Lanna Theological Center 

Quarterly Report 

June, 2012
Sheep and Shepherds
LTC Students walk into a village
Carmen on Clinic Survey Trip

From the Director

 
Carmen     When Jesus spoke about the people He came to save, He often referred to them as sheep.   He spoke with compassion, seeing them as harassed and helpless and in need of guidance.   The biblical text also lets us know that He treasured His flock. If one was lost, it was valued so much that 99 were left so that the one could be found. 

   The contrast in the numbers, 99 versus 1, speaks to us clearly. And if that is all we know, we get His point: Jesus cares for His sheep-each one of them. Surely Jesus' listeners got that as well.

    But it is likely they might have understood further implications of His story that are lost on us 21st Century Christians. For example, they probably understood that when the Shepherd left the 99, he was probably tired and somewhat conflicted. They knew the picture in Jesus' mind was likely one of a shepherd; at the end of the day, ready to hunker down for the evening, yet now faced with a dilemma. 

As the shepherd, he was himself the gate that kept the 99 in the safety of the corral. By leaving, he potentially left the 99 vulnerable. But to lose one of his flock? Unthinkable.   It was truly a question of "What's a Shepherd to do?"
"What's a Shepherd to do?" 

 

       The weight and difficulty of Shepherding God's people is something real to us at LTC.   Often times, our graduates are ministering alone, in far away, remote and difficult areas.  You see, while there are shepherds, there are just too many small pockets of Christians scattered throughout the region. Many are either without consistent leadership or have leaders who simply cannot guide them through the maze of persecution, community pressure, discrimination, false belief systems and materialism.   

 

   The Church in Asia is desperately in need of shepherds who can "correctly handle the Word of Truth and can fight the good fight of the Faith".

 

    So, when looking for places to take the COB clinic teams, these are the preachers I look for so that we can come along side and offer encouragement. As I prayed about where to take the team this year, the Lord brought Pastor Prasit to our attention.

 

       Prasit is one of the reasons LTC exists.   A 1993 graduate of LTC, Prasit preaches and ministers in a remote area of Thailand. And he does so with the heart of His Savior, which means that his job is not an easy one.

 

   On our survey trip, I asked Prasit to share his greatest struggle in ministering in this area.   This was his response.  "Competition. There are many belief systems here and all are trying to win the heart of the people. Some have money and will often distribute free stuff to the people. So, when I share the Gospel, they will ask me...'what do you Christians have to give us?' "

 

       I asked how he responds and he said, "Oh, I have nothing to give them except God's Truth and love. So, I just keep loving them and preaching whenever I can."  

 

         Our medical team spent 4 days with Prasit in 4 different villages.   The turnout was good and we had a great time with the villagers.   Eye glasses were distributed, tooth aches were relieved, medical exams were administrated and medicine was distributed.     

 

       The clinic didn't result in new converts, but Prasit reports that it certainly attracted attention.   Prasit says there are many women who are interested in leaving the worship of spirits, but persecution and community pressure continue to hold them back.   Prasit is shepherding a difficult situation.

 

        I asked Prasit how we could pray for him. He said, "Oh teacher, it is hard up here.   I can't be in each village all the time, so I can't help the people know how to respond to the pressures. I need co-workers to help me."

 

       Prasit's challenge as a Shepherd is a common situation throughout this region. One preacher, assigned to a remote place, shepherding multiple congregations over a large area. They are simply stretched too thin.   They desperately need co-workers.

Growing Dreams

      Filling that need is one of our purposes for LTC: To prepare co-workers to help shepherd God's flock. It is a purpose we would like to fulfill more effectively, and it is an important one if Shepherds like Prasit are going to have the stamina to complete the work the Lord has called them to do. 

 

    It is also vital if the church is going to become self-supporting. There are several challenges that face the church in this regard, one being a cultural perspective that only pastors can "do ministry".

 

      One of the ways that LTC has chosen to address this need has been in the development of a bi-vocational program whereby students can live and study Bible at LTC while attending the night program at Rachabat University. Our vision is that this program will result in an army of strong, knowledgeable lay leaders who can teach and lead in their vocational field, as well as support their local church.

 

      Our first group of students in the program started their university studies on June 5th.   Each one of these young men has a vision to be leaders in the church and in their community.

 

     As with most growing dreams, we have some additional challenges. One of them is space. We have enough land to expand our campus, but at this point, we can only accept 35 residential students due to the physical limitations of our campus. We need more buildings!

 

David A. and Sharon Filbeck are on an extended Home Assignment for the purpose of fund raising toward this goal. Commitments are coming in and we hope that with God's blessing we will be able to start with the first building in 2013.  

 

 David and Sharon are available to give a personal report on the ministry and building plans. You can contact them at dsfilbeck@yahoo.com.

 

 

Behind the Scenes at L.T.C.
     Summer months in Thailand fall in a different place on the calendar than in the US  (March-May), but it carries the same implications.   Students put away their books and forget about schedules, due-dates, and test.  Teachers file away syllabi and fill their calendars as they choose.

    For most LTC facutly, this means trips to village churches and participation in outreach efforts.  But for the LTC staff and administrator (translation..myself and  2 secretaries)?  Well, we get to stay behind and do all the backstage tasks necessary to keep a school running.  

 

    I don't mind this, really.  It's just part of an administrator's job description, right?   But, this year, as we started the list of needed repairs, the longer we talked, the longer the list got. Our campus needed more than just a good scrubbing.  It truely needed an face lift.    
 

     

(click here to read the rest of the story)

 

 

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We are grateful for your continued support in helping prepare Christian leaders in Southeast Asia.

 

Sincerely,

 

The Christian Mission to the Orient Team
    Carmen Filbeck    (LTC Director)
    David and Sharon Filbeck   (CMO Director)
    Ken and Kathy Filbeck   (COB Directors)
   David and Deloris Filbeck   (Founders) 

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