Making disciples in Thailand
Christ is too great and the need is to great to leave the Great Commission to everyone else.
My name is Kendall, I work as a director for Campus Outreach at Murray State. This summer my wife, Aimee, along with our two daughters Ella (2) and Ava (1) led a team of seventeen students from LSU, SEMO, MTSU & Murray State to Khon Kaen, Thailand where we worked among the Isaan region of Thailand (among the least reached people groups in the world). It was here we experienced first hand the great spiritual need of Thailand, and the greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Two Stories that changed my life…
Heartbroken in Kalasin
In our first week in Thailand, we took a visit to a small village in the northeast called “Kalasin.” This village had around 1,000 people and no known Christians. We worked with around 300 young kids, loving on them, having fun and most importantly sharing about the saving power of Jesus…
It was here that one of the most impactful stories of our trip came…There was a mentally and physically handicapped kid who was ungroomed and clearly a social outcast among his friends. I really sensed the Lord leading me to go and sit next to Him when I saw two young girls snickering as he sat next to them. I laid my hand on Him to pray for him and then I realized I didn’t know what to pray. I realized this may be the most broken person I have ever met. He’s mentally & physically disabled, a social outcast, unloved and even more than all of that without the hope of Christ. As I began to pray I thought… I MAY BE THE FIRST CHRISTIAN TO EVER PRAY FOR THIS KID. And with a heart full of desire, helplessness and sadness I prayed, “God, somehow heal this kid and help him to know your love.” The need is great.
A Heartbreaking Confession
During our six week trip we joined Campus Outreach Thailand in an English Camp where we built relationships and shared the gospel with 48 college students from Khon Kaen University, some of which had never heard of Jesus and many who do not believe in God at all.
During our final days we had a retreat with our English Camp students which included 5 evangelistic messages and breakout discussions. As we sat around a circle discussing sin, our conversation evolved and I posed a question. “What do you do with your guilt?” Peem, a small introverted girl who we had built a great relationship throughout the summer replied with maybe the most blunt and sad comment I’ve ever heard. One that will be forever emblazoned on my heart. She said, “When I sin I go to the temple to make merit (acts to make up for her wrong- an essential component in the Buddhist religion). I know these things don’t really solve my problem. But it is a good lie to tell myself.” A good lie… The need is great.
The God of this City
During one of our worship times with the Thai staff we sang Chris Tomlin’s song “God of this city.” It wasn’t until I stood in a hotel room overlooking the city of Khon Kaen that it really hit me. While looking at the skyline I counted 10 Buddhist temples. I figured there were somewhere near 50,000 people living in this section of the city I was overlooking. This means there were somewhere near twenty Christians. Twenty.
I remembered the gut wrenching compassion Christ felt in Matthew 9:35-38 when He looked at the crowds, who were harassed and helpless. He told His disciples to pray to the the Lord of the Harvest. I remembered Guy, Sano, Waan, Nai, Lew, Su, and Brian all Thai staff singing “your the God of this city, your the king of this people, your the hope of this nation, you are. There is no one like our God.” The Thais believed that God is the Lord of the harvest, that He is the King of Khon Kaen. Why? Because Christ is great.
The Lord of the harvest is answering the prayers of his saints. During the summer we saw 10 students join “Knowing God” (evangelistic) bible studies to study the gospel. Five students professed faith in Christ and many more who showed strong interest in continuing to learn more about Jesus.
Please pray God would use the planted seeds of the gospel to bring salvation in this 99.6% non-Christian region, that God would send laborers here into this plentiful harvest and that the heart-breaking, soul-stirring and visionary experiences we’ve had here would leave us forever committed to making disciples of all nations. Pray also for yourself that you would commit to making disciples who make disciples because Christ is too great, and the need is to great, to leave the Great Commission to everyone else.