Heading to Thailand
In our fifteen years of marriage, Jenny and I have always had a particular heart for unreached people. While the last seven years have been devoted to church planting in Houston, the summer of 2017 brought a resurgence of urgency about how the Lord would use us to bring the gospel to unreached and unengaged people. We began seeking the Lord with our hearts open to what he might call us to. After several months of prayer and the affirmation of the church we planted, we have confidence that the Lord is calling us to rearrange our lives around the mission of seeing Jesus exalted, called upon, and believed in among the tens of millions of unreached people of Thailand. The Bible has inspired us to move our lives to Thailand so that we might have the most wonderful joy of shining the light of Christ in a very dark place, that we might serve God’s mission among the nations and see him worshiped among those who have not yet heard of him. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
According to the Joshua Project, 99.5% of Thai people claim to believe in something other than Jesus. In fact, it is well known among missionaries in Thailand that even among that half of a percent who claim to be Christian, many do not understand the true gospel, that salvation is a gift of God’s grace and can only be received through faith in Christ. This kind of extreme spiritual famine calls for an extreme response, so we want to put our feet on the ground there, pray for God’s power to work mightily, and serve God’s mission to see the light of Christ cast out the darkness of idolatry and demonic strongholds.
We hope to begin our life in Thailand in the summer of 2018. We will spend our first year in Chiang Mai, a city in the north of Thailand, where we will be learning the language and culture of our new home, establishing our lives for long-term mission, and building relationships with strategic partners. This first year will serve our larger goals in a critical way because we want to shine brightly in Thailand, not just living among them but speaking their language and demonstrating our commitment to their eternal good. While we are always aware that God can change our plans and redirect our steps, our larger goals beyond year one are to serve the mission of God in Thailand in three primary ways:
Our Mission: Disciple-Making, Church Planting, and Mercy Ministry
We believe that making disciples is the most powerful way to see people delivered from darkness to light, to see a nation healed, and to see God glorified in the world. As the power of the gospel grips a person’s heart, the Spirit fills him with passion to help others see the truth about Jesus. We hope to evangelize the lost and bring training and encouragement to Thai believers, to spur them on in obedience to Jesus’s command to go and make disciples. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19)
Without the planting of new churches, new disciples in new areas will be left without the local leadership and community they need to thrive and grow. Through our partnerships with Family Connection Foundation and the Acts 29 Network, we hope God will allow us to identify and train Thai church planters who can go into the harvest and labor for his glory. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.” (Luke 10:2)
We hope to demonstrate the love of Christ to Thai people by ministering to two of the most marginalized and abused groups of people in the world, orphans and victims of human trafficking, prominent tragedies in Thai culture. In his earthly ministry, Jesus always sought out the lowly and despised people of his society to bring them healing. His ministry was primarily about the spiritual healing that the gospel brings, but as he preached he also compassionately brought physical healing and comfort to afflicted people in order to demonstrate the mercy of God in a tangible way. It is very often the unexpected, lowly members of a culture that God chooses to shine most brightly through. What a magnificent and merciful God we serve! In the same way Jesus did, we hope these ministry efforts in partnership with the Family Connection Foundation will soften and open Thai hearts to receive the complete healing that is found through trusting in Jesus, then to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit to make their Healer known to their communities.
It would bless us greatly if you would join us in praying for these specific things:
1. Although we are actively taking steps towards going, all of these plans are currently hopes for the future. Please pray that God would send us and use us in his timing and with his power.
2. Please ask the Lord to provide financially for this mission. We view it as an investment in the glory of God among the nations, the most worthy and eternally impactful of all investments.
3. Please pray for our families and our church. We have given our lives to these people and they have given their lives to us. It will be hard to say goodbye…worth it, but very hard.
4. Please join with Psalm 67 in declaring to the Lord,
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
If the Lord puts it in your heart to partner with us in this mission by giving financially, we would receive your generosity with gratitude and joy. Please do consider becoming a prayer partner to support the work the Lord is doing in Thailand. You can give financially by using the link on this page. To become a prayer partner and get updates from our family, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the praise of God among all the peoples,
The Rowe Family