By Mark Ellis
In a storefront location on a bustling street near two malls and a university lies a glittering diamond in God’s kingdom, a church poised for growth in a nation where only one percent follows Jesus.
“We started with three people,” says Gai Tanangunvirog. She and her husband Khajorn lead Tai Church, which has grown to 100 and already planted five churches in other provinces of Thailand.
More than 70 percent of the church are former Buddhists. During a weekend Valentine conference this week, two twenty-something Buddhists received Christ. “Every week my staff shares the gospel,” notes Pastor Khajorn, who has an evangelist’s heart and is a sought-after speaker in other churches in Bangkok.
“We have a big dream,” says Gai. A decade ago Gai says the Lord revealed in a dream the church would grow to 60,000 people. “It’s such a big number it’s hard to imagine,” she confesses.
“People ask me why we’re so busy. I tell them our vision is not from man but from God.”
It can be challenging to reach Buddhists in this country. “They don’t want to stand out as different,” Gai observes. “Some family members get upset and then they back away from that pressure. They are afraid of rejection from friends and family.”
Gai leads a small group every morning at 6 am for prayer and worship, composed mostly of women in the church. For an hour, as the sun rises over Bangkok, she and her small band press into the Lord and his promises.
The church has an extremely talented young worship team and a system for “raising up disciples who can train and teach others.”
Waiting on the Lord’s promises is never easy, but Gai leans on Abraham’s story for inspiration.
“God has given our members the heart to plant churches,” she says. “Many in the church want to start churches in their homeland.”
Gai and Khajorn located a piece of land in Bangkok that will accommodate a church for 10,000. But whether the growth happens through church planting or a larger facility in Bangkok, one thing is paramount to this highly-focused couple.
“The important thing is to save the souls of the Thai people. We have a big vision and we are preparing ourselves for the future.”