The snarling dog lunged toward me, teeth bared. Sending up a prayer for safekeeping, I quickly turned around and began walking in the other direction. However, turning my back only seemed to embolden him, and he moved in closer. I swung around and faced him, and he slowed his pace as I did a backwards jog in the opposite direction. Heart racing, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving when the dog turned back. As I continued my morning walk, I made a mental note never to go down that street again.
If Thailand has taught me anything, it is this: I am in desperate need of my Father’s guidance as we labor for hearts here. The best way to hear His direction is through earnest and consistent communion with Him. Soon after my arrival, as the team and I committed time to prayer, I was impressed with the thought that I should start my work in our neighborhood. I didn’t know the specific work God wanted me to do, but I decided I could at least begin with a daily prayer walk. The next morning, October 15, I started at one corner of the village and zig-zagged back and forth to the opposite corner. I passed by every house, praying a blessing on each one. Every morning, God supplied the motivation for me to get up at 5:45. These prayer walks have been a powerful experience for me. It’s almost as if I can feel the Spirit of God working in my community. Also, it has given me the chance to experience nearly an hour of one-on-one time with my Maker each morning.
After only five days, I began to see visible results. I had been praying that God would guide me to divine appointments with people in our village that would lead to friendships. On October 20, a woman named Mama Kom approached me as I was walking. I had seen her riding her bike every morning and had greeted her in Thai several times. This particular morning, she rode right up to me and began to speak in Thai. When I told her with broken Thai that I wasn’t a native speaker, she switched to broken English.
I learned that Mama Kom is a retired school teacher in her 50s. She is divorced, she has two children who live elsewhere, and she is lonely. She was very friendly and invited me to her home. I have since visited her several times. In accordance with the Thai value of hospitality, she always gives me some sort of gift—soy milk, little snack beans, apples, fresh coconuts, or a variety of tea bags.
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Mama Kom and have discovered that she is acquainted with most of the people in our village (I see God’s hand in this). She has begun to introduce me to many neighbors including a sweet, older widow named Grandma Pai. They have both told me to consider them my mother and grandmother and are always asking when I can visit them again and inviting me over to cook! As my friendship with these ladies has developed, God has opened opportunities for us to discuss topics such as health, the love of God, eternal hope, death and destiny. They are both Thai Buddhists, yet Mama Kom allowed me to pray for her the other day, and they both have attended some of our church events.
These are just two of the people I have been blessed to meet. Since beginning my morning prayer walks, I have been invited into five different homes and have made contacts in eight other homes. I now boast an abundance of grandmas, grandpas, moms, older sisters, and older brothers. I have had to allot more time for my morning walks to allow for chatting when people stop me. Talk about divine appointments and open doors into the community! And all I had to do was pray, walk and smile.
What if more of God’s church committed to doing something like this? I am alive with excitement as I wait to see how God will continue to bless my morning prayer walks.