How does one exercise his will, under God, to reach the soul of another with the Gospel? How can Jesus Christ be manifested through us apart from the ever intervening “self”? These are some of the questions a Christian disciple faces every day.
My name is Alexander Totiensri; a recent graduate from Maryland Bible College and Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. I was first brought into the Greater Grace ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, through confrontational evangelism at a University I was attending.
Immediately drawn by the Body of Christ, I came to find, very quickly, that Christ was what I have been longing for my entire life.
Those first years I consistently received personal investment from a Greater Grace missionary named Michael Walsh and others from the church.
Through their love, their laid down lives and their commitment to righteousness in all facets I came to desire to be a man of God. This desire grew within me like a fire; undeniable and overwhelming.
With two semesters left in Bible School, Pastor Walsh asked me to consider ministering in Mae Sot, a city in which the Bangkok church had been investing through evangelism "blitzes" and short-term visits. Mae Sot is a district in Tak province, West of Thailand.
It neighbors Myawaddy, Burma. Given the inhumane living conditions in Burma, many of its people seek a life outside of their country; Mae Sot is one such place. On paper, about 120,000 people inhabit Mae Sot, with 100,000 of the population being Burmese.
The real number is more than double that figure, the addition being illegal Burmese immigrants.
The Burmese people here in Mae Sot are desperate for meaning and the truth. The harshness they face each day leaves them no room to live in a superficial bubble.
"On paper, about 120,000 people inhabit Mae Sot, with 100,000 of the population being Burmese. "
Over time, with encouragement from Pastor Walsh and confirmation through the Holy Spirit, I became convinced that Mae Sot was to become my second home when I returned to Thailand after my graduation from MBC&S.
"And Jesus, having come, spoke to them, saying, ‘There was given to me all authority in heaven and upon earth. Having gone on your way, therefore, teach all the nations, making them your pupils, baptizing them into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to be attending to carefully, holding firmly to, and observing all, whatever things I enjoined upon you. And behold, as for myself, with you I am all the days until the consummation of the age’."
- Matthew 28:18-20
The vision in Mae Sot is that which was given by Christ to His disciples after His resurrection. He had invested 3 years of teaching and example into their souls and He was sending them out to minister that investment to others.
All that Christ has personally invested in us; He desires to invest through us to others. In the same way He has related to us, He desires us in the same manner to relate to others.
"A commandment, a new one, I am giving you, that you should be constantly loving one another with a divine and self-sacrificial love; even as I loved you, you also be loving one another. In this all shall know that you are my disciples, as you constantly have love among one another." - John 13:34-35.
This, in short, is the vision: that the people in Mae Sot have a personal, intimate, flowing relationship with God through Christ; facilitated by the example of the laid-down lives of His followers (Galatians 2:20, 6:14).
"The vision: that the people in Mae Sot have a personal, intimate, flowing relationship with God"
Men and women are being drawn into the art of soul-winning - evangelizing those who do not know Jesus Christ. Follow-up with the Burmese people of Mae Sot can be challenging. The concept of planning is non-existent in the minds of the people so this makes their schedules unpredictable. Pray for us.
We have started a Bible School and "Discipleship" is the present course. We are now half way through the course. The many people who attend are a gift from God. They are learning how to function in their true identity as members of the Body of Christ in an evil and antagonistic world. Steven is our translator for the course.
He loves the life of a disciple of Jesus and being in Greater Grace Church. Every Wednesday evening we watch a live stream of the church service in Bangkok. We have rap sessions with the church afterwards via Skype.
Steven said, “I’ve never seen anything like this, I thought churches like this only existed in church history”.
Many men are being affected on different levels. Several are drawing near to the mission activities. About six men, including Steven, came soul winning last Sunday at a Burmese open-market in Mae Sot.
They had a blessed time and the people we were able to speak with requested that we return the following week. Steven is getting more and more excited about soul-winning as he sees people respond positively to the message of the gospel. As he puts his learning into action he has learned through experience the value of what he has been taught.
"There are several factories, full of Burmese workers, located within walking distance from us."
We are moving forward in planting a church and a Bible school in Mae Sot. I am convinced this is the place God wants us. There are several factories, full of Burmese workers, located within walking distance from us.
My hope is that, before the next semester begins, God would convict many of these new believers of their need for Jesus Christ and raise up many disciples who are desperate for the God’s Word.
A regular weekly church service and full-time Bible School will start as God brings the disciples. Please pray for Mae Sot, God's work here and me as we continue in the Great Commission in West Thailand.
More Burmese translators (outreach to factories and marketplaces).
Steven to receive a new foundation for his ministry.
Healing for several people, here.
God to bring in discipline for their lives and growth.