As I write this on my iPhone laying on my hard-as-a-rock dorm bed I’m staring at my glow-in-the-dark wristband with the words “With-Him-We-Can 1 Million 2015″. The first words that come to mind are, “Not-In-This-Lifetime”. But that’s not quite right is it?
Just 24 hours into this four day conference our understanding of what God is doing through the church in Thailand has exploded. If that statement doesn’t surprise you maybe I should mention that when someone speaks at a discourse level (ie: preaching, presenting, etc.) in Thai we’re completely lost.
Fortunately there are English translators at this conference! We share a headset since there aren’t enough to go around but that means one ear is listening to Thai and the other ear is hearing a free translation with some humorous American commentary like, “I didn’t get that joke but he said he saw someone at church who didn’t know what to do at communion so he just looked at his neighbor and followed him!” After the teacher told the joke the crowd erupted in laughter. The translator just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t get it.”
Which brings me to my next point in this rambling post. Culture and language are two sides of the same coin. You can speak the language perfectly but if you don’t know what makes people laugh, cry, cringe, dance, pace, grimace, sing or smile you’ll never really “get” Thailand.
Here’s what we HAVE caught so far, however: the entire spectrum of Protestant church denominations in Thailand have come together for the purpose of encouragement and challenge toward the goal of seeing 600,000 Thais come to Christ in four years. If the goal is achieved there would be 1 million believers in Thailand by 2015.
Without supernatural help reaching Thailand or just reaching proficiency in the Thai language and culture would be impossible. Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone. The people we’ve met at this conference are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are our coworkers, teachers, friends and mentors as we begin to see God’s plan for the Thai church and how we can help. Plus we have all of you back home cheering for us and encouraging us. Thank-you for coming on this journey with us.