Greetings from Chiang Rai, Thailand! After quite the struggle to actually get here from Dallas, I arrived about 3 weeks ago and have been really pressing into God during this time. Even though this is my second visit here, I have learned so much more about Thailand than I did on my previous trip. Some of these things really put my mind into perspective.
First off, you may or may not know that Thailand is open to the Gospel. Christians are not persecuted here much, if it all. Churches are found easily here in the cities and surprisingly, some Christian churches are even endorsed by the Prime Minister and other Buddhist groups. However, of all the statistics, only 0.45% are Christian evangelicals here. Compare this to a neighboring country, Burma (Myanmar), who is a closed country where Christians are persecuted with a total of 5.0% of the population being Christian evangelicals. Why is this?! It’s crazy to think that a door is wide open in Thailand and yet it seems very little results are coming up. I hope I can help be an answer to a lost and dying world. 75,000 people die every day that have never had anyone tell them about Jesus.
To give you a little info about Buddhism, it is different depending on your geographical location. Most buddhists don’t believe in an ultimate God, but some worship ancestors, Buddha being the biggest ancestor they worship. As weird as it sounds, when Buddha was alive he actually started out as a hindu. It wasn’t until later that he got fed up with all of the hindu gods and practices that he decided to find his own path to enlightenment. It was then that buddhism was born out of an ex-hindu.
On the more personal side of things, when I arrived here I got really sick. It’s been typical for me to get sick on every missions trip I’ve gone on – one way or another. But this time it has been ongoing for 3 weeks now. After still struggling with it for some time, I decided I was going to ask my leaders if they could take me to the doctor. Yet, even after arranging a time to go and seek medical help with the leaders, something just didn’t settle in my spirit. Something was way off. Shortly after, God told me that I was avoiding the big point here. I could either settle for man’s answer to sickness and disease (which has done a lot for humanity I might add) or I could reach for God’s glory and healing. So, I backed out of going to the doctor. I told God that this could be dangerous and I could have a parasite, or who knows what could be wrong since I’ve been sick for this long it could be serious. Then something rang deep on the inside of me.
“This is what your future looks like. You’ll be traveling to the most dangerous parts of the world and if you don’t settle for man’s answer to your life, you will see My glory.”
Boy… Here I was thinking that I would be better off taking a pill so that I could get better and focus easier on God yet His desire was to pull the best out of the situation, not the easiest. His ways are always better than mine. Today, I am healed and healthy. I don’t know what the problem was but He gets all the glory! If I would have stuck to the doctor I might’ve got better, sure, but I wouldn’t have His glory in the situation. I would just have some pills.
God has been really working on my heart here and stretching me out beyond my normal comfort zones. The things I hated doing before are becoming things I am taking up with focus and determination. God is putting a boldness and courage in my heart to do things that really matter in eternity rather than spend my time on things that give satisfaction only for a season. In the future, when I look at the country of Thailand I want to be able to point at it and say “I died there”. The person I come back to the states as should be unrecognizable to the person that I came here as. I will forever look back on this internship season and know that it was this time that God changed everything for me. I know I’ve been called to the mission field, but coming here has ignited something deeper in my heart for missions. The devil has tried to scare me, depress me, seclude me, and get me sick and down while I’m here but it is only making my heart press further towards the things of Jesus. The enemy’s work only makes me hunger more for the work of the Lord. My determination and perseverance will ensure that I will see the glory of the Lord! Giving up is no longer an option. This spring I die and Jesus will reign in this man’s heart. I will fulfill my duty as an ambassador to the nations and my heart will scream “YES!” to a anything the Lord will ask of this seemingly worthless man’s heart.
The nations are crying out to hear the Truth sent down to the world. They anxiously await the one person who will come tell them who the true God of all creation really is. Will you help be the answer for a lost and dying world?
I am. Stand with me!