105 New Thai Believers Baptized in Single Service

Post a Comment » Written on June 2nd, 2009     
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SOUTHERN THAILAND (June 2, 2009) – A total of 105 new believers who are affected by HIV/AIDS were recently baptized in a single service by staff members of the Sustainable Development Research Foundation (SDRF), which is directed by Evangelical Covenant Church missionary Jim Gustafson.

One“This was no ordinary baptism (service), which are usually solemn and quiet,” says Covenant missionary Bob Shim. “Children frolicked in the ocean, people stood on the beach laughing and talking, but in the water where Jim (center photo) and Khun Nujon (bottom photo) were baptizing, it was a sacred place.

“What stood out most was the joy and hope on their faces,” Shim recalls. “Some of the newly baptized even broke into dance after coming out of the water.

“Here is a group of people who have lost jobs, been marginalized by their society, and shunned by their families – all because of their illness,” he notes. “However, they felt completely accepted in this new community. Their love for one another is contagious.”

FourThis group of believers has steadily been growing over the last few years, now numbering more than 200 individuals located in various communities throughout southern Thailand.

Following the baptism on May 21, everyone gathered for communion and a Thai string-tying ceremony at the Center for HIV/AIDS Affected Communities.

“It was truly an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience!” Shim declared. “Our faith was strengthened by their evident faith in the God who loves them unconditionally.”

ThreePlans have been made to baptize 75 additional believers who were unable to attend due to the spread of a mosquito-borne viral disease that is epidemic in southern Thailand, says David Husby, director of Covenant World Relief (CWR).

Husby and his wife, Ronna, have served for several years as Asia regional coordinators for the Department of World Mission, work that Ronna continues as Husby moved into his new CWR position.

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