by Apple, Chaplain of the Little Candles Methodist School in Phrao, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
I am the eighth and youngest child from a family of another faith. My mother used to take me to a temple to earn merit and pay respect. However, I remember I had many questions about why we must pay respect to statues. Some images were made of wood, and some cement. In my heart, I thought idols do not have life; they were made by human hands. How could this be faith at all! I never believed that those statues could help us but as a child, I dared not question my mother. I just thought that there must be a God somewhere not limited by human skill.
At the age of 12, I went to live with my sister in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province at the South of Thailand. One day, I sensed a fragrant aroma of flowers, and wanted to know what flower it was. So, I followed the scent to the back of a forest, and found some white needle flowers. They were ‘Siamese White Ixora’. As I picked them up and was turning back to go home, standing nearby was a king cobra ready to strike. Even when standing, the snake was as tall as me. Shocked, my mouth uttered, "God save me." To my surprise, the snake backed down and went away. I asked myself, “This unknown god could scare a snake away. Who is this God so I can call on him?” I thought I would seek that god.
It was in 2001 when I had the opportunity to meet Daniel, a missionary from Australia who had come to teach English at Rangsit Methodist Church. I went to the church to join the programme, and became friends with Daniel until the time he had to return to Australia. He gave me a Thai-English version of the Bible to practise reading and to understand the story of Jesus. At that time, I rejected the message in my heart. I was only interested to study English and I was not thinking of changing religion. Although I did take the teachings of the Bible into consideration, I continued to seek the Lord in a non-Christian way - by observing meditation and going to the temple to make merit. No matter what I did, I still felt empty and could not find peace in my heart.
However, I kept in contact with Daniel via email. When he returned to Thailand, he brought a mission team with him. I had a chance to share a few meals with the team. Every time we ate together, this question always arose in my mind: “Why do Christians always seem so happy?” I wanted to be happy like them too.
So, in October 2004, I decided to return to Rangsit Methodist Church. And that Sunday, I found peace while worshipping. Everyone was singing but I cried. It felt like I had left home long time ago and now returned to a family that had loved me for so long. While crying, it felt like Jesus was touching my shoulder, saying, "My child, it’s time to come back home now." I felt peace and happiness, and decided to tell the pastor to pray for me. I accepted Jesus that day.
Two months later, while preparing to go to church, I thought about the Bible that Daniel once gave me. I felt sad because I wanted to read it, but I was certain I had thrown it away already. However, God told my heart, "I’ve kept the Bible for you." I wondered how this could be possible. For three years, I had not seen that Bible. But the voice of the Lord told me to look outside. There was a portion of the roof that was slightly protruding over an area, and there was the Bible lying on the ground! I was indeed very surprised. Every year, there was flooding to our knees because my village was at a low area. Three years of rain and shine had passed but the Bible was there mostly undamaged. What a miracle!
I was so touched by the experience of how God had kept that Bible for me that I decided to place my faith in Christ, and committed my life to following and serving Him. I left my full-time work to study at a Bible college. And subsequently, I found an administrative job at the Rangsit Methodist Church where I could serve God. Eventually in 2016, the Lord led me to Phrao to help Pastor Daniel start the Little Candles Methodist Church.
Because of my experiences, I am always reminded of Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
God has filled my empty heart and given me a life of meaning. Thank you God that now I have found You.
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