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Somlak’s Story

Meet Somlak. She lived in Tachang, a small town in Singburi province in Central Thailand. Somlak worked as a palm reader, making a living from telling peoples’ fortunes, while her husband ran a car repair workshop. They struggled to make ends meet, their problems escalated, and he left her for another woman. Somlak was left with rising debts and the prospect of raising three school-aged children single-handedly.

Her situation seemed hopeless. In despair, Somlak decided to commit suicide.

Before taking this final step, Somlak turned on the TV and happened to watch a Christian program.  Somlak recalls: ‘As they prayed on the TV it touched my heart as if they were speaking directly into my situation. So I called the number shown in the program and someone told me all about God.’

A few days later, a group of Thai believers and missionaries came to follow up on Somlak’s interest and she accepted Christ. Somlak started going to church and small group in Tachang. As she puts it: ‘the condition of my heart got better and better. And peace came into my house. My children also came to faith and my daughters are now serving the Lord. God has truly guided my heart ever since.’

Somlak’s wonderful testimony to God’s grace is similar to the Samaritan woman’s in John 4. She invited her neighbors to meet Jesus, saying: ‘come, see a man who told me everything I ever did’ (John 4: 29, NIV).

So not only did Somlak’s three children begin following Christ, but seven other locals also came to faith. Today, two of them are on the leadership team of the Tachang church.

But unlike John 4, where the gospel spreads rapidly in a matter of days as Jesus stays in the village, Somlak’s story is also a testimony to the perseverance of Thai Christians and OMF workers in sowing the seed of the gospel in the area.

Somlak came to faith in 2007 but OMF missionaries have been working in Singburi province since the 1950s. These first workers did not see much fruit in their day.  The province is one of the most strongly Buddhist areas of Thailand. There are temples in almost every village and people are attached to their traditional beliefs so perseverance was essential.

The first church wasn’t established until the 1970s and was the only one in the province for many years. In 2000 when work began in Tachang, the town Somlak was living in, no one came to faith in the first two years. Patient sowing and prayer was needed. Much of the work was done as the team of missionaries and Thai workers gathered for prayer and fasting.

But by the early 2000s new churches were being planted. Now a steady harvest is being reaped as local Christians continue to share their faith and take up the challenge of church planting as the ‘new’ churches, including the one at Tachang, establish their own daughter churches.

The first missionaries to Singburi province didn’t see the fruit of their labours, but Jesus’ words to his disciples by the well in Samaria ring out: ‘the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labour.”’ (John 4:36-38, NIV).

They sowed and others have reaped, many years later. But the sower and the reaper will both be glad together one day in heaven, seeing the fruit of their joint labour in the lives of Somlak and others. Whether sowing or reaping, we must persevere in the Task Unfinished.


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