Andrew and Lesley have been based in Chiang Mai, Thailand since 2008. Initially they went out as a family but now their sons, Matty and Josh are both back in Belfast.
What are you doing to achieve that? What’s a typical day like?Having been sent by CFC and Oasis we work in a partnership with our Asian mission partners Ethnos Asia and Earth Mission Asia. Our work has evolved since we came to Asia. When we came we focused on community development and, while we still do some aspects of development, we have broadened the scope and direct our time and energy into conflict and post conflict countries. We call it our Rebuilders programme with emphasis on 3 areas: health, economic development, and overcoming the legacy of the conflict. One of those places has been Nepal. In 2015 Nepal had a major earthquake which destroyed lives and livelihoods. As people around the world looked at ways to respond we too began a conversation with our partners working there about what they felt they needed and how we could support them. Immediately after a disaster the first things that happen are relief based, making sure people have shelter, food, clean water and medicines. As time moves on and rebuilding happens the emotional side of things, how we process the event and trauma from it, also needs to happen. We offered to train leaders in their communities how to help walk alongside and bring healing to those that are hurting. We didn’t make it specific to the earthquake so it could be of much more value to them. There was so much pain bottled up in the people we worked with. They had had a civil war 1996-2006 and numerous man-made and natural disasters. The earthquake was just the most recent. During the project we saw many receive healing themselves and in turn be able to walk other into healing. As we look to the future in Nepal we will continue to support them to implement the project through their network. At the same time we also felt that we needed in invest in raising up more women leaders. For a number of years Lesley has been working with Chiang Mai University and for the last year she has been researching maternal mortality in Karen State in Burma. She has been gathering data from range of villages across the State, recording stories and experiences of pregnancy, birth and the challenges women face in rural areas. Many of these women have no access to services which would enable them to experience a safe birth for either themselves or their babies and so Lesley is working with other organisations to help develop those services and create better opportunities for maternal health in this area. One of the ways to do this is through writing up and publishing these stories and experiences and this is a developing area that Lesley is focusing on to inform local and national policy and practice. We work closely with Earth Mission Asia, based in Chiang Mai and in Karen Sate. Their aim is to train Physician’s Assistants (Similar to Doctors) to provide quality health care to remote areas of Karen State. After a 65 year civil war in Myanmar between the tribal groups and the Burmese, health care in Karen State is minimal and what there is, is inaccessible to the majority of people. Lesley has been consulting and training with their team and has a big input into the Public Health part of their curriculum. Andrew is helping to develop their leadership by teaching coaching skills to their staff and leaders and where appropriate provides coaching to key leaders. We have also had teams from CFC out to support their work, building and adding to the infrastructure of the clinic they use at the edge of the mountains. We are also developing teams to support the medic training. Andrew uses coaching as a principal leadership, support and development tool. With quality internet around the globe this has extended the reach and impact of who he can work with much further and cheaper than doing it face to face. Using listening, questions and encouragement, leaders can reach and implement their goals faster and with greater impact by using a coach rather than doing it on their own. In Chiang Mai we lead a Vineyard Church. They were the most closely related to our home church’s theology, style and ethos and are a natural fit for us. Typically our work involves pastoral care, planning, preparation for church and leading our Sunday gatherings. Andrew is also part of the national leadership team for Vineyard Thailand. We work on our strategic and church development, supporting leaders and building the movement together. Andrew head up the training task force for the movement.
Pray for us, for wisdom, insight, direction, Contact us – send e.mails, texts or letters – its great hearing your news from home! Partner with us financially. E-mail us if you’d like more information.
Contact Details: email@example.com
Christian Fellowship Church is a Christ centred community dedicated to impacting Belfast, Ireland and the nations with the love of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christian Fellowship Church (CFC) is registered as a charity with the Charity Commission of Northern Ireland: NIC101476