A Trip Back to New Zealand

At the end of March 2016 Paul and I traveled back to New Zealand to reconnect with family, our sending church and our supporters.  Spending time with our family was high on our list of priorities. April 2016

Paul’s mum Mabel Shelling, continues to live independently and well at the age of 90 years.  We love to visit her.


Our two granddaughters in Whakatane, Eva and baby Grace are a delight.


Grace is such a smiley baby.


Six year old Georgia loves to do things with us after school.  This photo is taken after we climbed up the Richmond foothills to the viewpoint. New Zealand is so lush and green at this time of year.


Ruth at the marina walkway at Whangarei.


Joseph (Magda’s husband) with his lastest pig on the back of the utility vehicle.  His dog called Goose loves these early morning hunts. The pig meat was made into sausages for us all to eat.


We enjoyed family walks in beautiful New Zealand.

Teaching English with Mercy Ministries Pattaya

There are many different Christian ministries in Pattaya doing wonderful work out in the slum communities.  The Mercy Ministry English Language Fellowship Project is one of them.  Recently they asked Paul and I to partner with them to bring a children’s programme to the Nong Yai slum community.  We agreed to work with Mercy Ministries one Saturday a month until this new programme is established.  Paul and I will demonstrate programmes suitable for teaching children and gradually a Thai church will take over.

Our bible drama was “Wise King Solomon and the Two Mothers” and all of the games and craft tied in with a BABY theme.  We all had a lot of fun.

Swimming at Encounter Academy


Every Friday afternoon the children at Encounter Academy go swimming.  Paul transports them to a local pool and I (Ruth) teach them a swimming lesson. It’s a great way to finish the week. In this photo you can see that we are trying to form shapes in the water.  This was a star. I’m in the water assisting.


Sometimes we cannot fit everyone in and the older students have to walk there and back.

Youth Prison in Thailand




Wearing the official shirts.  C is our translator

Standing outside at the gate

Most Fridays for the past two years Paul and Ruth Shelling have visited the youth prison on the outskirts of Pattaya to teach English.  Officially called a Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre, the staff aim to introduce new skills to the 80 – 120 youth to assist them in making a fresh start in life when they leave.


An official ceremony to recognise the contribution of volunteers at the prison

Why are these youth in this facility?  Charges differ with each person. Common stories include drug selling, stealing (usually a motor cycle) or involvement in illegal sexual arrangements.  Some youth are from Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar, and have been picked up by the police for being in Thailand without legal documents.

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The youth are polite and appreciative when Paul and Ruth come to teach English.  Both Paul and Ruth are trained teachers from New Zealand.  In 2013 Paul and Ruth began working as volunteers with the Encounter Church of Pattaya.  They love being with the youth and seeing new hope come into the eyes of these youth who are ready to take steps to change their lives.


In addition to teaching the youth the Encounter church provide gift packs for the youth with basic toiletries and food. 


An Unexpected Christmas gift

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Paul and Ruth from Encounter Church teach ABC English to Mai and all the children

In Pattaya, Thailand, 11 year old Mai looks after the small children at the Cambodian workers camp while the adults are away working long 12 hour days on the Thai construction sites. The camp conditions are hot and dry and dusty. It isn’t easy to watch over the children as there are no fences. Broken glass and rubbish litter the area. The children are often hungry and thirsty.
Mai has not been to school but she is a bright alert child who is quick to learn.

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The highlight of her week is on Tuesdays when a Christian team of people from Encounter Church come to bring their weekly program for the children in the camp. They spread a large plastic tarpaulin under the shady tree and begin lessons. Mai loves the bible dramas, songs and stories. 


She is learning that there is a God who loves her. She enjoys the crafts and loves to cut and colour and paste.

Sometimes she receives clothing. Every week at the end of the program she receives a snack.


