Mission To Thailand
Derek & Bonnie Burnett
Derek grew up in Markham, ON. Bonnie was born in Saigon, Vietnam, to C&MA International Workers (IWs). When Vietnam fell, her family was reassigned to the Philippines. Derek and Bonnie met at Canadian Bible College (CBC) in Regina, SK and have been married since 1993. Together, they have three children: Carlin, Jesse, and Jemma.
Derek and Bonnie have been involved in a variety of different ministries since they landed in Bangkok, in 1999. They worked with Mahapawn TriCountry Church (Thai CMA) following language study for almost 2 years. They worked with a T.E.E. (Theological Education by Extension) program for 7 years, helping Thai pastors to train leaders in their churches (called Saw Saw Paw). From 2013-2017, they planted and then pastored an international church on the island of Phuket (All Nations Church Phuket). At present they are teaching professors at the Northeastern Bible Seminary in the city of Khon Kaen.
You can contact them directly at [email protected].
Derek grew up in a Christian family but made his own faith commitment to Christ at camp in his pre-teen years. In high school he developed a passion for law and was preparing to pursue that vocation. In grade 13, however, the Lord took away his passion for law and replaced it with a burden for missions. Later that year on May 1, 1988, during a missions conference, he responded to God’s invitation to serve as an International Worker or missionary. He went to CBC and after his sophomore year, spent eleven months in the Philippines, which cemented his call as an international worker.
What Derek enjoys most about being an International Worker is being able to work with both Thais and foreigners in Thailand. His biggest challenge is navigating the language and the cultural differences of Thai people. As much as he enjoys living in Thailand because he doesn’t have to chip ice off his windshield in winter, he does miss things from his Canadian home such as, Swiss Chalet chicken and Regular Cheerios.
Bonnie can't remember a time when she did not believe in God, but she realized that she didn’t know God like her parents did. She sought Him during her first year of Bible school and He "drew near" to her (James 4:8), meeting her in a clear way. Coming from a missionary family—only one aunt didn't serve the Lord full-time— she felt it was simply expected of her to be a missionary too, so she told God she would do anything but that. One night, He asked her what her heart's desire would be, and after some thought she answered, "I love to teach the Bible and I love other cultures." She heard God then say, “So, what’s the problem?”
For Bonnie, Thailand feels like home, so serving the Lord in Thailand is a lovely gift. She loves the people, the food, the weather, and doesn’t at all mind the feeling of being in the minority in another country. Her biggest challenge with the International Worker life is missing out on family life in Canada and living a long ways from her children.