“How is church planting going?” I don’t particularly enjoy answering this question but I wish I did. With only about 3 months to go until our home assignment in the U.S., it is time to look back at our first full missionary term in Thailand and ask, “What has been accomplished? What do we have to show for ourselves as we head back home and meet with supporters?”
I wish I could tell you that new churches (or at least one new church) has been planted. Or maybe that a small group Bible study of some sort has started that we hope will grow into a church. Or at the very least, we’d like to report about some promising new believers who have come to faith while we’ve been here.
We know that in Thailand people are coming to faith, new small groups are starting, and churches are being planted. The statistics that came out for 2009 said that the number of Christians in Thailand is growing seven times faster than the biological growth rate of the country. That is great news. I just wish that we were seeing some of it in our neck of the woods.
We’ve tried a lot of different things but nothing seems to have taken off. Soon after we moved to Phrabaht, a house group was started up in the town of Nong Doan after a number of people there professed faith in Christ. Within a couple months, no one was coming anymore.
A newly elected church committee showed renew interest in church planting in Nong Doan and decided to go to Nong Doan every Saturday night for prayer and fellowship. It happened twice and then stopped.
I began taking PhraBaht church members on bi-weekly Sunday afternoon trips to Nong Doan to visit people and do on-the-job evangelism training. It started off well enough but after a few months, I had more excuses than volunteers and shelved the whole thing.
There have been good things that happened during our time in PhraBaht and we are continuing to share the Gospel, visit with people for evangelism & discipleship, teach children, preach, and pray. However, we don’t hold out any hope of seeing a new church planted in our area before we wrap up our time in PhraBaht.
With all the failures, one might be tempted to throw in the towel and go home. But the funny thing is, leaving the mission field has never crossed our mind. “And why not?” you may ask. Because the ultimate success of church planting in Thailand does not depend upon our efforts but the promise of God. Christ said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18). If Christ has said it will succeed, who are we to say it won’t?
So after our home assignment in the States this coming year, we’ll be back in Thailand to give it another go. God is at work in Thailand and we want to be a part of what He is doing here.
Thank you for your faithful support, prayers, and encouragement as we serve in Thailand.
by Christ’s grace,
Karl & Sun Dahlfred
- Discipling Thai Christians
- Evangelism in Nong Doan
- Growth of Thai church (both numbers and maturity
- The final month of kids club before we wrap it up
- Continued visitation and Bible teaching with Mr. Lek & Mr. Ting in Nong Doan
- New opportunities for evangelism
9/12 Karl preach at PhraBaht
9/19 Karl teach Sunday school at PhraBaht
9/26 Karl preach at Ayuthaya
10/1 Last day of kids club