Thai Presentation 2004
Story: Vision training in Laos – Persecution – 17 yr old Hmong boy – Bible College – Hungry & thirsty to serve God.
Isaiah 55:1-5: 1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Spiritual refreshment: Christ similarly invited people to drink the water of life.
No money: In hard times even water had to be purchased.
Wine and milk. Symbols of abundance, enjoyment and nourishment.
Without money: The death of the servant (53:5-9) paid for the free gift of life.
Rom. 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
What is not bread. Perhaps the husks of pagan religious practices. Great spiritual blessings are compared to a banquet.
3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
Everlasting covenant. David had been promised an unending dynasty, one that would culminate in the.
Faithful love. Assuring the continuation of the nation. Christ’s resurrection was further proof of God’s faithfulness to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.
Witness to the peoples. A reference either to David, who exalted the Lord among the nations, or to David’s Son, the Messiah, who was a light to the nations.
Leader of the peoples. Similar titles are used of David and the Messiah.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”
You will summon nations. The attraction of nations to Zion and to the God of Israel is a major Biblical theme.
That do not know you. The reverse of the exile, when Israel was sent to a nation unknown to them. Ruth left Moab to live with a people she “did not know before”.
Holy One of Israel - endowed with splendor. The nation will be restored physically and spiritually.
Religion: Freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution, which was modified in 1998 to loosen ties between the State and Buddhism and increase harmony between religious communities.
Religions: Buddhist: 92% Muslim: 5.24% Christian: 1.62%
Rising interest and more church growth in the 1990s could signify an impending breakthrough.
There is expectancy and even excitement that after little growth for a century the harvest is beginning to be gathered.
In 1900 Christians were 0.6% of the population; in 1985 this had only risen to 0.9% but in 2000 this reached 1.6%.
1 Thailand means Land of the Free because it successfully retained its freedom when surrounding countries were colonized by Western powers. It is believed that a special guardian angel protected the land. It has been worshipped ever since.
The land is in bondage to a complex web of culture, spirit appeasement, occult practices and Buddhism, with a social cohesiveness out of which few have dared to come. For many Thai, their nationality and religion are inextricably linked. Pray for the spiritual breakthrough so that in the Lord Jesus the Thai may be free indeed.
2 The rottenness at the core of Thai society can only be fully excised and cleansed through a turning to God.
Corrupt military, government and police leaders have protected the large sex trade, drug networks, crime syndicates and ecological degradation of the country.
The sex ‘industry’ contributes 14% to the GDP of the country. Pray that honest, just leaders may be raised up who will also lay legal and social frameworks that will limit corruption.
3 The growth of the Church has been disappointing. After four centuries of Catholic and 175 years of Protestant work, Thai Christians are only 1.6% of the population.
Pray for new spiritual vitality and vision. Many congregations are poor, rural and often illiterate.
4 The lack of Thai leadership in the churches is a contributory factor to the slow growth, failures of rural churches and lack of vision.
In 1995 there were only 400 pastors in evangelical churches — about a quarter of the number of missionaries. Pray for more to be called and kept in pastoral ministry.
There are about 20 Bible schools and seminaries.
Many graduates do not go into full-time church-planting or pastoral work.
Praise God for fine evangelical leaders in churches, but those with integrity and who are adequately trained and mature are few.
The lack of Thai leadership in the churches is a contributory factor to the slow growth, failures of rural churches and lack of vision.
- Your Position in Christ; Seeking God; Praying Over the ministry; Nurturing your family; Unity; Conflict Resolution; David & Leadership.
5 Missions have considerable freedom for ministry despite a quota system which somewhat restricts the number of visas.
Major involvement in the past was institutional; medical work and schools playing an important role in winning the first converts and planting the first churches in many parts of the land.
The major emphasis is now on urban and rural evangelism, church planting, leadership training and Bible teaching.
a) The calling, entry and preparation of new workers. There are good opportunities for sharing the gospel through teaching English and ministry in schools.
b) Safety. Disease, road accidents & insurgency have led to loss of a # of missionaries.
c) Effective partnership with Thai believers in strategic outreach.
6 Sectors of the population with special ministry needs:
a) Bangkok, one of Asia’s most influential cities, and known as the city of angels and city of sin. Over 2 million derive their income from the sex ‘industry’. Most of the country’s 100,000 male and 700,000 female prostitutes cater to the lusts of Thai and foreign ‘tourists’. Crime, drugs and alcohol abuse are widespread. AIDS has become a major scourge — some estimate that 40 — 80% of prostitutes end up with the disease.
- Pray for Thai and expatriate Christians seeking to win people from sin to Christ in this traffic-clogged, polluted city. There are only an estimated 40,000 evangelical believers in the city.
b) Children in crisis. Many girls are kidnapped or sold at a very young age into prostitution — which includes terrible abuse and, in all likelihood, an early death. Many come from Thai ethnic minorities and the surrounding nations. It is estimated that 20% of all Thai girls between 11 and 17 become involved. There are over 35,000 homeless street children. There are over 5 million children involved in child labor. Pray for all involved in reaching out and seeking to rescue these tragic little ones.
c) AIDS victims. The official figure in 1999 was 755,000 with HIV; the true figure may be nearer 2 million and rising fast, despite vigorous action by the government. The churches need to wake up to this crisis and minister life to the suffering and the bereaved.
d) Of the 73 provinces 14 had fewer than 1,000 Christians of any type in 1992, and three had less than 100 (Phangnga, Ranong and Angtong); four had no evangelical congregations. The situation in 2000 had only marginally improved.
e) The middle and upper classes, wealthy and educated, but showing little response to the gospel. By contrast, interest in the occult is strong.
f) Students. Witness to them is small but growing.
g) Buddhist monks number over 300,000. The monastic institution has been discredited by high-profile scandals. Pray for Christian outreach to them — many are genuinely seeking peace.
h) Refugees — hundreds of thousands from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam found refuge in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Only the Hmong from Laos are still a major challenge, most of the refugees having been resettled elsewhere or returned home. There are possibly 1 million more recent arrivals from Myanmar, whose military government wages a brutal war against the ethnic minorities — especially the Karen.
7 Of the 2.5 million Muslims, 90% are Malay. Nearly all live in the five southernmost provinces, where there has been political tension and guerrilla activity by Communists (until 1992) and also by Muslim separatists.
This is the only major Malay community in Asia open for evangelism, yet after years of hard work only about 100 have turned to Christ.
The upsurge in Islam in Malaysia to the south is affecting the Thai Malays and complicating outreach. Many seekers are held back by fear.
8 The tribal peoples, largely marginalized through lack of personal documentation and ignorance of the Thai language, have begun to respond in significant numbers.
Prayer must be central to all we do!ia