by Sue Danneker
One of the blessings from serving in Thailand almost 25 years is getting to experience “more of the story”—how God works in marvelous ways in the lives of His people.
We first met Noi at the second church we helped plant in 2003. She was 18 years old and had already been in Bangkok for six years. She worked 10–16 hours a day in a sweat shop making silver jewelry.
At the invitation of one of the church’s teenagers, Noi attended the first Christmas outreach in December 2003. It was her first time to be in a church and to hear the gospel. She was the only one to raise her hand to ask Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. And she meant it.
I had the privilege of discipling Noi for one year. Her only day off was Sunday, and she took full advantage of it from early morning prayer meeting to Sunday school to worship to afternoon small group to discipleship with me in the evening. She grew and blossomed in her faith.
At that time, she still struggled reading the Thai language since she had only completed grade six.
Noi faced severe persecution from her family in the far northeast. She cried as they scolded her for being a part of this foreign group and forbade her to go to church. They were sure Noi was being deceived.
Noi made the difficult decision to disobey her parents and continue attending church. I remember comforting her that her family was not necessarily rejecting Jesus but were reacting to something they did not understand.
After one year, she moved to another part of Bangkok to live with an aunt. Her new job in a gold jewelry factory gave her weekends off and full benefits. She started working on her high school equivalency program. She also got actively involved in a church near her aunt’s home. Over the years our paths crossed occasionally at special events.
Then to my surprise, we got news in 2013 that Noi was a new teacher’s assistant at Mahachai Christian School.
We were living in Mahachai at the time and involved in our third church plant. When we met, she filled me in. She completed high school and was now almost finished with a college program to be a fully qualified teacher. She decided to leave her well-paying job at the gold factory and start at the Christian school with only a modest salary.
“But I am so happy,” she told me, “I can tell the children about Jesus every day. I love being a teacher.”
The other nice surprise is that Noi met her future husband at the school. He is a fine Christian man. We had the privilege of attending their wedding February 11, 2017. And I got to meet the family that 13 years ago wanted nothing to do with the Lord. Now they are very supportive of Noi and her faith. Several of Noi’s relatives have embraced Jesus as a result of her testimony.
Please ask God to continue to bless Noi and her new husband. Also pray that Noi will see her parents come to saving faith in Jesus as well.