SOUTH THAILAND – This month, Myanmar believers in South Thailand are hard at work. They are few in number compared to many churches, but their dedication to share the gospel story this season is unwavering. Three small churches, planted to reach factory workers, band together in December to share the Christmas story through music, drama, food and fellowship. This will be their third year to produce the outreach events.
They can only plan events on Sunday, because that’s when factories are closed. Many of the believers work 12-hour shifts six days a week and then work through the night as the Sunday events approach. They will feed and give small gifts to hundreds of people who attend the events, using a portion of their $9/day salaries that they have faithfully set aside for this effort.
Christian workers Randall and Liz Briggs* helped plant these three house churches and have watched them grow toward independence through the faithfulness of God and the dedication of the national partners. This year, the Briggses will be in the U.S. for Christmas and ask for prayers that God will provide for their friends during this time and open up more opportunities to share their faith.
“Christians are much more open to tell people about Jesus during Christmas. They will have a lot of opportunities to tell the biblical meaning of Christmas,” Randall said.
Liz explains that the Myanmar Buddhists do not have a strong history of music used for worship in their culture, but that they really enjoy hearing Christmas carols.
“People will come to these events because they love the music that the Christians sing. It’s a big draw. They will also go caroling during the season,” Liz said.
In addition to singing Christmas carols, the Myanmar Christians will perform a nativity drama and tell the Christmas story from the Bible. They also prepare and feed everyone who comes to the event and give them a small gift. The gifts and food also serve as a strong incentive for people to come. They recognize that this season, non-believers are often curious about Christmas and will come to an event to find out more.
“It’s really just 20 people putting on all these events,” Liz said. “They work so hard.”
Ko Lin* is a key national partner and leader of two of the churches. He became a believer when a Christian family helped rescue him from human trafficking. Today he is actively growing in his faith and in leadership. Randall disciples him weekly, along with two other church leaders, but is glad that Ko Lin is taking the step this year to lead the Christmas events without the Briggses’ help.
“We used [mission] gifts in the beginning to help support him to lead the churches full-time. But now the believers are giving to support his salary and the work of the church,” Randall said.
Will you join with Randall and Liz this month to pray for the evangelistic events in South Thailand? Pray specifically for the next event being held Sunday, Dec. 22.
– Praise God for the work that He is doing in Thailand.
– Ask God to sustain the believers through the long hours of preparation.
– Ask God to bring people who will come with open minds and hearts toward the Christmas story.
– Ask God to continue the growth of the Myanmar churches and that more will be drawn to leadership.
Written by Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.