How Far Will You Go? | A Global Partner Story

Written By: Woodside Missions Team | Daniel from Thailand


May 31, 2024

Editor’s Note: As you read through the story, think about your own life. How far would you go to share the Gospel with others? For Sam, it means traveling for days for encouragement and training, then heading back to his home, where sharing that message means risking his life.  

This is a story from one of the many individuals who serve with our Global Partners in Thailand. As we seek to protect some of the missionaries and partners around the world, in this story, our missionary’s name has been changed to “Sam.” This story was written by Daniel, one of the individuals who serves alongside our Global Partners in Thailand.

Imagine driving for hours on an old, dilapidated scooter across Southeast Asia, sitting on a hard seat, navigating narrow and dangerous mountain roads, crossing rivers and borders, and then taking an even older bus for even longer hours…all to attend Bible training for three days. But today, I sat with a young Akha church planter here in Thailand, and I was amazed by the incredible journey he takes every single month.

“Sam” is Akha Laotian and serves in Laos, where preaching the Gospel is dangerous. For a Thai Christian (or any other ethnicity) to preach in Laos, it can mean death. They disappear, never to be heard from again. And while Sam can preach and plant churches without fear of death, he has already endured arrest and imprisonment. Yet, he remains steadfast in his faithfulness to God.

To attend Akha church planter training in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand, Sam rides his scooter from northern Laos six hours down from the mountains. Then he picks up his fellow church planter, and they drive together for another six hours to the Laos/Thailand border. He then leaves his scooter at the border, and both planters take a bus for another four hours to arrive for Bible training.

For three days, he slept on a small mat on the floor with other Akha church planters from Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia. But he woke up early every morning to praise God with all his heart and spend all day learning the Word, planting churches, building God’s kingdom, and pouring out his life for his fellow Laotians.

He’s only 24, and his dedication amazes me! He endures hardships few of us would gladly bear for the Gospel. Each planter does this once a month for two years to graduate from Pastor John’s Akha Leadership Institute. This two-year program provides each planter with seminary-style courses in topics such as hermeneutics, homiletics, expository Bible study, theology, pastoral care, and much more.

Now, Pastor John is raising funds to build a second institute on the Laos and Thailand border so that students like Sam do not have to travel as far. It is an incredible work God is doing among the Akha people across Thailand, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, and even southern China. And it is exciting to fellowship and partner with these humble and dedicated Akha church planters!

If you’d like to learn more about our Global Partners and how you can get involved in supporting them as they take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, click here.