In Thailand, the Church is growing but not without resistance. The complex web of traditional culture, Buddhism, spirit appeasement and occult practices holds the population in a social cohesiveness out of which few have dared emerge. We thank God that, though church growth has been modest, a large proportion of ethnic Thai Church members are first generation believers. Prayer is needed for the contextualisation of the message for the Buddhist culture. Thai music, art forms, worship patterns, styles of leadership and Bible study must be developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The unreached Northern Thai (Tin Yuan) people group live in Thailand and in Laos. Their primary religion is Buddhism, whose culture denies the reality of sin. They don't have the complete Bible yet, either. However, in Thailand, a christian film has been released in their language, and there are some Thai Christians. Pray that gospel resources will be helpful and effective, and that Tin Yuan Christians, from Thailand, will reach their people in Laos.
On the border of Thailand and Myanmar lie several refugee camps, some of which have been there for decades and which house up to 100,000 people. These camps are primitive and the people who live in them are reliant upon supplies being brought to them on a regular basis. Curfews and travel restrictions between provinces in Thailand are creating a situation which, if not addressed, will result in a massive shortage of basic necessities and food for these people. Pray that authorities will recognise what could become a bigger problem than the coronavirus itself, and relax measures in order that food and water can be made available within the camps. Pray for Christian people within the camps that they would be able to find ways of showing the love of Jesus to those who are in need.
An OMF worker in Central Thailand gives an update on the success of Christmas outreaches: “Mrs Oh is the only Christian in her village, but she again got permission to organise a Christmas celebration. Praise God that almost 100 people came, double that of 2018! Please pray for Mrs Oh as she continues to share the gospel in Nong Khaem village. At a Christmas service at Ban Phet Church on 22nd December one lady was touched by the Christmas message and testimony of an ex-prisoner who came to know Jesus while in jail. We visited her on 26th December and she decided to receive Jesus as her Saviour. Praise God! Please pray for her as she starts out following Jesus and for the church as they disciple her.”
The De’ang Pale People are an unreached people group who live in a various locations along the China/Myanmar/Thai border. Most of them are farmers or loggers. Buddhism, animistic beliefs and rituals cause them to be trapped in constant fear of Shamans and demons. They are considered to be relatively resistant to Christianity. Pray for those few Christians in this people group to have the courage to share the gospel of the Lord Jesus with their families and neighbours. Pray for them to be released from the fear and bondage of the spirit world and to be born again by the Spirit of the Living God and know HIS peace in abundance.
The sex trade in the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, ensnares countless women who are trafficked or see no other way to provide for their families. Our partners aim to rescue, restore and empower such women with the grace and the love of God. Please pray for the many women caught up in this industry. Pray that they would find freedom from those who exploit them and, that as the gospel is shared, they would find new life in the risen Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Over 95% of Thailand’s people are Buddhist, albeit from different traditions. The next largest faith group is Muslim, with Christians only comprising approximately 1% of the population. The Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) represents about half of the Protestant community and is actively involved in church planting, evangelism, education, and health ministries. Pray for the new leadership of CCT, that they may lead with wisdom and that God may use them increasingly to reach the Thai Buddhist community. Pray too for BMS workers and for the ministries they lead.
The skill to create life-altering goodies is what BMS World Mission’s Freedom Bakery offers the women who choose to leave Bangkok’s red light district and make a new life for themselves. BMS mission worker Sarah Brown never thought she would be teaching, encouraging and inspiring women who used to work in Nana Plaza’s bars and brothels. Now Sarah spends her days reminding them that they are worthy and deserving of respect and dignity. Please keep Sarah, her team and students at the Freedom Bakery in your prayers. Pray for improved language skills, strength, perseverance and wisdom as she teaches.
Pray for the work of BMS partner Compasio in Mae Sot, that as the organisation grows they will know God’s wisdom as they seek to work strategically with Burmese refugees. Pray for pastors in Thailand, that they may know God’s leading and guidance as they teach and care for God’s people. Pray that BMS may be able to send more workers to be involved in church planting.
One hundred Christian radio ministries have been established in the Asia Pacific Region in the last 10 years. The 100th station was a radio plant in Thailand that was dedicated during a large celebration in February. Stations have also been installed recently in Indonesia, including one in a highly sensitive, unreached area. Pray that God would prepare the hearts of listeners within the coverage areas of these stations and that many would come to Christ.
Pam arrived at a refuge for street-girls in August this year. She had been abandoned by her parents as a baby and taken in by people from another major ethnic group, the Hmong. However, she was treated more as a slave than an adopted daughter, having been ordered to ‘serve’ her new family. She was sent to the capital city to earn money for the family and unsurprisingly ended up selling alcohol and working as a prostitute until she came across the team from the refuge. She begged them to take her in. It has been great to see the progress. While she is no longer gripped by the chains of prostitution, she remains a fragile soul, admitting recently, that all she had ever wanted in life was to be loved. Pray for Pam as she makes the long adjustment. Ask God to help the staff as they disciple her.
For the past two years, people who are active in Business as Missions projects have been engaged in a ‘think tank’ exploring their role in church planting, trafficking prevention and restoration, community development, and many other applications. In April 550 of these gathered in Chiang Mai for an historic Global Congress. Once perceived as solely a vehicle to remain in difficult countries, it is now recognised that business plays a vital role in self-sustaining job creation, promotion of family, and modelling Godly integrity in business. Ask the Lord to raise up voices for high moral standards and well-thought-out development practice through these Asians called to use their business giftings for His Glory.
Mrs B, a devout Buddhist, was planning on steering her motorbike in front of a truck to end her life. Depression had accompanied the loss of her restaurant. Then her aging father came to mind, and knowing that he needed her, she decided to plod on with her troubled life. She was told she would have to give gifts to nine different temples to achieve penance but the monk in the third temple yelled at her for turning up late. So Mrs B began exploring other faiths and, hearing a guest speaker at a church talk of Jesus’ forgiveness, she believed in Christ and felt the weight of guilt lift from her shoulders. Today Mrs B is back in the restaurant business, and is training to become a presenter on a local Christian radio station in order to have a wider impact on her community.
Most Karen people in Thailand live in the mountain villages, where there is a great need for more pastors, evangelists, women, youth and children’s workers in the rural churches. The Chrestos Bible School is seeking to meet this need. The new academic year which started in June has 68 students eager to study the Bible. In the afternoons they study computers, music, Karen, Thai and English. Please pray for the Chrestos teachers, students and those to whom they will minister.
Population: 67,959,000 (2015)
Official languages: Thai
GDP (PPP) per capita: $17,750 (2017)
Life expectancy: 74 years
Religions: 94% Buddhist, 5% Muslim, 1% Christian