Ep. 26 | Discover: Thailand – Land of Smiles, Opportunities, and Hope

In the fourth episode of the Discover series, we learn more about the vibrant country of Thailand. From its wonderful scenery and food, to its deep sense of community, and the people’s strong cultural identity, Thailand is full of interesting stories! But how can we start to share God’s love with Thai Buddhists? And what might we be able to learn from the Thai church?
One exciting way to join in with what God is doing in the world is to learn more about his heart for the nations. This is exactly what the Discover series is all about. We would love for you to join us as we learn more about Thailand!

If you’ve got any comments and questions do get in touch we’d love to hear from you

This transcript has been lightly edited to make it easier to read.

Angela Huang 

It’s not just a kind of passive exchange of information. It’s a full embrace and acceptance of that person, modelling Christ’s love, which I think is absolutely incredible.

 

Freddie Barker 

Hello, and welcome back to the Serve Asia Podcast, and to the Discover Series. Which is all about learning about countries in East Asia, the history, culture and Christian context. And today we’re talking about Thailand, which is home to 66 million people. The world’s tiniest mammal, the bumblebee bat, has 35,000 Buddhist temples, was the inspiration behind the popular energy drink Red Bull, and the home of the Tuk Tuk. Yeah, so we’ll talk about Thailand today. And to learn about Thailand here with me is Angela, it’s wonderful to have you with us, Angela, thank you for joining. How are you today?

 

Angela Huang 

I’m very well, thank you for asking. How are you today?

 

Freddie Barker 

I’m all right thank you. Yes. It’s strange to be in the office on my own, when so many people are usually here with me. But that is life nowadays I suppose. Before we get into talking about Thailand let’s get to know you a bit, Angela. I think it’s helpful for people at home to get to know the people we interview. So why don’t you tell us about what you do and what your interests are.

 

Angela Huang 

So I am a teacher. I’m an English teacher, I teach in a secondary school based in Bristol. That’s my job. It’s a very new job I only started a few months ago so it’s all new to me. In terms of interests, I am an English teacher so I do love to read, I absolutely adore reading books. That’s my favourite way to unwind. And I also like listening to podcasts as well, which is why I’m super excited to be here today, because it has been a very long term dream to appear on a podcast. So thank you very much.

 

Freddie Barker 

Well, that’s perfect. Yeah, it’s good to have you with us. Are there any good books that you’ve read recently that you’d recommend to our audience?

 

Angela Huang 

Yeah, I can tell you about a book which I’m reading at the moment. It’s a memoir called The Salt Path. I can’t remember the name of the author. But it’s basically about a couple who they’ve had quite a sad tragedy happen to them in their life. And they decide to respond to that tragedy by going on a very long walk together. I think it’s called the Southwest coastal path in the UK, it’s a real hiking path that’s extremely challenging, but they decide to pack up all their possessions and just go wild camping on this walk. And this memoir is sort of about how the walk heals them and the relationship between them and things like that. It’s a very moving and well written memoir.

 

Freddie Barker 

That sounds lovely. Yeah, The Salt Path. Okay, I’ll have to look out for that. Great. And today, Angela, we’re looking at Thailand, learning more about Thailand. I wonder what do you already know about Thailand? Have you? Have you been to the country before? What do you know about Thailand?

 

Angela Huang 

Yeah so, I have been to Thailand before. So about one and a half years ago, I was volunteering there in a ministry with a group of Christians from around the world and alongside Thai Christians as well. So I’ve been before and I feel like I’m being tested on this in a way. But what I know about Thailand is that it’s a monarchy, and the colour yellow represents the royal family. So yellow is a very important colour. I learned that the people are extremely hospitable and friendly, especially to visitors. And that Thailand is known as the land of smiles because everyone’s very smiley and friendly to you. So that’s something that I remember. And one really cool fact, which I was told before I went there was that people in Thailand, they greet each other using something called the Wai, which is just a physical gesture, where you have to press your palms together and bow your head, which is really cool. And depending on your status in society that will kind of affect how low you bow your head or how high you hold your hand. So I thought that was a really cool thing to learn.

