Betty and Rich Pfeiffer
Anne L. Press, President of CFSA, writes: Betty and Rich Pfeiffer were the first volunteers this ministry ever had, proving that at ages 75 and 79, this ministry is ageless and affords opportunities for everyone. Betty was so moved by her experience, she wrote the book “Driven”, an inspiring story of survival and faith. Learn more at: www.pottersclaypublishing.com
We were the first, and we thank God we weren’t the last, trip Anne conducted to Thailand as a ministry to the Hmong. There is no better way to understand the importance of these trips than for lay people to see for themselves the beauty of the Hmong people’s hearts, their poverty, and their need. You’ll come back home a different person. Pray for their safety in a volatile country.
Question: What to do when newly retired?
Answer: Find opportunities to serve Jesus.
At an LWMS convention, my husband, Alan, and I found CFSA. We were ready to join a team. Before departure, our team of seven people collected money, glasses, dresses, and medical and VBS supplies. In November, 2012, we arrived in Nong Khai, Thailand.
We were excited about the start of our medical mission. The three nurses were amazing at the four different sites over four days. Three of us helped with records while my husband took pictures. Each one of the 370 people, ranging in age from infant to 91 years, left with medicine or vitamins, a cross, and a taste of Christ’s love. On the weekend we had two VBS days with 55 children ages five to fifteen, who listened to Bible lessons, moved to music called “Kinder Jam”, and created amazing projects.
At the church service we witnessed two adults and four young people baptized. Pastor’s favorite hymn, “Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel”, was sung in Thai and English. The common bond of faith was felt by all.
In our free time we explored the Mekong River markets, loved our evening meals from the street vendors, and took a day trip into Laos. We look back on those two weeks with great memories. We look forward to serving again with CFSA. We hope to meet YOU on another mission team, in Christ’s service.
I joined the ministry in July of 2011 when I received an unexpected phone call from Anne Press, who told me the upcoming mission trip to Thailand was “tailor made” for me as I am a nurse and an educator. She was right. I asked permission to bring our 10 year old son which was very quickly approved.
Letters were quickly sent out to everyone on my Christmas card list and within one week checks started arriving. Among raffles, a yard sale, a dinner, and donations over $5000.00 was raised in 5 weeks. Praise God! He certainly gave me the desires of my heart (I always wanted to be a missionary).
I pray the Lord moves many couples and families and individuals to serve Him in a country that desperately needs to know Christ crucified. Volunteering was not physically or emotionally difficult for me although not being able to speak the language was hard for me (I like to talk). However, we had translators and the spiritual joy of teaching the Christmas story and Resurrection account to a room full of school children was an experience I will always cherish. God is so good!
I went to Thailand strictly on faith. I had no experience as a teacher and even less experience as a visitor to the other side of the world. God guided my lessons, kept me safe, and gave me one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. I will always have the images of smiling young Christians burned into my memory, and am thankful that God introduced me to Anne, CFSA and the Thailand ministry.
When I spoke with Anne Press about this opportunity to do mission work in Thailand, she had me hooked as soon as I heard the words “straw huts.”
I served as an ESL teacher for my first mission trip and what a life-changing experience! It was amazing to be able to share God’s word with my students and to hear them sing joyfully, “Praise ye the Lord!” It made my heart melt to see the beautiful murals the students drew of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. I am so thankful for having had this opportunity to share God’s love with people in Thailand.
I’m an RN who had the honor of working at the Red Dirt Village in Thailand in fall 2011. I had done medical missionary work in the past but not with my own WELS group. I had been searching for this opportunity. When I met Anne Press at a National LWMS convention, I couldn’t wait to jump on her bandwagon!
The two week trip was just what I had been searching for because it would allow me the best of both worlds, serving medical and Biblical needs. Another plus was that I got to do that with my own faith group. Mission work is something you either like or not. I immediately became hooked. To be able to give to others has been a constant uplifting joy in my heart. Mission work has because a part of what I am now.
I am unashamed to wear the given title of “Mission Nurse” at the hospital where I work. It opens up opportunities for the WORD to be seeded.
“I want to be a missionary!” This was not well-received in the 1950s! I was female, WELS, and only ten years old, but my dream haunted me. Then, Anne Press’s mission presentation showed an open door for laymen to be missionaries. She presented a unique way to fulfill my dream. God answered my prayer!
In Thailand, I realized I was going to be involved in actively reaching out to people who did not know Jesus as their Savior! The noise, the smells, the chaos, the Buddha statues, all contributed to my excitement.
The VBS days were packed! 75 children were so excited and eager to hear about Jesus! They created crafts without having previous access to crayons, markers, or scissors and glue, and worked in a room equal to that of a one room school house. Their wide eyed faces made my heart sing.
The medical mission was a huge draw for villagers. Team members could feel the gratitude of these villagers who stood or sat for long periods of time waiting to see the nurses. Even more rewarding was seeing many of these same faces in the church service on Sunday morning.
My primary job on one of two trips with Anne was to teach English. I taught a few phrases like “God bless you” and “Jesus loves me”. At the farewell service, one of my adult students came up to me, gave me a good-bye hug and whispered, “God bless you”. A wonderful end to a wonderful trip!
Christians Forward Southeast Asia (CFSA) has given me two (2) wonderful chances of a lifetime to grow as an individual and to learn about other cultures overseas. The first lifetime opportunity was in Pattaya, Thailand providing humanitarian aid for an orphanage. The team that I was on planted banana trees, sorted donated children’s clothing, and played games with the children. The second lifetime opportunity came when I surprised Anne Press at the LWMS Annual Convention this past June in Dallas, and told her I was going to Cambodia with her. I immediately began collecting medical supplies and then it dawned on me I’m going on a medical trip?
Yipes! What are you doing? Medical is totally out of your realm of expertise! The more I thought about I realized that I didn’t need to worry – the Lord had blessed us with an exceptional medical team everything would be ok.
We provided over-the-counter medical aid to 500+ families that lived and worked in the rural areas of Cambodia. The best highlight and the one thing I loved most was seeing the gratefulness in their eyes. The insight I gained from this experience opened me up to a new perspective in terms of poverty. I am so looking forward to joining CFSA on many, many more trips in the future.