I will lead the blind by ways they have not known…I will turn the darkness into light before them…. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.—Isaiah 42:16
AngSila is a small fishing village in Thailand, where Buddhism is dominant, temples and gold idols are widespread—and the young church is drawing believers. But as the numbers of believers grow, so does the persecution.
“God has an incredible hold on this village,” said MBMS International TREK participant Michelle Hood, who lived amidst the fishing community for seven months.
Michelle’s Thai teacher, Wow, is one example of the many believers who are enduring persecution – often from family members – because of their faith. Before Wow knew Christ, she had a hot temper, used bad language, and was involved in gang activity. But God transformed her life, and those around her were in awe of the change they saw.
To Wow’s mother, however, this didn’t matter. Even if Jesus did turn Wow’s life around, she wouldn’t have her daughter set foot in a church.
Wow stopped attending the Friendship Center (MBMSI church plant in AngSila) for two weeks, but couldn’t stay away. She had to worship, to be in God’s presence, and to have fellowship with other believers. Community members tried to convince Wow’s mother to let her go to church since it had made her different, but Wow’s mom would not concede. Though her mother abused her physically and verbally, Wow considered it a small price to pay, and resumed church attendance.
One evening, Wow was playing bass for the worship band when Michelle noticed she was no longer on stage. Her mother had come in with a large stick and demanded that Wow leave. Michelle and her teammate Jillian started interceding for Wow, praying that God would intervene and not allow any physical, emotional, or spiritual harm to come to her.
They later learned that despite her anger, Wow’s mother didn’t beat Wow that night.
“One person who holds fast to the truth can shake a nation!” Michelle said of Wow’s dedication to the Lord. Michelle witnessed many of her Thai friends endure persecution for their faith during the year she lived in AngSila, but the trials they encountered only stirred up a greater love and commitment to their Saviour.
Michelle’s time in Thailand left an impact on her life, changing her view of what “normal” is and challenging her to intercede for the unevangelized and persecuted around the world.