A Favorable Status

As I was handing back our condo keys to the owner, I was explaining more
about why we were moving. I explained that Andy’s job responsibilities had
changed. Our land lady then asked me a baffling question, as she knows we
are missionaries. “What do missionaries primarily do? Do you mainly teach
English?”

Hearing this froze me for a second. One main way that missionaries have been
reaching people for Christ in Thailand is teaching English. Not only is it a
great open door for relationship, it also meets a felt need in the
community. I’ve taught English as a missionary here. Was it ever my primary
focus? No. My focus was talking about Jesus with people (just another way to
say evangelism) and discipleship, all while teaching English.

Missionaries have been trying to reach the Thai people for over 200 years,
and it is still at less than 1 percent Christian. Even with such a small
percentage of Christians, Thais in general like Christians. They see the
hospitals they have opened, schools they run, English centers, and they know
Christians are good people.

But something isn’t working. Favorable status isn’t winning people’s hearts
to turn to God. Don’t get me wrong, people are coming to Christ, hearts are
turning, but slowly. There are a plentitude of reasons why the Thai people
aren’t Christians, and this isn’t one of the top reasons. But I’m beginning
to think that missionaries might need to change their approach. Not make
Christianity disliked by the Thais, but be more direct about what they/ we
are doing.

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