over the two sessions, a total of 30 people gave their hearts to Jesus.
“I am very encouraged by the good works done by the pastors in Chiang Mai,” said Tang. “Seeing all the new friends coming to the services and getting saved give me a new vision for what we can do for the youth back in Singapore. There is indeed so much more to be done.”
The effort to help CMHC began from members in City Harvest Church, who had already taken a number of trips to help the Chiang Mai church. Dr. Fong Wai Yin was one of these: “My friends and I have been visiting CMHC since November last year doing outreach events. We recently did a youth camp in January as well. Eleven people gave their hearts to Jesus in those events. In this trip, we wanted to accomplish two things: firstly to find a plot of land for their worship services and secondly, to do a Valentine’s Day outreach event.”
“When I went for my first mission trip during bible school last year, I was overwhelmed by the whole experience,” said another team member Sally Fong, an asset and marketing manager. “I experienced firsthand what a church without walls meant. That experience made me realize that being in Singapore, we are very sheltered and protected and we take a lot of things for granted. But on this mission trip, we got to see the rough conditions the people of Chiang Mai live in. So when I’m there to minister and help, I am often being ministered back through the love of people and God. To me it is even more rewarding than taking a vacation. I would recommend that every Christian go on a mission trip!”