Friday, November 11, 2011

Team provides many opportunities for Truth in Thailand

Dark and impoverished, the village is carved into a lush green mountain. Got Pa Bong, and many like it, is a visual reminder that God’s grace surrounds us, even in the most remote places. With 75 homes totaling over 500 people, they have many needs. There is a small remnant in the church that is faithful but religious legalism, drugs, alcoholism and lack of direction keep this village in bondage. The pastor reports that 60 of the 75 households are either addicted to or sell drugs. The issues of poverty, lack of education and drugs addictions puts the village children at an extremely high risk of being trafficked.

One muggy afternoon our team spread out to go to homes where they were to encourage and disciple local believers. I entered a typical home in northern Thailand which was raised on stilts with bamboo floors and walls. Twelve people gathered where the pastor had asked me to teach on prayer. After a great interactive time of teaching I opened it up for any other general questions. The head of the household asked about when Jesus turned water in to wine. I thought that was an interesting choice and in my mind I began to wonder if he was looking for ammunition to judge those around him since alcohol addiction is such a rampant problem in this area. After digging into that passage together, he then asked what sin was. I laid out the Biblical definition and examples of sin in hopes that he would relate that knowledge to the others he had in mind with a humble and loving heart. Then he asked one final question and at that point I began to catch on, realizing that he wasn’t pointing the gun of condemnation at someone else but the barrel of conviction was pointing right at him. Head hanging low he asked if you can sin too much that God wouldn’t love you anymore. With all the pieces of the puzzle sliding into place the man shared he drank too much and needed Jesus’ help. He wanted to be a good husband, father and witness and that day he decided it was time to change. As we finished praying for him and his family he raised his head with a look of determination that he was now on the road to restoration, and he wasn’t walking alone.

The team from America had many conversations of truth in home after home in four different villages with believers and pre-believers alike. Over the trip, 285 people heard the full Good News of Jesus and 61 decided to begin their new journey with him. The pastors or leaders in the communities are now ready to begin the real work of helping them to learn and obey the commands of Christ.

The follow up work now will include continued encouragement and discipleship approaches for oral learners. We will be working with each village to facilitate ownership, empowerment and training as they begin to trust in their Creator to begin to transform their village. It is an incredible privilege to watch them move from bondage and into the light. Pray for wisdom and discernment as we attempt to guide them along that path for His glory.

*Thanks Jo for the great photos!