We have recently had a new church member join us to worship. Ba Ae has been a believer for about six months now and is originally from Map Ammarit but she had moved away to Kho Samui and had been working at a hotel until the COVID situation devastated the island’s economy. After her husband left her and a season of not having work, she decided that she needed to move back to Map Ammarit. We really love how the Lord connected her to us as we see how only He could have done it.
Back in December, our family went on vacation with Ajarn Barnabas’ family. We wanted to go camping and had originally planned to go to the mountains to go camping. At the last minute, we decided we would go to Kho Samui and then from there to another, smaller island, to go camping. We got to Kho Samui and found that all the ferries to the smaller island were not running because there was a storm that would make traveling to the island much harder. We decided to meet up with the sister of one of our church members who we had baptized back in September as Ba Tao had asked us to meet with Ba Dim if we were able to. Ba Dim was a delightful hostess and helped us find a good place to stay on the island and then took us to her church that night for a special mid-week worship service. It was a nice service and we enjoyed the presence of the Lord and meeting the pastor and other brothers and sisters in Christ, but then we went back and enjoyed the rest of our vacation and didn’t think much of it.
A couple of weeks after returning to Map Ammarit we planned an outreach into a poorer community in our area to pass out Christmas gifts and food bags that we had originally prepared for a large Christmas outreach that was cancelled due to COVID and a large storm. We went from home to home passing out the gifts and sharing about Jesus. One home with many siblings and their families living together was particularly receptive to the gifts and really liked hearing the story about Jesus. We made plans to follow up with them at some point, but again, didn’t think too much of it.
Well, a couple of weeks after that, Amy was teaching at the school. Classes were back in session after being online and she had her hands full, but a lovely lady and her daughter walked into the classroom looking for the church. It was a Tuesday, a day when Matt usually works from home, so Amy stepped outside to chat with the lady. Ba Ae shared how she had been a part of the church in Kho Samui that we had visited. When her pastor there heard that she was moving back to Map Ammarit, the pastor told her that she had to come to find us and come to our church because she had met us when we had come to visit back in December. Amy got Ba Ae’s information and had Matt follow up later. When Matt went to visit her at her home, he realized that it was the one house on our outreach in that community that had been the most receptive to us. The beautiful thing in this is that Ba Ae, as I mentioned earlier, is a new believer and she was nervous about how her family would feel about her decision to follow Christ. She had come to faith while living in Kho Samui because after her husband left her during the downturn in the economy a Christian started helping her and told her about Jesus. When she first came back, her family wasn’t quite sure what to think, but when Matt showed up at their home they said, “Oh this guy! We like this guy!” And they were ok with Ba Ae’s decision to be a christian because she was with us.
The other really beautiful thing is that Ba Ae came back into town, not having work, but trusting the Lord. Well as it turns out, the new missionary family in town was interested in hiring someone on to help their family with cleaning, cooking and the children (as many people do here in Thailand) and so Ba Ae was able to immediately secure a good job with a family who is eager to help disciple her as they grow in their Thai. We are so amazed at the providence of God in this situation and love seeing how the Lord worked all the details behind the scene to provide for Ba Ae’s concerns before she even knew for sure she would be coming back. We love seeing how the Lord put together all the pieces in this story in a beautiful mosaic that we never could have ourselves.