December 18, 2021, was a high day in Khon Kaen, Thailand. We held our first Sabbath worship service in our new church building. Ever since we purchased land at the end of 2016, we have dreamed of this day. One Sunday morning in early 2017, my teammate Chris Sorensen and some other short-term missionaries and local workers came to my house with graph paper and pencils in hand. We spent the next several hours drawing up the preliminary blueprints for what we hoped would one day become the home of our new church and music school. As Chris shared his ideas and put them on paper, I must admit that although I was excited, I was also a bit skeptical that the dream would ever become a reality. After all, there would be a lot of fundraising involved. Chris, however, never seemed to waver in his faith that it would happen. I am thankful that God puts us on teams with people who are strong where we are weak!
We spent the next few years consulting with an architect, collaborating with the Thailand Adventist Mission and AFM, and casting the building dream before our local church family. We devoted many hours to meetings, brainstorming how to best move the project forward. We were very blessed to receive funding from many entities such as our local congregation, the Thailand Adventist Mission, the Union, the Division, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Adventist Frontier Missions and, of course, many very generous donors. We want to extend a special thanks to everyone who has supported this project.
As I sat in our new sanctuary on that first Sabbath, I found myself fighting back the tears. People filled the room, and a wall of glass windows along the front provided a beautiful view of the outdoor world. I thought about all of the current and former missionaries and church workers who had helped to make the day a reality. I remembered all of the providential leadings in the past and of the many ways that God showed us that He was the one who was indeed in control of the project. I thought of my unbelief and doubt and felt humbled by God’s mercy and goodness toward me and to the project.
Setbacks from COVID-19 characterized the several weeks leading up to that Sabbath. Our local Thai pastor and his family and several young people in our church came down with the virus around the middle of November. After closing church for a week, I also came down with it (thankfully only a mild case). Due to the pandemic, 2021 was a harder year for Thailand than 2020. In fact, our church was closed for several months as cases continued to rise. In light of these realities, it truly was a blessing to close the year on a high note in our new church building.
We truly give God all honor and glory for our new building. We know that it is His blessing that has made this a reality. While we can now use the church, the music school is still not finished. However, we plan to be using the school soon, and we should have our official grand opening of both buildings by the time you read this article.
Thank you once again to all of you who have given to this project. We are continually humbled by the generosity of God’s people. If you would like to help support this project, there is still time, as we do still have a little fundraising to finish up. If God has put it upon your heart to contribute, please visit the AFM website at https://give.afmonline.org/page.aspx?pid=555, or send a check to AFM indicating your donation to the Khon Kaen Worship and Ministry Facility. We hope and dream of using these buildings to train and disciple people of all ages and provide seminars and events to the community. May you all experience rich blessings from on high!