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Union students minister in Thailand

JACKSON, Tenn.Feb. 8, 2002 – For the first time in Union University’s long history of student missionary opportunities, thirteen Union students participated in a Global Opportunities (GO) Trip during the university’s winter term. Traditionally, GO Trips take place over spring break or during the summer, but Union’s programs are expanding to cover this new time.

The students along with Union staff member Kristi Pettigrew went to Bangkok, Thailand to work with International Missions Board appointed missionaries Tim and Jill Owens. The Owens, who have served in Thailand for more than 13 years, have established a ministry focused on the college students there and contacted Suzanne Frost, Union’s student outreach coordinator, requesting that Union send a team to help during the winter. Bangkok, one of the largest cities open to Christian missionaries, is a center for colleges in Indo-China. With more than one million university students residing in Thailand, many from nearby closed countries, Bangkok has become a prime target for planting the gospel, according to Frost.

During their time there, students worked on a daily basis in one college, Dhurakijpundit University (DPU), assisting in teaching English classes by allowing small groups to practice their English skills with the Americans. The conversations that took place covered a variety of topics and allowed for evangelistic discussions.

“They wanted to know so much about American culture,” said junior Jenny King, a psychology major from Dyersburg, Tenn. “There were so many doors to talk about faith with the people there. Everybody wanted to be your friend and that made it so easy to talk to them about Jesus’ love for them. I still get emails every day. They were so open to any discussion.”

The Union students formed relationships that crossed over the obvious cultural lines and say that it was through these friendships that true Christianity could be demonstrated.

“I was shocked to see that many of these people really had never even heard of Jesus,” said freshman Christian studies major Meredith Williams who is from Oscar, Ky. “It really opened my eyes. In talking to them, they told me they could see a difference in our lives and that let me know that God was truly with us on this trip.”

One of the most gratifying things for many of the participants is the knowledge that the ministry that they worked with is continuing even after they have since returned to the States.

“The ministry that the Owens have set up is amazing,” stated Pettigrew. “Maybe God will use some of these kids from closed countries to impact people back home. I know God was in everything we did on this trip and that it was part of His plan – you just couldn’t miss Him.”

According to Frost, Union plans to continue these January trips because they fall during a less pressured time for students and offer assistance and support to the missionaries at a time of year when not much support is given by lay groups. Frost was pleased by this year’s results and is already working to organize trips for 2003, including a possible return to Bangkok for many of this year’s participants.

By Jody Webster
Class of 2004


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1/11/02 - Winter term GO Trip in Bangkok, Thailand.
1/11/02 - Winter term GO Trip in Bangkok, Thailand. - Uncredited

Media contact: Sara B. Horn, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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