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What I Learned from Working with Thai University Students

Prior to my Serve Asia placement, I attended university, where a gloomy spiritual climate challenged my faith. The campus was buzzing with people- a fertile ground for ministry, you’d think. But I noticed a rampant apathy towards Christianity, even in some of my own friends. I struggled to start meaningful conversations. Yet despite the challenges, there remained in me a stubborn desire to share the outpouring of my faith with others.

In August 2016, I left the UK for a two-month stay in Mahasarakham, a province tucked in the heart of northeastern Thailand. There I taught conversational English at a university and aided in the launch of an off-campus student centre, where students could sharpen their English skills, play music, and, if interested, explore Christianity.

I wanted to teach students about my faith. But ironically, they taught me. I discovered that one of my Thai Christian friends was actively proclaiming the gospel to her university peers. Her boldness was stunning. Bible tract in hand, she would approach students at lunch, and in simple terms, explain the message of Jesus. That challenged me.

Many Thais walking with Jesus can face complications. I made friends with a Thai Christian whose grandmother had passed away. The responsibility to plan a Buddhist funeral, complete with religious rituals, had fallen on her. It’s important that we keep our Thai brothers and sisters in prayer as they navigate unique challenges of this kind.

Yet despite numerous obstacles, God continues to grow His church in Thailand. If there’s one thing I learned from my trip, it’s that He is faithful. I had the privilege of using my professional skills as a graphic designer to create flyers for the student centre and help kickstart its growth. I was a firsthand witness as God paved the way for the centre’s launch, and the program continues to flourish today.

When my two short months came to an end, it hurt me to leave. I had cultivated genuine friendships, and I wanted to remain a part of the outreach being done at the centre. But as I settled back in at home, I realized that my short term experience in Thailand had transformed my approach to outreach for good.

I now work as a graphic designer in the teeming streets of central London, and I no longer shy away from sharing my faith with my coworkers. The truth is that God doesn’t call us all overseas for life, but He does call us all to propagate His truth, whether it be on a university campus, in a bustling workplace, or on the mission field. His presence stretches across every square inch of the planet, and He invites us to make that presence known to all.

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