After tsunami, MBs start a new Thailand-focused mission effortBy Micael Duerksen
The waves came fast and hard, decimating coastal communities in 14 countries along the Indian Ocean and killing thousands in just minutes.
Among the countries hardest hit during the tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004, was Thailand, including Koh Kho Khao island, where many died.
In the months after the disaster, Jake and Margaret Janzen — who attend Cornerstone Community Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Virgil, Ont. — helped coordinate a relief effort initiated by what is now MB Mission.
The project helped rebuild homes, but Jake Janzen said he soon saw another opportunity.
“We were overcome with a strong desire to see more evangelism and church planting [in Thailand],” he said. “There was an evident thirst for it.”
When MB Mission ended its relief efforts, Janzen created Vision Thailand, or VT, an independent, nondenominational mission agency.
“Thailand has a population of about 67 million people, with less than 1 percent Christians,” he said. “We felt that the doors were wide open to proclaim the Good News in amazing ways.”
The ministry started first on the island, but VT now operates out of Dream Center, a three-story building in downtown Bangkok.
From there, the organization’s Dream Team runs outreach programs that include music, drama, testimonies, live radio broadcasts and preaching.
“It is the great strength of VT that competent Thai pastors are giving leadership,” said Elmer Martens of Fresno, Calif., a member of the VT international advisory board. “In a model of partnership, Western Christians can then come alongside to assist in implementing the vision.”
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