After I finished interviewing Judah and his neighbors about their story, we went over to Judah’s house to have lunch together. We outside sat on a raised wooden platform called a “sala” and ate spicy “som tam” with fresh black fish sauce & sticky rice.
After we were finished, I asked if Judah could tell me how he came to know and follow Jesus.
He answered, “you really want to hear the whole story?”
Following The Forest Monk
Judah started his testimony by telling me that he used to be a follower of a wandering monk, also known as a “forest monk.” In Thai Buddhism, the original monks, some would say now the most holy ones, are those who do not live in temples but wander from place to place living in the woods and on the offerings of villagers.
Termite Mounds and Lottery Numbers
He would follow this monk around as he went to find termite mounds and other “auspicious” findings where they could do some type of ritual or “piti” in order to get the best lottery numbers for the villagers who sought him for such advice. They would often find themselves in cemetaries where the monk would gather other interested villagers and call upon the spirits of that place to come and speak with him.
The Serpent Speaks
Judah recounted a story where they were all in a cemetary and the monk was calling upon a “large serpent” to come and speak with him. The monk told everyone to keep their eyes closed as the snake approached. They could hear its movements and hissing. When he made it to their group, the monk began speaking with the snake in a strange language.
Possessed For A Price
The monk was pretty good at getting lottery numbers that even Judah himself won the lottery. He spent 500 baht ($15) and won 35,000 baht ($1000). After his win, the villagers began to follow Judah as well. He had been apprenticing with the monk and learning his ways. The monk made him his spirit medium.
He would sit behind Judah and invite the spirits or “ghosts” as the Thai call them to possess Judah. Then they would speak through him. Judah mentioned that the monk had another young girl join them and the monk made this girl a medium too.
The “Monk” Fathers A Son
Judah said that the monk ended up having a sexual relationship with the young girl impregnating her. “She lives just a couple of houses away and her son is now four years old.”, he told me in a hushed tone.
The monk would take off his robes and run away when he got into trouble then pop up in another village seeking to influence other people.
Drawn By Spiritual Power
I asked Judah was drew him to the monk and his brand of religion and he answered that he was interested in the power and the ability to be protected by the spirits as well as the ability to manipulate the spirit world for his advantage.
He did not know of the Supreme Creator God and had never heard or experienced the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ…not yet anyway.