Editor’s Note: This update was written by a Western missionary closely associated with the CLAY Center. The following is an account of how God provided the CLAY Center with just the right property for their outreach and sports ministry.
We have land! Our God is Amazing! The story of how God brought us the property is incredible. Just to be able to purchase property here—this much property—at this low of a price is an amazing thing that only God could do for us. As we sat and talked with our missionary friend, the seller of the property, the story behind what God had been doing began to really open my eyes as to His goodness.
CLAY Center History
We started the CLAY (Changing Lives Among Youth) Center probably four years ago but my passion for wanting to open a sports ministry has been one I’ve had for almost 20 years. Since moving to Thailand that desire was moved into reality when we started CLAY Center and started working with the ministry in schools, orphanages, and with university students. We have been looking for property that whole time wondering and praying what God had in mind.
For years we’ve rented facilities. We’ve looked at properties that we believed would work well but the price and timing just never worked out.
We had a kind Christian Thai lady donate us 2 rai (.7 acres) of land and we were thrilled but still wondered what God had in mind as it was so small.
Again God in his wisdom showed us that it just wasn’t what He wanted for us even though it was free. We continued to pray and look for land.
We had raised just over $100,000, but that was still short of what we would actually need for 5 rai (1.97 acres) of property here. Land was selling for between 2~4 million baht per rai ($58,800–$117,600). That did not include having to fill the property with fill dirt. We had just come off one of the biggest nights of our Sunday night soccer outreach where we had around 90 guys come to play. Suddenly and quickly God started opening doors for us.
A Man Sells a Farm
We found an ad on Facebook saying our missionary friend was selling his farm. Their family had bought that property three years ago and needed to sell the property quickly. The first miracle, for us, was that the owners needed to move and needed to sell fast. The second miracle is that they had already sold the property to someone else. Everything had been arranged and decided on and suddenly their deal fell through.
We had a big obstacle when we started looking at the property though. When the family had bought the farm/property it was listed as agriculture land and could only be used for agriculture. We hoped and prayed that if we showed that we used over half of it for agriculture that they would approve us.
Farm Land for Soccer Fields?
Our first communication with the government office was disappointing as they said we could put a couple houses on the property but probably not put in soccer fields. The man in charge said he would double check and see though. When we called him back a couple days later he told us that it was not listed as agriculture. It was listed as normal property and we could do and put whatever we wanted on it.
We immediately set up a meeting with him for that same afternoon in his office to make sure. We spoke with him and his supervisor and both were excited about what we planned and told us, again, we could do anything we wanted and they would help with paperwork. I called the owner of the property to set up a meeting to discuss the price and told him what had happened and he was very happy but also very puzzled.
When we met with the owner to discuss the price I realized why he was so surprised. We then saw how God had been planning this for years before we even knew about it. We came to an agreed price very quickly which again is an incredible gift of God but in our discussions, I again saw how amazing God is.
Three Years Ago, Robbers Paved the Way
When our friend, a Christian missionary farmer, wanted to purchase the property three years ago, he did not have enough money to buy it so he set up a lease (with an option to own) agreement with the then owner. The property was listed as agriculture use only.
He took possession of the property and started making his payments. One day one of his workers called him panicking and said someone else had bought the property. He did not think much of it and told them it was no problem as he had a contract. A few days later he was at the farm and he saw several trucks and a bulldozer sitting across the street and wondered what was happening over there. When he returned from the store, the trucks and bulldozer were on his property. He quickly pulled his truck in front of the bulldozer that was ready to level the barn. The local village leader came and told the robbers to leave. These men tried to steal the property.
A few weeks later the farmer was meeting with the owner of the land to talk and the owner told him he wanted to sell the property and would split the profit with the farmer. The farmer told him he does not want to sell and that God wanted them there. The owner became serious and told him that his payment of $25,000 is due at the end of the month and if he does not pay he will lose everything.
The farmer assures him that he wants to keep the land. Shortly after this meeting, our friend, the farmer, was in the market selling goat’s milk when police came and arrested him. We all heard about this and heard he was arrested because he didn’t have the right permits to sell.
He found out in that process that if he got arrested they would freeze his accounts. This also meant he would miss his payment and would lose the land. He did spend a few days in jail and paid a small fine but God knew this was the second attempt to steal the property and He was in perfect control. The robbers thought that if he was in jail he would miss the payment and they would get the land.
God Provides the Money for the Missionary Farmer
God had a person in the United States this man what he needed while he was in jail. He told him, “ I have to have $25,000 by the end of the month but the total to pay off the property is $75,000.” The friend paid the whole amount due and the property legally became the farmer’s. What we didn’t know and what this missionary family didn’t realize was that not only had God supplied someone to donate and purchase the land for them, which kept these robbers from being able to steal the property, God had worked through these evil men for good.
God Reveals His Plan
In their process of trying to steal the property, the robbers could not use that land for what they wanted unless it was changed from agricultural use to something else. So not only were they being illegal in trying to steal the property, they also used influential friends in government offices to get the property type changed and no one knew it until we learned it as we tried to buy the land for the CLAY Center. We all realized that God had planned this for both of us long before we even knew or needed it.
God used robbers and their evil intentions for good and for His purpose. We were not going to be able to buy the land and the missionary thought the same, but God had worked it out without any of us even knowing. We have an awesome, amazing, all-knowing God. Now our work begins to build the outreach center we believe God has put in our hearts.