 

Freddie Barker 

That’s really interesting. Yeah, it’s not a test at all. Don’t worry about it. We’re not testing your knowledge of Thailand. We’re here to learn together. But it sounds like you already know a lot about Thailand, you’ve obviously been and served there with other Christians. And yeah, it seems like you picked up a lot in your time. And I hope today we can together learn more. Why are you interested in joining us and learning more about Thailand, Angela?

 

Angela Huang 

I think it was partly shaped by my experience when I was there. So I was only there for about a month. So it was quite a short period of time in comparison, but I had a really small taste of what it was like to share the gospel there. And it made me realise as I was chatting to all these lovely locals and the Thai Christians that you can only build relationships with people when you have really taken the time to actually learn about them. So investing in them as human beings, learning about their culture, their language, their background is really important because it’s a huge part of their identity. So it’s really great to learn with you about this to help build those relationships and I was really inspired by the Thai Christians when I was there in terms of how they loved and served the community, and I would love to learn more about how they share the hope they have in Jesus with others around them.

 

Freddie Barker 

Oh, yeah, that’s wonderful. You’re absolutely right. I think learning about someone is such a great way to connect with them on a deeper level, I think we do it all the time with our friends, we want to know what they’re interested in and what they’ve been up to and understand their background. And that helps us to relate to them. And it’s exactly the same I think, with people from the other side of the world, who live in different cultures. And all the more so important, if we want to share the gospel with them. Yeah, that’s great. So yeah, I hope as we turn to our teacher now that we’re going to learn a lot, so let’s hand over to them. So today, we’re joined by Golf, who’s kindly going to teach us all about Thailand. How are you today, Golf?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

I’m doing well. Thank you.

 

Freddie Barker 

Good. Good. Before we dive into learning all about Thailand, and Thai culture and Thai people, I wonder if we could get to know you a little bit? Could you tell us maybe what you do and what some of your interests are?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Sure. My name is Satanun Boonyakiat. So Thai names are long so every Thai have a short name, so my short name is Golf. So Thai short name can be any word in the world. Okay. I’m a Thai. I teach theology at McGilvary College of Divinity at Payap University in Chiang Mai, in the northern part of Thailand.

 

Freddie Barker 

That’s great. How long have you been doing that for, Golf?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

I’ve been teaching for 20 years in this college.

 

Freddie Barker 

Wow. So you’re well experienced in teaching theology, and understanding Thai culture, I guess, being amongst the students who are very much driving that forward.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

It’s by God’s grace, I am glad that I can be part of this ministry in Thailand, and it is a Buddhist country, that not many people know about God about Gospel, so I’m thankful for that.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, what an opportunity. So go, I wonder what was the last good book that you read?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Well, the last good book, a very good book that I have just read is Sweeter Than Honey, by Christopher Wright.

 

Freddie Barker 

Sweeter Than Honey by Christopher Wright.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

It’s about study Old Testament, and preaching from the Old Testament.

 

Freddie Barker 

That sounds really interesting.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes. And it’s very helpful. And it’s just recently translated into Thai. And I hope that many Thai ministers can read this book, and it definitely will be helpful for their Christian ministry.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, that’s great. And I wonder if there are any Thai theologians that you’d recommend?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Well, first of all, there are not many Thai theologians. And when we write, most of us will write in Thai. Yes. So for example, recently, I just wrote a book, called Thai Christian Theology, it’s is in Thai, and try to help the Thai understand more about Christian theology and help Thai Christians develop theology that is more relevant to the Thai context.

 

Freddie Barker 

Okay, that’s really interesting. I wonder if that will ever be printed in other languages so that we can learn about Thai Christianity from an insider’s perspective as well.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

It’s still in Thai, but I hope that maybe in the future, I can write an English version of this book.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, I’d love to read that!

