Strangers in a strange land
Last month, my family and I were in Sydney, visiting some friends and supporters. One friend took us to to a Thai restaurant near Manly Beach. As the waitress approached, we greeted her in Thai and she was amazed. She was even more amazed as our 15 year old son started speaking to her in Thai. She was totally blown away when she discovered that he was born in a neighbouring province to her own home town. We had the opportunity to share a bit of our own journey and why we live and work in Thailand, but the waitress was busy and we couldn’t speak further than this. What we couldn’t say in words though, made up in the way we communicated God’s love through our speaking her heart language and our commitment to her homeland.
Thais like this waitress live all over the world. While it’s not possible for everyone to uproot their life and family to go and live in Thailand in order to reach the people there, there’s a high likelihood that there will be some Thai people living in the town or city where you are. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 240,000 Thais living in the US and 60,000 Thais living in Australia. Many Thais go to study abroad. Some end up working there and staying. Others marry foreigners and follow his/her spouse back to the spouse’s country. Whatever the reason, we have a great opportunity to share the love of Jesus with these people without even leaving our own neighbourhood.
The way that God reaches out to people who feel like strangers in a strange land is nothing new to those who know the Bible. Abraham travelled away from his place of birth. Jacob and his family moved to Egypt and stayed there a number of generations. Many Jews were exiled in Babylon and Persia too – and in each place, God met and transformed people who were seeking him.
In Sydney, thankfully, there are a number of fellowships of Thai people who love God. A friend of ours started one and remains involved. Thais believers and those interested in Christ come together once a week to sing, pray, read the Bible and encourage each other. It’s so great the way that God calls even the foreigner and sojourner to be part of his family.