Prisoners Find Freedom in Christ

Kathy Sappia, serving in Thailand with TEAM Isaan

former-prisoners-evangelizeFive years ago when TEAM Isaan, an Alliance church-planting initiative northeast Thailand, launched a prayer movement to reach the Isaan people, there were virtually no known believers in the region. Today, there are more than 60 followers of Jesus among this previously unreached group.


A major breakthrough came when Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) began transmitting Christian messages where TEAM Isaan ministered. Team members began working with FEBC to reach contacts who had written to the station, some of whom were prisoners.

In answer to prayer, we began regular meetings in three regional prisons. Since November 2007, a total of 54 prisoners received Christ, and several church groups were started. The believers who have been released are proclaiming Him outside the prison walls.

New Lives for Old

After they received Jesus in prison, Montri and EQ were released. They returned to their home villages and sought reconciliation with their families and friends.

Previously, Montri had been known as one to give orders instead of helping in the fields. But this past harvest season, he worked alongside his family, which allowed them to see that he has truly changed.

EQ has also been displaying a changed life, which has his entire village talking. He was once known as a lazy womanizer and troublemaker. But since his release from prison, he hasn’t shown any of the old tendencies.

Shoes of Readiness

Many in EQ’s village noticed the change in him. When he and Montri asked if anyone was interested in hearing the reason behind their changed lives, 15 people agreed to meet weekly with the men to hear the story of God. Some were parents who were seeking answers on how to help their children change for the better like EQ.

After presenting God’s plan of salvation and sharing their testimonies with the villagers, the men challenged the group to consider whether they too wanted to receive Jesus as Savior. The following week, the two returned to ask the men and women to make a decision.

All nine who were in attendance said they were eagerly awaiting the chance to say yes. Montri asked them why they chose to believe. They responded by stating that they understand they are sinners and that Jesus is the only one who can save them from their sins.

These nine new believers continue to meet with Montri and EQ to study God’s Word and to worship Him as a family in Christ. Some of the original 15 members of the group have moved south to find work, but they showed sincere interest in learning more and remain in contact with Montri and EQ.

Recently, two more people received the Lord in a women’s group at one of the prisons. We have seen such growth and hunger in all of the women. One had been invited by Yan, the quietest woman in our group. Yan said she has put on her “shoes of readiness to share the gospel” and is boldly sharing what God has done in her life.

It’s exciting to see the joy of the Lord literally overflowing from these women and touching the lives of those around them!

Thank you so much for partnering with us. It is through your faithful prayers and giving to Alliance Great Commission Ministries that we can minister among the Isaan people.

What You Can Do

Praise God for those who received Christ through the ministry of TEAM Isaan. Pray that God will raise up other Christian leaders through those coming to Christ both inside and outside the prisons.

Donate to Alliance Great Commission Ministries. In doing so, you help to sustain dedicated field workers like those who minister among the Isaan people.

Visit TEAM Isaan’s Web site for more information and stories about its ministry.

Read an article about TEAM Isaan in the July 2008 issue of alife.


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