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Thank you.

 

Freddie Barker 

Well, that sounds really great. And we’ve got to know you a little bit better. So let’s get straight into it and talk about Thailand. And we’ve got some questions which we prepared in advance. So I’ll just start off with the first one of those. So Golf, what does it mean to be Thai? Perhaps what what are some of the key features of Thai identity?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

First of all, in Thai language, the word Thai means freedom, freedom, so Thailand means a land of freedom. So Thai people take pride in the fact that Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been colonised by a Western nation. Therefore, Thai people are so proud of Thai culture that is different from other countries, especially those in the West. And since Thai culture is closely related to Buddhism, many Thai people think that being a Thai means being a Buddhist. In other words, Buddhism is one of the key features of Thai identity even though the traditional belief of Thai people was animism and brahmanism. When Buddhism came into Thailand, it has become the main religion of the country for many, many years. So, Thai Buddhism is basically Theravada Buddhism, but it is strongly influenced by animism, and also brahmanism. And at present, about 95% of the population are Buddhist, and all Thai people are familiar with Buddhism. Because Buddhism course is compulsory in all Thai schools. The Thai students in all religions must study Buddhism, both in public and private schools. More importantly, Buddhism is intertwined with Thai culture, custom, tradition, ceremonies and festivals. So all important festivals in Thailand are related to Buddhism. And at the same time, Buddhism is an underlying belief that guides Thai culture and in many ways, for example, poetry, drama, novel fiction are related to Buddhism, even modern Thai movies continue to demonstrate Buddhist belief and world view. For example, in many movies it will directly or indirectly about belief that human kind is in the circle of birth and rebirth. And if a person does good karma, that karma will lead to a better life when a person is reborn in the next life. So that’s the example. So this is the first thing that identified a Thai.

 

Freddie Barker 

So there’s quite a distinctive history in Southeast Asia that they haven’t been colonised. And that’s kind of wrapped up in this strong Buddhist tradition.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Right. And beside Buddhism, another key feature of Thai identity is the importance of relationship and community. Similar to other Asian people, the Thai’s highly treasure relationship with other people, and firmly identify themselves with their community. And the importance of relationship for Thai people can be seen through the avoidance of confrontation, and attempt to maintain smooth interpersonal relationship. So you might have heard of the land of smiles, right, Thai people like to smile a lot, so we look friendly all the time. And a strong sense of community for Thai people is demonstrated in their ways of life. For example, in rural areas, it is common that most of the villagers know one another and know what is going on in their village. They also take part in activities of others, for example, they work together in the rice fields of one another. They share food and agricultural products, they participate in religious rituals organised by the community or other members. In urban areas, the sense of community may not be as strong as that in the rural areas. But Thai people in the cities still emphasise community in many ways. For example, friends and colleagues of a person whose family member passed away, always come to show support by participating in their Buddhist wake services for three to five nights, as well as participating in the funeral. So the sense of community in Thailand is very, very strong. So this is the second key feature of Thai people, they emphasise on relationship and community.

 

Freddie Barker 

That’s really interesting. I wonder you told us a lot about the similarities of Thai people. I wonder if you could get into a little bit about any diversity in the country?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes, because the country is relatively big. There are many parts of Thailand and people in different parts of the country. We have local dialects that we use, but most of us I mean, all the Thai can communicate in central Thai. So in general, we use central Thai to communicate, but when we are among friends and family members, normally we use dialect for example, Northern, North Eastern, and Southern dialect to communicate with one another. And there are many ethnicities in Thailand, but most of the Thai people, we identify ourselves as a Thai more than our ethincity, for example, Chinese Thai, or Thai Chinese, right? But, but for for the Thai to identify ourselves as a Thai is much, much stronger than our original ethnicity.

