Thailand (MNN) — In order to go to a university in Thailand, students must have a good command of the English language. Unfortunately, that's not always possible, says Chris and Dora Barbee who are teaching English in Roi Et in northeast Thailand with The Mission Society.
Chris says, "Our region is the poorest in the country. Without good enough teachers, most of our students just don't have the opportunity. The ministry that we're a part of has actually gotten students into college from many villages, where before no one from these villages had ever been able to go to school before."
With that success brings demand, despite the fact the Barbees are Christians. "Thailand is primarily a Buddhist country. All of our schools are primarily Buddhist schools, and they are aware that we are believers in Jesus. We're still very welcomed because demand is so high and they need help. It's a huge open door. We don't see it as a tent making opportunity, but actually ministry opportunities in and of itself."
According to Chris, this is a unique situation for them. "Over half of our students there are essentially orphans. Their parents have all just left them to go and try to make money for the family. So the parents are all living in Bangkok, the students are living up in Roi Et with grandparents or at the school. So it's a lot of broken families."
Pray for the Barbee's as they develop relationships. Dora says, "Building relationship is a challenge — just trying to be authentic and let people know that we're not there to convert them, but we're just there to love on them and just do what God wants us to do."
They also need prayer as they learn the language, says Dora. "We spent about six months in formal Thai language school, but since then we've been working on it on the ground. We have a lot of friends helping us."
If you'd like to see more of their work in Thailand, watch the video here.