10/01/2011: Center of Light for Thailand

Center of Light for Thailand

 

“It is not the capabilities you now possess or ever will have that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into the work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given you.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 146.

Steve and Lynette Rawlings with their children Elyssa and Micah.

Shortly after arriving in Thailand last November,

we began to pray that God would lead us to an English-speaking Thai person that was fully committed to spreading the gospel. Six months later, God put us in contact with Dr. Korravich Tangyudamrongkul, a dentist in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

We had decided to go to an Adventist church that only speaks Thai to see if our Thai language was improving. After the service, a Thai man approached us and began speaking beautiful English to us. We spent 45 minutes hearing his story and the many amazing things that God had done for him in the past. He then paused and asked us, “How long are you going to be in Thailand?” I quickly responded, “Until Jesus comes!” He was thrilled to meet a family that was willing to stay and help take the gospel to his people. He told us, “I have a building that you can use for your ministry. It is a large building and is available for a ministry to use however they would like for spreading the gospel in Thailand.” He continued, “I am too busy with other projects and don’t have anyone to manage it.”

He invited us to come and meet with an Australian builder and his team who had begun the building just a few weeks before we arrived in Thailand. They would be returning in a week to install the electrical wiring and fiber optics in his building. I was impressed to put together a proposal of our plans for the building and give it to Dr. Korravich before the Australians arrived. By the time we met the group, they had read our proposal and were very excited that God had sent a family to manage this building. They all considered it a miracle and can see God’s providential timing just as the building is soon to be completed.

 

Dr. Korravich and family.

Dr. Korravich told us the miraculous story of this property. He and his family had returned to Chiang Mai, his hometown, while he completed his Ph.D. He felt God had called him to work for the people of this area and for three years had been looking for a suitable location for a center which could include his dental practice and a building suitable for mission outreach. By the end of his studies, Dr. Korravich had not succeeded in finding such a property. The Mission Hospital in Bangkok was requesting his employment, and he was beginning to feel that God might be moving him away from his hometown. After much prayer, he and his wife Ning decided to drive to an area they had not searched before in a last attempt to find a property. They found a perfect vacant lot with a for-sale sign on it. A local street vendor told them the sign had been placed there one hour earlier. On inquiring, they found the property was one of several being auctioned by Siam Commercial Bank. They were also told that the Mayor wanted to buy that lot, and had offered 5,000,000 baht (approximately $162,000), well above Korravich’s budget of 3,000,000 baht ($97,000). He was told that the land must go to auction, and he was welcome to place a bid. On the day of the sale, Dr. Korravich placed his bid and waited until closing time to hear the results. The bank official, seeing that Dr. Korravich’s low bid was the winning bid, and the Mayor had not bid at all, endeavored to phone the Mayor and keep the auction open. Dr. Korravich protested the unfairness of this tactic, and grudgingly his bid was declared the winning bid. The Mayor had apparently forgotten to bid, and was later reported to be unhappy about his mistake.

But how did the building begin?

The story starts with Mark Mason, a builder living in Melbourne, Australia, and Dr. Korravich, a dentist in Chiang Mai, Thailand.Mark’s earlier troubled life in England led him to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a teenager. He suffered much hardship physically and mentally as a young man, but eventually found a relationship with Jesus which revolutionized his life, took away his pain, and brought him back to the Adventist Church. He now had a passion to bring others, particularly hurting people, to the Jesus he had found.

In February of 2010, Mark and his wife Althea were visiting ICC (International Childrens Care) orphanages in Cambodia and

Australian building team, Mark is third from left.

Thailand. While in Chiang Mai they stayed at the home of Dr. Korravich, whose passion is also to reach people with the gospel of Jesus. While talking about this shared passion, Mark told Dr. Korravich of his desire to have a gospel outreach center. “You can build it here,” was his response. Dr. Korravich’s home was already a support hub for mission work in this part of Thailand. He had built his home with a large amount of visitor accommodation, large meeting areas, and his dental practice at the front. At the rear of Dr. Korravich’s home is a large piece of land with road frontage on the side and at the back. This is in a prime location in Chiang Mai, the main city of northern Thailand.

Mark, armed with the promises of God and $4,000, organized a team of builders from his church in Melbourne. As details were coming together, a problem arose. Korravich had been having trouble getting all of the necessary building approvals. The main problem was that the building department considered the project commercial, and they would not allow him to build without a commercial builder’s license.

One day, a man who was not one of his regular patients came to Dr. Korravich’s office with a minor, but urgent, dental problem. While he quickly fixed the problem, he was impressed that he should not charge for his work. The man asked why he would do this. Dr. Korravich explained that he wanted to help his community. The man then revealed that he was the Mayor of Chiang Mai, and asked if there was anything he could do to help the dentist in his outreach. Dr. Korravich then explained how he wanted to build a multi-function center to train the people of Thailand and the problems he was having with the building department. “Leave it to me,” said the Mayor. The next week all of the necessary approvals were issued. Dr. Korravich was also issued a commercial builder’s license. This was the same Mayor had who missed buying the land a few years earlier.

Bamboo scaffolding.

“Before they call I will answer.” Isaiah 65:24. “He [The Lord] is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.” Desire of Ages, 668.

As we were praying for God to show us more specifically how we can reach the people of Thailand, He was preparing a center of light for the advancement of His kingdom. This facility will allow us to join and strengthen the work that has already begun here in Thailand. We will open the second and third floors of this building with a week of prayer and dedication on October 8, 2011. Our desire is that the people of Thailand might be delivered “…from the power of Satan unto God, That they may receive forgiveness of sin, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18.

If God is impressing you to help reach the people of Thailand, please contact us using the information below.

 

By Steve Rawlings. Email: rawlings@leadingtothelight.org. Website: www.leadingtothelight.org.

The Rawlings’ work in Thailand is this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Project. Send your donations marked “Thirteenth Sabbath Offering” to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.

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