“Hey love,” Matt said, “I had someone contact me via the church’s Facebook page today. They are a new believer in Jesus, and they want to come to our church. She found us on Google.” This might be a common occurrence elsewhere, but here in Thailand it is not. Thailand is not very well saturated with the gospel as only 0.6% of the population is Christian. This is even less in our province where only 0.1% of people are believers. The chances that someone would come to faith in Jesus in our area who didn’t already have relational connections with a church seemed infinitely low.
I rejoiced at the news and inside, wondered, “What is God doing?” We met Pit at her home, which is in the housing for wood factory workers nearby. She shared her story with us of how she had been sick one day and as she was scrolling through Facebook, a Thai evangelist came up. She listened to his teaching and liked it. She said she’s always liked the story of Christmas and she began to open her heart. She continued listening to messages on Facebook and began seeking them out on YouTube. Eventually, she knew it was true and she prayed following the evangelist to receive Christ into her life. After that, she started telling her husband, her little sister about Christ and led both to faith in Christ. She also shared the good news with her mom, who received the word quickly, but then decided she didn’t want to keep following Jesus. We were overjoyed to see that she was sharing the faith with others, even as she was growing and seeking to know more herself.
We brought her a Bible our first meeting, which she gratefully opened and shared that she had been praying for one, but it was so expensive (only about $20 USD, but for those who do not have much to spare it is a lot). Pit had discovered the Thai YouVersion app and had it on her phone, but she said that the real thing is much better. We worshipped with her and opened up the scriptures with her and studied with her for the first time using a “real” Bible.
It was a couple of weeks before she was able to come to church for the first time. When she came, she brought her sister and they joyfully joined in the worship. Later that week she and her husband, Rambo, came to a new believer’s group. We hadn’t had much of a chance to talk with Rambo about faith until that night but when we asked how he felt about faith in Jesus he said it was “ดีกว่า หลายเท่า” (many times better) when compared with Buddhism and we could tell he felt it with all his being.
He told us he was going to church the next day and he wanted to bring his family and friends but they are poor factory workers and don’t all have vehicles, so he asked if we could help get them there. The next morning, Matt found that the school’s 15-passenger van could barely fit the twenty (or more) adults and kids who wanted to come and hear the gospel. That day, Rambo not only brought many with him to church, he also began his ministry of translating the service as well. Rambo is Burmese and grew up in Thailand, so he is fluent in both languages. Since some of his family and friends don’t speak Thai, he translated for them, sharing the entire message in Burmese with them.
That same day, we also had six other visitors to the church, three neighbors who decided that day that they wanted to go to church for the first time and three other Thais who don’t normally come to church. Seeing as our church normally has about 25 adults in attendance, our regular members were shocked at how many people came and what God is doing, as our church attendance easily doubled in one day.
We are in awe of what God’s doing here. We see in this story how God is moving in our area. He is raising up new believers in answer to our prayers, even when we aren’t even aware. He is with us in our efforts to establish the church and build relationships in our community. He is raising up leaders who will lead others into the truth. Our hearts are encouraged as we see God moving and we also see the need to continue developing disciples and leaders.