We boarded three vans from the Alliance Center in Bangkok to attend the Sunday morning worship service at the Muang Thai Church in downtown, just a few minutes away. This would be our first exposure to Thai Christian worship in a church of approximately 50 members. This congregation was started by a converted Buddhist Christian, Dr. Nantachai Mejudhon. Upon approaching the sanctuary entry, we could hear the praise band warming up for the service.
Upon entering the sanctuary, we met Vara Mejudhon (aka, Pastor “Life”), the son of Dr. Nantachai Mejudhon and Senior Pastor of the Muang Thai Church. Life’s English was perfect, having spent time in the US and attended seminary in Kentucky. He immediately made us feel at home as he helped us set up for our final rehearsal prior to the service. It was during this rehearsal time that we first heard the guest vocal artist, Peur, who was the runner up for Thailand’s version of the Voice and a recently converted Christian. He sang “Total Praise”, a traditional gospel song, with our High School Youth choir. Even in rehearsal, is was a powerful experience to hear him pour out his soul.
As the formal worship service started, the language spoken was mostly in Thai. Chris Barbee and Pastor Life led us in congregational singing. We sang three common hymns during the service, Amazing Grace, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and Be Thou My Vision, with two verses sung in English and one verse sung in Thai. As the power point screen changed from Thai words to English words during the singing of the hymns, I envisioned God pulling back the veil of the language barrier to say, “My word is universal for ALL that will hear it, no matter where they are or where they come from.” It was an impactful moment for me to ponder this realization that God’s love can shine through the darkest night and penetrate the darkest places of the world, and that the message of the Gospel can be made simple enough that even a child can understand it. The music that we shared in the service poured encouragement and hope over this small church. The Thai Christians worship so courageously in the midst of Buddhist temples and a non-Christian culture.
Following the worship, we were led in “Baptist” fashion to their outdoor Fellowship Center for an extravagant meal of freshly prepared Thai cuisine. We got to interact with Thai Christians, many of which shared their powerful testimonies with us. Over the course of the mission trip, we learned how many of the missionary and church leaders have left lucrative careers in Bangkok to work in the churches and teach English to students. God is truly working in this place