Dear <<First Name>>,
If you could say one thing to a gathering of Thai churches and freshman Christians, what would you say?
Mae Fah Luang receives at least 3,000 new students every year. Of that number, around 50 are Christian. When the Christian Club asked me to speak at their welcoming party for these 50 new students, I knew this was a critical message. When I found out that a few of the local churches would be sending their youth leaders to the event also, I knew exactly what I would say.
Thai churches, despite being the minority already, insulate themselves from each other. Perhaps it is the competition for so few Christian students and new converts. Maybe its a tribalistic mentality that comes up amongst church leaders no matter where they are in the world. For whatever reason, the past few years have been like pulling teeth in trying to get the local churches to stop competing against the Christian club for membership and, instead, see it as an umbrella that covers all the Christians on campus, a legitimizing voice of the body of Christ at Mae Fah Luang.
Despite the growth we've seen in our Christian students' lives and in those that have come to Christ, one key goal of ours has been a hard nut to crack. It's funny because, like we said in our last e-letter, it's the core of the church: community. Community isn't something you build to facilitate the functions of the church. Community is the function of the church. Every semester we've pounded on that point, encouraging the young leaders we've been mentoring to reach out to the local churches and bring them together. But every semester there has been resistance to the idea, until this one.
Baifern, the new Christian Club president, has made our goal her mission too. She has sent out word and held meetings with local church leaders to come together. She persisted and harangued until they finally agreed to meet. And this is where I stood, with one chance to speak to them all in the same place, on common ground. So I shared with them what I shared with you in our last e-letter, that community is the beginning and the end of the Christian life. They listened and they heard me. I wish I could say they broke down weeping and embracing each other, but they didn't. It was a moment with a message that we pray they have taken into their hearts and that they are contemplating how it will change what they think of as the church. We will continue to push on this goal because we know that without unity, the church can accomplish nothing. But together, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do the impossible.
Would you do something very easy to help us and this church? Would you take a minute right now and please pray with us that the seed of that thought goes deep and begins to grow, to bring this splintered body of Christ together with one heart, one message, and one mission? Thank you, <<First Name>>. We're excited about the fruit of your prayers with you.
Andrew, Jacki, August, & Reese Quinley