The 55 million Central Thai people are one of the world's largest accessible unreached people groups, and that is after nearly 200 years of mission. New church planting initiatives have been launched, though local workers often decide the pioneer ministry is too tough and move on. The number of long-term missionaries is also in decline. However, there are also encouragements. There is some evidence of a paradigm shift in the Thai Church from “We only receive missionaries” to “We can send missionaries!” That is fantastic to witness. There is still huge potential for much more church planting that will require a new generation of long-term church planters, committed to seeing communities changed and prepared to invest into the lives of a new generation of Thai believers and Thai missionaries. Pray for this vision to become a reality.
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