We are so incredibly blessed and overwhelmed by what all God is doing and we wanted to create a little video update for you as it is just SO good. God is on the move here in Chumphon Province with our church. We have been blessed and humbled as God has doubled our church with new believers over the last two months, we just baptized four new believers (and plan to baptize more soon!), and we have seen incredible healings and deliverance! We are so humbled by all God is doing. Check out the video to hear more, see pictures, hear some of our plans for discipleship and leadership development, and to hear some BIG NEWS for what’s ahead in 2023!
Sending you our love from Thailand,
Matt and Amy Baldwin
P.S. Please forgive our amateur videography skills. We are used to talking to people face to face. If you all like the video format, please let us know and we will plan to get better in the days ahead. 🙂
“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.
What does love look like? It’s a question we have been asking amid challenges we have faced during the global pandemic. Love looks like something. What does it look like in our context? Love looks like stopping while driving a motorbike home in the rain to ask if a young lady walking needs a ride home. Love looks like taking her to her friend’s house for a quick moment and then to her home. Love looks like telling her about Jesus when she propositions you.
As we head into the holiday season, our hearts are grateful for you and all the ways you have faithfully stood beside us throughout this year of challenge and change. We wanted to start our newsletter this month by letting you know we are so thankful for you!
The current wave of Covid is finally starting to lighten. Since our last update, restrictions have continued and there has been little sign of letup until just recently. We are finally seeing potential changes in the amount of restrictions as public gatherings up to 50 persons are finally allowed once more and the possibility of reopening schools may be as soon as November.
As we mentioned in our last update, Thailand is currently experiencing a resurgence of COVID. The past month or so has been challenging for us on many fronts. We want to say a huge thank you to those who gave since our last update, either through finances or through giving of their time to us in prayer or other ways. It is truly an encouragement to us!
“Fear not to go forward as you are engaged in the Lord’s work, and go on this distant mission at His command; it is your privilege to plead the Saviour’s promise to be present with you. While you feel your own weakness and unfitness for so great a work, forget not the strength of His Almighty arm. Live near to Him, and you will have nothing to fear.”
April Showers Bring May Flowers. That is what we say in America anyway, but here in Thailand it is our HOT season. We’ve heard it said that in Thailand there are only three seasons: Hot, Hotter and Hottest. This would be HOTTEST. We are grateful though, that our week started with a bit of cool, refreshing rain. This April we celebrate 4 years of being in Thailand. This month also marks the beginning of a new season in our life and hopefully it will be a month of refreshing rain so that we can experience the flowers to follow.
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.