2018 Thailand Holy Work Status Report
Thailand is a world-renowned Buddhist country with Buddhists accounting for more than 95% of the population. However, Thailand’s laws do not designate a state religion and guarantees religious freedom. Thailand has a large population, abundant resources and simple folk customs, which attracts many immigrants from Europe, Asia, and North America (including a large number of illegal immigrants), forming a multi-cultural culture.
In 1957, True Jesus Church was introduced to southern Thailand through West Malaysia and Hat-Yai church was established. In 1983, the gospel once again reached the central-northern area of Thailand and Phrankratai Church, Khao Khiao Prayer House, Chiangmai and Kui Buri service locations were established. In 1985, Deacon John, who converted to True Jesus Church from another denomination, moved to Bangkok and started evangelizing in his apartment. Bangkok established a prayer house in 1990. The Taiwan General Assembly started sending workers to pastor and visit members starting in 1997. It then became Bangkok church in 2001 and the Thailand Coordinating Center was established. The gospel was preached to the Aka tribe in northern Thailand in 2004 and became Xian Jai Mai Prayer House. In 2005, Likai Church was established. In 2008, Maemor Church was established. Starting from 2009, northern Thailand was pastored by pastors and elders from Malaysia sent from the Eastern Evangelical Department of I.A. Since 2012, Taiwan G.A. has sent pastors to reside in northern Thailand until today. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? For we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:5, 9).
It is difficult to pastor members due to the distance between the churches in northern and southern Thailand. The rural areas are even more lacking in pastors and spiritual food. The believers have been spiritually hungry for a long time, which causes slow spiritual growth and even an increase in inactive members. The central and northern regions of Thailand have limited educational resources and lack job opportunities. This forces the youths to look for opportunities away from their hometowns and leave the elderly and the youngsters behind. The youths that have moved away for a living are also lacking in spiritual support. Therefore, their hearts and thoughts gradually assimilate with the world. Also, the jobs they find are usually manual labor, which means missing Sabbath services and drawing close to God, causing them to gradually lose their faith. Many live far away from the church making visitation difficult due to poor transportation. The dwindling faith and spiritual life of members and the future of the church are worrying.
In 2014, northern Thailand established Mesai Student Center to aid the rural children and youths in receiving a better education and raising their abilities and the quality of life. Taiwan’s Dorcas Love Fellowship gathered a group of volunteer Chinese teachers to increase the growth and learning of the children with Bible truths through teaching Chinese. Through these methods the hope is that the children will carry out the mission of the revival and growth of the gospel in Thailand. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Cor 3:6-7).
In the fifties and sixties Thai government policy forbade speaking Chinese. This caused a halt of all holy work in Thailand. However, beginning in the twenty-first century, Thailand allowed the restoration of Chinese education and attracted many Chinese to Thailand. This was no doubt the door opening for preaching the truth. We must hold on to this great opportunity and proactively preach the wonderful salvation of Jesus to those tens of thousands of brethren who have yet to know the gospel (Thailand’s population is 14% Chinese).
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor 6:1-2)
1. Khao Khiao & Phrankratai Joint Church Spiritual Convocation Service
2. Bangkok Church Spiritual Convocation Service
3. Youths of Northern Thailand work in Bangkok
4. Likai Spiritual Convocation
5. Bangkok Church Parenting Outing