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Legacy school opens in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Legacy school opens in Chiang Mai, Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand--The Legacy Institute of Dundee, Ohio, and Bangkok announced May 31 the opening of the Legacy Institute Leadership Training Center in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.

Classes began at the center May 27, said Legacy founder Leon Sexton, who maintains residences in Bangkok and Rowlett, Texas.

Almost exactly one year earlier, Mr. Sexton and his wife, Gloria, had made the decision at a Legacy Institute board meeting to open a center to train young men and women for "the work of God in Asia," said Mr. Sexton.

The aim was to train workers to help evangelize in South and Southeast Asia.
Act of faith

"One year ago we didn't have the funds to start a school," said Mr. Sexton. "We did not know where the money would come from. We had no idea where to locate or even how to start the school."

The Sextons decided to "move ahead into the unknown" while "entirely trusting God," he said. "The birth of the Legacy Institute Leadership Training Center is an act of faith, pure and simple."

The center's facilities include classrooms, six teachers and 12 students from the Karen and Kachin tribes.

"Two Karen Church of God families have even moved from the [Thailand-Myanmar] border to help us," he said.

The center teaches classes in Bible, health and hygiene, spoken and written English, computer, music, voice, sports and vocational organic agriculture.

"Our teachers are all volunteers who pay their own way over [from America] to teach for one year," said Mr. Sexton.

They are (besides Mr. and Mrs. Sexton and their son Bronson) Heidi Hanisko of Ohio, Marjorie Riggs of Hawaii, Bonnie Turner of Texas and Sally Hamilton and Matthew Bates, both of California.

The 12 students include three children of Church of God members. Eight come from "traditional Christian" families, said Mr. Sexton.

"We even have one girl who is a Buddhist," he said. "All are required to take the Bible classes and attend Sabbath services. However, we will not cram God's truth down their throats."

Introductions all around

On May 26 Mr. Sexton conducted a brief opening ceremony for the school. He delivered a speech, each teacher introduced himself, and the students sang in Karen, Kachin and Burmese.

"Especially inspiring for me," said Mr. Sexton, "was hearing the U.S. national anthem by Bonnie and Heidi."

In his speech, Mr. Sexton talked of the dream of Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert W. Armstrong, for whom Mr. Sexton worked in Thailand in the 1970s.

Mr. Armstrong's dream for Thailand was to prepare refugees "for new lives in a new land," said Mr. Sexton.

Mr. Armstrong died, in 1986, before he had realized his dream.

"Now 16 years later we are standing on the threshold of fulfilling that dream," Mr. Sexton said. "We are opening a school in northern Thailand to teach the leaders of tomorrow."
Contact Mr. Sexton or Legacy Institute at P.O. Box 7, Dundee, Ohio 44624, U.S.A., or

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