Karen Pastors’ Conference
‘Thank you for your teachings, they are very good. After you teach I go back and share with others the things I learned from you. They have helped me with my own preaching.’ Pastor Sooty Leader of Karen Pastors
‘Your teachings always encourage me in my work as an evangelist. They encourage me to keep on sharing the gospel.’ Moon Karen Evangelist
‘We want you to come back and to continue to share your teachings with us.’ Chairman of the Local Karen Baptist Committee
These were some of the encouraging statements we received after completing our sixth round of training with the Karen pastors. After the first two conferences, we started again with a different translator and in a different location. The past four conferences have gone very well with a large percentage of those attending having attended the previous three conferences. This level of continuity is reflected in their growing understanding of the things we are teaching and their enthusiasm to put the things they have learnt into practice. Rome was not built in a day, but the work among the Karen has been a steady work, now showing year on year encouragement.
Having Johnny Maclean with me for the past three years has also been very helpful and the support of Pastor Sunny who despite now being 70 is very keen to promote the training and is a well-respected leader in the Karen Baptist Church. Most of the younger men, (under 40 years of age) are fluent in Thai as well as Karen, so Johnny’s ability to teach in Thai is very helpful and for those who are only fluent in Karen, Pastor Sunny provides a translation either from the Thai or from English into Karen.
This year we moved to a new village, but it did not affect the attendees, as the majority had been with us in Teemulee. However, this new village was slightly more accessible for all, and had larger facilities than the previous location. It was good to be preaching to a new group of people in the evening. This congregation was excited to be listening to the sermons Johnny and I gave and were keen that we return next year.
The teaching this year covered three things: –
- I taught how to preach from Old Testament Narrative with the story of Joseph being the text for the workshops.
- Johnny did the Bible overview which covered the things that continue and discontinue between the Old and the New Testament. As always, the Lord had gone before us as we learnt that a group of Seven Day Adventists had recently moved into the area, making very big claims about the church needing to meet on a Saturday. The teaching addressed that matter very clearly.
- Finally, we had two sessions on ‘the Pastor’s Spiritual Life’. This is a vital matter for all who are involved with Christian work to take very seriously. It is vital that Christian leaders are encouraged to feed and nourish their own souls and guard their own hearts lest they be disqualified or make shipwreck of their lives.
When they heard that there is a fifth year of material, they quickly convened a committee meeting and asked us to come back and share that with them. These people are indeed becoming very dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is a privilege to be trusted by them.