Burdened for unreached peoples in northern Thailand, they developed a vision to plant churches throughout mountain villages. They identified a village near the northern border as a strategic location and partnered with two local believers living there.
Their plan faced challenges from the beginning. When COVID-19 cases rose, the village closed its doors to outsiders. Undaunted, Tim and Laura began sending relief supplies to the village for their national partners to distribute, laying a foundation of trust.
When Tim gained approval to reenter the village, he found the small group of believers disheartened. The local Buddhist and animist leaders had forbidden Christians to worship in the village. The Christians were afraid to meet in their homes for Bible study, lest they provoke the elders.
Tim suggested they continue to engage the village through community development. “Our command to love and serve others is not limited to those who agree with what we believe, or to those who will allow us to study the Bible,” he explained. “We are to show love and care to all our neighbors. Then we pray for opportunities.”
But access closed again when their national partners moved to another country to pursue better employment.
Discouraged, Tim and Laura turned their focus to other villages. Several months later, they met Pastor Amity, a Thai pastor requesting assistance. They climbed into their truck early one Sunday morning to meet with him but soon discovered they were not headed to his church—their destination was the village near the border. Pastor Amity and several of his church members had begun leading worship services there each month.
The people in the village belong to the Lao and Hmong ethnic groups. Because Pastor Amity and his team are also Hmong, they were able to gain access to the village and lead the service in the Hmong language. They asked Tim and Laura to partner with them in engaging the local people.
Through their perseverance, the relationship with the village strengthened. When the team met with the village leader to ask permission to hold a Christmas celebration, he not only granted approval but asked the schools to close early that day. Over 400 people came to the event and heard the gospel message.
“That evening I came to the realization that the ministry here is not mine,” Tim reflected. “God is writing his story and I am invited to be a part of it. I cannot believe I get to do that.”
Editor’s Note: Pastor Amity’s name has been changed for security.