We believe God has led our church to specifically focus on Chiang Mai, Thailand, where there is great opportunity to reach Thai nationals who have been historically neglected. We believe Thailand is a strategic location to not only raise up disciples for Christ, but also to impact the surrounding nations that have been difficult to penetrate with the gospel.
Long Term Vision
We intentionally narrowed our mission focus so that we could wisely use our resources and reap the greatest harvest for God’s glory strategically focusing on Southeast Asia by planting a New Life house churches.
Why Southeast Asia?
In Laos, churches are often raided and Christians arrested. Those who intentionally spread the gospel are known to be expelled from communities by force.
In Vietnam, evangelism and Christian ministries are forbidden and contact with foreign Christians is strictly prohibited. Believers are harassed, beaten, and imprisoned for preaching and for other evangelistic activities.
In Cambodia, many are multi-generational victims of the 1975-1979 genocide in which over 2 million people were exterminated. Poverty is rampant and 65% of the people are illiterate. The country’s sex industry trafficks approximately 50,000 children, and it is estimated that about 3,500 children are born with HIV each year.
In Malaysia, the Malays are forbidden from possessing Christian literature or meeting for Christian worship. The government has even banned the Indonesian Bible.
Why Chiang Mai, Thailand?
The present religious freedom under King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Thailand grants us an open door to plant a church there and establish a “hub” for making disciples to be sent out to surrounding nations. Thai people can be effective in reaching not their own people, but also the surrounding nations due to similarities in culture, language, and religious background. It is estimated that as many as 130,000 Laotians and Vietnamese currently live in Chiang Mai.
There is a great need in Thailand. Poverty, poor education, sexual immorality, and disease affect the society at large. Approximately 170,000 Thai children are infected with HIV and/or AIDS and many are orphaned due to this disease.
Furthermore, prostitution and human sex trafficking are a pressing social problem. Approximately 200,000 to 500,000 prostitutes, usually from poor, rural areas, are forced into the industry to help their families survive. It is a fact that many children are even sold into prostitution by relatives.
In the midst of darkness, God is at work in Chiang Mai by raising up soldiers of Christ. We will join forces with Thai believers to plant a church in Chiang Mai.
To begin the implementation of our vision, we recruited 5 adults to serve in Chiang Mai for one year to determine our target people group. This team’s research indicated that most of the current missionaries are focused mainly on the hill tribes of Thailand. There was almost no ministry established to reach ethnic Thais. This incredible neglect helped us determine our target group: ethnic Thais living in Chiang Mai.
In 2011, New Life commissioned its first long-term team comprised of one family with three children along with three singles. Our church provided the team full financial and prayer support so that they could live among our target people with the goal of establishing a House Church Ministry.
From the beginning, we intentionally targeted the younger generation because we believe they will have the greatest influence in their city and nation. In Chiang Mai, there are six major universities within our focused area and all combined, over 87,000 college students within reach.
We were able to partner with an existing ministry in Chiang Mai, The Centre, and our team began developing relationships with the Thais. Our team teaches informal English to these university students and by charging them nominal tuition, the ministry continues to be self-sustaining.
In addition, the team helps with or independently conducts English camps, cooking classes, field trips, and photo contests to develop and deepen relationships with the students in order to invite them to our House Church.
Currently, our team is proficient in the Thai language and is able to hold House Church meetings in Thai. The team is currently training some of their Thai members to become shepherds with the hopes of multiplying their House Church sometime this year. Praise God!