God is telling His Story
Everyone loves a good story. That’s what caused ancient cultures to hand stories down, generation after generation; it’s why last year, Americans spent 38 billion dollars at the movie theater; it’s the reason parents tell their kids tales of valor and romance as they tuck them in at night. We’re shaped and molded by stories because God is an Author, telling the best story ever told, and we are created in His image to be characters in His story. Sadly though, we rejected God and decided we wanted nothing to do with His story. But it doesn’t end there…
God entered into the Story
God is not the only Author of the story, He also enters into the story as the main character. At a time when all seemed to be lost and people were without hope, Jesus burst onto the scene and saved His people from their sin and death. He does this by living the life we should have lived, dying the death we deserved to die, and resurrecting victoriously so that we can know salvation.
We play a role in the Story
When Jesus entered into the story He redeemed us, made us into a family, and gave us a mission so that we can again play a role in the drama of redemption. That role is being a community of missionaries sent to make disciples of all peoples across the entire earth. The method He gave us to play our role is that of planting churches that preach the gospel and teach people how to follow Jesus. This is what the church has done since its beginning. It started in Jerusalem and then the movement spread into the surrounding regions, and to the ends of the earth, planting churches and making disciples.
Many have never heard the Story
Many have rejected or attempted to change this story, but tragically many have also never heard this story. They’re left hurting and searching for meaning outside of God’s story. We must go to them and tell them the good news of the work of Jesus on their behalf. We must join God in His mission and declare that there is a place for the lost, broken, and hurting in His story. The story continues in Thailand.
Walking through the streets of Chiang Mai, the spiritual darkness is palpable everywhere one looks. Spirit houses are constructed on the property of every business and many homes, seeking to worship and appease the ancestral spirits and seek their blessing and protection. Buddhist beliefs and practices permeate the culture; over three hundred Buddhist temples have been constructed within the city of Chiang Mai, as Buddhist monks walk the streets each day collecting gifts of food and money from people who are seeking spiritual favor. Several times a day, activity comes to a stop in honor as the King’s song is played and later as Buddhist chants and calls to empty worship echo through the city.
You can physically feel the darkness in the villages, where parents are quick to offer their own children to work in the cities in exchange for money, often not realizing the life of sex trafficking they have been sold into. Witch doctors dictate the beliefs, practices, and objects the people in the villages will worship, creating a deep trap of darkness around the people with spiritual forces of evil. The majority of people living in the rural villages around Chiang Mai have never heard the name of Jesus and have no knowledge of the true story of God as revealed in the Bible. The small population of professed Christians within Thailand is actually much smaller than the reported 0.69%, as many have been taught a false gospel based on works and an inaccurate understanding of God and His plan of redemption. The small population of genuine followers of Christ have not been properly discipled and equipped to live out their faith in their everyday life.
One can feel overwhelmed and paralyzed with the weight of Thailand’s social and spiritual problems. Fatalism, Buddhism, Pantheism, depravity, brokenness, racial division, trafficking, poverty, disregard for human life… where is hope for Thailand? We believe that ultimately Thailand’s deepest point of need is not a social or economic issue. The deepest need in Thailand is for Thai people to hear of and experience the love of the Father and the redemption and new life offered through Jesus. We believe that God desires His glory and fame to spread across Thailand as Thai people become worshippers of the one True God.
Although I was exposed to Christian influences from an early age growing up, it wasn’t until high school that I had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. I had head knowledge of who God was and what Jesus did for me on the cross. I could articulate what the gospel was; however, the depths of the gospel and who God was had failed to begin to penetrate my heart until this point. As I got older, I had virtually no contact with other believers and moved in and out of a painful process of finding satisfaction in the world and in Jesus. I had trusted in Jesus and His work for my salvation, but I didn’t know what it meant to follow Jesus. I began to seek out people who would invest in me, and a gospel centered community who would speak truths to me, as I strove to worship and honor Jesus in everything I said and did.
Over the last ten years, God has grown, cultivated and prepared me in conforming deeper into His image, in my giftings and in my desire declare His Word and to care for His people. Ultimately, He has given me a vision to see every man, woman and child come to know the Creator and Savior of the universe and to be disciples who make disciples, as they grow in loving, knowing and obeying King Jesus.
God called and led me down the path of full-time ministry. I led the college ministry at a previous church and earned a Master’s of Theology at Liberty University. I then entered into a Church Planting Residency at the North Canton Chapel (NCC) and served on staff in the children’s and adult ministries as the Discipleship Associate. While in the residency and being on staff at NCC I learned what it looks like to plant a church, how to prepare for sermons and declare God’s Word, the art of pastoring and caring for God’s people, and how to disciple others in all of life.
All of these experiences have prepared and led me, affirmed by others, to pursue planting a gospel movement across northern Thailand. God has gifted me specifically for this task of not just planting churches, but sowing seeds of the Gospel and then trusting Him for growth and fruit. My motivation and affection for Jesus is what drives and compels me to go to the Thai people. After three years in North Canton, being sanctified, receiving training, being discipled, honing vision, and being in the trenches of full-time ministry, I am moving to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I am excited to see Him increase His fame in this country and amongst her people.