Ruth is checking for the right size clothing for Mai

Yesterday something special happened for Mai and the other children in the camp. Christmas shoeboxes filled with unimaginable gifts arrived with the Encounter team. Her box had a bright pink towel taped to the top. Imagine a towel just for her very own. Inside the box was a new tee-shirt and dress, rubber flip flop sandals, toiletries and a few snacks and hair ties. Mai could hardly believe it. Never had she received a gift like this before.

Thank you Paul and Ruth. Thank you Encounter team.

Thank you to those who donated gifts for us all.

Thank you God for your provision.

Help us all to know you more and more.

Distributing the Christmas Shoeboxes


The gifts were made ready for the children at the Koh Larn Island Children’s programme held at the Dream Church.

It was a joyful occasion.  There was music, fun, games and dancing.  Delicious food and drinks, and to top it all off wonderful gifts for all the children.  The children attending the program at Koh Larn Dream Church had a special day to remember.  Many extra children came from the community and there were enough gifts for all.


The motor cycle and trailer donated by a Korean church are so useful to collect the children from around the island. Here Manee’s husband, Tim is the driver.



The children have arrived and are waiting patiently for the programme to begin.



Manee lives on the mainland but comes to the island every weekend to sleep over and to provide for the children. God is rewarding her faithful prayers with much fruit and changed lives.



The children listen and watch attentively.



Many of the children are Cambodian migrants.



Thai dancing is beautiful with lots of graceful hand movements.



There was plenty of delicious Thai food for everyone.



It is usual to sit on the ground to socialise and to eat.



Distributing the Christmas gifts was a joy. The visiting team from Bangkok assisted with entertainment and excitement.



A book telling the Christmas story in the Thai language was given along with the gift.



Happy delighted faces as the gifts are opened.



The gifts looked so attractive in the colourful paper.



Clothing, snacks, toiletries and toys.



Gift repacked and ready to take home. Paul enjoys a moment with one of the boys.

Thank you to everyone who take the time to create a special box for one of these underprivileged children.

Koh Larn Island Children’s Ministry


On the ferry heading to the island.  Island is in the distance.

Every month Paul and I go to Koh Larn island for a two day Children’s Ministry.  We take the ferry from Pattaya and arrive on the island 45 minutes later.  There is a small church building there.  It was a house but has been converted into a church.

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The sign on the church                                                Inside view of the church

A Korean church put the money forward for the purchase of the house.  The yard is rough and has a dirt base.  Tables have been set up and we do part of our teaching of the children under umbrellas outside.  We also eat lunch outside.

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Teaching English outside the church                    Eating lunch outside

“Koh” actually means island.  Koh Larn has a population of about 5000 people but this swells daily with thousands of day tourists that visit the beaches.  The infrastructure of the island is struggling to cope with the masses that arrive with their demands for food and hospitality and the inevitable rubbish that is left behind.

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Manee is from Pattaya and she leads this vision.      Piek is the only Christian man on the island.

A committed Christian from the Baptist Church on the Pattaya mainland, called Manee, has a strong vision to see a church established on the island.  She regularly visited the island for a number of years to walk and pray and ask God to establish a church there.  We are thankful for answered prayers.  So the church is beginning with a children’s program.  Currently we have about 22 children regularly attending.  We are praying that these small beginnings will grow into an established church.

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All the children enjoy the craft activities and a calm quiet settles on the room.

Paul and I lead the programme for one weekend per month.  We teach English, and bible dramas and bible lessons and crafts.  Manee and an American lady called YoYo cater for the programme the other weekends.  As well as the children’s programme there is a church service held there on a Sunday afternoon.  People come over from the mainland to assist.

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Our accommodation. Cheap and cheerful.  We have a regular monthly booking at discount rates.

We sleep at a cheap accommodation resort. (NZ $20 per night).  We usually manage to fit in an early morning swim on the Sunday morning before the children’s programme starts.


The sea water is clear and clean

So this is a pioneering ministry.  Paul and I don’t see our involvement there as being a long term thing.  We will continue until such a time as there are Thai / Cambodian people that can run it independently and we will step back and offer support when needed.

We feel excited about answered prayers and the way the work is going forward.