Lori Endress serves in Thailand in the Short-term Missionary stream which, along with the Volunteers in Mission program, has provided opportunities for ELCIC members to serve in many different places throughout the world.
Lori's home is in a duplex apartment on the McGilvary campus of Payap University in the city of Chiang Mai.
Payap University was founded in 1974 by the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT). The CCT was established by the Presbyterian mission in the 1930's and now has about 130,000 members.
Christian missionaries first arrived in Thailand in the 1820's but the people of Thailand are still predominantly Buddhist. Only 1 or 2 % of the population is now Christian but the Christian churches provide schools and hospitals which are available to all the people of Thailand.
For Lori's first Short-term Missionary assignment at Payap, she was a Coordinator and Teacher in the Special English Program of the new International College. She provided the instructors with upgrading in English and teaching techniques so they would be prepared to teach the international students in this new program. Funding for this position was primarily from the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.
Students and staff at Payap University can get to and from school by paying a fare to a seelor driver – the passengers in a seelor ride on a bench under a canopy in the back of a pick-up truck. Many others have their own small motor bikes.
Lori was invited by the President of Payap, Dr Boonthong Poochareon, to return to Chiang Mai as a Short-term Missionary in August 2004 for two more years, funded this time mainly by ELCIC Missionary Sponsorships.
Her new assignment is at Payap's McGilvary Faculty of Theology and Seminary.
Her current role is to develop and teach English programs for specific needs to faculty, graduate students, pastors in upgrading programs and staff. This has taken on greater importance now that McGilvary Seminary has started an international Master of Divinity Program with instruction in English.
Bill Yoder (in this photo with Lori) is a Presbyterian missionary and the Dean of the Seminary. Along with Dr Boonthong he made a strong pitch to Kelvin Krieger, Program Coordinator for Mission in the World, during his visit in 2003, to return Lori to Thailand.