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Tuning in to Christ

   
 
   

October 10, 2008
-Deborah Froese

Borabu, Thailand — Sontee* is facing expulsion from his village because of his Christian faith. But it wasn’t always like this.

Rad and Pat Houmphan, Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in Borabu, Thailand, recently met Sontee. With his wife and six children, Sontee lives in a Southeast Asian country that has no religious freedom.

His story began by accident 14 years ago, in 1994. Sontee was working in a village far from his home when by chance – or by the grace of God – he tuned in to a Christian radio station. He was intrigued by what he discovered there and over the next two years he listened to stories about God, Creation and Christ. What he learned compelled him to give up animism, the belief that all animate and inanimate objects have spirits, and turn to Jesus.

Sontee found peace and joy in his new faith – a stark contrast to the fear of evil spirits that surrounded him when he practiced animism. He found hope and comfort in the Christian teaching of eternal life, and in the notion of a God who loves and sustains his followers.

After some time, Sontee returned to his home village and eagerly shared his newfound faith with other villagers. In response to his passion for sharing the Good News, nine families accepted Christ into their lives. A small church was established and these new Christians gathered in their homes for worship and fellowship.

This year, however, Sontee’s faith in Christ has been challenged. Local government officials have threatened him, his family and the other Christians in his village. They have been ordered to give up their “Western” faith or they will be kicked out of the village, their children will not be able to go to school, and they will cease to receive any state benefits.

As a result of these threats, four families have rescinded their faith in Christ. However, Sontee says that despite of this, he will continue to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ and share the Good News with others. He is not afraid of persecution and death. “No one lives forever and if I die, I will go to a better place with Jesus.”

*“Sontee” is a pseudonym