As Christians living in a postmodern society, where we grapple increasingly with the unique evangelistic challenges that have developed in our secular culture, it can be natural to read the stories in the Bible about idolatry or about people worshipping graven images and to think it an archaic practice. Not that we aren't idolatrous ourselves... but it can be difficult to imagine that right now, today, people in other places are still bowing before statues and worshipping false gods.
While we were on our survey trip to Thailand in 2015, it was a new and gut-wrenching experience to watch people literally bow before graven images. I remember this passage from Acts 17 coming often to mind as we walked around cities and various temple grounds. You can almost imagine Paul addressing Thailand with these same words that he spoke to the people of Athens:
"I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: 'To the unknown god.'
"What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us...
"Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.
"The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent." (Paul addressing Athens in Acts 17:22-30)
Here in South Carolina, there are churches on every corner. We have easy accessibility to Bibles in dozens of English translations and in every color imaginable. Praise God! In Isaan, with their population of 22 million people, there are less than 2 believers for every thousand people. The churches are few, and they are small. And there is no access to God's Word in their regional heart language.
"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Romans 10:14)
The desire to see God worshiped as Lord in Isaan compels us to go and preach the Good News to those who have never heard. He is worthy of that glory, and those people deserve to hear the Gospel of the King.
We are getting so close to being able to make our deployment plans! Currently, our monthly partnership is at 82%, and we can begin the process of purchasing plane tickets and acquiring our visas when we reach 90%! We are so amazed by the Lord's provision and grateful for those who have answered His call and have made sacrifices in order to partner with us in this mission!
These 14 people represent our remaining need. Please ask the Lord if He might be calling you to fill one of these spots and send us to share the Good News with the people of Isaan:
"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21) Much love from the Englands