“Do you remember me?”
By Jonathan Fuller, National Director of OMF Canada
The question was addressed to one of our retired workers attending the annual OMF Thailand Field Conference. Ben and his wife served amongst the Thai Buddhists of southern Thailand for many years, before returning to his home country where he’d continued to connect with Thai students, including some who got into trouble with the law. His concern for those students had opened up a whole new area of ministry with the student’s families, many of whom were influential and wealthy leaders back in Thailand. Ben had come back from retirement to help OMF with a building project, and decided to attend the conference at the last minute. Ben smiled at the young Thai woman who had asked if he knew her, but had to admit that he didn’t recognize her. Angel laughed and said that she wasn’t surprised, but she went on to explain that Ben was the reason why she was at the conference. When Ben looked confused, Angel went on to explain that she was from southern Thailand; many years before, Ben had shared the gospel with her mother, and then journeyed with the family as they discovered who Jesus is and what the gospel means for them as Thai Buddhists.
Today, Angel’s mother is one of the leading Christians in her area of southern Thailand, and Angel is an intern with an OMF team reaching out to Buddhists in the south. She is asking the Lord to show her how she can be involved long-term in ministry in this very unreached Buddhist area.
OMF continues our long-term commitment to engage with the Buddhist world, whether that is amongst Angel’s people in southern Thailand, amongst the “Skyland” peoples of the Tibetan plateau or in the modern busyness of Japan. Ben and Angel remind me of our teams in all of those areas, with senior workers partnering with the new generation of young people, and with foreign workers serving closely with Buddhist background believers for the sake of God’s kingdom. Our prayer is that heaven will include many “Do you remember me?” stories as we see how God has used gentle, respectful witness to impact Buddhist peoples for Jesus.
This story first appeared in a newsletter from OMF Canada. Ben and Elspeth Kong worked in Thailand from 1974 – 1991 and live in New Zealand.