 

Freddie Barker 

Okay, so common Thai culture prevails. And there is quite actually a lot of commonality and community within Thailand as a whole.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes, yes. And people in Thailand, we can broadly characterise Thai people to people who live in city areas and those who live in rural areas. So people in city areas tend to be a little bit more individualistic, but the sense of community for them is still very strong. And if you go to rural areas, the sense of community, for people in rural areas are even more stronger. So they identify themselves in their community, and their sense of belonging in the community is very strong. So I think that’s the important aspects of Thai culture.

 

Freddie Barker 

Okay, that is really interesting. So moving on, why do Thai people find it difficult to accept the gospel?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Well, I think it’s difficult for Thai people to accept the gospel because of three main reasons. First, strong Buddhist background. Second, a strong sense of community. And third, a foreign Christian worldview. First, a strong Buddhist background. Since most Thai people are Buddhist, and many Thai people think that being a Thai equals being a Buddhist, it is very difficult for the Thais to accept the gospel. They may listen to the gospel message, but they think it is just a Western religion that has nothing to do with them. So that’s the first reason that come to mind. Secondly, a strong sense of community. Since most Thai people grew up in Buddhist families, and they live in Buddhist communities. It is difficult for a Thai person to open their hearts to the gospel. Let’s say if a person becomes Christian, he or she can be viewed as a person who betrays their families, and communities heritage. His or her relationship with family and community could be weakened. And in rural areas, that person might be rejected by the family and community altogether. And finally, I think Thai people do not open to the gospel easily because Christian worldview is foreign to them. Since Buddhist worldview is deeply embedded in Thai’s mind. And Christianity is perceived as a Western religion. Christian worldview becomes foreign to the Thai people. Therefore, when the Thai’s listen to the gospel, they do not necessarily hear the same message that Christians try to communicate to them. For example, when Christians say, God is love, or God loves you the Thai’s may not have a high view of God, because love in Buddhism is often associated with desire or craving, that leads to suffering or enslaved people in the view of birth and rebirth. And when we say you are a sinner, this sentence will make the Thai feel very angry. Because sinner in Buddhist mind, refers to those who commit serious sins, for example, murder or adultery. As a result, our so called good news may not sound like good news for the Thai people. So I think these are three things that are obstacles or make it difficult for the Thai people to accept the gospel.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, that makes sense seen as they’re kind of saturated with this, this Buddhist culture and Christianity must seem really different and distinct for them. But there must be aspects of Thai culture that sre kind of an easy entrance into talking about the gospel. So I wonder if you could touch on Golf about when we share our faith with Thai people. How should we go about that? Are there aspects of Christianity that we should focus on that really resonate with Thai people?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes, I think a good bridge to share the gospel with the Thai people is the concept of suffering.

 

Freddie Barker 

Okay.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Because suffering lies at the centre of the Buddhist teaching. Because Buddhism is a religion that focuses on helping people to be free from suffering. And when we talk about suffering, Thai people will be interested in what we are sharing. So, when we begin our gospel by talking about suffering, experiences that all people share. It helps us relate to Buddhist people, and help us communicate the gospel to them, we can share with them that this God understands their suffering, and God cares for them, God loves them, God has mercy on them. Love and mercy together. To help the Thai understand that this love of God is a love that comes with mercy is a merciful kind of love, not love that is associated with desire. And this God who really love, have mercy and cares for them, send His only Son into this world, to suffer with people, and to free them from suffering by dying for them on the cross, and He rose again, and he’s the only one who can free them from suffering, from desire, and from all evil spirits that may endanger them. Because spirits is another thing that important to the Thai people, especially in rural areas. Because as I said earlier, that the traditional belief of the Thai people is animism. So Thai people usually involve spirit. And most of the time they are afraid of evil spirits. So if we share that God can help them from evil spirits that endanger them, and God can help them to be free from those kinds of spirit, I think is a good news for Thai people as well.

