A story that happened back in April 2009…
It was unlike any other night. In a country where not everyone has heard the name of Jesus yet the kids are much like the kids all around the world – desiring love, affection, and a sense of destiny — I found myself struggling with the a disturbing reality too compelling to ignore.
My Dad had taught me to pray when I was three or four years old. Starting age six, I became well aware of insecurity coming from situations like my parents’ rocky relationship and my father’s worsening drinking habits. But it was during those childhood years that I learned to cling to God as my fears and inner turmoils made me feel alone and in danger. I looked at the Thai children and wondered if some of them might be going through similar fears and pains. When you come face to face with a “lack of Jesus” in a person’s life and an “abundance of His presence” in your own, it rattles you and dissects your heart to bits. God! What am I doing here staring at them?
I was so nervous and uncertain what to do that it took me something like 20 long minutes before I finally found the courage to speak on the microphone. This is not church where elders gently lead you what to say or at least how to say it. By the time I was speaking, the “right moment” had already passed. I was 20 minutes late. But one brave teenager responded to the Gospel. Boldly, he sowed the first act of courage.
What I told them that the evening was that God is waiting: I felt the heart of God wanting to embrace each one of them. It was intense, endearing and patiently waiting love. I felt like God’s arms were wide open, yet for a long moment not one would twitch and respond to the invitation — except for one young man. The rest, we realized later on, had been paralyzed by fear. But the following day was history.
Yes, morning came. God’s hand gracefully shifted the atmosphere. One by one, kids opened up to their teachers, ate’s and kuya’s. And one by one, they prayed a daring prayer that brought them salvation as well as the risk of persecution.
What? Persecution? In Thailand? Isn’t Thailand a free country with no religious restrictions? Well, yes. I was also surprised to learn that in this case, it was not the government that hindered them from becoming Christians. It was their families.
Most of these kids have been attending church for two years already and they never came to invite Jesus into their hearts. They refused Christianity but they went to church either because of their parents, the financial support, the scholarship, or all of the above. Most of them had been warned by their parents against Christianity. Some of them were even threatened to being sent away from home if they changed faith.
Let me give you an example. Our missions host shared with me that one of them had to take several pauses during the course of praying the salvation prayer. In the middle, this child would pause out of fear that her parents will reject her after that. This is why I know that when they chose Jesus, the choice they made was weighty. It is not just a “yes” to God, but it is a “yes” to the possible consequences of their decision. And to think, many of them were not even in their teens.
But like I said, that first soul that came to Christ became like a seed of courage because in the coming days, more kids came to Jesus, 32 more of them! And as I counted the days after that unforgettable youth camp, I could not but imagine that the party in heaven had not yet stopped because I thought that if each saved soul were given a one-day celebration, it would be more than a month hence before the partying would finally be over. (Ahm, just me imagining…)
That was 2009. The more amazing news is that our contacts in Thailand say that the fruit of that youth camp still remain today because the kids have persevered in their walk with the Lord. It is an undeserved privilege to be used as an instrument to bring in a harvest. It is humbling to have reaped what we have not sown. Not that we have not sown tears and intercessory prayers throughout the youth camp’s duration. But there would not have been such a harvest had not the workers planted and patiently watered the seed of God’s word in these young people’s lives.
Intercession: Sometimes, there are no words. Only tears and groaning.
I told my previous supporters that these are their fruits as much as our (mission and ministry team’s) fruits. Again, I imagine them also reaping a harvest of blessings even as their support have reaped salvation in a foreign land.
This April 2011, more teams are set out to go on mission trips to Thailand and some restricted countries that I would rather not mention for safety reasons. I will be part of a team that will go to two restricted countries. I will tell you more about the situation in those countries in my coming blog entries. For now, brothers and sisters, I covet you support in prayers. Please pray for our team, that we will pray the harvest in rather than depend on our strength. That we will bring a surge of life and encouragement to our ‘persecuted’ brethren who do not enjoy the same comfort that we have in our democratic country. And if God is touching you to send financial support, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail (doubtproof247 at gmail dot com). You may also e-mail me to express your willingness to pray for our mission teams (or only me if you want =P heehee) throughout the three-week trip. I can provide you with more details via e-mail.
Thank you so much for reading my story and have an uber awesome Spirit-filled day! 🙂
Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once? ~ Oswald J. Smith
Would you know they’re Thai if they kept quiet? 🙂
I would often remember my sleepless nights when I was little, nights when I would run to God and into his embrace. It brings me peace to think that these kids can now run to DADDY GOD whenever they feel alone…
And I remember my journey with Jesus. They now have the privilege of walking a journey that is extraordinary. Young as they are, they have opened their lives to seeing miracles.
All glory to God.