Pilot project in Thailand could be model for the world

By September 19, 2008

Thailand (MNN) — Somchai Wongsawat, brother-in-law of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, officially became Thailand's new prime minister Thursday after the king endorsed his election by parliament. This comes after weeks of protests. Not too long ago, tanks were in the streets.

While political unrest is still in the air, it isn't stopping the work of New Life Church in Nong Khai, along the Laos border. Chad Causey with Book of Hope International says they're partnering with the church. He describes what the church is doing. "Members of the church covenant to go to homes once a month for several months to slowly disciple families. But, one of their challenges was they lacked a great ministry resource for children."

That's when Book of Hope decided to give them copies of The Godman , the 3D animated film on the life of Christ. "So a new program that we've piloted with them is for them to be able to take a copy of The Godman to each and every home that they visit, invite the families to watch, and then come back around over the next few weeks to talk about what they thought of the movie. All of a sudden, the children are becoming a part of the conversation."

According to Causey, this strategy has taken on a life of its own. "We've seen this strategy emerging in India. We've seen it in Argentina. It's showing up all over the world, and it's a phenomenal because it really builds relationships and it builds trust," he says. That trust goes a long way in helping lead people to Christ.

Book of Hope believes this program will be replicated all over the world. Causey says, "I would anticipate that these models would be picked up probably in a dozen countries within the next 12 months if the pilot goes the way I expect it to."

It's too early to tell how successful the program will be in Thailand. They have an uphill battle. "The Christian church in Thailand is less than one-percent of the population. So tremendous challenges face this church. It's tough — tough work. It's slow, and it requires a great deal of diligence. You sow the seed and you wait. You keep waiting and watering at it."

The pilot project began a couple of months ago and will continue for another six months. Then it will be evaluated. Causey says, "We're going to step back, take a look at it, talk with some of the leaders of the church, and find out how we can improve it. What worked well and what didn't? And then, we'll retool from there."

In the meantime, Causey would like you to pray that the church would be strong and not become discouraged. He also asks for prayer that the political issues wouldn't interfere with their work. He's also inviting you to join them on a trip to Thailand to see the work firsthand.

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