Font Size » + | -By Mike and Dara Rasavanh On August 30, 2017, just over a year ago, we packed up our bags and headed to Thailand with a one-way ticket to follow God’s calling on our lives to reach out to the people of Southeast Asia. We can’t honestly say that everything went as smoothly as planned. We didn’t think it would be too difficult for us to assimilate into a new lifestyle in Thailand. We knew the language, were familiar with Thai culture, and had some idea of what lay ahead. We honestly didn’t think ministering here would be more than we could handle – until we realized we had underestimated Thailand’s spiritual temperature! Thailand is a nation of royalty and nationalism. Thai people are known for their kindness and politeness. As a matter of fact, Thailand is often called the “Land of Smiles.” This land and the Thai people are deeply rooted in Buddhism. If you’re a Thai, you’re expected to be Buddhist. This has often held them back from giving their lives to Christ because they would have to turn their backs on everything they know. As we began our mission through education by offering English and music classes, partnering with the locals and networking with other Thai Christians, we knew right away there were strongholds in this land. Some Christians told us that parents often tell their children that they can go to church and learn whatever is taught and take whatever is given to them. But if they are asked if they want to receive Jesus into their lives, they tell their children “don’t!” This bothers us in some sense, but we are not discouraged. We don’t lose heart even when we ask for people to make a decision to follow Christ and no one raises their hand, comes forward, or says “yes.” We trust and believe that nothing is impossible for God, so we pray! During February of 2018 we were helping with a partner church called the Blessing Church in Kanchanaburi Province. Dara recounts an experience that was significant for our ministry: We were staying at the church and sleeping in one of the classrooms during that time because there was no housing available in that village. One night Mike got up to use the bathroom, which was down a hallway. He asked if I wanted to go along. I was so sleepy I didn’t want to get up, so I stayed behind. I was half asleep when I felt a dark spirit come in and attack me. For a time I couldn’t move at all. I tried to yell but no sound was coming out of my mouth! All I could do was form with my mouth the name “Jesus” as best I could. I kept saying “Jesus” in my head until my voice broke loose and the dark spirit fled. That night God spoke to me and said that if we want to minister in Thailand, praying alone would not be enough. We must also fast! That night we were made aware of what we are dealing with, and we are not losing hope. We are confident of God’s calling in our lives and believe that He has begun a good work in us and through us, and He will be with us until the end. On the other hand, we’ve met and partnered with many Thai Christians who love the Lord and sincerely want to see God move in this land. Our host family at a partner church, New Life Church in Don Klang Village in the Suphan Buri Province, is an example of God redeeming a whole family through one man. The head of the family, Mr. Sien (pronounce “see-an”), is a man of character. Before his conversion he was a professional Thai Likay (folk opera) singer who went from temple to temple and event to event performing for pay – until he met Jesus. …parents often tell their children that they can go to church and learn whatever is taught and take whatever is given to them. But if they are asked if they want to receive Jesus into their lives, they tell their children “don’t!” In 1972 a missionary couple from the U.S. along with a team of Thai believers came to Sien’s village and held an evangelistic event by showing the Jesus movie in the Thai language. Sien’s friends and relatives had warned him not to go, saying, “This is just communist propaganda to recruit the villagers.” Out of curiosity Sien went anyway. He had never heard of the name Jesus before. He thought that Jesus was the head of a company trying to recruit people to work for them. Needing a job, Sien went. At the end of the Jesus movie Sien realized that this Jesus was neither a communist nor the boss of a company, but He was the Son of the living God who loved him and died for him. Sien was the only one who came forward and accepted the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior that night. That made him the first Taidam person in his village to be a follower of Jesus Christ. When Sien came home that night and told his wife, SamAng, about his experience, she became very angry and nearly kicked him out of the house. One day Sien told his wife that he wanted to go to church and learn more about Jesus. She threatened him, telling him that if he went, she didn’t want him coming home ever again.Mike and Dara (on right) with Sien and SamAng in front of the New Life Church of Don Klang. This church was built about ten years ago. Despite his wife’s disapproval of his new-found faith in Christ and the disappointment of his friends and relatives knowing that he had forsaken Buddhism and ancestor worshiping practices, Sien persevered. He would ride his bicycle for hours to the church far from his village and continued to live a new life, a changed man. About a year later Sien’s wife also decided to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Today Mr. Sien and SamAng have five daughters and five grandchildren, who are all followers of Jesus Christ. Sien and SamAng are still very active in the New Life Church in Don Klang, now pastored by their youngest daughter, Pastor Chaloa. We partner with the church, offering English and music classes. About the Authors Mike and Dara Rasavanh are Open Bible missionaries to Thailand. Their goal is to train individuals to serve as leaders and pastors that will evangelize and disciple others, and then send these individuals out to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.