When you think of foreign missions, you may reflect on a story, or video from WELS Missions that highlights a foreign country. A recent theme has been reaching “foreign” cultures in our own back yard here in the U.S. For me, “foreign” evangelism was just a concept for ministry and outreach.
Nuch’s grandfather had been a shaman in their village in Thailand. When missionaries arrived at the end of WWII, Nuch’s grandfather and family became Christians–he put his trust in God and continues to resist the tug of shamanism even today. He never wants to go back to his days of darkness without the comfort of Jesus.
Nuch’s grandfather had a Christian influence on Nuch’s life. Yet, she was surrounded by shamanism as a youth. Locals believed a nearby river had evil spirits–it was said the river took one life each year. As a child, Nuch played in the river one afternoon. She felt a tug and was pulled underwater. She knew the story of the river spirit, but Nuch turned to her faith in those moments. She asked God to save her if it was His will.
Ten minutes passed.
No one knew where Nuch was. Her pastor arrived at the scene, walked in the water and immediately went to her. He pulled her up and she was unharmed. The river spirit could not overcome God’s mighty protection. Later that year, the river did pull a person down, who did not come up. Some may doubt Nuch’s story, but I believe her.
Demons and spirits may have power, but none like the true God who protects His children.
Nuch came to the U.S. from Thailand to be an au pair for one of our school families. She was clear to tell her host family that attending worship was important to her. Although the host family did not attend our church, they recommended Resurrection Lutheran! Nuch soon worshiped at Resurrection every Sunday and asked about classes and opportunities to get involved. Naturally, we did what we would do with any new visitor interested in joining our congregation, we set up a time for the Bible Information Class (BIC).
Class with Nuch was like none other.
Challenge: Nuch doesn’t have a valid driver’s license or car.
Blessing: Nuch is on a journey to learn all she can about God.
Challenge: Nuch is committed to duties at her host home and can’t always attend class.
Blessing: Nuch prays and reads the Word outside of class.
Challenge: Nuch may not completely understand the U.S. culture and there is some language barrier.
Blessing: Nuch says the more she reads, the more questions she has!
Nuch and I have casual conversations and understand each other quite well. However, when we begin to read scripture and discuss concepts like grace, justification, or righteousness; communication can be more difficult. I must remind myself that she may not know a word, or cultural reference because English is not her native tongue.
Most of us have not had an experience like Nuch. She has lived to tell her story of faith and continues in deeper study of His word.
By: Vicar Benjamin Phelps
Resurrection Lutheran Church
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