In a country that’s about 95 percent Buddhist, it’s not always easy to be a Christian. But since 2004, the Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (TCLC) has been making inroads in shining the Light of Christ among their Buddhist neighbors.
Fewer than 600 of Thailand’s 69 million people belong to the TCLC’s eight congregations and four preaching stations.
Nearly all their members are first-generation Christians. Representatives were glad to gather at the TCLC’s recent 15th anniversary celebration for fellowship, review of their constitution and Bible study.
“I thank God that we have peace and good teaching among our churches,” said Rev. Ted NaThalang, LHF’s coordinator for Southeast Asian projects, who was also elected TCLC chairman (president).
That good teaching has come in part from LHF books, which have been essential for introducing Buddhists to the love of Christ.
“LHF’s books have been important in helping the TCLC to grow because we’ve learned to know Lutheran teachings and God’s Word,” said Rev. Niran Temsakun, who with Rev. NaThalang was one of the TCLC’s first pastors. “We use evangelism to help people of all ages to know Christ. The Bible storybooks show Jesus’ love to children and teenagers, and lets them know that Jesus will never fail in their lives. Every life is valuable in His hands.”
One of the main topics of study at the anniversary celebration was forgiveness.
“Forgiving others is a hard teaching for Buddhists, because in Buddhism, if a person isn’t sorry, you don’t forgive them,” explained Rev. NaThalang. “But we went to the Scriptures to see how Christ, when he was on the cross, asked His Father to forgive his persecutors.
“We concluded that Christians have the privilege of receiving God’s love, which is how we forgive others. We, ourselves, could never forgive or love our enemies. But because of what Christ has done for us, He’s given us the power to forgive and love other people.”
Even though there are fewer than 600 TCLC members, LHF has printed literally thousands of catechisms, Bible storybooks, and parts of the Book of Concord there.
Where have they gone?
“LHF books are used by non-Lutherans!” exclaimed Rev. NaThalang. “They’re used by seminaries – even Catholic ones – where they give our
books to their graduates. They’re not yet Lutheran, but they see that the books are Scriptural and they like that. I think Martin Luther would like that, too.”
Only with your help can this important work continue. Prayerfully consider how you can help support LHF projects.