Easter message changes lives

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand is still a relatively new church, which is also true of the growing congregations in Nan Province. It is here that the gospel of forgiveness and life in Jesus’ name has transformed the lives of the Lua people, who make up the majority of Christians in this area.

Traditionally, spirit doctors have dictated the future for the Lua people. The successes of agriculture, family relationships or health have been the realm of the spirit doctors, who have claimed special powers, and the people have followed their instructions.

Now that many Lua people are Christians, they have been freed from the tyranny of the spirit doctors. For many of our new Christians, their understanding of the scriptures is not yet complete and so they are vulnerable to spiritual attack and falling back under the control of the spirit doctors.

Thus, during the festival of Easter, we use this opportunity to teach the Christians more about the Bible and present a short story based on the Scriptures. The liturgy we use is similar to the regular liturgy but is more based on the historical event of Easter and Jesus’ victory over sin and death and the devil.

Mission among the Lua people requires patience and perseverance, as the life-long hold of the spirit doctors and all that they represent takes time to be undone. A central part of this mission work is the constant and faithful teaching from Scripture. Easter, and its message, provides a perfect time to teach about Jesus’ victory for our sake and to strengthen the faith of the people, so they can resist temptations from the devil.

While congregations in Bangkok celebrate Easter in a very similar way to those in the major churches around the world, Holy Week in Nan Province looks a little different. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are filled with home visits, during which people are supported in their faith and encouraged to gather to worship in their village homes. Easter Sunday, however, is a time for church worship and, like the saints of all times and places, the people of Nan Province lift their voices in praise as they celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

This story was also published in the April 2021 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner churches in Thailand at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/thailand/