by Patrick Huang

Photo Credit: Kawtorpai Church

He is a fresh-faced young man with curly hair. If I had not known that he was a pastor, I would have thought he was a highly energetic office worker who works in a high-rise in the central business district of Bangkok. He is, in fact, pastor Prachan Noimung, a man of the Karen ethnic group from Maehongsorn Province who now serves as head of the Kawtorpai. This can be translated as the Move Forward Church.

Patrick Huang:  Hi Pastor Prachan. First of all, congratulations on your being officially awarded the title “pastor.” Could you introduce yourself to the audience?

Prachan Noimung:  Thanks Patrick and also New Bloom for giving me such a great opportunity to speak to an international audience. I come from a Christian family where my father served as a pastor in Maehongsorn Province. When my father worked in remote areas, I followed him.

It wasn’t until I studied the Bible and could feel the love of God was real. Then my passion for Christ started to grow. After finishing high school, I was successful in admission to several music colleges. However, I was determined to realize my dream in this direct Christian part by attending the seminary school in Bangkok.

Photo credit: Kawtorpai Church

PH:  Could you talk about the Kawtorpai Church?

PN:  It was founded around the time of COVID. Earlier I, along with some of the current members of the Kawtorpai Church, had been working at another church. Saturated, I daringly decided to challenge myself by establishing this church and pushing all efforts to make it grow in the way I think should.

PH:  What is your vision?

PN:  I hope to make this church home to everyone for every generation. Meanwhile, I am trying to cultivate the members of a new generation to be more active in managing the church.

PH:  Kawtorpai is dubbed “the Church of New Generation.” Is it true?

PN:  80-90% of the current members are those aged less than 40. [Laughs] Meanwhile, seniors still have a crucial role in supporting the church.

PH:  What is your main mission?

PN:  Servicing communities is our main mission, not just for children but also for the nearby communities. As for the children, we have routine Saturday classes, teaching key messages in the Bible, providing several activities, and teaching music. The parents of some children are economic migrants.

As for the community, the church is located at Phuthamonthon Sai 2 and aims to serve the nearby communities. We first approached the leaders of each community for their consent and to see their demands. The budget is determined and raised among the members of the church. The distribution includes dried foods such as rice, vegetables, fruit, seasonal ingredients, and second-hand clothes. We, the members of the church, do these three to four times a year.

We also did the same for the Karen, who tend to need more demand for necessary products for a living.

Photo credit: Kawtorpai Church

PH:  As this church was established at the time of COVID-19, how did this church contribute to the community?

PN:  Yes, the pandemic gave us a hard time. The church was closed but our willingness to help could not stop. We offered free food and necessary drugs to communities. We also liaised with health agencies for those COVID-infected individuals. Some people had no idea where to start.

PH:  How do you see the church in the next five years?

PN:  I would like to see spiritual leaders in every group, like the children, the young, and the seniors. They all will have an active role in leading the church. I also expect the growth of the church’s members.

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