Who is Waiting for You?
Posted by danneker on July 7th, 2018 | 4 comments
It had already been hard to hold back the tears as the Mahapawn Baan Paeo Church began their farewells on our last Sunday with them before home assignment. I had been brushing off the comments for several weeks as our Thai brothers and sisters expressed how they would miss us. “It’s only a year!” I would say cheerfully. Packing up the house was hard enough. Moving is always stressful for me. I didn’t really want to deal with the goodbyes too. But a timely reminder from Tim Crouch (VP International ministries) encouraged us to grieve well as we transition. “Let the tears flow,” he wrote. Now the day had come. I prepared the tissues.
During the worship service, Bale and Manao sang a special number for the offering. “Kwam Rak Tae” a beautiful Thai song that emphasizes that true love is only found in Jesus. When Bale hit those beautiful clear high notes, my tears started to flow. A year ago she had not yet come back to the Lord and was still singing in the bars. But here is where her beautiful God given voice belongs: in the church, worshipping our Lord and Savior. When she finally started over with God last August, I hung on to her like a mother hen and we went through many months of discipleship and deliverance. Manao accepted the Lord just this past Christmas and Bale has been helping to disciple her. Now both of them sing on the worship team. And both of them have been the beginning of the youth group at church, a long term burden of mine that has finally become a reality.
Then several from the youth group (Bale, Manao, and a new fellow named Bern) got up to sing special music accompanied by Sittichai and our missionary colleagues Joe and Hydie. They began singing in Thai “Amazing Grace”. After verse two, Bale sang solo in English the newer chorus by Chris Tomlin, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, Unending love, Amazing grace.” I couldn’t hold back the tears. This is her story. Her chains are gone. She is now free in Christ! And as my tears flowed, Bale’s tears started, though her beautiful voice remained clear and strong. After that, it was hard to find a dry eye in the congregation. For this is not only Bales’ story, though hers may be more dramatic than others, but it is all of our stories. WE have been set free by His amazing grace.
Then the tributes began. They were all very sweet and touching. But Bale’s really pricked my heart. “Thank you Ajarn Ed and Ajarn Sue for obeying God and being willing to leave your family and your country to come to Thailand. Because if you did not obey God, I would not know Jesus as my Savior and have new life in Him. I would not be here today.” She was implying that she may be dead, with the way her life was spiraling downhill a little more than two years ago when I met her at the tender age of 14 going on 15, already addicted to drugs, smoking, and promiscuity and seriously considering selling her soul to Satan. Bale added, “Thank you for not giving up on me when I got away from the Lord and slipped back into my old ways.” It was heart wrenching for me when after ten months of faithfully walking with the Lord, being baptized and starting to serve, Bale got away from the Lord for more than half a year. My frequent phone calls so often went unanswered. Praise God that was not the end of the story! It will be a year this August that she has again walked close to Jesus.
Nun also shared in the same vein. If we had not been obedient to God and came as missionaries, she would not know Jesus either. We met Nun a month after we arrived in Baan Paeo three years ago on our sixth prayer walk. She was a seeker, but not so interested in the Lord at first. Eleven days after I met her and told her about Jesus, her son was arrested. She knew God had come into her life to help her through this difficult time and solidly came to saving faith. “Why did I have to wait more than 50 years to hear the good news of Jesus” Nun once asked me. “Why didn’t I have a chance to believe earlier in my life?” I really had no answer, but praised God He sent us to Baan Paeo to plant to the church here.
Their comments make me ponder who else may be waiting for me to obey God and share with them the good news of Jesus? Who may be waiting for someone to reach out to them so they can restart their walk with the Lord? Who may be waiting for you to share with them?