Thursday, 26 November 2009

News from Thailand

Dear Ps Laurie & Cathy & Ron & Chris & everyone at Cornerstone,

Greetings from Chiang Mai in north Thailand.

Doug, Fiona, James & Zac Higgins here. We trust you are doing wel.

First I (Doug) want to apologise to you for the lack of communication lately. We have been putting systems in place so that we are now positioned to regularly update you, keeping you well informed regarding the ministry and ourselves personally.

We really do appreciate you and thank you for the support you have given us over the time we have known each other. We realise that without you we could not be here doing what we are doing. You really are our partner in the work here.

God has been doing great things.

I (Doug) am very busy in the work and thankful for a wonderful wife and partner in Fiona who looks after me very well especially when I am at home, which is about half the time.

Fiona is working with a number of expat women in Chiang Mai, leading Bible studies and involved in the worship team in the church. She also looks after her 3 men, (Doug 50, James 18, & Zac 17) and her menagerie of animals including 4 dogs and 3 cats. The dogs are for protection and the cats are for comfort and pleasure.

James has completed High School and is currently studying a Discipleship Training Program (DTS) with YWAM in Chiang Mai. He wants to return to Melbourne for a few months in 2010 and do an internship in media at Harvest Bible College then return to help us in the work with IT, communication and media. He is also playing keyboard in the church.

Zac is in year 11 at school and after completing high school is thinking of returning to Melbourne in Australia to study Urban Development. Please pray for this as it requires very good grades and diligence in study. It will also mean a total life style change as Zac first arrived in Thailand as an 8 year old boy.

Since we first arrived in Thailand in April 2001 by the Grace of God and with a tremendous local and international team and your partnership, we have been able to do the following.

  • Plant 25 churches.
  • Raise up over 250 leaders.
  • Build a Christian church inside a Thai prison.
  • Work with 10 children’s homes.
  • Provide assistance (through food, clothing, health care and education) to 400 children through those children’s homes.
  • Set up a child sponsorship program for full sponsorship and for education sponsorship.
  • Build the House of Dreams, a 3 storey home for at risk girls.
  • Start a primary school 2 years ago that now has 350 students registered.
  • Build 5 homes for poverty stricken families
  • Lead an average of 1500 people per year to the Lord though the ministry network we train and support.
  • Water baptise an average of 600 people per year.
  • Teach, preach and work in 7 countries, mainly in our region around Thailand.
  • Host 70 visiting teams from overseas.
  • Develop 20 significant projects and many mini or “bite sized” projects.
  • Participate in 60 seminars
  • Teach in 7 Bible Colleges
  • Buy7 blocks of land for the work
  • Minister at 12 weddings and 20 funerals
  • Preach and teach an average of 200 times per year
  • Buy 12 vehicles and motorbikes and sell 1 and retire 4 (not before their time).
  • Help coordinate and sponsor 12 medical students in Laos.
  • Develop medical clinics on an ongoing basis
  • Host several short term volunteers who have worked with us
  • Teach English language in several schools and church settings
  • Drive an average of 1200 kilometres per week.

It seems that God has us spending our time, gifts and expertise in resourcing the vision of local people. Their visions are daring and set to have huge impact on the region as they come into being.

Currently we are working in various stages on the following projects with several other smaller or “bite sized” projects happening as well.

Maesai girls home. Established and doing an awesome job transforming the lives and destinies of many girls at risk of being trafficked into prostitution.

House of Dreams. Also established and doing an awesome job transforming the lives and destinies of many girls at risk of being trafficked into prostitution.

Nail Poverty is a project where we intend to build 100 homes on 5 properties for families living in poverty. We are not just building homes but healthy villages.

Setting up an English language teaching centre so we can host several English language teachers in various locations. One of the target areas for a centre is the largest university in Thailand with over three hundred thousand students in attendance (Yes you did read correctly).

Developing a Youth Hub in Wiang Papao for unreached and at risk youth in the area. We have purchased land and are looking to build a girls home, a boys home, a church, a drop in centre, a vocational training centre and a multi purpose building. The property is 100 metres from a school of 1500 students and 700 metres from another school of 1200 students.

Development of the child sponsorship program and the education sponsorship program as these are crucial in seeing young lives transformed. Full sponsorship is $40 per month and education sponsorship is $25 per month. Both are tax deductible. Currently we have one thousand children and youth ready for education sponsors.

We have been asked to build another church inside a prison after the prison governor saw the change inside the first prison. We would like to do this as the changes in lives and attitudes so far have been very significant. This prison is very significant and strategic as it is on the Laos border not far from Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

In Mae Ra Mart on the Thai Burma border we are working with the local pastor and team to create a school for stateless children from Burma. These children cross the border because life in the refugee camps is better than life for them in Burma. With this school the children will be able to get Thai citizenship allowing them to live a normal life in Thailand. We have the cooperation and assistance of the Thai authorities in the area.

In Pattaya together with the local church we are developing a centre for the children of prostitutes. This will also have a positive effect on the lives of the prostitutes, not just the children. It is an exciting work and there are key Thai pastors in our network who have the heart and vision to carry this project through.

In Chiang Khum on the Laos border we are looking to partner with a local group of churches to help desperate and destitute families. In some cases this means help with education costs for the children, and it will also mean building a children’s home for a number of children who don’t have family at all. Many of the families have generationally crossed into Thailand from Laos and now cannot go back to Laos but can’t move freely around Thailand without proper identification papers.

We are working with Every Home for Christ preparing to place the Word of God into eight hundred thousand homes in north Thailand over the next 2 years. The statistical discipleship rate of this program is eleven percent so we expect to see more than one hundred thousand people be discipled into Christ in this time frame. As a result we can also expect to see about two hundred churches planted in this program as well.

How can you help?

  • Pray for us and the projects we work in
  • Consider visiting us to help in practical ways.
  • Send us financial support. Project work and sponsorships are tax deductible. We (Doug and Fiona) are not, but we still like to live and eat!
  • Buy our calendar. We have created a small desktop calendar for 2010 to sell as a fundraiser. At $10 AUD per calendar it would make a great Christmas present to give to your friends and family. It is functional and quality calendar, showing pictures and telling stories of the work we are doing. You can have us on your desk all year. :)
  • Visit our new (and still developing) website and tell us what you think. .

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you. Email is best:-

We will be in touch soon,

With love, thanks and blessings,

Doug, Fiona, James & Zac Higgins

ACC WM missionaries to Thailand

P.O. Box 124

Phone: +66 894 333 385


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