 

Freddie Barker 

That’s really interesting and quite helpful actually. We can look at Jesus’s life and the grace that he offered, and show Thai people that He was a God who came, who suffered for us, who showed us the way the truth and the life and ultimately gave up his life to save us. And also, yeah, as you said, there are stories of Jesus having power over spirits. So those are really good avenues in that we might want to approach sharing the gospel with Thai people. But yeah, that’s really helpful. I wonder if you could tell us, what are the greatest needs of the Thai church?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Well, I think there are several needs of the Thai church. But one of them is to understand how Thai Christians can show Thai people that Christianity is not a Western religion. How Thai Christians can wisely contextualise Christianity without confusing Christianity with local beliefs. So I think this is the most important thing that we need to help the Thai church at the moment.

 

Freddie Barker 

Okay, so is there perception in Thailand that all people from the West are automatically Christians?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

I think probably not all, but Thai people would think that most Westerners are Christians, I think. Yeah, so they associate Christianity with Western world. And so when a person become Christian, that person may not be a real Thai or something like that.

 

Freddie Barker 

So yeah, we need to help Thai people to understand that Christianity is for everyone. That Jesus came to save people from all nations.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes, yes, and to be able to communicate the gospel of Christian faith, Christian truth to Thai people in ways that Thai people can understand easily. Because many concepts are foreign to the Thai people. So Thai Christians need to find ways to help to understand more about, for example, character of God, to understand more who He is, and how we should relate to God.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah. So I think those are things that we all need better understanding of, isn’t it? That’s part of the Christians journey is to learn and more deeply understand who God is and what He’s done for us.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Right.

 

Freddie Barker 

I wonder, we’ve mentioned some of the challenges that the Thai church faces. I wonder if you could touch on any of its strengths?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Okay, the strength of the Thai church, I think, is the focus on community. Similar to Thai people in general, Thai Christians also emphasise the importance of community. And it’s quite easy for the Thai when a person become Christian, that person is adopted into an extended family of Christians. So he or she may come from non Christian families, he or she may be the only Christian in the family. Can be feel lowly, rejected, or despised by family members, or others in the community, but they are blessed by Christian brothers and sisters. They are given opportunities to serve alongside other in Christian community, they are given a spot or space in the church, to be one of the people in the community, to be a person with dignity that can serve the Lord. So I think that this is a very strong aspect of Thai church. And it has been like this since the beginning of Thai Christian community. When the gospel came into Thailand, especially in the Northern parts of Thailand, over 140 years ago.

 

Freddie Barker 

Wow! Yeah, that sounds like something that we in the West can be learning from the Thai church.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes.

 

Freddie Barker 

To have a greater sense of community and offering everyone within the church, the dignity and the space that they deserve.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

And many people who are looked down on by other people, who are marginalised and didn’t have a place to contribute in society. They are given those in Christian community, and they have new life, new opportunity, and they can contribute so much for the community. Both Christian community and Thai community at large.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, that’s really wonderful to hear. I wonder Golf, if a foreigner like me wanted to engage in God’s kingdom in Thailand, help support the church there, what opportunities are there for us to come and help to come and serve?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Oh, there are many ways that brothers and sisters from other countries can come to serve alongside Thai people in Thailand. Because right now, about 95% of the population are Buddhists. And others have other faiths and only about one point something percent are Christians. So there are many ways that friends from other countries can come and serve with us to share the gospel with the Thai people and to show God’s love in an intangible way to the Thai people.

 

Freddie Barker 

We just need to be distinctive that we are we are Christians and not come along as the party people that a lot of people from the west come to Thailand for.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes, yes to come and to serve with Thai Christians and to help the Thai see that. The Gospel of Christianity is actually for people of all races, not only people in the West. Yeah, but to come to serve in Thailand. One important thing that our friends need is to learn Thai language, and Thai culture. Because to be able to speak in Thai language, and to understand Thai culture to relate to Thai people in a meaningful way, respectful way is important. So if friends from abroad come with knowledge, abilities, skills in Thai language and knowledge of Thai culture, I believe, together with Thai Christians, we can reach out to many more Thai people.

