In Thailand Buddhism and the worship of spirits is evident in daily life. Every building has a shrine and the local shrine shop is never far away. In the midst of these traditions, today’s story shows how a life course was changed by Jesus.
My name is Amnart, I am 48 years old and married to Ponsri. I was born into a poor Thai family in a rural area of Krabi Province.
My father died when my mother was three months pregnant. As a child I lived with my grandparents who sold vegetables for a living. My grandparents had enough education to teach me to read and write without needing to go to nursery. My grandparents were very staunch Buddhists, they went to the temple every day and took me with them. My grandfather was an official at the temple near our home. Every night before going to bed and early every morning he would lead me in chanting Buddhist prayers.
When I moved to Phuket for further education I did not go to the temple often, however, I never forgot to say the prayers that I had been taught. When I was in high school aged 13, my teacher and grandmother advised me to become a monk during the long summer break. After three months studying Buddhism in the temple I passed an exam on the teachings of Buddha. At that time, I really loved life in the temple and did not want to return to school at the beginning of term. The chief monk in Phuket saw that I had advanced in Buddhism and he wanted me to dedicate my life to Buddhism. However, in the end, I decided to return to school. My time in the temple taught me to depend on myself and to keep to the middle path of Buddhism.
I first became interested in the Lord Jesus through the life of a friend. We had been at high school together and at that time I was a very well-behaved person, but he was quite wild. When we met again I was amazed at the change in his life. He seemed to be a different person altogether, able to pass exams with ease and respected by both students and teachers. I learned later that he had been a Christian for one year. Every day during the school break he led a cell group that sang Christian hymns and read the Bible together. There were three or four other Christians in the college. I was amazed at the way his life had changed and I became interested. It was the first time I had met someone who was better than me. I thought I was good because I said prayers and went to the temple, I did not drink alcohol, smoke or go in for sex like others. I asked my friend, ‘How did you manage to change your life around?’ He answered, ‘I believed in Jesus’. I further asked ‘Who is this Jesus who can change your life? If I want to have a life like yours, what must I do?’
At that time, I started to join the cell group at college. I had many other questions about God, because as a Buddhist monk I had been taught many things which opposed what I was hearing. The answers which my friend gave to me caused me to ask many more questions. In the end my friend took me to church in Phuket. I went to all the meetings for about nine months and I began to admire Jesus who loved people and died for their sins. However, I did not believe that Jesus was the creator.
I first became interested in the Lord Jesus through the life of a friend
I cannot remember who preached at the church on Genesis 1:1 ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ That night, I heard a voice speaking in my heart and it made me believe that Jesus is God, the creator of everything. This answered my questions and made me believe that I was a sinner and Jesus is God who made everything, including me. I went home with peace in my heart and before going to sleep I confessed my sin to the Lord. Shortly after I trusted in the in the Lord I was baptised.
- for Thailand, that is blighted by sex-trafficking and the drug trade
- for the gospel to reach people held captive by animism and the occult
- for rural churches in the mountain regions as they reach out to their neighbours with the good news.