Last Friday, July 15th, was my second full day in the office. I am going in to the office on Fridays now to begin work on recruiting volunteers for next year. We had a skeleton staff on hand, because the Acting Director of the Education Ministry was traveling with other members of the staff to various schools in Thailand. The day began with morning worship at 8:30 AM. We used the Thai language version of ‘The Upper Room’ devotional book in our morning worship. We opened this time of worship by singing a hymn in Thai. I am able to do this, because the hymns are old, familiar ones and, in the hymnal, the Thai words are separated to fit under the notes, making them much easier to read. (In normal Thai writing, any spaces indicate the end of a sentence or clause.) After singing a hymn, we read the scripture for the day’s devotional, with each person reading one verse of the passage. On this day, the story was from 2 Kings – the story of Elijah and the widow with the jar of oil that never failed. It was a big day for me, because on Friday, I read a verse of scripture in Thai in public for the first time. Kuhn Narate, a staff member and co-worker, helped me when I stumbled over words I did not know or could not pronounce. After reading the devotion and praying (and gathering on the porch of the building for a quick photograph), we returned to our offices to begin work.
Later in the morning, Kuhn Narate stopped by my office to share a story from his personal life. He had just discovered that Rev. Richard Bryant, a former missionary to Thailand, was my father. He said that he knew my father for he once attended a retreat at the Retreat Center where Dad helped train lay leaders in Petchburi, Thailand. While he was at this retreat, he said, he had a powerful and deeply personal encounter with God that opened his heart to God’s leading in his own life. The change in his life was so dramatic and moving that a group of ordained clergy laid hands on him to pray for him in his new walk with God. My father was one of those individuals. How amazing it is to discover that, among the thousands of Christians in Thailand, someone with a story of a deep, personal encounter with God that involving my father is working with me in this office! God is good… all the time!