Read letters from Annette George
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Annette ended service with Presbyterian World Mission in 2013
About Annette George's ministry
Annette George was appointed by the PC(USA) in 1991 and assigned to serve in Payap University’s music department in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She gives private lessons in flute, oboe and bassoon and teaches a woodwind class, introduction to music therapy, and an occasional English as a second language course for music majors.
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Payap University’s music department has nearly 100 students ranging in age from 18 to 35. They are Thai speakers and primarily (80 percent) Buddhist. Other parts of Annette’s work include supervising students in senior recitals and student teaching. An aspect of the job Anne particularly enjoys is the opportunity to perform flute solos and in ensembles in public with other faculty and community musicians. In 2004 Annette had the honor of performing the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto as one of the soloists with Payap University’s newly formed orchestra.
Payap University was Thailand’s first Christian university. The Christian setting affords many opportunities for students and staff to worship together and to explore and nurture faith. In 2003 a small group of music majors agreed to meet together on Monday nights at Annette’s house, which is next door to the music department, for mutual prayer and encouragement. The students call it their “cell group.” This is an answer to prayer for Annette, who in years past had often tried unsuccessfully to start Bible studies or prayer groups within the department.
Thailand, known as Siam until 1939, is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never under colonial rule. In the 1980s its economy changed from one based primarily on agriculture to one more focused on the industrial and service sectors. The economy’s fast growth sent a substantial number of people from Thailand’s rural areas to urban centers. More than half a million Thai people are living with HIV/AIDS, a high rate of infection that is partly the result of a large-scale sex industry. Nearly 95 percent of the people are Buddhist, 4 percent are Muslim, and less than 1 percent are Christian. Presbyterians began mission work in Thailand in 1840, and Presbyterianism is one of the Protestant traditions that helped form the Church of Christ in Thailand. While the CCT’s membership is relatively small, its work in health, education and social ministries is widely known and appreciated.
About Annette George
“The music ministry in Thailand is a culmination of many of my spiritual and musical skills and dreams,” writes Annette. She grew up in Indiana, studying flute from the age of 8. The two Presbyterian churches in her community often invited her to play in their worship services and special events. She majored in music therapy and music education at the University of Georgia and sought a career that would put her in the position of helping people and showing them God’s love through music activities.
Annette found a satisfying combination of duties in a position in North Carolina as music therapist in the chaplains’ department of an institution for persons with severe mental retardation. During that time she was required to obtain a degree in special education. The master’s degree from North Carolina State University she earned for that reason gave her the qualifications necessary to accept the position at Payap University when the call to mission work became too strong to ignore. The work in Thailand requires her to use all her career skills and gives her the challenge and joy of learning at ever deeper levels the language, culture and thought processes of the Thai people.
Birthday: August 15