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Persevering for the Promise
A new believer’s decision to follow Jesus cost her dearly.  Severely persecuted in her own home, she chose to pursue God, trust Him for protection and persevere.

This story of a new believer’s life is told by Mennonite Brethren Mission Services International missionaries in Thailand.

God gave me a deep burden to pray for my husband and relatives when I became a Christian. I experienced the amazing love of Jesus and wanted everyone to know Him. As excited as I was about Jesus, my decision to follow and love Him would cost me.

Duan, Rapin and daughter Pen, new believers in Thailand.

My husband, Rapin, was very upset with my choice to become a Christian and began to persecute me hoping I would stop following Jesus. He beat me. He boiled water to throw on me but changed his mind. He sent me outside to sleep with the dog which was very frightening and dangerous. Reading my Bible or any Christian literature was forbidden by him, so I took my books to work where I read through the New Testament in a month because I was so hungry for Jesus. Soaking in God's word was my strength. It preserved me through my husband's persecution.

Throughout these times, I had faith that God was protecting me. The first time I slept outside, God woke me up in the middle of the night to pray. So as I prayed I asked God to change Rapin's heart. After two months of praying, Rapin came to me and said, If you are going to be a Christian, you have to leave the house for good. We are going to get separated." I told him that I couldn't stop being a Christian because I was a child of God. He got a slingshot and started shooting hard balls at me until I left the house.

I decided to go to The House of the Lord, the church where I had become a Christian. That night as I prayed I committed the life of my husband and daughter into the hands of God. I decided to stay at the church that night but couldn't sleep. I just wept and prayed. I told Jesus I was willing to give up my life for my husband's.

I told Him that He could take my life in the place of my husband's; just as Jesus gave his life for us. I wanted to follow the Bible when it says to forgive those who persecute you. So I forgave my husband completely for everything he had done to me. As I was praying I was very sad with everything but I knew God came to change the lives of my family, not to destroy them. So I prayed for my family in faith, believing God would answer my prayers. I wept and prayed until I fell asleep. It was a peaceful sleep, almost like nothing had even happened.

Duan and Rapin

The next morning, I woke up and wondered what I should do. I listened to some people talk about fasting and praying. I had never done this before so I decided to do it. I fasted from everything - water, food, even my own saliva. I wanted Jesus to know how serious I was about seeing Him change my family. I wanted to do whatever it took. As I continued to pray, I heard this voice telling me to go home. I knew God would work everything out and He gave me strength to get through the day. Later that day, I decided to follow the voice of God and go home.

As soon as my husband saw me he was happy and apologized for everything that had happened. He also promised he wouldn't beat me anymore and that I could be a Christian - for two months. If in these two months everything in our family changes, then he would become a Christian too. Things went fairly well after this until Rapin started drinking alcohol very often and speaking badly about God. Once, when he was drunk, he planned to burn down my church and kill the Christians there. But whenever he tried to carry out his plans, something would happen to stop him. I just kept praying.

Finally, God revealed His miraculous power to Rapin. On that day, my husband was drinking a lot and scolding me for believing in Jesus and saying bad things about God. Then, he found my Bibles. He took them, threw them out the window, took the gas from our scooter and poured it over them. He tried to light them on fire. I started praying and pleading with God to be slow in His wrath towards Rapin. I prayed that instead of pouring out his wrath, God would pour his love over Rapin.

It was about 6pm and there was not a cloud in the sky. When Rapin tried to light the Bibles on fire, the wind blew harder than I have ever felt before. Rapin was finally able to light the Bibles on fire but just at that moment rain poured from heaven and put out the fire. Rapin was startled but his heart was still hard. He went into the house, collected all of his amulets and idols, grabbed a gun and sat outside waiting for God to come down so he could kill Him. In his exhaustion, he eventually fell asleep. I stayed awake and continued to pray for him.

In the morning, everything had changed. The fear of God had entered Rapin. He came to me crying and asked me to take him to my church so he could confess all his sins and become a Christian. Now he loves God so much and wherever he goes he wants to tell others about Jesus.

Duan participating at a local kids’ club.

I just really want to encourage you, my brothers and sisters, to persevere in following Jesus. Even though we will face hard things, I encourage you to persevere as Jesus did on the cross for us. Focusing on Jesus and His sacrifice will help us get through everything, no matter how hard it may be. I also want to encourage you to love God with all of your hearts, because I know we have been given this life to live for Jesus. Trust and have faith in God! All the promises of the Lord are true, and He will bring them all about. I am praying that God will give you deeper faith and help you to be steadfast in your love to Jesus. God bless you!

Since Duan and Rapin shared their story with us, they have encountered severe spiritual warfare. MBMSI missionaries in Thailand write: "We know God has a hold on Rapin's life. He loves Jesus very much and wants to follow Jesus with all of his heart, soul, and mind. The other day he came over to our house and told us that he was almost killed the previous night. He is the head chef at a restaurant and recently had to fire some of his fellow employees for very valid reasons. These employees returned and surrounded him carrying knives and guns. There were more than ten of them against Rapin. They fully intended to kill him but were unable due only to God's protection!

Originally published in Witness, Spring 2008.




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