Working together for the cause of ChristDecember 2018GP0|#c82282c9-ac80-45f6-8913-587c567bdd34;L0|#0c82282c9-ac80-45f6-8913-587c567bdd34|Extending Beyond;GTSet|#bb9274b4-45fe-43f1-8b69-3df0b933cdb0;GPP|#a82c2124-212e-4f7a-b626-9a0c5a3534c2;GPP|#96e4d92c-656e-45f6-9cd5-ab8aed108e3c Beyond/492/Working together for the cause of ChristWorking together for the cause of ChristExtending BeyondBy Stanley W. Green



<p>Tucked away in the mountains of northern Thailand is a town called Pakouay. In that town is a small Mennonite church we worshiped with on a recent visit. The rural church, mainly comprised of farmers, is one of 23 in the Hmong District 20 church conference. The leadership, given by Thawee Saeya and Chanisara Saeya, has strengthened the church and community with its ministry of hospitality and reconciliation.  </p><p>Mennonite Mission Network supports the training of church leaders around the world. In Thailand, it's no different. Mission Network supported the Saeya couple in seminary, as well as others in the region.  </p><p>When we visited the Hmong District 20 offices on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, the leadership shared their vision to develop an Anabaptist training center for Hmong church leaders in the region. It's still being formed, but already, they have a curriculum written. In the absence of facilities, they used church buildings to bring pastor-farmers together for intensive training between planting and harvest seasons. </p><p>We plan to support Hmong District 20 as they build a facility and train Anabaptist leaders. We are pleased that we can partner in this way with the Hmong churches. We believe that this is a key strategy to advance God's mission alongside our global partners. </p><p>On our way back to Chiang Mai, Rev. Ponchai Banchasawan, president of Hmong District 20, drove us by the church offices to take a photo in front of the signs at the campus gate. The signs proudly displayed Hmong District 20 and Mennonite Mission Network side-by-side in partnership. By virtue of their membership in Mennonite World Conference, Hmong District 20 considers themselves a Mennonite conference of churches. In addition, the government of Thailand requires all church conferences to be registered as a district of the Christian Church of Thailand. They were eager for us to understand that while their affiliation is with the CCT for bureaucratic purposes, their connection and spiritual identity is with the global Anabaptist community and the Mennonite Church. We feel privileged to be a partner with this church and its vibrant witness for God's reign in the world. </p><p>As we reflected on their vision and energy for God's mission, I felt a deep sense of confirmation in my spirit about the approach in mission that we have been growing into at Mission Network. We have come to believe that our special call is to come alongside our global partners. We aim to listen to their call and to discern together how we might encourage and support their vision to advance God's healing and hope through Jesus Christ. This reminded me of Paul's words in Romans 14:19: "Let us then pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding." <br></p><p><br></p><p>Stanley W. Green</p><p>Executive Director<br></p><p><br></p>




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