On of our Thai friends received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It was her natural birthday today and now it is her spiritual one as well! She was water baptized by my wife at a friend’s back yard pool and is starting down a new path that God has for her.
Here is a glimpse into the process she went through to come to this point. Let it encourage you to know that God is always working and He invites us to join in that work. What a privledge.
Our friend’s grandmother is originally from Vietnam but was sold to Chinese traders in order to pay a gambling debt! The Chinese were nice to her and raised her. When she was old enough, she married a Chinese man, our friend’s grandfather. The grandfather has already passed away, but became a Christian before his death. He even asked to family to bury him as a Christian. Although the family did as he requested they still remained Buddhist.
Our friend’s mother who is half Vietnamese and Chinese married a Thai/Isaan man, which makes our friend part Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai/Isaan! When she was a teenager our friend sent off for a free correspondence course that she saw offered about the life of Jesus. She didn’t understand the implications of what she was learning but never forgot about the man she knew as “Pra Yesu.
Later as our friend grew up, she went on to University to work on her Master’s degree. Before she completed her studies, she became a nanny in America and lived in New York for two years where she learned to speak English more clearly. There she was exposed to American culture, but not to Jesus.
After she returned home, she went to study English with the Mormons who tried to get her to convert, but she was not interested in anything but learning English. She related to me that all they talked about was what they could and could not do. They offered her the chance to study at one of their major universities if she became a Mormon and part of a Mormon missionary group that traveled throughout Thailand for a year or so. But she she was not interested at all in this offer or in what they had to say.
When we came to Thailand last year, we were looking for a language helper and I put an ad on Thailand’s Craigslist. I did not hire her at first but chose another helper. I later looked her back up and asked her to come and work for us. She agreed and came to our house five days a week to teach not only me and Jacqueline, but also our son.
One day when she went to a nearby salon, she met a girl from our local partner Thai church who also shared Jesus with her. When our mutual friend found out that she was our language teacher she told her, “Oh, you are very close to the Kingdom of God. You will become a Christian soon”! Our friend just shrugged it off and laughed, “I am Buddhist” she replied.
When Thanksgiving came around this year, we invited her to come with us and share in our celebration with some of our friends in another city. There she saw the love of our family’s in action. Everyone treated her as family and with such kindness. I think it made a big impact on her, but we never talked much about it.
As I began work on my new Thai web site, she helped me translate almost twenty new “sermon” articles into Thai. It was not easy for her, but she did a great job and we completed most of it all in a week! She especially liked the one that I wrote about how to find the right person in life. She still mentions that article every now and again. It talked about how you must “become the right person in order to find the right person.” I would share many testimonies with her about God working in people’s lives throughout the week as well even taking her to an online church experience.
One day not too long ago “prophesied” to her, “God has been drawing you since you were a little girl. He has placed many people and situations in your path. Right now a seed has been planted in your heart. That seed has been watered and it is ready to sprout. Once it has sprouted, it will grow into a large tree and that tree will bear fruit.” Then I asked her if she understood this. She said yes, but was not confident to believe yet.
Later as she talked with one of her Thai friend’s who lives in New York, the young girl shared about how she had found God and believed in Jesus. She was now going to church and testifying about how God was changing her life. This also deeply impacted her and she thought about what this girl was saying to her often.
After one of our language sessions, I shared the Gospel using the Thai Bible with our friend. I showed her the scriptures from the book of Romans and had her read them out loud . I asked her if she was ready to believe yet, but she was not confident enough yet. I then had Jacq pray for her and ask God to help her know Him and bless her as she went on in her life.
As I wanted to learn to share some things about the Gospel in Thai, our friend and I watched a video that talked about who God is and what he did in creating the heavens and the Earth. We would stop at every frame and translate the story from Thai to English. She would help me to learn the new Thai words and at the same time she was almost memorizing the story.
Just the other day as we were walking to have lunch together, she told me, “John I think I am ready to become a Christian. I need to know what to do now.” I said, “Oh yeah”? not paying alot of attention to what she said for some reason! She said, “Yes, everyone around me is Christian. I want to be one as well.” As we all sat down to eat, I asked her, “Were you sure about what you just said to me”? “Yes”! she said.
On her birthday-14 years after her first encounter with the Gospel, I asked her questions that confirmed what she believed about God, Jesus, and the Bible. She affirmed everything about the Gospel and knelt down to pray with Jacq to ask Jesus to come into her life and be her Lord and Savior. After teaching on baptism and her understanding it, she affirmed her desire to be baptized.
We then followed the example of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) and baptized her immediately. We did it in a pool belonging to a friend in our neighborhood. A new Isaan believer along with our Swedish friends were present as she publicly proclaimed Jesus in water baptism.
We later talked more about the importance of taking to God, spending time with believers, and getting to know God through His Word and now, kind of like Philip, we are being carried away to another place, commending her to the grace of God that saved her and we are looking forward to seeing her when we return.
I can say that in all of our times together, we simply shared Jesus anytime the moment presented itself to do so. We tried to live our lives in way that was transparent and real. We wanted to share the Gospel in a way that Christ could be understood as fulfilling all the deepest longings of the Thai heart. We wanted to present Christ as the one who comes to save and to help not simply to give us rules to follow. He truly does satisfy, no matter what culture we come from!
We are so happy to be chosen to be in Thailand for “such a time as this.” In this part of the world, many people live and work here for many years before they see someone come to Christ. But in this generation I believe that there is so much more potential for the Thai people who are sitting in the shadows waiting for someone to come and share the Good News of salvation through Jesus.
Most of them have simply never really heard it or seen it demonstrated in every day life in a way that would appeal to their hearts.
This is why we must “Go” and keep going!
I wanted to share a little about our Thai friend’s background with you so that you get a little glimpse with us into what God is doing to bring people to Himself in this part of the world. We can be a key link in the multi layered process that He uses.
One “sows”, one “waters”, but God is the one who gives the increase and brings forth fruit in that person’s life (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). He alone deserves the glory! (Romans 11:36)
May we have many more stories like this in the months and years to come!