Where does time go? When Duang and I wrote our last article for Adventist Frontiers back in 2006, we were saying goodbye. Some of you may still remember snippets from the 11 ½ years that we served among the Mien people in Northern Thailand. We praise God for this privilege and for the Mien who still faithfully worship God each Sabbath!
The title of our last article was “The Cloud has Lifted.” We had accepted a call to work in the new Translation Center at Mission College in Thailand. Four and a half years later the cloud lifted again, and we served in Laos for two years. Now, after six years in the States, with Benya and Eliyah in college, the cloud is lifting again! The direction came after fasting and earnest prayer.
Perhaps I am speaking for myself, but too often our prayers devolve to, “Now I lay me down to sleep; bless this food to nourish our bodies; help Aunt Matilda find her missing cat, in Jesus’ name, amen.” But I have found that if we pray earnestly from the heart, having confessed our sins, God hears and answers according to His promise, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.”
While fasting and praying earnestly for God’s direction on how and where Duang and I should serve Him in these last days, I was impressed to get back in touch with Adventist Frontier Missions. Several months and a host of providential blessings later, here we are writing another introductory article in Adventist Frontiers magazine!
Having reconnected with AFM, we still had many questions. Randomly parachute over any country in the 10/40 window, and you are likely to land many hours or even days from the nearest Adventist church. To where, specifically, was God calling us? One consideration was language. Although gifted in so many ways, Duang has always struggled with language learning. We prayed over the map of Thailand and Laos, and God pointed us to southern Thailand.
In a country where only 1.2 percent of the population is Christian of any denomination, Southern Thai Buddhists are one of the least reached people groups. Southern Thailand has also received less mission activity than the rest of Thailand. Southern Thai also happens to be Duang’s native dialect! She was a Buddhist until converting through radio ministry as a teenager. Sharing language and understanding the cultural underpinnings of the people is an advantage not afforded to most missionaries.
But where in Southern Thailand should we serve? We brought out the map again. Phuket and Hatyai have had Adventist work for more than 70 years, although the percentage of Adventists there is less than a tenth of one percent. There is a small company of believers in the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat—again, a drop in the bucket. That left the rest of Southern Thailand and more praying over maps!
We have decided on a city with no known Adventists and no planned mission outreach—Surat Thani. Your earnest prayers, support and pledges will speed us there and will establish the light of the gospel in this dark city.