Sometimes “bridge building” actually includes building a real physical bridge! As Sijmen and Annelies den Hartog, OMF missionaries in Thailand, prayed for a door for God’s word to open, Sijmen and some local Christians were led to replace a rickety bridge with a new one that made it possible for people living in a nearby neighborhood to attend a Bible study. This led to the erection of a metaphorical bridge as the mystery of Christ was proclaimed and lives are being changed.
Sijmen writes: “On the edge of the city, hidden behind the trees that line the railway, lies a poorer neighborhood. For the people who lived there to enter civilization, they had to wade through a ditch or cross over “the bridge”—an old, wobbly structure. After two Bible studies in the poorer neighborhood, we saw that a number of people would rather wade through the ditch than lose their balance on “the bridge.” We instantly decided to build a new bridge. Within one day, a more solid bridge was built with the help of colleagues and two men from the neighborhood.
However, that tangible bridge wasn’t the only one built. Our interaction with these people led to a warm welcome for more Bible study. More people were invited. Lung Yong tried to convince his family to follow Jesus. His alcoholic brother-in-law started trying to leave the bottle. The mother of this man was so impressed that she wanted to follow the Lord Jesus too.
Just two weeks later, we were invited into a new community five kilometers south of the city. Several family members had heard bits and pieces of the gospel story and wanted to know more. What a joy to see several of them get baptized in March. Each Thursday and Friday, they meet for Bible study and a number of other interested people are joining too. We are thankful for how God has reached into their hearts.”