Sometimes, people just want curtains.
They’ll find much more than fine drapery, however, if they wander into Nong Lak’s shop in northern Thailand.
Whirling through the blue silks and orange cottons and teal polyesters that define beauty in most of the country, Nong Lak’s customers will find Jesus – not an easy guy to meet in the province of Phichit.
Phichit is the least reached for Christ in all the provinces of Thailand. Less than .01 percent of the 550,000 people who make up the population know Jesus. Nong Lak is changing that one believer at a time.
In mid-July, Youth With a Mission Chiang Mai sent a team of nine to intercede for Phichit, share resources produced by Create International and lend a hand to members of Nexus Christian Church, the church started three years ago by Nong Lak herself.
NONG LAK’S STORY – HOW DIVINE
Nong Lak (Mrs. Lak) met Jesus through a cousin more than a decade ago at the age of 35. She and her husband were saved at the same time. Through the peace she began to experience in her own salvation, Nong Lak recognized a nudge to introduce others to the love of Christ.
She and her husband were living in Phetchabun when Nong Lak felt called to go to the neighboring province of Phichit to sell curtains. Marketing window coverings might not seem like the most divine appointment, but it got people in front of Nong Lak. More importantly, it got people in front of Jesus.
Getting people to actually see Jesus, however, was a little more tricky.
The first year, not a single person came to know Christ. Three times Nong Lak sat weeping before the Lord asking him why he had called her to Phichit. She was struggling. Her husband was not with her most of the time. He stayed in Phetchabun to work. Nong Lak felt she was sacrificing more than just her time. She was sacrificing her family.
In a moment of frustration, Nong Lak got blunt with God. She asked him: Do you love the people of Phichit? If not, why did you ask me to come?
That seemed to be what God needed from her – a moment of complete dependence. Shortly after she asked those questions, God began opening doors to customers who wanted to know more about his grace and love for the people of Thailand.
Nong Lak suddenly had a church.
ONE OF THE CHOSEN
One of the first members of Nexus Christian Church was Yui, a young college graduate and local insurance agent who grew up Buddhist.
“I am (a) customer (of the curtain shop),” Yui said. “She asked me if I was interested to learn more about God.”
Yui and others starting coming to the church every week. And every week, Nong Lak began seeing more fruit grow out of her obedience to God.
The church blossomed to about 30 members and outgrew the curtain shop. Nong Lak was able to purchase a building next door to accommodate the congregation. Nine members were baptized in July. In addition, her husband has been able to spend more time in Phichit, helping to run the curtain shop, inviting new believers to church and helping Nong Lak minister to the existing congregation.
A GIFT FROM CREATE INTERNATIONAL
The couple cherishes the blessings God has shed on them in the last three years. Like anyone else, though, they still face personal struggles. One of those struggles is smoking.
Nong Lak’s husband smokes cigarettes, a habit he picked up many years ago and can’t seem to kick. Nong Lak worries that his addiction to nicotine will make a bad impression on new believers.
She shared her worries with the team members from YWAM Chiang Mai. The team, in turn, shared a film produced by Create International called “When the Storm Comes.”
The film, produced for the people of Northern Thailand in their own language, tells a story of a Thai Buddhist family which faces similar battles. The father is an alcoholic who likes to gamble; the mother is afraid of bad spirits; the daughter, as she tries to fit in with her teenage friends, is caught up in peer pressure; and the brother, defending his sister, is critically injured in a street fight.
After watching the film with about 10 people from the Nexus congregation, Nong Lak said she now understands that others face personal struggles, too.
“She loved the movie so much,” said Neena, a translator for the YWAM team. “It was easy to understand. It will help to tell others about Jesus.”
Yui, who also attended the movie showing, said she loved seeing the characters’ faith in God in the movie.
“God helped them in their situation,” she said. “He was able to turn their troubled hearts (around).”
The YWAM team left several more resources produced by Create International for Nong Lak to use in her church. The next day, a Thai couple who saw the team praying at a local restaurant accepted a copy of “When the Storm Comes” as well as other resources. The husband at the restaurant said he and his wife want to understand more about God.
Materials gifted to the church and the couple during the outreach to Phichit are available to share with unreached people groups throughout Asia and the Middle East at www.indigitech.com.
If you have a heart to see more materials distributed to the unreached in Southeast Asia, please visit our Sponsor Us page and learn how you can join us in our mission.