Finding the truth seekers
by Andre Provost
Resting in bed at my daughter’s house, recuperating from my Urolift procedure, I decided to watch my favorite missionary film, Hudson Taylor. In one scene, a recent Chinese convert addressed Hudson with deep sincerity, “For many years I have sought the truth, as did my fathers before me. But only here, in the words you have spoken, has peace come to my heart. Is the gospel doing well in your country?”
“It is sir,” replied Hudson.
“How long has the gospel been known to the people of your land?”
“Hundreds of years, Mr. Nu.”
“You have had the truth so long, and why only now you come to tell us?” Hudson Taylor felt ashamed and was left speechless.
As I contemplated this scene, tears came to my eyes. Like Mr. Nu, I too do not understand. I ask myself, “Why, within 30 minutes from our home in northeast Thailand are there 227,000 villagers who have never heard the gospel?”
Like Hudson, I encountered a truth seeker 23 years ago. I remember finding Mr. Somjai (Joi). Surprisingly, I did not find him in a city or even a large town. I found him in one of the smallest and most secluded villages in our area. He was a rice farmer with a fourth-grade education. Now, Joi is the chairman of a fellowship of house churches spreading throughout eight districts covering an area half the size of Connecticut, four percent of northeast Thailand.
I am convinced that there are other Isan truth seekers, like Joi, in other areas of northeast Thailand just waiting to be found. It is for this reason, Karen and I relocated to a new unreached area in 2019. Due to covid restrictions, the work has not moved as fast as we would have liked. Now, we are acutely aware that our candle is getting shorter. We want to leave a legacy of a new generation of missionaries who will find and raise up Isan truth seekers who reproduce and plant churches in the villages around them.
Like Hudson, we too are unsatisfied working where the church is established while knowing that truth seekers in remote villages, where the gospel has not been preached, are waiting to be found. Hudson made a plea for like-minded children of God to come and assist. We too, 150 years later, are making that same plea. We are in search of likeminded Christ-followers who are willing to leave home and security to move and live among the 18 million Isan people of northeast Thailand and join us in the task of finding Isan truth seekers, training them up to carry the message and to plant churches throughout the villages around them.
The type of Christian workers we want to train need to be like scaffolding. When the truth seeker is found, trained up, and reproducing, the missionary like scaffolding moves to a new location. We are looking for singles, married couples, or families who are willing to be trained and become part of an apostolic team. We will train those who join us in finding truth seekers, leading them to Christ, training them to reach their own, training them to lead a house church, and training them to raise up new leaders. This can take three to five years for each seeker. Then the team is to pick up and move to new unreached areas. If you or someone you know has any interest in this type of mission work, please contact us.
The harvest is ripe and truth seekers are waiting. How long has the gospel been known to the people of your land? How many more generations do these truth seekers have to wait before someone comes to share the gospel with them?