“I have been waiting for you to come!” Tongsin said. “There are many families coming to me for help … How should I lead them? What kind of prayer should they pray to accept Jesus?”
It was September 2011 when the Christian workers sat on the floor of Tongsin’s house, surrounded by his family and almost 10 So believers—the first church among this people group of Southeast Asia. Tongsin, the group’s leader, had faithfully shared his zeal for Christ with fellow villagers since his conversion. In 2008, families began coming to Christ through his witness and meeting together for worship shortly after.
The young believers looked at the Christian workers with anticipation. They were finally getting the chance to ask questions they had had since their conversions.
The team had moved into the provincial capital about the same time these So believers had found Christ. The team planned and strategically prayed for this unengaged people group, not yet knowing about the work God had started in this house church. Prayer journeys began covering some of the 140 So villages.
Before knowing Christ, Tongsin had been an unlikely candidate for a pioneering church planter. Fellow villagers once knew him as the dangerous man tormented by spirits. They had built a cage to contain him. One day, a friend from a nearby village told Tongsin about Jesus. Tongsin begged to Jesus for healing, was released from the spirits and praised God. His passion for Christ, of whom he knew little, spread to those around him. Whole families came to Christ when they came to Tongsin for prayer and healing.
Tongsin received basic instructions about following Jesus from an elderly believer in a nearby district. The man urged him to rid his home of all remnants of spirit worship. Tongsin listened and urged other believers to do the same.
The So people, numbering about 80,000 in Laos and 60,000 in Thailand, practice animism with elements of Buddhism. They revere the spirits of their ancestors, the forest, sky and fields.
Still, God is calling So people to himself, and his church is growing. But God is not just preparing the So people for his kingdom; he is reaching out to the minority peoples around them, who are also unreached and without gospel access.
During the 2011 meeting, Mark, one of the team members, stood with Tongsin on the bank of the river and pointed to a village on the other side. “Do you know of any believers among the Yellow Leaf people?” he asked.
“Not yet,” Tongsin replied. “But someone must tell them.”
Mark encouraged Tongsin: “One day God will use you and the So people to reach all the ethnic groups around here.”
Since Tongsin came to faith, God continues to do a mighty work through him and other So Christians. Tongsin and his family have led more than 20 families to Christ. There are now 250 believers comprising six So churches in Tongsin’s province. He has trained several believers to be evangelists who then led a group of people from the Yellow Leaf people to faith in Jesus.
Tongsin shares his vision for the future—and his plea: “There are not enough workers. There are still lots of people who want to believe, there is just no one to lead them. They are tired of worshiping demons. So many, so many are ready to believe.”
Pray for workers to bring God’s hope to the So. The harvest is ready.