A Christian in Thailand

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A Christian in Thailand

I had been wanting to go to Thailand since forever! I can remember as a child, it seemed as if every product, toy or candy was labeled, made in Thailand. I envisioned a tropical island with colorful flowers, sandy beaches, and people lounging on hammocks all day, sipping fruity drinks out of coconuts. Thailand…it sounded so exotic! And, it was very fascinating to me that these products came all the way from across the world to my local stores.  

Thai coconut ice cream

             

Fast forward to now as an adult. Because of the foodie in me, and a penchant to try foods from different countries, I was reacquainted with Thailand. The first Thai dish I tried is still my favorite: Pad Thai! It was love at first bite!  Moreover, Thailand has become quite the popular tourist destination in recent years. Many of my friends have made the trek some 8,000 miles or so across the world, and they’ve all come back telling me how fun, lively and exciting it was! Not to mention all the shopping they’d done and all the great deals they found at rocket bottom prices! It’s settled, I’m going one day, I quipped! 

A few years later, the time, or shall I say times came, but both trips fell through. Quite disappointed, I thought Ok, am I ever going to get to go to Thailand. While complaining to God over the mishaps, a thought came to me, did you ask God should you go. What? Ask God? As a Christian, it didn’t even dawn on me to ask God should I take a trip. I’m so used to taking off and running when I make a decision about something, without first ensuring if it is God’s will. I was then reminded of the Buddhist culture there and the many temples and idol worship in Thailand.

God has taught me over the years, that there are different hierarchies of spirits reigning over different regions of the world. If you pay close attention you will notice that different cities, states, countries have strongholds presiding over it. Whether it’s terrorist groups, abject poverty, violence, drug smuggling etc. I believe that behind the scenes of these problems are demonic entities. I have discerned many different spirits at work over many places I have traveled. And, some places the spiritual warfare was so heavy, I was very uncomfortable and miserable the whole time I was there and it required deep prayer! 
Beloved, no two Christian walks are the same. I had a Christian friend who went to Thailand, and like others, she came back with nothing but rave reviews! That made me even more excited to go! Well, another opportunity came last month for me to make the voyage. So I began to pray over my Thailand trip and asked God for direction, protection and guidance. After enduring 21 plus hour flights, I was finally on Thai soil! We were met at the airport with warm greetings and welcoming smiles. The Thai people are very hospitable, and only in Thailand am I regarded a Ma-damme! Ha! We arrived at our hotel in Sukhumvit, downtown Bangkok close to midnight. Exhausted and in search of food, the streets were alive and full of action. There were so many people out and about in the wee hours of the morning, it reminded me of Times Square in New York City! There was an excess of bars, clubs, restaurants, and to my surprise, street food vendors. Needless to say I had my first sampling of authentic Thai food, and I was not disappointed!  

 


Upon taking the MRT metro train back that night to the area we were staying in, I wondered had we taken a wrong turn, or went down the wrong street. There seemed to be prostitutes on every corner, including a plethora of transgender sex workers, genitalia statues, T-shirts, key rings, and magnets. There were legalized (or so I was told) sexual enhancement pills sold by street vendors, condoms and, sex toys were openly displayed on vendors’ tables…What?! Either I was too hungry or too tired the night before when we arrived, and didn’t notice this. My whole time in Thailand, this was synonymous everywhere we went. As I continued walking down the crowded street, I felt a hand straddle the small of my back and backside, you’ve got to be kidding me! I turned around and yelled! It was a septuagenarian Westerner claiming to be shielding me from getting bumped into! Yea right! He profusely apologized. 

Which segue’s me into the ubiquity of the many older Caucasian men with very young looking Thai women. There was one couple checking into a hotel, and the girl looked like she was no more than 14-years-old! My heart wept. The culture shock had finally hit me! I did not expect to see an explosion of this type of activity in the central part of Bangkok, but in the more infamous Nana Red Light District, which I’ve  heard so much about. 
That night at the hotel, I just couldn’t stop thinking about what I had seen. It made me realize how blessed I am to be born in a country with a flourishing economy, where a woman has many opportunities to provide for herself and her family in a way that does not demoralize, demean, or devalue her. 
The next few days consisted of touring the country. One of our stops along the way was in Damneon Saduak in Ratchaburi province. We stopped by the elephant riding, Chang Puak camp.  

 Beloved, I have watched many videos and have read about how these elephants are taken away from its families at a very young age in order to be trained to entertain tourists. The training is conducted by the elephants being savagely beaten with bullhooks on the forehead, limbs, and shoulders, and being chained up by themselves for hours at a time for the luxury of tourists wanting pictures riding on them. This cruel and inhumane treatment causes the animals physical ailments, and some literally go crazy.  

Chang Puak Camp

I do not condone animal cruelty, so I choose to feed it instead of ride on it. Later, on a boat ride through the floating market we stopped at a temple. As a Christian, I could not assign myself to go inside the temple, so I admired its history and architecture from afar. At the trip’s end, my friend’s and I discussed the aforementioned, and we all agreed that some of it was a bit unsettling.  

In summation, there was a reason my first two trips didn’t pan out. I thought I was going to Thailand to have fun and share good times with friends. But God had a different plan. He had to prepare me for what I was about to experience. As a person on a spiritual journey, how often do I forget that God direct’s my path for His will. God allowed me to see through the eyes of the spirit, as opposed to eyes of the flesh. I realized that’s why my trip was so different from the people who had gone to Thailand before me. And, I am most thankful for that! It brings me from a place of subjection to objection, from selfishness, to selflessness. To be open to the concerns of our brothers and sisters globally. There are strongholds over this beautiful country that need to be broken: fishing slavery business, idol worship, mammon, child sex trafficking and the remanent of the sex trade, birthed by American soldiers during World War II, that grew exponentially during the Vietnam war; and sadly, remains perpetuated by Westerners to this day. 

In contrast, I love the genuine and sincere hospitality of the people of Thailand. However, like any other city or country there are a few people who may try to take advantage of you. More, I love the architecture, the shopping; spending wisely, you can get more bang for your buck in Thailand! I love the exotic foods and desserts, and being able to have access to organic, locally grown fresh fruits and veggies! You can literally taste the freshness in each bite!     

  
According to Operation World’s (A Global evangelical organization) statistical data, the percentage of Christians in Thailand is 1.10%. That is a very low number. Beloved, the laborers are few but the harvest is plenty. Luke 10:2

There is a spiritual need in Thailand. You may be asking, “what can I do?” Pray! What I love about prayer is that it reaches the far ends of the world without you ever having to leave the comforts of your home! Won’t you join me? In your prayer time please remember to pray for Thailand. Please pray that God sends the laborers. 

-Puja Nagual
 
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