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Christmas 2001
Greetings from Thailand
  Karen Tribal Ladies in traditional dress
  Karen Villages

Just a week ago we were privileged to visit a Karen Tribal village  in  the  remote parts of  North Western  Thailand.


ing  packed  to  capacity  for  the  opening service.    It is even more exciting to meet many Karen people who have


The occasion was the official opening of their new church building, which seats about 600.

The Gospel first came to this village about 60 years ago, and most in the village wholeheartedly embraced Christianity. The Gospel then spread, until eventually most of the surrounding villages also followed their lead.

It was exciting to see this new build-

graduated from Bible college and are energetically serving the Lord in nearly every corner of Thailand.

As we come to the end of another year with so much bad news, let us be diligent to bring the Good News of the Gospel to a world so much in need of hope.

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things.”  Rom 10:15


Years Summary

Our first grandchild, Natalie, was presented to us by Joy and Ben on the 30th December. Then Russ’s mother passed into the Lord’s presence on 24th January.

We made our first visit into Laos on a week long study tour with the International Federation of Library Associations in February.

We spent a week with the Phuket Assembly in April—a young people’s camp for five days and then the normal weekend services. This gave us the opportunity to get to know Peter and Peggy Ferry, who were missionaries in Phuket for 40 years. Peter was out from Scotland as the study leader for the camp.

Arnold Clarke passed into the Lord’s presence on 20th July. We were also involved in a July Marriage Encounter weekend which is being established in Thailand for outreach as well as for Christian couples.

August/September we had our Mahaphon church camp at Pattaya.


In October Russ preached for the first time in Thai. (He has been teaching a weekly cell group in Thai for over a year now, as well as speaking regularly at the weekly prayer meeting, but has deferred the request to preach until he felt more comfortable with the language.)

In November we were involved in a week-long Campus Crusade for Christ seminar, Russ acting as a group leader.

Early December we had a week-long trip up to the North West of Thailand to a remote Karen Hill Tribe village for the opening of a new church building.

Upon reflection, the year has been a little too hectic, with board meetings, pastoral meetings, teaching and speaking engagements, and a steady stream of overnight and casual visitors.

Ruth has made steady progress with her Thai language but please pray that we may have wisdom with our priorities. Language study must be our top priority if we are to be truly effective in the longer term as missionaries in Thailand.



We have had an interest in Laos for some time, so when a missionary friend with Wycliffe Bible Translators asked us if we would like to help out as secretariat on a study tour that would take us into Laos with the International Federation of Library Associations (SE Asian branch), we accepted.

Laos is a tightly controlled, land-locked Communist country of around 5 million people. It is very poor. Before missionaries were compelled to leave, there was a substantial assembly work in the country.

The Laotian language is very close to Thai, and because of TV, most Laotians in the southern part understand and speak Thai.

The welcome our group received in all the country villages was amazing. There was an obvious desire to meet international visitors and to make them feel welcome. The


Village Children in Laos

children were especially warm and so well mannered—I longed to have the opportunity to share more time with them.

Perhaps some time in the future, we may be able to visit Laos again for a longer period of time as a "vacation". Laos encourages tourists for the sake of their economy.


Mahaphon Rangsit

Our local church, called Mahaphon Rangsit, is the main focus of our work for the Lord. It is a warm fellowship with about 110 members, of which about 80 attend regularly of a Sunday morning. We presently use a rented house, but have already bought land to build as soon as funds allow.

We have lunch together with our weekly cell group and then Russ teaches for about 1˝ hours. Russ also teaches once or twice a month at the mid-week prayer meeting, and preached for the first time in October, all of which is invaluable as he continues to hone his Thai language skills. Ruth attends an English speaking ladies prayer meeting, and is progressing well with her Thai studies.

A large proportion of the church are young staff members of Campus Crusade for Christ working in two local universities, and it is exciting to see new converts coming in almost weekly.


Present Premises are becoming inadequate

A middle aged man in our cell group who has been a Christian for about 7 years has led a number of his contacts to the Lord. They come to our cell group. Please pray that Russ may be effective as a Bible teacher for the many young Christians of the church.


Arnold Clarke

Many of our friends will know of Arnold Clarke, who passed into the presence of the Lord on 20th July in the Phaya Thai 2 Hospital, Bangkok.  Arnold featured in Australian Missionary Tidings (as well as Echoes of Service in the UK) for many decades, and was a missionary in Phuket, southern Thailand for over 40 years.

Breaking of Bread


Christian Assembly, Phuket

He was born in China of missionary parents, and started his ministry in Phuket using the Chinese language amongst Chinese and Thai speakers, with translation into the Thai language.  Needless to say, he became very fluent in Thai.

We had the joy of sharing in the breaking of bread with him in the home of his foster daughter, Yawanit, for his last few months.  He shared the joy of his Lord in these precious times, and would become tearful as he heard news of the continuing blessings in the Phuket assemblies.


Cross Roads

Aids and drugs are a big problem amongst Thai young people. In an effort to combat this problem, the government has endorsed a Campus Crusade for Christ program called Cross Roads. We became involved in the week-long seminar held in November, to train teachers in the presentation of decision making skills from a Biblical perspective.

Part of the seminar included an opportunity to present one of the lessons to a normal class of Thai students in a local government school. The program also includes the screening of the “Jesus” film and is yet another example of


"Cross Roads" in action

the strategies that CCC is using to reach out to young people with the message of the Gospel.


Family News

Only grandparents could understand the joy we experienced with the arrival of our first grandchild, Natalie Ruth McHugh, on 30th December 2000. Being overseas, we miss out a little on the privilege of being close by, but the Lord has provided for us to make two trips home this past year to share a little time with Ben Joy, and Natalie.

The other exciting news is that Simon and Melody are expecting their first child at the beginning of March next year!! “The grandchildren are coming thick and fast now” Ruth said, upon hearing the news!!

Ben, Joy and Natalie are due to leave Brisbane Monday 17th for Bangkok enroute to Birmingham, England where Ben plans to work as a teacher for six to twelve months. The plan is to spend four days with us here and then we will all leave for the UK for Christmas together with Simon and Melody in Birmingham.



On a sad note, Russ’s dear Mother passed into the presence of the Lord on 24th January. She was almost 89 years, and accepted the Lord in Bundaberg, in 1961. She is survived by three sons, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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