In June/July, my wife Sue and I had the privilege of travelling to Thailand to visit missionary families associated with East Taieri Church. One family are members of our church so this was a particular focus. A long way to go for a pastoral visit, but it was fantastic! The other two families are also top people and it was inspiring to spend time with them. All three are doing great work in quite different settings.
I am sure we can learn much from the challenge of sharing the gospel in this culture. One Thai church leader I spoke with said that the issue of Karma and the culture of shame (rather than guilt), required a foundation of loving acts of service before the words of the gospel could be shared. That has some echos of NZ (though we don't have a culture of shame). The church in which he is an elder has a significant community development programme underway - even though their church has and average attendance of only around 30 people!
GDP. This would give more value to the most lowly paid job, than to any volunteer role, or what I would regard as crucial roles of raising children, or caring for aged parents.
Meeting procedure in Thailand can be very slow (even to this Presbyterian), but it has the advantage of being highly relational. Again we could learn something here. One little personal reminder this somewhat task oriented pastor needs occasionally is "people before task Martin". I sometimes say that to myself.
Looking forward to visiting again!