The plan was to help one of the Christians who live nearby evangelize their village. When I came there she didn’t want to go anymore, so I asked what happened. ‘’If you are going to evangelize in your village, you and the rest of your family (Christian or not) are not allowed to use the cremation facilities of the temple’’ the village elder said to this family.
Not being allowed to use the temple facilities doesn’t seem like a very big deal from a western point of view, but in Thailand it is. One of the first questions people ask here when they consider following Jesus is ‘’what happens when I die? How are we going to arrange that?’’
A case like this shows that the religious atmosphere in Thailand is pretty tolerant and friendly, as long as you follow expectations. When you start to make different choices, there will be pressure from family and friends to follow cultural and religious expectations.
This pressure makes me think of the situation of the early church. Peter and John are brought before the Sanhedrin, but facing all the threats they pray for boldness and get filled with the Holy Spirit. Will you pray for boldness for Christians in Thailand, facing this kind of subtle persecution?