Thursday, 21 July 2022
Ruth has followed Jesus since she was young, as a missionary kid in West Africa and then as a teenager, university student and school teacher in Tasmania. In 2018, God led her to serve as an English teacher in Thailand and confirmed her heart to see the Thai people know the love of Christ.
Ruth shared, “The mission presentations at an annual conference back in Tasmania were a regular reminder of God’s Great Commission. I knew that people were living and dying without ever hearing the name of Jesus, and that was an uncomfortable truth to sit with. I guess that’s when I knew I had to go.”
Now, Ruth is working with least reached people in Ayutthaya in central Thailand. She is part of a new team expressing God’s love through English teaching and ‘Hope for Life’, a ministry bringing hope to vulnerable children and young people. She hopes to use her teaching skills across both ministries to build relationships within the community and pave the way for the Gospel.
Regular activities for Ruth include teaching English classes and running events and activities for students who are eager to connect at the English centre. She also teaches English under a tree near the city’s temple ruins for Hope for Life. “I spend a lot of time with our Thai Hope for Life workers, encouraging, advising and helping open doors to ministry with my smiling foreign face,” she said.
During the lockdown, Ruth was the only foreign worker in her location. Ruth explained, “I spent much of this year alone, often constrained by COVID or by the fears it generates around me. But God is not constrained. He is always at work.” Despite the challenges, Ruth has seen the faithfulness of God at work in the connections that have already been built with Thai non-believers and believers.
She shared, “Recently at an event I hosted, one of my friends asked a local believer whether she’d grown up in a Christian family. My Christian friend was able to share her journey to faith in Christ from a Buddhist background. Thais are curious about Westerners, but I’ve noticed a deeper curiosity about other Thais that I’m not equipped to help with. But I’m thrilled that God is using me to build community across the religious divide.”
Ruth believes that deep connections with Thai believers are the most effective way to reach the country for Christ. “Though there are too few of them, they know their culture and their community much better than I ever will. Only in partnership can we demonstrate God’s love in ways that truly connect,” she explained.
Serving in a least reached community, the support of her team has been invaluable to Ruth, especially during the pandemic. Ruth shared, “God has used us to encourage, support and care for one another in small but amazing ways. The SIM Thailand team has allowed me to try new ministry strategies, ‘fail’ and then try again as a pioneer in a least reached place, and I am thankful for that.”
Do you want to serve in least reached communities with your gifts and skills? Get in touch with a Mission Mobiliser today by visiting sim.org.au/startaconversation
SIM’s Faithful Witness initiative focuses on sending workers to communities where there is no church and no Christian witness. Find out more and learn how you can get involved at sim.org.au/faithfulwitness
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