In November 2014, I was a part of team headed to Thailand. It was my first time going to the country. I would return to Thailand three more times, but it was this trip in particular where God birthed within me the initial burden for the country and its people. A burden so deep in my bones, I couldn’t stop thinking about the people who live there and the absence of Jesus.
To say it is a depraved, Godless land would be an understatement. During my time in Thailand, I have seen a caste system erode and devalue human life, where the perception is that people have less value than animals. I have seen parents sell their children to strangers in coffee shops, bars and in the mountains. I have seen children born with HIV go from dumpsters to special homes where they are left to a life of isolation and premature death. I have talked with girls and boys, women and men who were forced into a life of sex slavery. I have seen those who exploit others sit at bars in the early hours of the morning trying to rid themselves of the memories of what happened just hours earlier. I’ve been on the phone with a john, someone who purchases another human for sex, who had a gun to his head asking me why he shouldn’t pull the trigger. Memories of being in combat, losing loved ones, and being rejected by society push him to look for hope and peace in all of the wrong places. I have seen widows, orphans and those with disabilities forced to the streets with little ability or chance to provide for themselves. I have heard pastors preach and berate their people that they don’t have God’s favor because they aren’t doing enough for God. I have seen apathetic church leaders not call or equip their people to something greater than themselves.
Although these are evil and unjust events, steeped in the generational sin that enslaves Thailand, they are only surface in nature. The real issue is there is little to no presence of Jesus in the country. Jesus changes hearts. Jesus changes one’s affection. Jesus changes one’s identity and value. Any social, economical, governmental change will not have a long-term affect nor would it rectify the generational sin the country faces. It is only when the Thai people hear the name of Jesus and the proclamation of who He is and what He has done with repentance and faith, will the people and villages in Thailand begin to see change in their families and in their communities.
In 2016, I lived in Thailand for six months. Originally sent on a mission to come alongside a former partner of the North Canton Chapel, I see now how God used that time to both connect me with specific people and places and to prepare me for what is ahead. God put all of those connections together to clearly call me to what and who He burdened me for years ago—the people of Thailand.
During my stay, I knew God was calling me to Thailand to plant a movement of His gospel among His people so that it may be reproduced so that God’s presence would cover the country. I was just unaware of God’s timeline.
In August of 2017, God made His timeline known. Within a period of two weeks, the following events took place. I received calls and texts from Thai people and when the dust settled, God had given me the following: a full-time translator; the possibility to be the pastor at a local church in Chiang Mai; an opportunity to train pastors from Chan, Karen, and Thai descent; opportunity to open a seminary; access to two specific villages in northern Thailand who have never heard the gospel; a meeting place for a gathering of believers within a local Thai language school; a community of American believers for support and accountability; and affirmation of my calling from Dr. Ryan Johnston, Lead Pastor of NCC.
My projected launch date to arrive in Thailand is April 2018. The goodness and greatness of God is matchless. The clarity to what He has called me to do is unquestionable. I believe God is moving in Thailand and stirring His people in His search for worshippers for a movement of making disciples by God’s grace, for God’s glory, so that His peace and presence will saturate the earth. I believe this movement has greater capacity than just Thailand. As believers listen and obey God in faith, they will be called out to their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the outermost parts of the world. We want to see southeast Asia saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ by Spirit-led worshippers of Jesus. I am compelled to join and be used by Him in what He is doing.
We desire for God's peace and presence to powerfully saturate Northern Thailand through His people.
Our mission is to be a catalytic movement of Thai worshippers moving towards reproducing churches.
Thailand is filled with needy people who need to experience the presence and peace that Jesus offers. Not only do we want to recognize this, but we want to boast of our weakness and need of God's power and grace to meet our needs. Therefore, we invite you to pray, to give of your finances and resources, and engage in the mission of making disciples of Jesus in Northern Thailand.
We can accomplish nothing without God's power and grace working in and through us. Therefore we need you to pray for us. Even with hard work and constant strategizing, God has to be the one to build his church. In addition to that, there is much spiritual opposition, cultural tension, and resistance to the Gospel in Thailand
Things to pray for...
1. Pray that we would be confident in God’s Word (Acts 13:4–5)
2. Pray that we would be filled with God’s Spirit (Acts 13:6–9)
3. Pray for victory in spiritual warfare (Acts 13:10–12)
4. Pray for favor with unbelievers (Acts 13:14–15)
5. Pray that the gospel will be clear through us (Acts 13:16–47)
6. Pray that God will open hearts of the people in Northern Thailand (Acts 13:48)
7. Pray for supernatural power to accompany us (Acts 14:3)
8. Pray for Christlike humility to characterize us in all that we do (Acts 14:4–18)
9. Pray that God would use us to make disciples (Acts 14:21–23)
10. Pray that God would use us to multiply churches (Acts 14:24–28)