Seeding the future
PHUKET:Hidden down the end of a small soi in Cherng Talay is one of the biggest Christian churches on the island.
Thursday 9 February 2012, 12:48PM
Every Sunday at The Seed of Cherngtalay Church, bilingual services are held for around 400 church members, a congregation that includes Thais and foreigners alike, including an entire service in English.
Pastor Thikhun “Yai” Phapsaneh and his wife Goong moved from Bangkok to Phuket around 11 years ago. But the couple – who were so used to having a church in their lives – found none in Cherng Talay. Back then the roads were in bad shape, and the couple had to travel a long way to attend a service.
So instead they began inviting people to their home – the very first service a decade ago consisted of just four people in their living room. Word of mouth quickly spread though, and the next thing they knew there were 40 people crammed into their house.
Yai and his wife realised that they needed to build a church, and so constructed a small building in front of their house for the members, who had reached numbers of around 150 by this point.
Four years ago, they built the large church that is visible today. Its popularity continues to soar: around 500 people attended the December 2011 Christmas Day service – one of their biggest ever attendances.
As the number of tourists and foreign residents grew in Phuket, increasing numbers of English speakers were attending the church, so Pastor Yai began translating the service, with help from his wife, for English speakers who would listen using headphones.
Then about a year and a half ago, they decided to start holding weekly two-hour services in English. More than
30 people attend, a multinational group that includes members from Algeria, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Nigeria, Finland and the Ukraine.
Member David Orlow, from Oregon in the United States, is also involved in the church, and fills in for Pastor Yai when he is away.
“When I moved to Phuket I wanted to help out in any way I could,” says Mr Orlow, who has been a church leader for the last 20 years.
“I’ve been to a lot of churches around Asia, and this one just felt like home. With Pastor Yai, there’s an energy, and he’s very humble too – he was a successful businessman before was a pastor.”
“Everyone is from different backgrounds and we come together in unity. I want all the foreigners in Phuket
to feel very welcome here,” says Pastor Yai.
The church in non denominational, and everyone is welcome. Anyone who is unsure of the location or
wants more information can contact Pastor Yai directly.
The Seed Church, 48/67 Moo 4, Soi Pasak 8, Cherngtalay, Thalang, 076-274-975, email@example.com; cicphuket.blogspot.com. Sunday services 10.30am (Thai), 2pm (English) and 7.30pm (Thai). A Saturday evening Thai service is also held in Phuket Town.