Thailand Baptist Missionary Fellowship HISTORY
The Thailand Baptist Missionary Fellowship (TBMF) is an organization that celebrates ethnic diversity and cooperation. It is comprised of Baptist missions from six nations and seven mission boards. Mission work is implemented in partnership with both ethnic Thais and a number of different ethnic minority groups in Thailand. This mission work was pioneered by the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society (ABFMS; now referred to as “American Baptist International Ministries”) beginning in the 1800s in Burma, China and Thailand.
The Americans originally came to Thailand in 1833. The Maitrichit Chinese Baptist Church, the first Protestant church in South East Asia, is the fruit of that work. The American Baptists left Thailand around 1900, but returned in 1951 to start a ministry with the Karen tribal group in northern Thailand. In 1952, ABFMS missionaries returned to Bangkok to resume the work with the ethnic Chinese and Chinese/Thais.
The TBMF was formed in 1974. With its formation and the participation of missionaries from other Baptist groups, the work has greatly expanded over the past decades.
March 22, 1833: Rev. and Mrs. John Taylor Jones, the first missionaries to Thailand with ABFMS, arrive in Bangkok.
July 1, 1837: The Maitrichit Chinese Baptist Church is organized.
1951: Rev. and Mrs. Carl Capen arrive to work with the Karen tribal group.
1952: Other missionaries arrive, and join the work with the ethnic Chinese in Bangkok
1972: Betty Edmonds and Josie Falla are sent by the Australian Baptist Missionary Society (now “Global Interaction”) to work with the American Baptists.
1974: The Thailand Baptist Missionary Fellowship is formed.
1976: The Baptist Union of Sweden (BUS) joins the TBMF, sending Anders and Maria Hovemyr.
1988: Baptist Missionary Society, UK (now ‘BMS World Mission’) sends Jacqui Wells to Thailand and joins the TBMF.
1992: Japanese Baptist Union joins the TBMF, sending missionaries Eiji and Emi Osato.
1996: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship joins the TBMF with missionaries Rick and Ellen Burnette.
2006: Baptist Union of Norway joins the TBMF sending missionaries Oyvind and Phethsamai Hadland.
The missionary organizations listed above work together through the TBMF, and are officially referred to as “Cooperating Boards”. The TBMF enjoys a cooperative relationship with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) and is involved in various programs and ministries related to this legally recognized and established church body.
In addition to the CCT, the TBMF maintains close relationships with the following national church bodies and organizations:
-The Chinese Baptist Churches of the 12th District of the CCT
-The Kwai River Association of churches in the 16th District of CCT
-The Thailand Karen Baptist Convention (10th & 19th Districts of the CCT)
-The Thailand Lahu Baptist Convention (18th District of the CCT)
-The Ahka Churches of Thailand (under Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand)
-The Christian Service Foundation (Baptist)
God first led the American Baptists, and then all of the mission groups within the TBMF, to bless the people of Thailand through the preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ in all its fullness. God has led and blessed the TBMF, using its ministries to touch and change the lives of many persons.
This comprehensive work, both past and present, includes:
- Agricultural Development, Marketing, Cooperatives, and Irrigation
- Bible Translation
- Christian Camps
- Christian Schools
- Church Planting & Development
- Citizenship Advocacy for Tribal People
- Developing clean water systems
- Disaster Relief
- Drug Rehabilitation
- English Teaching
- Handicraft Development and Marketing
- HIV/Aids Education and care for people affected by HIV/AIDS
- Hospital/Medical Work
- Hostels & Educational Scholarships
- Leadership Training
- Literacy Training
- Micro-Enterprise Development, savings groups
- Mobile Medical treatment and education
- Orphan care and support
- Outreach to Ethnic Thais
- Providing economic alternatives and rehabilitation for women in prostitution
- Refugees and Migration
- Support Services for TBMF personnel
- Theological Education
- Training for Pastors
- Urban/Slum Outreach
- Urban Tribal Youth Ministries
- Vocational Training for Young Women
- Women’s Leadership Development and Advocacy Programs
- Working against human trafficking and all forms of forced labor
- Working with people with disabilities
- Working with victims of human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual abuse