Thailand has been a kingdom since the 13th century, has the longest reigning monarchy, and never been ruled by a Western power. Thailand is a Buddhist state but they do have freedom of religion. Only one percent are Christian, but it is growing. The Thai culture is tolerant and relaxed, and I found the people to be very polite on my visit there. The young people like American things – music, clothes, shopping, but there are not many American women who visit there, and so my female co-workers and I quickly became a tourist attraction on our visit. People were eager to ask us about American movies, especially Elvis and John Wayne, and they asked my co-worker, who is African-American, if she was Obama’s wife. They thought we were rich, though they didn’t ask us for money. It was an eye-opening experience to a different culture.
I loved the climate and the people, but for Christianity to take root in a Buddhist culture that has stood for centuries, Christians must understand and be sensitive to Buddhist worldviews. Buddhists believe that you should not to try to change your fate in life, even if you live in poverty, because suffering in this life is essential to being reincarnated into a better next life. You have to pay your dues, so to speak. This thinking is counter-intuitive to the Christian view of helping the poor, charitable aid, and having a new life through Jesus Christ. It becomes a struggle for them to understand the teachings of Jesus Christ. Pray that they may know that Jesus Christ has already died for them and been resurrected, so that they can have a better life now and for eternity in heaven.