This article is part of our continuing celebration of 30 Years of ministry in Southeast Asia.
Over the years, many people have faithfully served Christ and the Church of the Nazarene in the countries of Southeast Asia. One such person, who served for just a few short years before being taken to her eternal reward, was Belinda Allder (BJ). Through her ministry as a schoolteacher, BJ worked in the Mae Tang local high school and primary school, teaching English and sharing the love of Jesus in tangible ways. The Mae Taeng Tribal Children’s Home, located a 45-minute drive north of Chang Mai, was her home. Children of all ages would come and go from her home once they were done with school – playing games, chatting, and learning what it meant to follow Jesus.
The English teachers at the local high school loved having BJ as part of their team – and she loved being a part of the team. They laughed a lot as BJ learned to speak Thai and joined them at meals. Whenever BJ would hold Bible studies for the children, many teachers would ‘secretly’ listen to them. The key to BJ’s impact was her ability to make friends easily and not be afraid to speak Thai. Every event and conversation became an opportunity to live Jesus – humbly but with contagious enthusiasm.
One would think that because she lived in a relatively remote area of northern Thailand, BJ’s influence would be reasonably confined to a small geographical area. However, her influence spread further. This happened for several reasons:
- BJ hosted at least two Youth in Mission trips from the USA and Australia each year. Many of these team members were significantly impacted while working alongside BJ. As a result, some heard the call to mission and became disciple-makers in various world countries.
- Several longer-term volunteers worked alongside BJ for months and then returned to their home churches and became disciple-makers.
- Children and young people in the Home learned to work in teams to share the Gospel story, both in their local schools and home villages. These children experienced Christianity lived in the here and now, joyously and spontaneously. Villagers saw their children transformed by the love of Christ.
- BJ became part of the Northern Thailand District NYI and connected with young people in other countries around the Asia Pacific field. As a result, discipleship groups were formed, and young people learned how to disciple each other.
Even now, some nine years after BJ’s passing, I encounter young people who were discipled or impacted in some tangible way by BJ’s enthusiastic walk with Jesus. Her motto was “just one life at a time!”
Thank you to the disciples of Christ who are making a difference in Southeast Asia and around the globe. Only eternity will reveal the full extent of your faithful ministry. To God be the glory!
Bruce G Allder
Bruce worked at Nazarene Theological College. He and his wife Jacqueline live in Brisbane, Australia.