‘My, Oh, My, How Things Can Change!’

In January 2004 I went to Thailand and spent a month with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand (ELCT). While I was there, I met Oiy, who was then a student at the Lutheran Institute of Theological Education (LITE) in Bangkok. First impressions weren’t so good. I found her appealing but was informed (wrongly as it later turned out) she was only 18 or 19 years of age, so I dismissed her out of hand. Oiy has since told me, at the time, she decided she didn’t like me anyway. So Oiy didn’t like me and I wasn’t interested in her. My, oh, my, how things can change!

I returned to Thailand last year and again met Oiy who had been going through a bit of a rough time. She can speak English, and before I realised what was happening we were chatting almost every time I was at LITE, which at the time was 3-5 times a week. Through these encounters and conversations I began to realise how much she valued many of the things I hold dear in my heart. The list in a nutshell includes honesty, desire to uphold God’s Word, someone I can pray with, commitment to serving the Church in Thailand, someone I can relax with and someone who is good friend of an old, set-in-his-ways, hair-falling-out kinda guy like me. Oh and very importantly, a wicked sense of humour! It took her a while, but Oiy now likes me!

In April, between Thai language studies for me, we managed to squeeze in a short trip to Australia to be with my family and friends where we announced our engagement. We will be married here in Bangkok on the 7th of December at the ELCT Chapel and then head off to a secret honeymoon destination. How weird is that!

For us it has been a special journey of growing and sharing and I feel, personally, I still have so much to learn about my relationship with God, people inside and outside the Church, and Oiy, and not necessarily in that order. I can truly say, without a doubt, we feel very blessed indeed to have each other. We give thanks to God for the unexpected blessing we have been gifted with in having each other as friends and prayer partners for life.

At least for now you have a brief introduction to the new lady in my life, (Oiy), Kwanruan Thinsungnoen.

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/