From One Divine Appointment to Another

By Paul Henry, Jun 5, 2018

In 2015 our family relocated from Bangkok, Thailand, to a new city in Southeast Asia with the hopes of seeing a church-planting movement begin. Many times I’ve had to fight off the despairing idea that this won’t happen and the nagging question, “Are we doing the right thing?”

It is during these dark hours that I am reminded of God’s goodness to us and His providence that have brought us to this city. God gently reminds me of the lives we are seeing changed by the gospel.

A providential landlady
It first happened when we were looking for a house to rent. We saw a house with a “for sale” sign in the window and called the owner, Tiaw, asking her if she would rent to us instead. She said yes, though she later told us that many other people had asked her if they could rent it and she had told them no—but she just felt like she needed to rent to us.

Fast forward two years. By God’s grace, Tiaw and her son are now Christians. The idols in her home are gone and her giant spirit house, a shrine to the “protective spirit” of a place, has been destroyed. Last year she and her son were baptized, and she’s excited about her faith and sharing it with others.

A divine appointment
Six months ago Tiaw was in the airport. A lady in front of her needed help with her luggage and Tiaw assisted by checking one of her bags for her. The two ladies ended up sitting close to one another on the plane and Tiaw was able to share the gospel with her.

On a second trip to the airport Tiaw ran into the same lady again! Not long after that, they began spending time together and Jume* started reading the Bible with Tiaw. Jume was amazed at the joy and peace Tiaw had.

An answered prayer
For some time Jume had been praying to someone—she didn’t know whom—and asking this “god” if he would reveal himself to her. She asked him if he would send someone to teach her about who he is, and if he would take away the “bad” people in her life and give her “good” people. The one true God answered that prayer when He put Tiaw and Jume next to each other in line at the airport, and brought Jume to us.

We are amazed at how God works. Jume prayed to receive Christ and celebrated her first Christmas ever as a Christian this past December. On Christmas night at our house, she cried because she was so thankful that God answered her prayer and brought “good” people into her life, and that He showed Himself to her.

Tiaw and Juke

An unexpected trial
One week after Christmas, Jume’s 17-year-old nephew, whom she helped raise, was murdered. Jume didn’t tell us the night it happened because she didn’t want to bother us. She didn’t know that as Christians, we are called to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who need comforting because we are family now.

When we found out two days later, Jume was at the temple where her nephew’s viewing was held. We immediately notified the people at our church plant, and within two hours every single Christian from the church went to see her at the temple, even though it was an hour away.

Everyone mourned with her. Jume got to experience love from her new family, which she had never experienced before. I was afraid that Jume would participate in the Buddhist ceremonies—or even renounce her new faith—but she did not. We got to pray with and for her at the temple, in full view of those around us.

Trusting His providence
I still don’t know exactly why God worked through Jume’s life in this way, but I have to trust in His providence and goodness. God has a plan for Jume and He loves her more than we ever could.

Today Jume continues to grow in the Lord. When times are difficult on the field (and they often are), I stop and recount the many ways in which God is at work. His gospel changes not only my heart, but all these people around us as well.

*Name has been changed.

Paul Henry serves with MTW in Southeast Asia. Interested in serving? Visit for opportunities.

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