ROI-ET, THAILAND (December 21, 2016) – A new coffee café and ESL classes are the latest ministry outreaches of the Thailand Covenant Church to extend the gospel in this city, one of the largest in northeast Thailand.
“The Thailand Covenant Church has been largely a rural church but with the growth of the church, it also has had a vision for reaching the city,” says missionary Peter Dutton. “In the last 10 years there has been a large movement of northeastern Thai people into the cities.”
Khamphan Sudcha, the church’s president, “took a large step of faith” by renting a five-story building downtown in November 2015, said Dutton, adding that it is in sight of northeast Thailand’s tallest Buddhist image.
The Isaan Café, as well as the new ESL classes and other programs being developed, are all located in the building.
Like many places around the world, cafés have become a good way of reaching into the community, says Dutton. He acknowledges that competition will be tough because cafés are on nearly every corner in some parts of the city.
Missionary Kristi Byford recently finished teaching a second round of intensive classes for ESL students. The goal is for the café and ESL classes to become self-supporting to help fund other activities, such as a music and arts center co-led by Ruth Dutton and Thai church member Inchai Srisuwan that will provide music lessons and training in worship.
Funds donated by Evangelical Covenant Church members have helped pay to repair and refurbish the facility and establish some of the outreach programs.
In a letter sent to Covenanters this week, President Gary Walter noted that more than 60 percent of the ECC mission and ministry budget is directed internationally to extend the gospel to the whole world.
The letter highlights the work being done to help refugees and the newly organized Middle East and North Africa mission region, and Walter noted that the generosity of Covenanters has enabled the ECC to work with partners around the world “to join God in God’s mission to see more disciples among more populations in a more caring and just world.”
Walter encouraged Covenanters to consider making a year-end gift to the mission and ministry budget as a way to support the ongoing work of the ECC. Contributions can be made online.