Out of her bag, Mint, a Tai Yuan Christian, pulled out a drawing she had made and had been praying for: It was a picture of a cozy living room. She explained to an OMF couple that this living room was the type of setting that she prayed to see happen. This would be a more welcoming environment for Tai Yuan young professionals to explore Christianity and attend church. Somewhere they would be free to share their struggles without fear of being judged. Where they know that their questions about life are seriously considered and listened.
Moments earlier, the couple, which had known Mint since their first year in Thailand, had asked her to share her thoughts on the growing number of Tai Yuan professionals in Chiang Rai, a city in Northern Thailand. The couple was burdened for this unreached demographic.
Mint was, too. “I have been praying for exactly the same type of ministry vision! I even have a picture that I drew,” she told them before showing them her picture.
Hearing Mint’s passion and seeing her hand-drawn vision encouraged the couple. Recently, they had been praying for these young professionals, asking God to provide meaningful avenues to connect with the Tai Yuan and introduce them to Jesus.
Traditionally, the Tai Yuan, a people group concentrated in Northern Thailand near the border with Myanmar and Laos, are known as lowland rice farmers and craftsmen, but there is now a burgeoning population of young professionals and families in Chiang Rai.
God has been faithful to answer the OMF couple’s prayers and fulfill Mint’s vision for an effective way to engage Tai Yuan young professionals. Today, the “Living Room” church, led by a core group of three Tai Yuan Christian leaders (including Mint), has an average attendance of 25-30 people gathering together weekly to listen to stories from the Bible.
Initially, the church studied 15 key Bible stories, from creation to Jesus’ resurrection. Now, the church’s three leaders have started to follow-up with some of the non-believers who have been coming to explore Christianity.
During one of these follow-up sessions, Mint met with a woman named Kluay, who shared that while she was on a work trip to Cambodia recently, she shared a few of the Bible stories she had learned with her Cambodian colleagues. Somehow, she felt that it was easier to share with Cambodians than her Thai friends. It was also during a follow-up session, when probed further about what she thinks about Jesus, that Kluay answered, “There were times when I thought about following Jesus and becoming a Christian, but there is always a voice in me telling me not to do it.”
Before Mint left Kluay, Mint encouraged her to try praying to Jesus like how she would dare to pray to other gods.
A month later, Kluay shared with Mint that she had been praying to Jesus and making a personal decision to only pray to Him. She was excited that specific prayers were answered in ways such that she knows without a doubt it is Jesus who intervened. One day she was wondering what she could do to “give back” or “honor” Jesus for helping her. In her words, “I decided to just say a prayer of thanks to Him for the little blessings in my life. Is that how I can ‘honor’ Him?”
Kluay has since asked Mint to mentor her as she wants to learn what it means to be a follower of Christ. Step-by-step, person-by-person, God is building his kingdom among the Tai Yuan of northern Thailand.
Will you pray for Mekong Minorities?
- Give thanks for Mint’s vision for reaching out to Tai Yuan professionals.
- Pray for teams of gospel workers as they develop a vision for mission in their place and people.
- Pray for the growth of “Living Room Church” in numbers and maturity.