Hi, I’m Erin
I’m Erin Kerber, your LCA International Mission Thailand Program Officer. I’m here to help you and encourage you to join God’s mission in Thailand.
The Thai population is largely homogeneous, with most being ethnic Thai who profess the character of a devout Buddhist society. They are gentle, humble and non-confrontational people who enjoy relaxed and pleasant interactions with one another. I’m meeting people who are joining with the active and growing Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand, as they hear about God’s unending love for them, sending of his Son to die and rise so that they have life for eternity. I’d love to visit your congregation, school or group to discuss ways you can partner with our Lutheran friends in Thailand.
Thailand is dominated by the Chao Phraya River basin, which contains Bangkok, the capital and largest city with some 9.7 million people. The population is largely homogeneous, with most being ethnic Thai and professing Buddhism. Some 3 million Muslims live in the south near the border with Malaysia.
Two 19th-century kings of Siam, Mongkut and his son Chulalongkorn, introduced Western education and technology but preserved the character of a devout Buddhist society. The only nation in Southeast Asia to escape colonial rule, Siam changed its name in 1939 to Thailand, meaning ‘land of the free’. However, Thailand has not escaped military coups; there have been more than a dozen since 1932, when a revolution transformed the government from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. Resentment against leaders of the 1991 coup sparked demonstrations by a pro-democracy movement. Reforms did take place, and a new constitution went into effect in 1997. The 2001 elections confirmed Thailand’s democracy credentials as the people voted in the new Thai Rak Thai (‘Thais Love Thais’) Party. A bloodless coup d’etat was launched in 2006 and by December 2007 a civilian government led by the People’s Power Party was restored.
The LCA first joined the ministry in Thailand as a member of Lutheran Mission Thailand (LMT) – a consortium of mission agencies and partner Lutheran Churches working in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand (ELCT).
The LCA was invited by ELCT to send a missionary to serve in Thailand. Ordained in 2004 after studying at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) in Adelaide, Pastor Simon Mackenzie was assigned to serve as a missionary for the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) in Thailand.
In 2009, after discussions between ELCT and the LCA, it was agreed that Simon and his family would move to the city of Nan, to work full-time with the ELCT in its ministry and mission amongst the Lua people. Nan city is situated some 670km north of Bangkok and Nan Province stretches up to the Laos border.
There are approximately 140,000 Lua people living in the mountainous regions of Nan Province, about two hour’s drive north of Nan city. Ethnically, culturally and historically the Lua people are not Thai. Their first language is Lua and they have strong animistic beliefs and practices. Their history and culture have been severely disrupted through war, famine and discrimination.
Today in the ELCT, the Lua people number more than 1,200 baptized Lutheran members.
In October 2013 Simon, together with his Thai his wife Oiy and son ‘Aussie’ returned to Australia. The ministry continues in the Nan province under the leadership of Rev Amnauy and the ELCT Lua evangelists, and together with the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) missionaries Rev Tomas and Riikka-Maria Kolkka and Madagascan missionaries Rev Tovo Harison and Dr Rova Razafindrabe.
Over time the LCA and individual congregations and members have supported a wide range of projects and programs in the Nan province. These have included the support for the salary of Simon Mackenzie, purchase of Bibles and other Christian literature, land for churches (salas) and ministry locations, seed/tree projects, motorbikes for Rev Amnauy and the evangelists, medical supplies, Christmas programs, and the theological training of the evangelists both at the LST and in the Nan province.
The first Mission Thailand team visited in 2009 under the leadership of Rev Mark Schultz (Lifeway Lutheran Church, Epping, New South Wales). Mission teams comprising members from Epping and the wider LCA have supported the ministry work in the Nan province, mostly to construct salas (church structures with no walls).
Significant funding for the program in Nan is contributed by LCA International Mission, together with support from individuals and some congregations. St Paul’s Lutheran congregation, Wellington, New Zealand have formed a partnership through LCA International Mission with the ELCT and the ministry with the Lua people of Nan province.
Other LCA funds are directed to the Lutheran Seminary in Thailand (LST) and for the training of pastors and evangelists at the Lutheran Seminary in Thailand.
Over many years Lutheran Women of Australia (LWA) have offered various support for ministries of the ELCT at Home of Praise and Home of Grace in Bangkok. The ELCT Home of Praise in the slums of Klong Toey, Bangkok is the current program supported as a nominated project of LWA for this current triennium.
Additional support also is received from LCA / LWA members for Home of Grace (home for unwed mothers).
Projects you can support
- Lutheran Seminary Library Books
- Ministry program for Lua People
- Guest LCA Lecturer
- Home of Grace
- Home of Praise
- Music, art, sport, English teaching, Special Ed and computer skills at Home of Praise
- Handcraft, English teaching, café skills at Home of Grace
- Conversational English teaching (no qualifications needed) at one of the schools in Nan Province
You already support mission work in Thailand through your prayers and weekly offerings. But if you would like to work more closely with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand, you could talk to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wellington, New Zealand, about the blessings of their partnership with the Lua people living in the Nan Province.