Feature

Paying It Forward

From receiving to sending

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“If I get drunk and someone hits me on the head, then I will become a Christian,” the man said to Alliance missionary Dick Johnston.

Johnston was serving in a village in Sisaket Province in northeast Thailand, where he had explained the gospel to a boy named Ekarin. Ekarin’s grandfather, a notorious drunk, had a terrible temper. The villagers were afraid to confront him about his drinking, so they asked Johnston to talk to him. The man was anti-Christian and did not want to listen, but Johnston continued to share the gospel with him.

Finally, Ekarin’s grandfather gave his ultimatum, believing it would never happen because no one was brave enough to hit him when he was drunk. But God had a plan. When the grandfather got drunk again, someone hit him on the head! He repented and became a Christian; his life was totally transformed. Ekarin’s grandfather was the first Christian in his family, and he became the pastor of the first Alliance church in the village.

Ekarin’s grandmother also became a Christian, and then other family members, including Ekarin, came to faith in Christ. When Ekarin was in tenth grade he heard a sermon preached by Beth Limare, a missionary sent by the C&MA churches of the Philippines. When she gave a call to serve God, Ekarin dedicated his life to spreading the gospel. After high school he studied at Bangkok Bible College and Seminary. In 1993 he became a pastor at a C&MA church in Bangkok.

Roland Lumawag, another missionary from the Philippines, works with the Thai church and The Alliance World Fellowship to reach out to Thai laborers in the Asia/Pacific Region. In 2003 Lumawag led a short-term missions trip to evangelize factory workers in Taiwan. Ekarin was part of the team and began to pray with his wife, Chonlada, about becoming missionaries.

In November 2006 the Gospel Church of Thailand (the C&MA national church) sent Ekarin and Chonlada to Taiwan. At the service of consecration commissioning them as the first missionaries sent out by the national church, it was announced that enough money had been raised to support them for their first year.

Ekarin thanks God for the Alliance missionaries who brought the gospel to his village and his family. Missionaries have been in Thailand for almost 200 years, although the C&MA first entered the country in 1929. In his farewell address, Ekarin said that it was time for Thai church members to pay back the debt they have to missions. Ekarin’s life and spiritual development were impacted by Alliance missionaries: Dick Johnston, who first told Ekarin’s family about Jesus; Beth Limare, who challenged him to serve God fully; and Roland Lumawag, who opened his eyes to the need of the Thai working overseas.

Ekarin and Chonlada have responded to the challenge to reach the world for Christ, and the Thai church is proud to take its place in missions from the northeast of Thailand to the ends of the earth. The debt to missions keeps on being paid forward.

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