 

Freddie Barker 

Oh, that is really important. Learning the language can go a long way in showing that you love and care for someone.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yeah.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah. Finally Golf. I wonder what ways can we be praying for Thailand, for Thai people and the Thai church?

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yeah, first of all, I think at this moment, we all need to pray for one another as we are going through the pandemic. So please remember Thai people in your prayers, and that we can go through this pandemic, and we can rise up again. And for Thai people, of course, please pray that the Holy Spirit may open their heart and mind so they can understand the gospel. And they can come to faith in God, to know that gospel is for all people, including the Thai. And they can be part of God’s kingdom, can be God’s children, and can have new life in Christ. And for the Thai church, please pray that Thai Christians will have unity, Thai Christians will understand more about God, Thai Christians may have a deeper theology, a deeper understanding of the Scripture and a closer relationship with God. That Thai Christians may be salt and light in this society. Thai Christians will live differently, will be good witness for God in this society. So I think that’s my prayer requests for Thailand and for the Thai church.

 

Freddie Barker 

Amen to that. How wonderful would it be if the passion and the fervour that Thai people have for Buddhism was translated to Christianity, and they were that passionate and devoted to Christ? That would be amazing.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Yes.

 

Freddie Barker 

Well, thank you so much for talking with us today Golf. It was lovely to have you with us. And really interesting to hear what you had to say about Thailand and the Thai church.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

You’re welcome. And thank you so much for listening. And thank you in advance for your prayer for Thailand. And I hope that some of the listeners may be interested in serving God in Thailand in the future.

 

Freddie Barker 

I hope so too. Thank you very much.

 

Satanun Boonyakiat 

Thank you.

 

Freddie Barker 

So now I’m back with Angela, our students for today’s episode. And yeah, thanks to Golf for teaching us all about Thailand. It was really interesting listening to him. He clearly knows a lot about his country. And he clearly loves the people there. I wonder, Angela, were you listening?

 

Angela Huang 

I think so. Yeah.

 

Freddie Barker 

What, what stood out to you from what Golf had said.

 

Angela Huang 

I think first of all, as you said, just Golf’s very clear passion and love, not just for Jesus, but also for the Thai people that really stood out for me, it really came across in his conversation with you. And I thought it was just amazing that he was so driven by genuine love and compassion for his people. I just found that incredibly inspiring. And in terms of other things that stood out for me, I think I really underestimated actually just how strong one’s sense of cultural identity was in Thailand, how it was really important to one’s sense of identity in terms of the link between Buddhism and Thai national identity as well, I didn’t realise how strongly intertwined they were, I think I kind of underestimated that. Because I feel in comparison, in the UK, we might not think so deeply about British identity, we just sort of accept ourselves as we are, but in Thailand has a very strong sense of national identity, which is very interesting to learn about.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, absolutely. I think that comparison between how we kind of relate to our national identity as Brits, compared to how they do in Thailand is a good one to make actually. The Thai identity seems to be really strong, to be Thai is to be Buddhist. Golf really picked up that idea that seeps into all of society, books, and films. Often mention karma and revolve around Buddhist themes. So yeah, it’s really interesting that there’s that strong identity They’d certainly take pride in being Thai. I wonder, was there anything else that stood out to you?

