Several decades ago, a single act of kindness led to a formidable friendship that eventually built a church – the Yanhee Adventist Church. Dr. Ismael Naypa and Dr. Supot Sumritvanitcha, classmates and best of friends in medical school, parted ways after graduation, only to meet again in one of God’s crossroads. Once more, these two friends met again in 2005 and joined hands as Dr. Naypa became the managing marketing director of Dr. Supot’s Yanhee International Hospital. The simple act of kindness though, still remains a secret to these two friends…
Dr. Naypa accepted Dr. Supot’s invitation to work with him in his hospital here in Thailand, bringing with him 5 other pioneering Filipino nurses. The uniqueness of the work here caught the interest of Dr. Naypa and the 5 pioneering nurses to a great degree. Later on, they realized that they had a difficulty in attending Sabbath services in the nearest SDA church, which is around 8 km away through the city’s traffic-infested streets.
The population of the Yanhee SDA Filipino staff grew dramatically and in no time there were children and families added to this community. Still, the problem on attending Sabbath services remained unsolved and grew worse. There came a time when some people would just opt to spend their Sabbath in bed, and worse still, in the malls where it was cool and comfortable. God, in His infinite wisdom, must have led Dr Naypa to say that it was time – time to have a church in Yanhee!
God inspired a few heads to respond to the concern of one person and they came together to spearhead the effort to take this problem more seriously. They asked around to gather the opinions of others and got a positive feedback. Thus, they decided to give it a try by agreeing to hold Sabbath services once a month. However, the Lord always provides our needs and does not settle for less. So, instead of holding services once a month, according to the initial plan, services were then held every Sabbath, even including worship on Friday evenings, in one of the bigger houses that were provided for the Filipino staff within the Yanhee compound.
The first Sabbath service was held on January 7, 2012 in that same house. A seating arrangement was made to accommodate the members who came – about 25 of them. We all helped simulate the Sabbath atmosphere – MVC style – with our songs, prayers and participation during the services, despite the noisy honking of vehicles going in and out of the adjacent parking lot, and the occasional loud and noisy laughter and conversations of passers-by. Worship was still then a challenge but at least we felt the Sabbath Day more.
As a Company Church
Finally, news of this church reached the ears of our Thailand Adventist Mission (TAM) office as more members and visitors came to attend each Sabbath service. TAM office sent a representative to inform us that they wanted this church to be recognized as an official SDA company church here in Thailand. Pastor Demetrio “Jun” Taotao was assigned to assist us in maintaining and up-scaling our church services. On August 18, 2012 our first set of elected officers were inducted to office by a representative from the TAM.
Second Place of Worship
More members and visitors came to join our worship each Sabbath, until a point where the place could no longer accommodate comfortably the number of worshippers. A representative then went to see our CEO, Dr. Supot, to ask him if he could be kind enough to provide us a bigger place where we could continue to hold our Sabbath services, one we could rent at a price we could afford, without interrupting hospital operations. He immediately ordered his staff to prepare one of the seldom used meeting rooms in the old building. Not only did he provide for us a much bigger meeting room, but he also provided us with a large air-conditioned room, with free supply of cold water and hot chocolate drink; He even asked if we wanted some simple lunch to be served each Sabbath so we did not have to leave the room for lunch and could continue with our worship the whole day there!
We only asked for a room but God provided us so much more! He even used a non-Christian with an extraordinarily kind heart to remind us that He cares for us in every way. We praise Him for providing us limitless blessings in the form of Dr. Supot!
We had our first Sabbath service in this meeting room on September 15, 2012, just days after Dr. Supot granted our request; we didn’t even have to wait long!
A church without a choir is like having a home without children who make such joyful noise that fills every heart. Thus, on November 8, 2012, under the kind and firm leadership of Dr. Jeremy Valleramos, Yanhee Voices (YV) was founded to be the official singing group of the church; the group was initially formed by 21 members.
Third Place of Worship
After around 2 years of using the meeting room every Sabbath, an administrative decision was made that the meeting room will be converted to offices as Yanhee Hospital has been constantly expanding and improving its services. With this, we have no choice but to move our worship venue.
Anyhow, God always provides. In May 2014, we found another haven of worship every Sabbath day in the garden of the house provided for Dr. Naypa and his family. Here, we worshiped with the sound of chirping birds and fresh breeze that would occasionally blow to remind us of God’s guiding hand in nature and everywhere else.
With this new venue, God also gave us a pastor who would shepherd us and look after our spiritual needs. He provided us the youthful, active and soft-spoken Pastor Karlo Diel, who volunteered his services when he first came to our community. And, with God’s blessing, he later was blessed with an official appointment from the TAM office to work as our church pastor starting October 2014. Since then he has been such a gift and blessing to all of us in our church and the entire Filipino community around Yanhee.
Fourth Place of Worship
The following month – November 2014, our CEO provided us with a newly-renovated 3-storey building to house the rapidly growing Filipino Yanhee staff. The CEO permitted us to use the first floor of this building as our church, per our request, and now it stands as such presently air-conditioned, safe and comfortable.
Yanhee Adventist Church
On March 4, 2017, Yanhee Adventist Church was finally given the “church status” by the Thailand Adventist Mission (TAM) duly recognized by the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church.