We came to a noodle shop and general store, and there we found Uanbu sitting at a table. We sat down to talk with him, as Theerachai shared the prodigal son story, using an OMF poster-preaching flipbook with big illustrations of key points in the parable. After twenty minutes or so, Uanbu was still hungry...
We are Marten and Esther Visser with Elizabeth and Henrick from the Netherlands and we have been on the Thai mission field for more than a dozen years now. In 2000 we were sent out by OMF and the GZB, a Dutch denominational mission agency of the Dutch Reformed Church.
Marten experienced a calling to missions very early in life at the age of four. In university, he majored in cultural anthropology and theology. During his time at university, the Lord confirmed his calling to missions and made it more specific: Marten met with a veteran missionary in Thailand with OMF, and experienced a specific calling to Thailand, Bangkok.
For Esther, the calling to missions came during the time she was in university. She experienced God’s calling during a church meeting where a missionary from Africa spoke. She majored in neurological psychology and then went to Tyndale Theological Seminary near Amsterdam, to prepare for missions. Now married to Marten, the plans to become a missionary had become much more concrete. It was through devotions written by Corrie ten Boom that Esther felt a specific calling to Bangkok, too.
After having served as church planters in a lower income community in Bangkok, the Lord led us to the countryside of Northeastern Thailand, widely known as Isaan. There we planted another church by the grace of God. Meanwhile, more and more missionaries joined the work in Isaan and much energy was given –especially by Marten– to building up the team and looking for the best places to station new missionaries. Besides church planting, Marten carried out research into church growth in Thailand, which has greatly helped to gain insight in the variables that help churches grow. This research resulted in his getting his PhD. Esther helped develop resources and Isaan language modules.
Isaan is a huge area with a population of twenty million people. Many of these people, especially those who live on the countryside, are unfamiliar with the Gospel. There are districts with tens of thousands of people without a single church. The country is sunny and colourful, but there is spiritual darkness and brokenness.
Join in God’s work of bringing the light of the Gospel close to people’s hearts! In our team we focus on church planting, but the ministry is wider than that: a work among women who struggle with unwanted pregnancy or abuse/violence has now started too. We are looking for new people to go to new areas to pioneer the work there.