God continues to use this time of unrest and economic decline here in Thailand to open hearts to the Gospel. Both churches, International Baptist Church of Hua Hin and International Baptist Church of Nong Phlap, have had an increase in attendance, with visitors coming, receiving Jesus, and getting baptized. Several Teen Church attendees at the church in Hua Hin have invited their family and friends to come. We are seeing the regular members become more actively involved in personal soul winning, and that is an exciting thing!
Each week, aside from our church’s organized soul winning, Missy and I make it a point to make personal visits with our church members and new visitors. As we have made these visits recently, we have rejoiced to testify of a common desire among the people for growth in the Lord. Some are sharing their growth through what they have read in the Word of God that day, some are giving personal answers to prayers, others are being moved to actively reach out with the Gospel to their close friends and family, and some are sharing personal soul-winning experiences in their day-to-day lives. One faithful lady, Pi Nim, brought her neighbor, Lum Yai, to church for the first time last month. She shared her testimony with Missy one Sunday while they were chatting. Lum Yai said she had watched Pi Nim come and go every day and heard her talk about church and God. When Pi Nim invited her to church, she said she came because she was curious to know exactly what her neighbor was going on about. Since then, she has been saved and baptized and excitedly comes to church faithfully. Pi Nim is a persistent soul winner, and every Wednesday night at our church’s Bible study, she shares a new testimony of how God helped her share the Gospel that week with more people.
The Bible study in Petcheburi, which was started in August, is going well, with new visitors both months. Pi Seenooan has continued to open her home to us, as she is driven by the great burden to reach her community and family for Christ. One of her sons attended the last Bible study and sweetly accepted Jesus when we finished that evening. So far, her mother, aunt, sister, husband, and one of her three children have gotten saved. Please continue to pray for this group as we take them through Foundations of My Faith, the discipleship curriculum. We meet again next week.
As unusual as this year has been, we have seen God give us incredible opportunities to share the Gospel. One evening while out visiting, our family stopped to talk to a large group of construction workers who were on a break from working on the new train track that is being built through our city. About 14 people were sitting in a half circle under a small, makeshift pavilion. As our family of four approached the group, every head looked up to see what we wanted. We introduced ourselves and gave everyone a tract from our church. After getting to know them a little (what city each person was from and a little more about their work), I was able to tell them about Jesus. In that group, only one or two people had ever heard of Jesus. They listened very intently, and all expressed interest in understanding and knowing more about God. The Gospel was given, and time was spent to explain the wonderful, free gift of salvation. Many had looks of shock and amazement on their faces as they listened. No one received Jesus that night, but they took the John and Romans booklets we offered. We will visit them again this next week. Please pray they will trust and believe.
Just yesterday our family was out inviting people to church with our friends and coworkers, Brother Sakrapee and his wife Udomlak. We split off into two groups to cover three streets just outside of our village. We came back together to walk further down the road to a group of three houses all on one lot. Brother Sakrapee, Mark, and I began talking to a young couple and their little son while the ladies walked farther to the other two houses. Outside of the houses sat an elderly man eating his dinner. Missy began talking with him, and then his great-granddaughter joined the ladies. Khun Udomlak shared her testimony and then gave the older man and his great-granddaughter Model the Gospel. Both sweetly accepted Jesus to be their Saviour. When the grandpa looked up from praying, he reached out to give money to Khun Udomlak. She kindly explained that he did not need to pay for his salvation, but that salvation was free to all who will believe. While she explained this, big tears began to roll down the man’s wrinkled face. He shared with us that he was over 90 years old and had served at the temple as a monk for many years. Just recently he had moved in with his family because of complications due to his age. He was thrilled and overwhelmed to learn that Heaven was free INDEED. What a wonderful sight to witness! May we never stop sharing or believing John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”