Thailand is a culturally diverse Buddhist country that is surprisingly advanced compared to many countries in Southeast Asia. A lot of the surrounding countries are poor, communist, and hostile to the gospel. As a result, Thailand has found itself with a strange tension; where you have the more affluent Thai population mixed in with many poor tribal villagers who have migrated or fled from surrounding countries. Many of these villagers live in the mountains and survive by farming on the mountainsides then selling their produce in the cities. Some poor villagers do not have any concept of God or of morality. Often they get married at young ages, have children, and then get divorced. This leaves many single moms and children who are now considered “illegitimate”. Rape, alcohol, and drugs are some of the major problems they also face. Some try to escape this lifestyle and go to the city to find work, but because they lack proper skills and education many turn to prostitution; making Thailand the number one destination for prostitution in the world. It is very difficult for those in the village to escape their lifestyle and get a college education since poor parents are unable to support their children in the big city.
One of the biggest reasons Christianity has not taken root and enabled the believers to bring revival is because there is little to no discipleship in Thailand. Many believers can tell others how to become a Christian, but when someone wants to truly follow the Lord they all point to one of the Bible schools and say that is where they need to go. It is very rare to find even a pastor who truly disciples members of his own congregation. What made the early Church so powerful was the regular lay people who would go out and minister to others vs. having the pastor do all the work. We believe the solution is found in Christ’s model. He took 12 ordinary men and taught them not only the truths of Scripture, but also equipped them and sent them out to minister. We see from the Scriptures in the great commission Jesus mandate to make true disciples. As a result we at Disciple Thailand Ministries try to make this the focus of everything we do. Then we seek to do as 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
We have found that Discipleship homes create one of the strongest environments for true discipleship. One of the reasons Jesus had such great success is because his disciples were with Him constantly. They saw His actions and were able to live out every part of their life with Him. We likewise feel that bringing people together in such a manner creates an environment for lives to be truly changed. Our heart is to start many discipleship homes. Since Hannah House is for poor college students it has supporters from the States that help keep it going. However, we are working together with Philip to open many discipleship homes modeled after Hannah House for those who hold regular jobs. It is our desire to start a Discipleship House planting movement that is totally self supported by the members of the homes. Already in a short time two such homes exist which are called Immanuel Homes.
Discipleship Training School
In the future we plan to have a discipleship school that will be for about 8 months for people outside of Hannah House. This school is very much needed. Many from the homes as well as others from outside will be able to join in and be apart while maintaining their regular jobs. This school will meet once to twice a week with homework and reading assignments. It will rely heavily on ministering, outreach, and application. We believe that this will help stimulate the Thai people to be more active in sharing their faith and empower them to minister in boldness.