“Those ladies have white clothes but black hearts,” Nguan chuckled to me. I had asked him about a picture on the wall of a temple depicting a group of older women dressed in white and posing with a monk. Nguan is not your typical Thai. He is not afraid to speak his mind and challenge what he sees as inconsistencies or flaws in religion or society at large. A bit of a loner, he prefers to keep to himself and rarely leaves his house or participates in large group events or gatherings. Over the past several years, I have developed a friendship with Nguan that continues to grow.
I first met Nguan around the time that I moved to Khon Kaen more than five years ago. We were introduced by my former teammate, Daniëlle Koning, who had befriended him while doing cultural research. When she first met Nguan, she didn’t realize that he was already friends with Ricardo and Alicia Palacios who had met him shortly after they arrived in Khon Kaen more than eight years ago. A lover of music, Nguan showed an interest in our music school and provided valuable assistance with various events. He even enrolled his two daughters in our school.
The Palacios family and Daniëlle are no longer in Khon Kaen, but I have been able to continue the friendship with Nguan that they started. Whenever I go to visit him, I know that I need to plan to be there for at least a couple of hours. Sometimes I bring my daughter Ali with me and let him dote on her with gifts of potato chips or flavored milk. When I don’t see Nguan for several weeks, he often calls me and asks how I am doing or invites me to do something with him like going to see a rice field that he owns out in the countryside. Although Nguan has not yet shown interest in Bible studies, he and his family joined us for a Sabbath worship service in April, and he is always open to letting me pray for him. Please pray that he will see Jesus through my life and that he and his family will be led to place their hope and trust completely in their Savior.