By Southeast Asia Field Communications on Jun 27, 2010 Bangkok, Thailand – A miraculous healing and the introduction of several new believers to relationship with Christ were some of the unplanned highlights of a family camp at Oikos Church of the Nazarene May 28 and 29.
Twenty youth and children gathered to learn from God’s Word about essential doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene and to share times of fun, food and fellowship. The weekend included three revival services, three workshops and a ceremony to open the church’s new prayer room during the two-day event.
As the group gathered and united, God came among them. A young woman accepted Christ. And the fruit of renewal that God planned is still being evidenced more than a week later.
The family camp opened on Friday afternoon as missionary Lisa Lehman taught the Church of the Nazarene denomination’s 16 Articles of Faith using the symbols on a StudyMaps learning card. Small groups explained their contextualized understandings of the Trinity, prevenient grace and entire sanctification, as well as a clear concept of the church as a community of Christ-like followers. Pastor Panom then presented a workshop on personal evangelism –how to write and share your testimony or faith story. Several youth leaders in the church shared their testimonies of faith and encouraged everyone.
Later in the day Bea, a young woman who came as a friend of one of these leaders, accepted Christ as her Savior. Like Bea, each one who gave testimony of their faith journey acknowledged they had come to Christ out of loneliness; each had met a Christian friend who introduced them to Christ and stayed alongside them as they began to grow: Discipleship ignited in relationship.
The Friday evening worship service was attended by more than 50 as members from Bangkok First Church of the Nazarene and two small, independent congregations of youth joined from the community. Exuberant worship began the evening before Pastor Suphot, from the Lampang Church of the Nazarene, preached. He said the only way believers can find renewal in their hearts is to hunger and fill themselves from God’s Word; the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of their hearts to learn from Him about how to live like Jesus.
The service concluded with a time of seeking God in prayer for specific needs of healing. Mi, a young man of 17, was the first to step forward to seek God’s healing touch for his paralyzed left side. Others soon joined him to pray for healing or to rededicate their lives to Christ.
Saturday opened with early morning prayer and personal Bible study before a worship service and time of formal Bible teaching that was led by Wanlop, a lay leader who is an avid student of God’s Word. Sharing memorized scriptures, he challenged, “The more we study God’s Word, the more God’s Word remains in our heart. Every word of God’s Word is holy, gives life and gives wisdom.”
Furthermore, he applied God’s truth when he shared, “If you want to know God’s will, it’s right here in God’s Word. If someone does wrong toward you three times, you want to repay them 10 times. But God’s will is to do the opposite—bless them! You can only do that if you are seeking God! But it is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit living within you.” For several it was the first time to understand that “each of you can study God’s Word.”
Wanlop concluded the teaching time by exhorting the youth, “Thirty years from now, I’ll be sitting in the back listening to you teach God’s Word!” In a closing time of prayer, youth committed themselves to use God’s Word to praise, pray, believe God and know Him.
The Saturday evening service officially concluded the camp as District Superintendent Rev. Sawat Hahom exhorted the group to go forward with God despite the challenges. He shared highlights of a discipleship time he had just led in the northeast and encouraged everyone to remain steadfast in God’s Word.
As the scheduled services concluded, however, God’s work among the youth continued. On Sunday, May 30, Bea gave her testimony of faith in Christ, followed by an older gentleman who has visited Oikos regularly for several months but had not yet turned his life over to God. By Wednesday, June 2, Teu, a young man who had attended the services all weekend, received faith in Christ in response to Pastor Panom’s review of key lessons from the weekend.
On Friday, June 5, Mi went to a follow-up doctor’s appointment that had been set to discuss expensive surgery necessary for his paralyzed left arm. When the doctor examined his arm, however, he was amazed to find soft, pliable tissue instead of the rigid, spastic tissue he had examined previously. Mi immediately gave testimony to God’s healing touch following a time of prayer the week before. Mi continues to rely on prayer for full healing as he begins to follow physical therapy exercises he can do at home to strengthen his arm. God is being praised!
When Pastor Panom and his pastoral team at Oikos Church of the Nazarene planned the first annual church family camp to be held on the final weekend of May, 2010 they did not realize all that God had planned to do among them. Indeed, God’s renewing work continues as His Word remains the center as Nazarenes in Bangkok are seeking to be more like Christ in their communities.