“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” – Romans 10:14
As our team stepped into the classroom I could feel the heaviness weighing in. The classroom was filled with rowdy young boys – monks to be exact, all dressed in orange robes. We were in a monk school in Phayao, Thailand. The school officials had allowed us to come in to teach English and educate their students about America, nothing more. But God, in His compassion and sovereignty, had other plans. He had appointed this day before the foundation of the world to be the day these young monks hear about the One True Living God.
Our team of six was assigned to share testimonies and give pocket planners as gifts. We started with our usual routine of introducing ourselves and telling them a few facts about America. Then, something extraordinarily powerful happened. Our leader took over and began telling the students that they were in bondage because they had broken even their own ten commandments. But the living God, instead of punishments, has a free gift for them. He sent His own Son, to be beaten and killed in their place to give them freedom and salvation. They didn’t have to work for it, it’s a free gift, all they have to do is believe in Jesus Christ. In that moment, the thick presence of the Holy Spirit overwhelmed and filled the classroom. Boldness and power from the Lord filled our leader as he continued sharing about the complete work and grace of Jesus. He challenged them to ask the true God to reveal Jesus to them. It felt like a scene straight out of the books of Acts where the apostles stood in the temple and spoke the word of God with boldness. When he finished, all the boys’ faces looked heavy and convicted - the Holy Spirit had turned their world upside down.
After visiting the classrooms, they invited us to come into their temple. It was covered in gold and silver, beautifully adorned on the outside. Inside was a life-size wax figure of the founder monk meditating in a glass box. This image wrecked my heart even more, showing me that this is what the young monks are doing every single day – praying and chanting to false gods, “their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have but they do not see” (Psalms 115:4-5). I felt a glimpse of the pain God has in seeing His children, who never heard of the Gospel before today, living a life separated from Him. In the midst of that pain though, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratefulness that today they got to hear about the One True Living God! This divine opportunity was set up by the Father Himself to rescue His precious sons from a life of meaningless idolatry. I truly believe with all my heart that one day we will see at least one soul from this monk school worshipping God in heaven. This is the day I will never forget for the rest of my life. It made it so real to me that billions of people are in a path of total eternal separation from the Father and no one is telling them about it. “The Lord… is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”- 2 Peter 3:9. God, in His grace, gave me His heart for these people for whom Jesus had died but never heard about Him before. At the end of this trip, I found myself desperately asking God, “Daddy, send me to them”.