Just a few nights ago, Dad and I met with Leinie and Norvie (two incredible missionaries) and a handful of Thai Christians to talk about planting a youth church here in Chang Rai. If you are a Christian in Thailand, you are most probably ostracized by your family and your culture as a whole. It’s not because Thais don’t like Christians. In fact, one young man, Job has been very interested in Christianity since he met Norvie and Leinie. We asked him why and he explained, “Christianity is a religion of love.” He told us that no other religion even comes close to expressing the love that he has found in Christians.
Unfortunately, to be Thai is to be buddhist, which makes it very hard for a Thai to choose to accept Christ as the only way. In doing so, Thais believe they are turning their backs on their family and their nation. When that happens, they are often cast off. Those who are cast off either choose to revert to Buddhism to be accepted or they tough it out, resilient, but undiscipled.
Mae Fah Luang University is right around the corner from where Jacki and I will live here and is home to some 50 Christians like those we’ve been talking about. Many of them are just worn down from a culture that views them as dissidents and punishes them with silence. We want to create a haven for these Christians, a place of open arms and the healing love of Jesus. As we bond together we will begin discipling them further. In discipling them we will be not only strengthening their faith, but teaching them how to engage their culture and to bring their lost and hurting friends into the community. In the next few months Leinie, Norvie, and my family will be building a foundation in their lives. Please pray for them and for this brave handful that will mature and be tossed like seed into their school and their culture. Their names are:
(I love Thai names :0)