A Treasury of Merit

From Tim and Brenda

A couple of months ago, Tim met an elderly man on the street in front of the church. Uncle Lamyai, in his late 70’s, expressed interest in knowing more about Jesus. As they sat on the curb and talked together, Tim was able to give him a booklet that explains the basics of the gospel. The next Sunday, Uncle Lamyai was in church, and the fellowship welcomed him and prayed for him. However, after that visit, his health went downhill and he passed away in early March without any of us knowing about it.

In April, Tim passed Uncle Lamyai’s house and his daughter invited Tim in to talk with the family. Before he passed away, Uncle Lamyai was always talking about the Tha Rua church members and reading the booklet that Tim had given him. The family invited Tim to the 100-day merit making ceremony, to take place in mid-June. Tim explained that Christians can’t take part in Buddhist ceremonies (which they fully understood), but offered to say a prayer before the ceremony while the family is gathered together. Uncle Lamyai’s wife was overcome with gratitude, even lifting Tim’s hand to her head (a show of very high respect, which Tim didn’t feel very comfortable with!).

In the following days, Tim had a recurring sense of uncertainty about whether to go ahead with the plan to join the family before the 100-day merit making ceremony. Thai Christians normally do not attend this ceremony and Tha Rua Church members didn’t seem particularly supportive, though no one actively opposed the idea. Yet there was a sense that God was at work in this family, and this seemed a good opportunity to share the gospel.

As the day of the gathering approached, the family seemed to show some hesitation whenever Tim visited, but the family was still willing for Tim to pray for them at the gathering. Tim had invited church members to join, but there wasn’t any overt response. Then, three days before the ceremony was scheduled, Tim found out from the family that the ceremony had been moved up one day! Tim and Brenda did a quick rearrangement of their schedule, but it looked unlikely that any church members would be able to come.

Early on the morning of the gathering, the Noble family drove up from Bangkok to Tha Rua. At the church we found three members ready to go join in praying for the family. We found the family at the temple preparing food to give to the monks. The family welcomed us warmly, and after a brief time of getting to know the family Tim offered a prayer praising the God who is the source of life and love and faithfulness for the “treasury of merit found in Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross that is free to all who trust Him in faith”. The prayer included an invocation of God’s mercy on Uncle Lamyai (who we believe did trust in Jesus) and for the family to know God’s peace and hope in this time of loss.

After the prayer, we were able to stay and share with various members of the family for over an hour! At least four members showed strong interest in learning more about the gospel, receiving booklets of testimony and presentations of the gospel for themselves and other family members.

Please pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to touch this family so that they are brought to faith in the One who conquered sin and death. Pray for the Tha Rua Church members as they follow up the family and reach out to other family members who weren’t there for this gathering.

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