We were serving in Chiang Rai living in a coffee shop called Homemade Cafe, which is run by Bobby Bo & Boo Ya. Each Saturday, Walking Street, (a local night market) opens up right next to the cafe, and our team would evangelize and meet people. One day my co-leader, Steve Hazeltine, went walking through the city and met these three women. They saw him down the street and yelled for him to come over. They ran a massage parlor, but when they met Steve they asked why he could speak some Thai and why he was in Thailand. When he told them that he was a Christian and wanted Thai people to know God’s love, they begged him to share more. He was able to share the Gospel with them and one of the women named Pak was ecstatic; she had been waiting for her friend Dtoi to hear the Gospel.
Dtoi had left Buddhism two years before but hadn’t felt like anything replaced it at all for her. She was a widow and had no family still connected to her. The next night Steve and I went back to visit these ladies, they sat us down and gave us hot tea. Pak was excitedly telling me that they never meet foreign men with good intentions, and that Dtoi had decided to become a Christian. She had already thought some about Christianity, but hearing the Gospel and seeing God’s love through Steve is what made her decide to convert.
Dtoi shared she was a very sinful, and we shared the parable that Jesus taught concerning another sinful woman — Those who are forgiven much, love much. Through this, Dtoi really experienced God’s love. It was amazing to see these women encounter God’s love. Dtoi, an ex-buddhist widow became a believer, and Pak (who was Buddhist at the time) told us that she now believes in what Jesus has done, but that for her families sake, she is not ready to call herself a Christian. Despite that, Pak told us that she wants to tell all her friends about Jesus and that they should follow him.
To me it was such strong evidence that God loves Thai people, and that He is the one who leads us to the hearts of those who are ready. Steve had no idea these women were even there and Steve had no idea who these women even were and yet they called for him – it was like they were waiting for the Gospel; waiting to meet God and He let us be a part of it!