Ang and Orn's Story
Cha-am was a town where no church had been planted. Like many places in Thailand, ministry there is extremely difficult. From the very beginning, staying in Cha-am has require Aang and Orn to be incredibly faithful through difficult trials, and spiritual warfare.
Pastor Ang and his wife Orn met at Bible School almost 15 years ago. For a few years, both were involved in ministry, when they sensed that God was calling them to a new ministry together. Pastor Ang had already been asked by a missionary family if he would consider joining them as they attempted to plant a church in Cha-am, Thailand -- if Orn joined them, they would have the dream team. Pastor Ang was a gifted preacher, and Orn had proven ministry skills with young people. Ang was one of the few Thai Christians who grew up with Christian family since childhood. Orn came from a family of powerful shamans, and a deep religious commitment to Buddhism. Like many Thai converts to Christianity, she experienced both rejection from her family, and intense spiritual warfare as a young believer. Their knowledge of Thai culture, and ability to speak the gospel in Thai would be critical for church-planting in a difficult place with no Christian presence. And, as a newly married couple, they were relieved to have the mentorship in life and ministry which the missionary family would provide.
But then, the missionaries were in a serious car accident. After several months, it became clear that they would not be able to return to Cha-am.
Ang and Orn were left with the choice -- everyone made it clear that they were under no obligation to stay. Everything that they had planned for so many months would have to change, and they would be almost totally on their own in an area with no other believers. For them to stay, God would also have to provide extra financial support for them personally that the missionaries would no longer be able to contribute.
But Ang and Orn were convinced that God loved the city of Cha-am. And they felt that God wanted to use them to show people there the power of His love, and to hold out the hope of Jesus Christ. They returned to Cha-am alone, and began reaching out at local schools, offering free English classes and tutoring to both children and adults. As they began to build relationships in town, they reached out to women working in Cha-am's red light district. All of these women worked in the sex industry -- some of them also ran brothels themselves. Over the years, Ang and Orn's painstaking work of reaching out and building relationships in tough places has resulted in a handful of new believers.
And yet, though the numbers of new believers are few, the change and transformation has been significant. Some of these new believers are women who have turned away from making money by selling the bodies of themselves and others. As one woman said, "I have lived such a sad and wicked life for so many years. I just wonder -- why didn't I find out about Jesus sooner?"
The Evil One has many strongholds in Cha-am, but against that tide Pastor Ang and Orn are holding out the light of hope in Jesus for men and women waiting to hear good news.