Chauchan (not her real name), 28, lived with her husband in a small Thai village where, as in most of Thailand, Buddhism prevailed. While most Thai citizens claim to be Buddhist, all are equally if not more aware of their ancestral animistic beliefs. Black magic, rituals and spells ruled the national psyche long before Buddhism arrived from India, and they remain firmly entrenched in Thai society.
Even government leaders have fallen to the spell, as England’s The Telegraph reported in a 2008 article entitled Bangkok protesters adopt witchcraft to topple Thai government.
Despite missionary efforts dating back to the 16th century, Christianity has made few inroads into Thai society. Only about one percent of the population call themselves Christians, although mission organizations working there are finally seeing more fruit (OMF Thailand, with its history rooted in J. Hudson Taylor’s astonishing early work in China, is one of several doing increasingly fruitful work there).
Bibles for Mideast began a work in one of Thailand’s least-reached provinces last year, sending a missionary pastor and his wife to live among and reach the locals.* The couple now lead a vibrant underground Assembly of Loving God (ALG) house church, but suffer untold hardships and resistance from locals and, especially, from black magic practitioners.
One day just two weeks ago, while visiting the market, Chauchan was approached by a couple from the ALG house church. She listened quietly as they presented the Good News of Jesus—a confusing idea for most Buddhist people. For them, it is all about their own good deeds and misdeeds here on earth which, if the math works out, might mean a better time in their next incarnation. The idea of a creator God sending His son to die and then rise again, for all of humanity, seems not just too easy, but irresponsible.
But the couple spared no details in witnessing to Chauchan.
“Jesus is the living God, the Son of the most high God of the universe,” they told her. “He was born of the virgin Mary as a faultless son of man and came to save humanity from sin and death. He was crucified on the cross of Calvary and died as a ransom for our sins, for your sins. On the third day he rose as our living savior and Lord. If you believe in Jesus as your savior, you will be saved,” they assured her, and handed her a sample of the gospel to take home. “Read this good news about God to know more about Jesus.”
Chauchan, taking their literature, headed back home. She was surprised to find a chief sorcerer from the village waiting for her, with her family gathered round. She could easily read the anger in their faces and demeanour.
The sorcerer told her his god had revealed to him what she had done: listening to the Christian missionaries, and receiving gospel literature from them. So he had come to tell her husband and other family members. Whether he got the information from someone else at the market or by the power of Satan, God only knows. But the fury was real.
As the sorcerer questioned and accused her, she denied the charges. Her husband then reached into her shopping bag and pulled out the gospel tract. Enraged, he slapped her violently, and then burned the gospel along with the worst household waste.
The sorcerer performed some black magic over the family as a ‘remedy’, and left them all feeling relieved.
That night, Chauchan’s husband ran a high fever. In the days that followed, the fever, and his condition, worsened. So they called on the sorcerer to work his healing magic. Arriving with two others, he began to perform his rituals and cast spells, carrying on for two days while staying with the family.
But her husband died. It had to have been Chauchan’s fault, they were sure. If she had not listened to the missionaries and brought that sample Christian gospel home, he would still be alive.
So they decided to bury her alive with his dead body. [Burying the dead, let alone burying a live wife with her dead husband, is by no means a Buddhist practice, but clearly the influence of black magic—Ed.]
They brought her to an isolated area for the burial. She screamed loudly as they pushed her into the grave, but her cries were ignored by them and unheard by others. They placed her dead husband’s body over her, added a concrete slab, and then shovelled earth and stones overtop until the screams were silenced and the bodies covered.
The ALG Church members happened to be praying and fasting at their house church while all this was going on. The Holy Spirit began to move powerfully over them. Someone prophesied that a valuable woman who unknowingly believed in Jesus had been buried alive with her husband’s dead body. While another person prophesied, the pastor’s wife had a vision: she saw that it was Chauchan, and that she was still alive! They prayed through till the evening for further guidance.
As night fell, the pastor, with a group of men from the church, went to the graveyard—its location also revealed as the church had prayed—and found the new grave. They prayed again, removed the soil, and pulled out the heavy concrete slab. They found the dead body of a young man. Removing it, they found Chauchan, her heart and pulse still beating. Pulling her out immediately, they began massaging her and praying in the name of Jesus. As they sprayed some water on her face, she slowly opened her eyes.
The pastor and church members buried the young man’s body again and brought Chauchan home with them. The next day, they called another fasting and prayer meeting and it was there she openly accepted the Lord Jesus as her own savior and Lord. They knew that if she stayed with them, both she and the church would be in even more danger, so they decided to send her to another ALG church a long distance away.
Chechuan now knows she is a new creation in the Lord Jesus. Please pray for her. Pray also as Bibles for Mideast plans to appoint dedicated missionaries to other provinces and regions of southeast Asia.
* For security reasons the missionaries’ names and the province they settled in cannot be revealed. Doing so would mean certain persecution, even death threats.