Seventh-day Adventist Church in Thailand
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a major Christian denomination with a presence in Thailand. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Thailand (มูลนิธิคริสตจักรวันเสาร์แห่งประเทศไทย) began in 1919. As of 2004, they have a membership of 9,900. Now Thailand Adventist Mission member is around 14000 as of this year 2017
The First Sabbath School The first Sabbath School was conducted by Mr. Tan Tiem Sua in 1919 and continued until 1921 when the church rented a house to be a worship hall at Si praya road. The First Church Building and Church School Pastor Longway rented a two story shop-house at Sapan Lueong as a church. Later Mr. Tan Tiem Hee donated a shop-house at Bang Rak to be a church and later, when the number of members increased, they rented a house at Soi Sap to be the new church, school and pastors residence. The garage was turned into a library. This was the first Seventh-day Adventist Church and the school was named Sam Yuk. It had 16 students and one teacher. The First Baptismal On Friday, December 30, 1921, Pastor Pratt officiated at the first baptism of four candidates, the first fruit of Siam, at Lumbini Park and conducted the first communion on the same day. The First Wedding On December 25, 1928, Pastor Pratt officiated at the first marriage in Thailand. The couple were Pastor V. L Kon and Ms. Hee Sui Len, a former student from the church school. The First Printed Book by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Thailand W.A. Spicers book titled, Our Day, in the Light of Prophecy was trandlated into Thai and printed in 1926. The first Thai magazine titled, Chu Chart was printed under the supervision of Pastor Abel in 1930. The First Thai to Accept the Adventist Truth The initial work in Thailand mainly targeted the Chinese community because the Thai community seemed to find it difficult to accept the religion. In 1927 two pastor from the Chinese church began to work in Nakonrachsrima (Korat) in an effort to include the Thais. They were Pastor Pratt and Pastor Kon. Nai Pleng Vitiamyalaksna, a young man searching for lifes meaning, began Bible studies with Pastor Kon and accepted the truth. At first he hid his new faith from his friends. He later became a literature evangelist, studied in Singapore and became a prominent worker for the church in Thailand. The First Thai Pathfinder Camp The first Thai Pathfinder Camporee was held at the Presbyterian camp at Doi Suthep, Chiangmai. In 1962 Pastor Kamjorn Srirattanaprapas was the camp organizer and Pastor Chester Damron was the camp pastor. About 100 Pathfinders attended. The First Thai Youth Attend Youth Meeting Abroad At the beginning of 1960 Thai Missionary Volunteers from several churches chose representatives to attend a youth meeting being held from April 4 to 9, 1961 in the Philippines. Youth from all over the Far Eastern Division were be in attendance. The youths chosen to attend were: Chalaw Artamapadung from the Chiangmai church, Chalee Chuenchob from the Ubol church, Sopon Jaiguar from Phuket, Chakarat Sookcheewin from Bangkok, Tassanee Sae-U from the Bangkok Hospital church, Srirat Sorajjakul and Khimthong Wasupen from Ekamai School, Yao Patchimrat from Ubon and others. The First Foundation of the Church During World War II the Thai government took sides with the Axis. Seventh-day Adventist Church properties were regarded as American because many of the missionaries that had come from the United States. As a result many of these church properties were confiscated by the government. In order to secure the church property and avoid using individual ownership in the future, leaders of the Malayan Union and Thailand Mission agreed to set up a foundation. The foundation was recognized in 1962 and Pastor Kamjorn Srirattanaprapas became the first chairman. The First Public Evangelism in Bangkok The first public evangelism by the church was a three week meeting held at Lumbini Park in April 28, 1964 by Pastor Sunti Sorajjakul. The organizer, Pastor Chester Damron, along with other workers, teachers and church members conducted the meetings. Dr. L. G. Ludington, Bangkok Adventist Hospital Administrator and Dr. James Crawford presented health programs while Mrs. Helen Sprengel was in charge of the choir. The First Mission Office and Publishing House In 1919 The Church organized its first Mission office. Pastor F. A. Pratt acted as temporary director. In 1932 Pastor A. P. Ritz became he director. How ever, during World War II he left and moved to Suriwong so the position was filled by Pastor V. L. Kon. In 1974 the Mission office moved into the church school until it burned down on March 9, 1952. The office then moved to the hospital midwifery building.
The Far Eastern Division and the Union agreed on July 26, 1961 to build a permanent Mission office and publishing house at Ekamai, Bangkok. The grand opening of the Mission was held on July 25, 1962, Mr. Floyd Whittington, the American embassy representative was the guest of honor and speaker for the program.
The grand opening of Thailand Publishing House was held on June 9, 1963. Mr. E. A. Pender was the first manager. Guardian of Healh and Steps to Christ were the first two books printed. The First 500 and the first 1000 of Church Members The church began with 14 members in 1919. Over the next 18 years the membership increased from 100 in 1974 to 500 in 1958 and finally 1000 members in October 4, 1964. On this day, there were 23 members baptized throughout the country. The Church First Boarding School In 1971, Pastor Jon Dybdahl started the first adult boarding school at Mae Thaeng, Chiangmai. In May 1974, Pastor Chalaw Artamapadung started Chiangmai Advenitst Academy, the first boarding academy in Thailand. The two schools merged in 1980 and Dr.Nancy Bassham became the first director. The First Thai Delegate to the General Conference Session In 1946 after World War II was over, the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church was held its quadrennial session in Washington D.C. Mr. or Khun Pleng Vitiamyalaksana Was chosen from the church in Thailand to be the first delegate of this country the session. He went by army plane that stopped in many countries. The trip took about eight days by airplane to the United and another twenty days by ship back to Thailand. He had a chance to tell the story of Gods work in Thailand. On the way he stopped in Vietnam and experienced fighting between the Vietnamese and French soldiers. Mr. Pleng was able to escape from the fighting. Mr. Pleng then stopped at Singapore where the ravages of war were shockingly evident with thousands of people on the streets begging for food. He arrived in Bangkok via a Danish ship, happy to be home with a tremendous store of enriching memories. The Growth of the Church The seventh-day Adventist Church in Thailand has been established over the past 100 years by missionaries who desired to sow the seeds of truth. The Church in Thailand has experienced progress and hindrance over that time. God continues to lead His church with church growth evident. We must contine to complete he task of spreading this Gospel to every corner of Thailand. The challenge of the church is greater than ever before. In this new century the Church need to cope with population increases and secular society and this needs a special approach. Every Adventist church member must take this challenge and work together to continue to spread the Gospel with the help of God until He comes.