Effectual, fervent prayer is needed for the people here! Thailand is 95% Buddhist, 4% Muslim, and after almost 200 years of evangelistic effort, only 0.65% Christian. The Thai people are one of the ten biggest unreached people groups worldwide! 44 million Thais (60% of the entire population) live in a sub-district without a single church! They are cut off from the gospel, have no local church, and have never met a single Christian. We need to pray for multiplication here in Thailand...not just addition! Disciples need to make disciples and churches need to start more churches. Young believers need to be trained in sharing their faith. Young men who are called to preach need to be taught and grounded in the Faith. The fields are white and ready to harvest...but the shortage of laborers is staggering.
Thailand is a country of 73 provinces (small states for my US friends). We primarily only work in and visit villages/churches in 4 of them and yet the same familiar needs continue to appear over and over again...they need biblical training. They have men who are called to lead but no knowledge or understanding of how to do so. Many of them are eager and ready to get busy but don’t have the means or ability to go off to a seminary or bible college in the big city. Those who are able, end up going to a seminary that isn’t sound nor of like faith. With few books in their language to study from and little knowledge to be passed down from one generation to the next they are stuck in a difficult cycle. A cycle that, unfortunately, isn’t helping with the advancement of the gospel.
When I visit the distant villages I remind them of our responsibility to the Lord of the harvest and His commission to His churches. The Lord in his providence has placed the hill tribe people in this unreached country for a reason. The hill tribe people make up the majority of the .65% christian statistic. Most of them have been brought here because of persecution in Myanmar and China. Some have been here a few hundred years and some less than fifty. Their children are being raised in Thai schools, they speak Thai and learn the Thai way of life. Wouldn’t It be amazing to see the Lord use these hill tribe people to take the gospel to the vastly unreached Thai people? It is common for the village groups to be looked down upon by Thai society, but I am reminded what is written in
1 Corinthians 1:27-31 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
In my limited exposure over the past year, I have run across at least six villages that are in need of a pastor. Additionally, I have been told of several other villages that have a handful of Christians but have no church at all and nobody to lead one if one was formed. Numerous church buildings sit empty each Sunday. “Missionaries” come and build buildings but few have stayed to train the men needed to fill them. I have started talking with pastors and leaders from several villages and we have been discussing the idea of putting together a small bible school for young men who feel called to preach. The Lord has blessed us with the property and facilities and we are assessing our monthly budget to determine what exactly we can afford to do along these lines and I ask that you would pray with us about this need here in Thailand. I have been made aware of at least nine young men who feel called to the ministry. They have the desire to be trained and are ready to get to work if the Lord opens the door...which I believe He is doing! We are discussing the possibilities of a one or two year program that would provide the men with daily biblical instruction. Lord willing, once they have this foundation, they would then be prepared to join the monthly preacher’s training.
Please pray that the Lord would give us wisdom on how to proceed through this open door. Pray that the Thai people would be reached with the Gospel. Pray for the hill tribe people who are still serving evil spirits.. Pray that churches would be started and men would be called and equipped to pastor. Pray for indigenous missionaries to be called, trained, then sent by local churches.
We are thankful for those who have given towards Bibles and Hymnals! We have distributed many to several churches and individuals already. Pray that they would help instruct believers and lead unbelievers to Christ!
For HIS Glory, Matthew Villandry