Kristen, SP Staff in Bangkok, Thailand, recounts the miraculous ways the Good Shepherd is at work in the life of a teacher in her community.
Khru Saw is a teacher at the small community preschool in the center of Samakki Pattana. She has been a dear friend, guide, and regular source of belly laughs since I came to Thailand back in 2012. She was someone I visited often throughout my internship, someone who taught me a lot of Thai and even more about Thai culture.
Khru Saw became a Christian! “I think the first time I heard about Jesus was from you and [SP site leader] Suzy,” Khru Saw relays the story to me almost every time I see her these days, and every time both of our eyes fill with tears at the miracle that it is.
She continues, “you and Suzy told me the story of the lost sheep—how the Good Shepherd will leave his 99 sheep in the pasture just to go and find the one sheep that is lost. And how He won’t stop looking until He finds that lost sheep and brings him back home.” She always pauses at this point in the story, for dramatic effect. “I was the lost sheep, and God didn’t stop until He found me, didn’t he Kristen?” I nod along, holding back happy tears.
Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd and he did come after Khru Saw. I can’t quite believe that this parable came to life before my very eyes, that this woman—whom I have known as a very devout, good Buddhist—now worships the Lord Jesus.
“Remember that song you taught the kids?” she recounts, “And that story you told the kids? And that time I went with you to church? God must really love me. He tried so hard to get my attention! But my heart wasn’t open at that point. It was only when I hit rock bottom that I started listening.” Her old boyfriend’s friend reintroduced Khru Saw to Jesus. It was during the loneliest point in her life. She was comforting herself with alcohol and partying. She didn’t know what to do. But then, in steps Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who changed everything for her. During her time of difficulty, God’s love was enough to pull her out of her loneliness and into a saving relationship with Jesus. She now goes to church and hears God’s word and is digesting it day after day. She prays and knows that God is near her.
A few months ago, she was baptized. I recently had the privilege of worshiping with her at her church. It was a surreal moment worshipping the Lord next to this woman who I once knew to be hard-hearted toward Jesus. Someone who I have loved dearly and prayed for but never imagined I’d actually get to see kneeled down in prayer to Jesus in a church service. Khru Saw’s story is a miracle. It is a beautiful, honest-to-goodness, I-was-blind-and-now-I-see, praise-the-Lord-Jesus, hallelujah kind of miracle.
"As small as one person, one heart, one soul seems, I believe that is how God’s Kingdom will come."
When I joined staff with Servant Partners, God spoke a word to me that I’ve kept as a prayer, hidden in my heart for quite some time: “Person to person, heart to heart, one at a time” was whispered in my soul one night as I sat in a taxi and traveled across the city. As small as one person, one heart, one soul seems, I believe that is how God’s Kingdom will come. One small (but actually kind of huge) miracle at a time.
And as I prepare to leave the community of Samakki Pattana to start a ministry in a new location, one thing I struggle with is having to leave the children. I know they need Jesus, not me. But I will miss them, and I will worry about their little lives as they grow up in this slum. And as I’ve prayed for them and asked God to continue watching over them, I saw Khru Saw as an answer to my prayer. There is no one with more contact or influence over children in Samakki Pattana than the preschool teachers who work there. I am so deeply grateful that Jesus has finally called Khru Saw back to His pasture, given her all the love in the universe through Jesus, and placed her right in a community that so desperately needs the love of Christ.