 

Angela Huang 

Yeah. Just one more thing I, again, just this strong sense of community that Golf was describing in the Thai churches, how, when they tell other people about Jesus, they don’t just share the good news and just leave it there. They fully embrace that new Christian as part of their family and they help to equip them to serve and fully participate in that new community. It’s not just a kind of passive exchange of information, it’s full embrace and acceptance of that person modelling Christ’s love, which I think is absolutely incredible.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, it was so wonderful to hear wasn’t it, about that strength of the Thai church, being a community in which everyone is respected and dignified. And yeah, that they’re really keen on relationship, because relationships are such a big part of Thai culture in general. So inviting people into the church, into God’s family, has to have a strong community aspect as well. And of course, there is a wonderful community of love and a really rich and vibrant community. And we want people to know that and it looks like the Thai church is really great at doing that. I also found it really interesting how we have to be kind of careful in the language that we use. If we’re going to share God’s love with Thai people. I find it interesting that Thai people might not necessarily understand love how we intend it to be meant, that love for them might be associated with desire, instead of God’s sacrificial love for us. So yeah, I thought that was really interesting. And Golf, I think really helpfully picked out other routes into the gospel, such as through suffering and coupling love with mercy. That can really speak volumes to Thai people. What did you think of that?

 

Angela Huang 

That was, again, another thing that stood out to me as well, just the question of how, how we can, I guess, talk about suffering as a good bridge to build with people in Thailand. And I think it’s, it’s interesting, because it means that when, when I suppose when the foreigner speaks to them, when we want to share about Jesus, that it shows the importance of sharing our testimonies with them, as well, especially if you have a personal experience of suffering. And you were willing to be vulnerable, and share it with that other person that can really do wonders in building bridges between you. And even if you don’t have your own personal testimony of that kind of experience. The Bible has many of those. And you can always pull out many examples of how Jesus meets the needs of suffering people and how he transforms their light.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, so it sounds like learning has really changed your perspective on how you might engage with Thai people in sharing God’s love with them, or praying for Thai people. Would you say that’s correct?

 

Angela Huang 

Yes, I would say that would be correct. Absolutely. And I think it’s definitely kind of inspired me to be a bit braver, because going to talk about these things requires a kind of courage, because it feels a bit scary, because you don’t know how the other person’s going to react as well. And especially if you decide to share a personal testimony, you are opening yourself up to be quite vulnerable. But we need to be brave enough to do that. Because we are then showing how Jesus made a massive transformation in our lives, especially when he meets us in periods of suffering. I definitely think encouraging us to be brave. Having courage through God really helps, really helps with that sort of thing.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, I guess learning can help us to be brave in a way. That’s really interesting. Oh, great. So yeah, thank you so much for joining us today Angela, and for learning about Thailand with us.

 

Angela Huang 

Thank you for having me. Thank you for inviting me to join you today.

 

Freddie Barker 

Yeah, we’ll have to invite you back on another podcast since you love podcasting so much.

 

Angela Huang 

I would love that, I would love that!

 

Freddie Barker 

Great. Thanks for joining us. So thanks again to Golf, and to Angela, for journeying with us on our learning journey about Thailand. We just wanted to highlight a few more resources if you were interested in continuing learning about Thailand. First of all, is to mention the OMF prayer guides, of which there are many on the OMF website. Then Golf kindly recommended a number of books to us about Thailand and the Thai church. The first of which is called Siamese Gold: The Church in Thailand by a guy called Alex Smith. All about the history and change of Christianity in Thailand. The second is a biography called Daniel McGilvary, Pioneer Missionary to Northern Thailand by Karl Dahlfred. Yeah, so if you like biographies, that’s a good one to check out. There’s also a really good set of resources, a library called Seanet as part of the William Carey Publishing Group. Check that out. A lot of good books on there. And Golf has even written a book himself about the Christian theology of suffering in the context of Buddhism in Thailand. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Serve Asia Podcast. We hope you’ve learned more about sharing Jesus with people from East Asia. You can find more episodes of the Discover Series by searching for the Serve Asia Podcast in your favourite podcast app, or by visiting our website omf.org/uk/podcast. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback, comments, questions, or episode ideas. You can get in touch on Instagram, @ServeAsiaPodcast or by email, uk.podcast@omfmail.com. Do check out the show notes for more details and links and we’ll see you next episode. Goodbye.

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