Lua people learn about free gift of life

Khun Neun leads us through the village of Ban Pakho where she serves as an evangelist with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand. There are 20 houses in this village, with seven to 10 people living in each house. The Lua people are a minority ethnic group native to Laos. Ban Pakho is situated in the Nan Province, which is rich in natural resources, such as jungle, dense forests, teak woods, waterfalls and wild animals. They live a basic and sustainable lifestyle, growing their food, tending livestock and building their own homes. Although rich in natural resources, in comparison to most Thai, the Lua people are poor in material possessions.

As she introduces us to some local people, Neun’s connection with them is obvious. She visits several times a week and spends time encouraging locals with words from Scripture and prayer. Neun was an evangelist long before she had the opportunity to study the Bible. She prayed she would learn about God’s word and, after many years, God answered her prayer. She was given a scholarship to study theology at the Lutheran Seminary of Thailand in Bangkok. There she was immersed in the Bible and found peace not only for herself but also for the people she is joining in God’s mission to reach.

While reading about Jesus’ life on earth, Neun noticed that he was born in a lowly stable, that he spent time healing – not just the wealthy women and men, but the blind and the sick and those living in poverty. Although the Lua people are poor, Neun discovered that Jesus is for them. She came to realise that she can share the assurance she has because God wants us exactly as we are. He wants to clothe us with His gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love through Jesus Christ. Neun realised that Jesus wants all people, including the Lua people, to be in that great multitude with him in eternity, where there will be no more hunger or thirst.

Neun watches, prays and marvels as she sees how the great God himself came to us as a tiny baby, grew up, suffered and died and rose again for us. Before Neun became a Christian, she felt like she had no meaning. Now she knows the meaning of life because she knows she has life in Jesus Christ. She knows that she is fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and because He loves Neun, her seemingly insignificant life has become infinitely meaningful. Neun wants others to know the good life in Jesus and her encouragement to the Lua people can be an encouragement to us, too. To surrender to God’s will. To listen to him. To believe him. To trust his faithfulness.

This story was also published in the August 2020 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

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