How can the Church in Thailand respond to the needs of women?

How can the Church in Thailand respond to the needs of women in their local communities? Christina Sutter, an OMF worker from Switzerland, has been serving women in crisis situations in Thailand for the last ten years. As she approaches retirement, she reflects on her part in supporting women and encouraging the Church to join in this concern.

Working as a nurse in Switzerland, Christina’s heart was to combine healing and preaching in the pattern of Jesus’ own ministry. For many years, she was convinced that supporting women with crisis pregnancies in Thailand could be a suitable way to do that. She had previously spent 17 years with OMF in Thailand as a community leprosy nurse and a language adviser – but a new ministry in an unknown part of the country was a fresh challenge. God opened up relationships and the necessary local and government contacts for Christina – and even before she arrived, he enabled her to be connected with Kara, a Thai nurse with a similar vision for supporting women. For several years, they talked about possibilities and developed shared ideas. Eventually, Christina was able to join Kara in northeast Thailand, and together they launched the Nampu ministry.

Nampu and Jesus’ offer of living water

Why Nampu? Nampu means fountain in Thai and reflects Jesus’ offer of living water to the woman at the well in John 4. Nampu’s vision is to bring new life and hope in Christ to women. After a year of researching the social situation in the area, connecting with government services and inviting local churches to join in praying, they were ready to go. Nampu’s pregnancy resource and counselling centre opened its doors in June 2013. One of the first things they did was to visit a young teenager who had recently had a baby; the situation at her home was so unhappy and unstable that she didn’t feel able to keep the child. The local pastor and his family were willing to foster but lacked adequate resources, so Christina and Kara agreed to support them with their practical needs. The child was brought up in the family of the pastor and the young mum was shown love and spiritual support. A special encouragement has been the Thai Christians who have grown through serving with Nampu. When Kara had to step away due to family commitments, Christina started employing staff and supporting a larger team. They started every day in the word of God and prayer as well as sharing how they were doing. When Nampu staff have moved on to new things, they have all said this was the highlight of their time of service.

Fruit in God’s time

Nampu’s ministry widened to serve women in need in other situations. For several years this included regular visits to Sunshine House, a women’s drug rehabilitation centre. A recent conversation reminded Christina that the impact of this kind of work takes time. When she was filling up her car at a petrol station, she offered a gospel tract to the young woman filling her tank. ‘Is this about Jesus?’ the young lady asked.

‘Yes, it is, have you heard about him?’

‘Yes, you have shared with me about him.’

Christina couldn’t remember meeting her before, so asked her to share more of her story. It turned out the young woman, Tan, had heard the good news from Christina at Sunshine House nine years earlier. Tan told Christina that she now believes in Jesus and attends church whenever she is free.

As Christina retires, her continued prayer for the Church in Thailand is that they would have a growing vision for the needs of women in their local communities. The work is not finished in so many ways, but Christina knows she has been faithful and the future is in God’s hands.

Sarah Hoskins
OMF International Director for Africa and Europe

How you can pray

  • Pray for churches in Thailand to see and respond to the needs of women in their communities – for women facing crisis pregnancies as well as women and children who struggle with domestic violence and other challenges.
  • Pray for the Lord to raise up people who share a vision for bringing the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness. While Nampu itself has closed its doors, pray for new workers with a heart for women to experience the healing of the gospel.
  • Pray for women whose lives have been touched by the work of Nampu; pray for the gospel seeds that have been planted to take root and for the Lord’s provision of church communities in which these women can grow and thrive in faith.
Written by Sarah Hoskins

OMF International Director for Africa and Europe

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