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Thai church building about to become a reality


Kids at Peace Mennonite Church (Richmond, BC) show off a model in progress of the Living Waters church to be built together with Pat and Rad Houmphan, Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in Thailand. Members of the congregation bought lego bricks for $10 each, reaching their $25,000 goal in three months. –photo by Gerry Sportack

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Nov 29, 2005
-by Gerry Sportack with Dan Dyck

Richmond, B.C. — At $10 a brick, the popular Lego building toy was a bit expensive. But that little detail didn’t get in the way of the enthusiastic kids at Peace Mennonite Church (Richmond, BC), who together with the rest of the congregation reached their goal of raising $25,000 to help build the Living Water church in Thailand. To top it off, they did it in just three months.

The project was integrated into the congregation’s 25th anniversary celebration. Children used the purchased bricks as an indicator of sales by carefully constructing a model of the Thai church in their own church’s foyer.

A church building in the Borabur district of Thailand, has been a long-time dream of Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers Pat and Rad Houmphan who minister to the Isaan people of Northeast Thailand.

Temples in Thailand represent the centre of peoples lives, with many non-believers often seeking the Christian “temple”, say the Houmphans. Currently they host a ministry centre in a rented 2-story row house.

Constructing a building is a monumental project here, where people struggle daily to overcome pervasive poverty. In addition to worship space, the Houmphans will use the multi-purpose building as a community centre, teaching English, providing outreach, and offering children’s programs, and space for overnight guests. The contributions from Peace MC will form part of a $100,000, 3-year ministry plan for the Houmphans in Thailand. Construction on the building is expected to begin in 2006, once the land purchase transaction is complete.

Al Rempel, director of Resource Development, said, “The Houmphans are extremely grateful for this response. This is a great gift that will enable this congregation to move forward with its dream to be the church among the Isaan people.”

“With the fund raising goal being reached, the model acquired a roof that capped off a great weekend and sustained our hopes in supporting a congregation in Thailand as they begin to realize their dream of building a place for Christian worship and fellowship,” wrote Gerry Sportack in the congregations newsletter. The weekend also included the ordination of Tim Kuepfer, pastor at Peace MC for the last two years.