There is hardly a visitor to Thailand not spending a day in Ayutthaya, a former glorious capital of the kingdom of Siam. Many tourists then continue to travel 5 hours up the Central plains to Sukothai, which is counted as the first capital of the Thai people and cradle of much of Thai culture. Central Thailand is thus often seen as the very heartland of the Thai.
That history continues to have its impact on the Central Thai. There is a strong identity of being Thai – which for many includes being Buddhist. Response to the Gospel has been slow. Five of the 11 least reached provinces of the country (less than 0.1% Christians) are in Central Thailand! Still to a large extent unreached, ministry opportunities in Central Thailand abound!
Here is just one example: with a team of two missionary couples you could be reaching out to hundreds of thousands of factory workers in the area of Ayutthaya. Share the Gospel extensively – many have never heard! Follow up the interested, disciple people with open hearts and gather them into communities of believers. In this area with high migration and little traditional structure to the society, social evils abound too, whether that be from sexual exploitation, to drug abuse or gambling. In our church planting efforts we aim at the core, changing hearts, not just dealing with symptoms.
Joining hands to pioneer
God is at work! We start to see change. Ministries by missionaries and Thais alike have resulted in churches being planted in many districts. The indigenous Thai denomination OMF is working with, now counts 60 churches in Central Thailand. In most cases OMF missionaries are working closely together with these churches to establish new churches in unreached districts. What we want to see is the Thai churches encouraged, equipped and empowered to reach out to the millions still unreached. Thus we need to combine strong partnership skills with pioneer church planting and leadership training. Our vision is a community of biblical churches of sufficient size and strength (about 1% of the population) that is able and dedicated to continue the evangelization of Central Thailand.
Towards that vision we do ministry in a variety of ways
Phil & Kate Bookhamer: student ministry and church planting in the capital city of Lopburi province
Will & Meng En Brooks: church planting in Ayutthaya province and sports ministry in Central Thailand (Sattha)
Eunice Burden: leadership training in the wider Central Thailand context
Musica Chui: church planting in capital city of Nakhonsawan province
Amy Cottle: church planting in Laatyao district, Nakhonsawan province
Brian & Bekah Farber: church planting in the Uthai district of Ayutthaya province
Michelle Goh: student ministry in Nakhon Pathom, Nakhonsawan and Phitsanulok provinces
Chris & Sarah Keiller: church planting in Laatyao district, Nakhonsawan province
Eng Kiat & Anong Ng: church planting and leadership training in Singburi province
Tim & Brenda Noble: church planting in Ayutthaya province and advisor for language learners Cherlyn Oh: student ministry in Nakhon Pathom, Nakhonsawan and Phitsanulok provinces
Kim & Mary Robertson: church planting in Donchedi district and leadership mentoring in Suphanburi province
Emanuel & Barbara Zwygart: team leaders, leadership training in the Central Thailand context
Photo source: firstname.lastname@example.org