I work in the Office of the Education Ministry of the Church of Christ in Thailand located in the northern city of Chiang Mai. This photo was taken on one of my first days at work there. The building that we work in is not new, but it is a three-story, air-conditioned granite- tiled (because there is a granite quarry close-by) space that is comfortable and spacious. It has housed the Education Ministry for almost a decade and its various offices have been used for many different purposes over the years. That is why I call it the ‘gift that keeps on giving.’ Let me share some of the resources that we have in just this one building.
Although this building sits on a main street in the middle of the city of Chiang Mai, it is surrounded by a beautiful garden. The window at the lower left corner is the window of my office. I can sit at my desk and look out into a veritable forest of banana trees. Mature trees with orchids hanging from their trunks give shade during the hottest part of the day. The main floor of the building houses three large working areas with nine staff, as well as two smaller offices (the CVT office with two staff and the Director’s office). There is a small meeting room (named after Vic McAnallen, a legendary CVT Coordinator) with a large conference table that can seat up to twenty people and a library (named after Sinclair Thompson, an early missionary who died on the field who also happened to be my father’s seminary roommate).
The second floor of this building houses a huge meeting room, capable of seating over 150 people. Often used for meetings, retreats, worship services, and other events, this meeting room is well-known to those who have worked in the Education Ministry. The folding tables and stacking chairs allow the room to be reconfigured in many different ways. A bank of windows to the left allows plenty of sunlight into the room, while drapes can be pulled to allow presentations to be made using the projector mounted on the ceiling. In the lobby area right outside the meeting room there is space for registration tables, exhibits or other activities that will not disturb those meeting inside. There are also granite-tiled Western toilet facilities for men and women attending any event.
For those who have traveled a great distance and need a place to stay, the third floor of this building houses spacious sleeping rooms, designed for short-term or long-term stay. These air-conditioned rooms have twin beds, a private bath with hot water heater for the shower, desks, storage space, a pantry with microwave and a small refrigerator. Some rooms also have a small balcony overlooking the compound and its gardens. These rooms have been a blessing for those coming to meetings in Chiang Mai, or for new missionaries who are looking for a house to rent, or for those who come to study for a month or more.
This is just one building – a building that was constructed with gifts given by Christians to support the work of the Church here in Chiang Mai. It is a gift that keeps on giving – week after week, month after month, year after year. It is a blessing to those of us who work here. It is a blessing to countless individuals who have stayed here. And the van that I drive – a 10-year-old Toyota van with 188,844 kilometers on it – is another gift that has been used to bless many in the work of the Church here in Thailand. Thank you for your gifts. Who knows what portion of that which you gave ended up here – in the funding the construction of this building? God knows. Thank you.