Posted by danneker on June 3rd, 2018 | 3 comments
Praise God, people are noticing the Mahapawn Baan Paeo church in various ways. It may be the members, the church sign, the cross on top of the building, or the building itself. We are the first visible church in Baan Paeo, a district in Samut Sakhon Province with over 90,000 people.
A year ago we had an enthusiastic team from Simpson University help paint the outside of the three and a half story store-front building we had rented in January 2017. The “apricot cream” paint really helped the building stand out. We were able to put up a church sign on the building in mid-August. After that, we had our first “walk-in”. Already a believer, May-ta had been away from the Lord for ten years. When he saw the church sign, he started attending, went through the discipleship program and was baptized in Feb 2018.
Other curious people would stop by the building periodically to inquire if we were an English language school. They saw us foreign missionaries and thought we were English teachers. Several others stopped by and asked if we were a medical clinic (they saw the cross) or the dental office (it’s just down the street). Church buildings are a rarity in Thailand with less than one percent of the population being Christian. From movies or travels, the Thai imagine that the “church building” should be like they see in the west. When a common store-front building is used as a church, it does come as a surprise to many people.
Praise God, in the last several weeks we have had eight Thai believers start to attend our church because they were looking for a church near their home and they noticed the building! First was Mai. She had moved down to Baan Paeo from the north a year ago with her husband to work in a factory owned by her husband’s relative. She was thrilled to have found our church. When you approach the building heading south on the main road through town, the building really stands out. She finally was heading that way and saw the cross. She had tried attending a church in Mahachai, a good hour away by bus, but it was not convenient. Two weeks later she brought her four year old son, Gan. Pray that her not-yet Christian husband would soon follow.
Pyrat and his wife Montian came a week after Mai. They own a coconut orchard about 15 km from the church. They were in town on business and were thrilled to finally notice the church building as they were making a U-turn. They had been attending a church over an hour away. It was very inconvenient and they were praying about where they could go to church closer to home. As the church members greeted them and chatted we came to find out that Pyrat and Nun (our first believer in Baan Paeo) had gone to the same elementary school 40 years ago AND they were distantly related through marriage. Nun’s dad recognized Pyrat and made the connection.
Pyrat and his family have been Christians for seven years. He moved away from where he and Nun grew up many years ago after he got married. Nun also moved on after she was married, though eventually ended up back in Baan Paeo where we met her at her hair salon. Pyrat shared that while he takes care of the coconut orchard he likes to pray to God. God gave him a burden to pray for the people back in the home town he left so many years ago. Nun’s dad still lives there. He sees Nun’s salvation three years ago; and Nun’s dad growing faith in the Lord as God’s answer to his prayers.
The next Sunday, Pyrat and Montian brought a cousin named Maeo, also a coconut orchard owner and equally thrilled to find a church so close to their home. The following Sunday they brought Montian’s elderly mother named Monta. They have come faithfully to every church meeting since.
On the same Sunday that Pyrat and Montian came, a younger lady named Nit and her second grade daughter named Oom, came. She works at the Christian University ten miles north of us. The university appears to be Christian in name only. No requirement for the students, staff or teachers to be Christian. She works in their administration department for the master’s program. She lives closer to the university, but her daughter goes to school in town. She was equally happy to find a church near her home. Outreach to the university students at the Christian University has been on our hearts since we moved here. Perhaps Nit will be the key to getting access to the university in the future.
Please pray that God continues to use the Mahapawn Baan Paeo Church for His honor and glory.