Big Faith

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“Who will take care of your body when you die since you are the only Christian here?” a neighbor asked Uncle Somneuk one day.

“I will be dead, so I don’t need to worry about it!” he replied.

Ten years ago, Uncle Somneuk fainted while riding his motorcycle and suffered third-degree burns from being pinned under the exhaust pipe. Hospitalized for three long months, he longed to go home. The patient in the bed next to him was a Christian and told him to pray. Although Uncle Somneuk wasn’t a Christian himself, he decided to ask God to help him be able to leave the hospital. The following day, his improvement astonished the doctors, who promptly released him.

Uncle Somneuk went home as a believer and began looking for a church family. Soon, he met Khru Aw, a Seventh-day Adventist Bible worker assigned to his town of Ban Song. She faithfully gave him Bible studies until he was baptized. Then, the unthinkable happened. Uncle Somneuk was left alone when Khru Aw contracted cancer and went to Bangkok for treatment. She passed away before she could return to Ban Song.

When we came to Surat Thani, someone at the mission told us a rumor about Khru Aw’s short ministry in our province many years before. However, no one seemed to know where she had worked or if there were any believers. As with all challenges, we resorted to prayer. And piece by piece, clue by clue, God led us until we met Uncle Somneuk two months after arriving in Surat Thani.

Twice a month, we drive the hour road trip to Ban Song and lead Uncle Somneuk in Bible reading and worship. Because of his injury, he can’t sit for more than an hour at a time. However, we have witnessed his growing faith over the last seven months. His confident answer to his neighbor regarding the details of his eventual funeral may seem trivial to Western ears. But for a Thai, it’s a big deal because it expresses faith in an area that poses one of the greatest hindrances to conversion.

As we reflect on Uncle Somneuk’s journey, we thank God for Khru Aw’s groundbreaking work. We pray that more people in Ban Song may join Uncle Somneuk in trusting Christ in the face of fear, daily challenges and uncertainties. We pray for more missionaries and Bible workers to join us in sharing our hope in Christ with the one million people in Surat Thani province.

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