I am convinced that we do not receive because we do not ask.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7,8). This Bible verse becomes more and more dear to me every day.
Two weeks ago, we visited the missionary project of our colleagues in another town more than three hours away. Pastor Esau had invited the health team from the Khon Kaen international church plant to conduct a health expo on a Sunday morning from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. My family along with Alina, a missionary from our Khon Kaen team, arrived Friday and helped set up the health expo. For Sabbath services, we assisted with the sermon, performed special music, acted out a David-versus-Goliath skit for the children and distributed invitations for the upcoming health expo.
The church meets in a rented house on the outskirts of the town. Long distances and dirt roads separate the houses, so it’s not exactly a prime location to invite the masses for an outreach effort. However, in faith, Pastor Esau encouraged his small, growing congregation to invite others to come. As we distributed the invitations that Sabbath afternoon, my limited human mind thought it would take forever to pass them out. Yet we made our goal in good time as Alina and Pastor Esau’s daughter, who both speak Thai, assisted our teams. Some seemed interested, but others not so much. God has called us to do our part, and with His help we asked for the people to come and left the rest in His hands.
The next morning we arrived at the church around 6:30 a.m. To our surprise, two people were already waiting, one of whom we recognized as a personal invitee from the day before. We were encouraged to see people trickle in slowly but steadily. Rene and I picked up a banner and went to the street to try to flag people in since we were not much help with our limited Thai. Later a few children joined us, and in our broken Thai, we asked them to tell the people who stopped about the health expo. Soon Rene had gathered a crowd of children to assist in flagging down passersby.
The health expo attracted 51 people. We educated them on healthful living, distributed donated glasses, washed and massaged feet and prayed for all attendees. Their smiles showed that they felt the love and compassion of our church members. Fast forward two weeks later, and two ladies have continued to visit the church, community children have regularly come for ukulele lessons, and another person has also visited with intentions to keep on attending. Pastor Esau and his wife visited another lady who wants to come but because of the extreme rain was not able to do so. Nevertheless, they brought her a small gift to let her know they were thinking about her.
On this amazing weekend God reminded me that we need to ask. I believe more lives would be changed and churches would actually fill up—if only we asked. We need to knock on the doors. Because we knocked on doors of many people, praise God, many came. Even the weather didn’t deter Pastor Esau and his wife from knocking on a door behind a large mud puddle. They simply took off their shoes and slogged through the squishy mud to reach the front door and cheerfully made the invitation to a lady who responded with interest. We need to be more aggressive in our outreach methods, not to be pushy, but to make the contact and invite people to change their lives, improve their health, be a part of a community that loves them and meet our loving Jesus. Once again, the point is that we need to knock on that door and invite them! Yes, tap on the door of your neighbor and present a batch of cookies and a cute note that says you were thinking about them. Knock on the door of your co-worker and offer to help with yard work. Knock on the door of whomever God puts in your mind, and do whatever God tells you to do for them. Do not limit yourself to passing out literature or putting fliers on doors. Venture to care for and love others. Invite them to do life with you. Use every opportunity as an excuse to connect with them, and at the right time, you will see a harvest.
Please pray for us as we are about to ask a group of ladies to get together and start praying for their children and husbands. Our children play with their kids—we do life together. I am sensing that the time is now for me to invite them to pray together. Also, pray that their husbands will be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading in their lives. It is more difficult to connect with them, but we desire to make social connections.
Please continue to pray that we will learn Thai quickly. Thank you for your prayers, support and what you do to make a difference in a broken world.