As I write this update, I am sitting in my office in Northern Thailand reflecting on what God is doing in this part of God’s world that many have described as the most thoroughly Buddhist area in the world today. It is said that 95% of Thai people consider themselves Buddhist followed by about 3% consider themselves Muslim, which leaves less than 2 percent that consider themselves associated with some other religion. The facts are that Thailand is one of the least reached countries in our world today and is filled with some of the least reached people groups in our world today.
This time of year is always a very reflective time for me personally where some of the deepest desires of my heart are to not only join God in what He wants to do but also to invite and to facilitate others joining in on God’s agenda to reach the “nations” for Jesus Christ.
Back on DAY 1, we shared with you about “God’s Heart for the Nations” and the meaning of “Panta Ta Ethne” as it relates to the Great Commission so I will not review that now but ask you to go back and look at that later. Here is the link for that discussion if you would like it:
Jesus has empowered His followers to go into all the world with His authority. Jesus stared that great commission passage with “All authority has been given to me in Heaven and on Earth….. Therefore GO and MAKE DISCIPLES “PANTE TA ETHNE” (of all the people/ethnic groups of the world.)
You might think it strange that I ask these questions. But let me take your thoughts a little farther.
We are to go to those places as farmers and we must till that hard soil. If we don’t work that hard soil, this good seed of the gospel will never enter into Thai people’s hearts. We will never have a huge harvest if we do not spend time preparing the soil for this good seed.
In Thailand, Christianity is seen as the religion of “the white man.” They have a saying and thought pattern that says, “To be Thai is to be Buddhist.” These are some of the strongholds that keep the soil of the heart hard and unwilling to accept the good seed. Let us be good and wise international farmers and make sure the soil of the heart is being prepared through love and good deeds through lives that are full of kindness and truth.
One of the ways that have seen God at work changing hearts and attitudes is though identifying some of the felt needs of these people groups and then helping meet some of those felt needs in a way the allows the love of God to flow through our lives and touch them at the heart level and in a very relational way. This is one of the reasons we spend so much effort, time, and resources on Teaching English, conducting English camps and English Fun Days. Yes, these are fun, but let me be perfectly clear that we do these things not because they are fun, but because we are fighting over the souls of people who have been trapped in darkness in Thailand for thousands of years and it is our honor to be able to serve God in a way that blesses the Thai people, helps change attitudes toward Christians and toward our Savior, and love Thai people enough to invest and pour our lives into them in order that we might have a chance to join God in seeing some of them become followers of Jesus and have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
If teaching English helps advance the kingdom of God then I am willing to become a teacher of English who desires to live my life in such a way that others see the love of Christ in my life and am drawn to this great Savior. This is the hard work of preparing the soil of the heart and after 20+ years of doing this, I have seen God do some amazing things that only God can do. As I think about all the lives that we have been able influence for the advancement of His kingdom, I am deeply humbled that God would use sinners like us.
Please pray for all of us in Northern Thailand who are working the fields and plowing the soil of the heart through teaching English, through meeting felt needs, and by taking the message of our great Savior to people during this Christmas season.
“Lord, We want to begin our prayer with thanking you for the awesome opportunity that you have given to NTIM, Grace Language School, and Baan Athitaan Church to celebrate Christmas and share the message of Jesus with thousands who have never heard and some from the least reached peoples in Asia. We thank you for their English teaching ministry that is truly reaching into the community and changing attitudes and beliefs as they allow your love to flow through their lives. We pray that you would work in the hearts of these unreached people groups and help them to see the love of Christ demonstrated through good works and help their hearts to become more tender toward the gospel of our Lord Jesus. We recognize that our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces of wickedness. Please help your faithful servants to stay the course of preparing the soil, sowing the seed, removing the weeds that choke out the gospel and be faithful at being fishers of men! We pray this in Jesus name. Amen”
I want to thank all of you for joining us in this Spiritual Adventure and Season of Prayer. We need your prayers. We want your prayers. We ask for your prayers. We believe God is asking you to pray for His work that He has entrusted to us as stewards.
Until all the Thai people have a chance to know Him,
VP & Director of Field Operations for NTIM