At Charis Bible College (CBC) foreign mission trips are viewed as a valuable part of the student's training. The student's primary focus during their second year trip is on sharing the almost-to-good-to-be-true news of the Gospel with as many people as possible during their weeklong stay on foreign soil. Every effort is made to reach those in need of receiving Jesus as their Savior. Students attempt to share the Gospel through a variety of ways, holding tent meetings complete with worship, preaching and prayer, as well as through street ministry, by performing skits, and canvassing neighborhoods. While many CBC teams have been given the opportunity to minister in foreign lands, it is a rare occasion that a team has the opportunity to go to areas that have never before heard of Jesus Christ. This year was an exception as students visited small villages in Thailand.
CBC graduate, Jeff DeVine, full-time missionary to Thailand, hosted nine CBC students in May 2010. The student team was the first from CBC to visit the region. Thailand is a primarily Buddhist country, peppered with temples and religious idols, where the people are preoccupied with superstition and fear.
Not only was the team the first from CBC to visit Thailand, but they were also the first to share the Good News in a village called Bon Kamuang. It was a great honor for the students to minister the Word of God to the Bon Kamuang villagers for three nights. Each night, more than two-hundred people attended the meetings, received a free meal, enjoyed praise and worship music and heard the Gospel.
One night, after performing a skit illustrating how Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed, the team members explained that the story was true, and that Jesus is still healing today. The students also explained that the villagers could read more about Jesus for themselves in the Bible. Many Thai people received the truth from the skit, and when prayed for were instantly healed. Deaf ears were opened and pain in people’s bodies left. More than two-hundred bibles were distributed to villagers who wanted to know more about Jesus. CBC students were overwhelmed by the receptive hearts of the Thai people.
During the last night of ministry, rain threatened to end the meeting early. Not to be shaken, the praise and worship leader encouraged everyone to agree in prayer that the rain would stop. As they joined in agreement and praised the Lord, the rain did stop and the meeting continued. Praise God!
The missionaries recognized a distinct shyness in the Thai people, noting that they were reluctant to make eye contact and were not very affectionate. By the third day however, it seemed as if a barrier had been broken, as the people began giving and receiving warm embraces; a sure sign of changed hearts.
Apprentices and mission trip leaders, Alex and Julie Palomares noted that each of the students were very willing to put in extra time and effort to perform the skits with excellence. The fruit of the extra time and effort became obvious as the Thai people received the message. Three salvations and twenty-five instantaneous healings were reported as a result of the CBC student’s ministry efforts.
The work begun in the small village continues, as a pastor of a church from a nearby town goes back to Bon Kamuang each Sunday afternoon to teach and disciple those who are interested. He has reported that an average of 15-20 adults and many children regularly attend his meetings.
The organization of the trip details and Jeff's infectious enthusiasm for the Thai people was appreciated by the entire CBC team. To learn more about Jeff’s ministry in Thailand visit, Jeff DeVine Ministries.