More Than Happiness

Ploy is a young lady from Thailand.

Raised in a loving and happy family, she studied in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, for a BA. After encouragement from parents she moved to London to study for her Masters, and from there onto Glasgow for her PhD. She struggled being away from family for so long. Thailand, at times, seemed so distant.

After a year of studying in Glasgow Ploy’s Thai friend invited her to an English class at his church. She had heard that people at church are very friendly and, being free that evening, she decided to go. She wanted to improve her English skills. People at the English class were welcoming and friendly, so Ploy decided that she would attend church on Sundays and a weekly International Bible study. Ploy wondered, though, why people were so nice – was it just because they wanted her to become a Christian? She had no intention of changing her faith.

During Bible study one evening a question was asked ‘What is your purpose in life?’ Ploy’s answer was ‘happiness’, but her Christian friends answered – ‘to live for God.’ Ploy began to seek answers. ‘Does God really exist?’ ‘Does God make life better?’ The next day, at church, through the preaching of the Word, both questions were answered. Ploy’s interest grew and so did her attendance at church, Bible study and the Thai Fellowship meetings. At that point in her understanding Ploy began to see that her Christian friends received good things, unconditionally, from God and that is why they liked to do good and share with others. This was so different from the faith that she and her family followed. At first she couldn’t see why she needed to be a Christian; she was already a good person. But God continued to work in her heart and after two years of searching she came to faith in Jesus. Ploy says, ‘as I look back I see God’s fingerprints all over my life’s journey.’

Ploy was soon taking a leading role at the Thai Fellowship meetings and also at the annual Thai camp in the UK. Her joy in the Lord was very evident. Ploy completed her PhD and soon it was time to return to Thailand. She was returning as a Christian and that would be so different.

Ploy started to prepare to return home by praying with her spiritual leaders for God’s guidance and preparation. This brought her peace. She was very aware that it would not be easy, but she also had the confidence that God would always be with her. She was so thankful for all those who prayed alongside her knowing that she was going back with a new faith. She knew that she needed real wisdom in how she shared her faith with family and friends. She also started praying, several months prior to her return, that God would take her to the ‘right’ church. She wanted to be in a church where she could serve God alongside others with the same passion.

When she got back to Thailand she was really thankful to meet others who had also studied abroad and had returned home. God led her to a church where she is now very involved in ministry to women. A recent motto of that ministry is ‘Let’s pray for each other to run the good race for him, together.’

In her position as a university lecturer she was able to recently attend the first ever Thai Christian Academic Network gathering. Along with this milestone, she has just begun a returnee group so that they can help each other to settle back into Thailand. This is a wonderful avenue in caring for returnees.

Let’s pray for each other to run the good race for him, together.

Pray

Please pray for Ploy and many others who study in the West, meet with Jesus, come to know him and return to be witnesses for him in their home contexts. Returnees face many struggles but as Ploy says quoting 2 Timothy 1:12b. NLT: ‘I know the one in whom I trust and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.’

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