RICHMOND, British Columbia (Mennonite Mission Network/Mennonite Church Canada Witness) — 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 of Richmond, British Columbia, who, with the rest of the congregation, reached their goal of raising $25,000 to help build Living Water Church in Thailand.
After just three months of fund-raising, the congregation added a roof to the plastic-block building during its 25th anniversary celebration Nov. 5-6. 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 Pat and Rad Houmphan, who minister to the Isaan people of Northeast Thailand with the support of Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Church Canada Witness.
Temples in Thailand represent the center of people’s lives, with many non-believers often seeking out the Christian “temple,” say the Houmphans. Currently they host a ministry center in a rented two-story row house.
Constructing a building is a monumental project in Thailand, where people struggle daily to overcome pervasive poverty. In addition to worship space, the Houmphans will use the multi-purpose building as a community center, teaching English, providing outreach and offering children’s programs and space for overnight guests.
The contributions from Peace Mennonite Church will form part of a $100,000, three-year ministry plan for the Houmphans in Thailand. The Schowalter Foundation also provided a grant, through the Mission Network, for a portion of the building cost.
Construction on the building is expected to begin in 2006, once the land purchase is complete.
“The Houmphans are extremely grateful for this response," said Al Rempel, director of resource development for Mennonite Church Canada. "This is a great gift that will enable this congregation to move forward with its dream to be the church among the Isaan people.”