Working with a Local Thai Church

dru-and-lislWorking with a local thai church It’s 4:53 AM as I quietly push my motorbike out the driveway and take the short drive to church. As I pull into the grassy parking lot, there are already several church members here. I park behind a motorbike, and notice the “Playboy” license plate cover (a popular fashion statement in Asia). Rushing to join the prayer meeting, I check the time. It’s five o’clock sharp, but I still feel like I’m late.

There are a lot of people here today—about 15. As per Pastor Kiat’s teaching, all the women wear veils during prayer, though it may seem incongruous compared to the rest of their attire. They’ve already started with prayer, and now we quietly read and meditate on Scripture together.

This is our church, the people God has called us to. Sometimes humbled by their dedication, sometimes confused by the incongruities, we love them. They love us too, despite the frustrations and concerns I’m sure they have about us.

My official job is “English teacher.” Our reason for being here is more than that: We want to help our church grow in Him, support their efforts to reach the lost, and encourage families to walk in holiness as they fulfill their Biblical roles. So we attend all church activities, lead a cell group, teach Sunday school, and keep studying Thai.

Like many, we struggle to balance family life and church life. I struggle to organize my life around an ever-changing schedule and use my time appropriately. The language barrier perpetually cripples our efforts to communicate, even after three years. But we also have glimpses of hope and answered prayer:

  • Lisl’s friendship with our Buddhist neighbors
  • Heartfelt sharing in our cell group
  • A successful Sunday school class, despite linguistic fumblings
  • Deepening friendships with Thai friends
  • A burgeoning English ministry to children in our neighborhood.

Our work here is perhaps a bit odd. We aren’t planting a church, we’re serving a church. Some have asked me why we work with a church we have so little in common with. I sometimes ask myself similar questions. But, in reality, we have almost everything in common: Jesus Christ, the Bible, salvation through faith. In the areas where we are different, we hope, through the Holy Spirit’s power to draw Thai believers into fuller, more joyful obedience in the “all things” Christ offers.

By Dru Lattin (I Witness News/Spring 2011)

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