"Seeing Bow (center) again was like meeting a completely different person," said Meagan Taylor (left). "She was so filled with the Spirit of God -- a spirit of joy and confidence. Christ has truly made her a new creation." Meagan is holding Bos, Bow's son. TMC students Sarah Fitzsimons (right) and Leighton Eldridge (back) joined the reunion of Meagan and Bow.
Reporting from Chiang Mai, Thailand
by Norm Miller
By the end of 2014, Truett-McConnell College will have shared the gospel of Jesus Christ in 10 countries, one of which is Thailand. Some students will leave the USA for their first time while others already have been across the big pond.
Dr. Ed Pruitt -- director of TMC’s world missions center and associate professor of Christian Studies – along with six TMC seniors, are in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The group spent more than a week in Hungary, assisting IMB missionaries in teaching English to locals before heading to Thailand, where the seniors are telling Buddhists and anyone else who will listen about the saving message of Jesus Christ.
Three of the six students – Sarah Fitzsimons, Daniel Gentry and Meagan Taylor – offer their thoughts thus far about ministry in Thailand.
While prayer walking in Thailand with one of our awesome interpreters, named Dream, I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with a precious lady named Gina. She had been watching Dream and me as we brought food to a man begging on the side of the road. We had shared with him that, although the bread and water would only satisfy him a short time, Jesus could truly satisfy him. The good news is that Jesus is the bread of life and the living water, and those who put their trust in Him have hope for a home in heaven, where there will be no more pain or tears.
Gina, seeing us from her table in a nearby bar, commented that what we had done was “a beautiful thing.” As we talked with this sweet lady, she asked me why I had come to Thailand. I shared my motivation for leaving home and all things familiar to come halfway across the world. More importantly, I shared with her that there is a Person much greater than I, who also left His home in heaven to take on human flesh and ultimately bear the burden of our sins.
Although Gina did not receive Jesus as her Savior, I pray that a seed was planted, and that one day soon she too will have the hope that we have in Jesus.
As I sat next to the Buddhist Temple, reading from the Book of Isaiah, tears filled my eyes as I prayed: “Oh Lord, send forth your Word through us to people in whom your Spirit is at work. And may your Word not return void.” As our time of Bible reading and prayer ended, I began to search the temple for someone with whom to share.
As we rounded the corner of the temple, several people sat around a table, making various religious items for the upcoming Buddhist festival. I started talking with one young monk, but found that increasingly difficult, as distractions arose and the monk lost interest.
After giving the disinterested monk a Thai-language gospel tract, disappointment sat heavy on me as I climbed into the back of taxi with two monks and a middle-aged Thai man. I decided to give each of them a tract. The monks said a couple words to each other before sliding the tracts into their pockets.
The third man, however, opened the tract. Now what was I supposed to say? The thought of how great the peace of God is within me came to mind, so I asked the interpreter to tell the man that what was written in the tract had given me great peace.
The man popped his head up and said through the interpreter, “I have heard this before. I have many questions about this, and I have not accepted God yet. But I believe that He exists.”
He had heard the gospel before, and it had taken root in his life. So, I asked if I could tell him my story. The man’s eyes lit up and he replied with a big “Yes!” God had prepared not only the man to listen, but the interpreter, too, who could relate my story and the gospel in the man’s heart language.
We asked if we could have the man’s name and phone number, as well as give him ours. Thai people do not normally give such information to strangers, but this man gladly did. As we said goodbye, he told us that his father was in a nearby hospital and asked us to come talk to him. The interpreter’s eyes lit up. “What an opportunity,” she said to me. “You won’t be sharing with just the father and son, you will be sharing with a whole ward of hospital patients.”
“My thoughts are not your thoughts,” declared the Lord in Isaiah. What I had seen as a disappointment, God was using for His glory. In the next couple of days, I will have the opportunity to share the Word of God among many people. Praise the Lord; it will not return void.
Two years ago, I came to Chiang Mai, Thailand, on a mission trip with Truett-McConnell College. The Lord taught me so many things while there, and I developed a great love for the Thai people.
One evening our interpreter, Dream, accompanied a small group to meet her friend, Bow. Dream and a few of us girls shared with Bow about Jesus through our personal testimonies and a presentation of the gospel.
What I remember most about Bow is her eyes. They were such beautiful eyes, but they held deep hurt, emptiness, and lostness. You see, Bow was a prostitute, trying to provide for her baby and herself. She was painfully shy and only spoke very quietly to Dream in Thai. Bow did not accept Christ on that night two years ago.
But I prayed that seeds of salvation were planted in Bow’s heart. I so wanted her to find liberation from her bondage of sin and oppression. I longed for her to find Jesus.
I have now returned to Chiang Mai on another TMC mission trip, and was recently reunited with our interpreters, including Dream, who relayed the best news that I could have ever imagined: Bow accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior last Christmas!
I was overjoyed and overwhelmed by the goodness of our God! He has answered my prayers for Bow and redeemed her, not only from her earthly bondage, but also for eternity!
It is so easy for me to be discouraged whenever I share the gospel with someone with all of my heart, and they do not seem to understand or grasp it, especially on short-term mission trips when I know I will probably never see that person again. However, my God is far bigger than my expectations or disappointments. He has shown me that He is always at work among His people, taking even our feeble efforts in evangelism and using them to bring the lost unto Himself, even over a span of two years!
What a beautiful illustration of Isaiah 55.11: "So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
I am humbled that the Lord would allow me to see a glimpse of the fruit that I had a part in planting. Thank you, Jesus, for your unconditional love and never-ending grace. May we as your Church never lose the burning desire to see the lost saved, and may we never cease to plant, water, and be in the harvest fields of your kingdom.
Compiled and edited by Norm Miller.