Before I came to Thailand in 1999, I had never handed out a tract in my life. The practice of handing out tracts is not very common in the U.S. anymore and even among evangelical Christians it seems to be regarded as some kind of weird unnatural activity that only really over-the-top religious nuts engage in. Perhaps the current emphasis on friendship evangelism and building relationships in order to share the Gospel (which is good and proper as the primary method of personal evangelism) has contributed to the disdain which has fell upon handing out tracts. Tracting can seem very impersonal and artificial, but it IS one means among many that God uses to reach people with the Gospel. It really shouldn't be a stand-alone method of evangelism, but just one link in a chain of Gospel sowing that can contribute to people understanding and accepting the Gospel. Granted, lots of tracts end up in the dustbin or along the roadside, but God does use tracts as the following story illustrates. A fellow missionary gave me permission to share this encouraging story:
"This past Sunday two visitors came to church at In Grace Church: Colonel Surasak Banjukaew and his wife, Wanpen. I know them a bit (he attended SEANET this past year), but as I sat eating lunch with them I was able to learn much more about them. Surasak is the founder of a ministry among members of the military and the police force.
What I took special note of, though, is how Surasak and his wife became Christians. Back in the 80’s Geoff Case, an OMF Missionary in Bangkok, was going door to door, handing out tracts, and came upon Surasak’s home. At the time he was a clear Buddhist, rising in the ranks of the Thai army. Wanpen’s interest grew, and as she studied the Bible with Geoff’s wife, Surasak became interested too. They both turned to Christ and immediately started going out with the Cases doing open air evangelism and tracting.
It is this two part involvement that we aim for: Sowing with things like tracts, and saturating through Bible study with seekers. Often we don’t feel very good at either of these. Surasak’s and Wanpen’s words this weekend have encouraged us to keep our aim and press on. Thank you for backing us in prayer."