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Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. The King of Thailand has a significant moral influence over the country but the day-to-day affairs are handled by a prime minister and Parliament.
We are usually in Thai speaking churches but on occasion, we have had the opportunity to worship at an English speaking church while in Bangkok. I don't know enough about any of them to give an unqualified endorsement, although at the ones we have had occasion to visit, the experience has been positive on the whole. Check out their websites for more information, directions, and worship times.
International Church Bangkok (http://www.icbangkok.org/) describes themselves like this: "ICB's morning worship is in a traditional Presbyterian style. Evening worship is sort of InterVarsity meets casual contemporary. We are a church where anyone (Christian or non-Christian) can come and draw close to Jesus in an atmosphere that is safe, honest, and open. We come from a wide variety of countries, cultures and ways of thinking about just about everything. What we have in common is a love for (and an interest in learning about) Jesus. He is at the center of everything we do."
If you are currently living in Thailand, please see the links in my article on A Brief Survey of Thai Bible Translations.
Living Outside of Thailand?
If you are living outside of Thailand, you can order directly from the Thailand Bible Society in Bangkok, and they will ship internationally to you. The postage will be expensive but you'll have lots of choices in Bibles (Thai only, Thai-English, NT only, etc.). The Thailand Bible Society produces the Thai Standard Version that is used in the majority of Thai church. To order, click here to go to the Thailand Bible Society website.
Alternatively, you can try ordering from a Bible society (such as International Bible Society/Biblica) or website (such as Amazon.com) located in your home country.
In the USA
Thai Standard Version might be available from the American Bible Society. See their website or contact them to ask.
The Thai Easy-to-Read New Testament is available from the Bible League International as a free download. They used to have it for sale as a printed book but it doesn't seem to be on the website anymore. You might contact them to see if they still have any available for purchase.
In the UK
Multiple versions of the Thai Bible are available online at the YouVersion website.
The Thailand Bible Society has a Thai Bible iPhone app in the iTunes store.
An NIV-like translation of the Thai Bible is available from the International Bible Society for download at their website.
The Thai King James Version (KJV) is available for purchase or download from Philip Pope's website.
An audio Thai Bible, a free MP3 download is available at Faith Comes by Hearing
Although Buddhism is the predominant religion of Thailand and has the official sanction and support of the government, there is freedom of religion for all people in Thailand. There is no government opposition to the open and free practice of Christianity or other religions. However, Thai Buddhists who become Christians (or Muslims or some other religion) often face opposition from their families and friends and experience social pressure to return to Buddhism. This pressure can be very strong during family and community activities such as weddings, funerals, and neighborhood events. To not participate in the Buddhist or spirit-worship aspects of these activities can be misunderstood as disloyalty to family or nation.
About 95% of Thai are Buddhist. 4% are Muslim and about 1% are Christian or other. Less than 0.5% could be counted as evangelical.
We are sent by, and responsible to, our home churches in the United States but are working in Thailand through OMF International, an inter-denominational missionary organization that includes missionaries from a variety of countries and Protestant churches. Sun’s home church is Calvary Church of Santa Ana and Karl is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
In the absolute sense, we will never be fluent in Thai, at least not in the way that a native speaker is fluent. However, for practical purposes, both of us can hold our own in most conversations in Thai, although we often don’t get 100% of everything that is being said. We can read and write Thai although admittedly much slower than we can read and write English. The Thai language has its own alphabet and is read left to right.
We can share the Gospel in Thai and Karl preaches in Thai about once a month although it will take a long long time before we are anywhere near a native speaker. Thai is a tonal language and that presents an ever present pronunciation challenge for us.
We have both completed OMF's Thai language curriculum which is one year of full-time language study, followed by two years of part-time language study. But language study is never really over and we will always be learning and growing in our ability to speak and understand Thai.
Reformed literature in Thai is very hard to find. If we define the term "Reformed" somewhat broadly, then some Reformed titles may be found at a various Thai publishers. A few of those titles don't seem to be translated well, so I can not recommend them with confidence.
However, I can recommend the following titles from Kanok Bannasan (OMF Publishers Thailand):
You may contact Kanok Bannasan to inquiry about ordering. It is generally easier to order these titles from within Thailand. If you need to order internationally, email Kanok to ask what arrangement can be made.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Thai is also available for download here.
Karl teaches missions and church history at Bangkok Bible Seminary, assists with translation and editing at Kanok Bannasan (OMF Publishers Thailand),
one of the few publishers of Thai Christian books, and preaches at local churches. Living right next
to the seminary campus in downtown Bangkok, both Karl and Sun have
opportunities to invest in the lives of students, the next generation of
Thai church leaders. They are also involved in ministry with local
Thai churches, laboring to see healthy models of biblical teaching and
Christian living take root in the lives of Thai Christians.
Letters from the USA usually take about 7-10 days to reach us in Thailand, although sometimes longer. Airmail packages take about 7-10 days to reach us although sometimes longer, especially if Thai Customs decides to inspect the package. On occasion, a package never reaches us at all. If you do send a package, please mark the value on the customs declaration slip. When no value is declared, Thai Customs official seem to enjoy grossly overestimating its value and then collecting a hefty import duty.
We can get most things that we need in Thailand although items like English language Christian books (especially those from a Reformed perspective) and quality age appropriate toys and books for Joshua are difficult to find. If you would like to send us something, please see our mailing address on the Contact Us page.
Donations may be sent to: OMF International, 10 W. Dry Creek Circle, Littleton, CO 80120 Please include a note with your check indicating that your donation is for Karl & Sun Dahlfred. Monthly or Annual Support may be pledged by signing-up on OMF’s Website (www.us.omf.org/partner)
During our home assignment, those in the U.S. can easily reach us via telephone. You can find our current phone numbers on the "Contact Us" page.
When in Thailand, Skype is probably the best way to call internationally if you have a reasonably fast internet connection. Our Skype name is suninbj. If you add us to your Skype contact list, please include a message to tell us who you are because it is sometimes difficult to guess the real name from the user name.
We live in the small town of Pra-putta-bat, about 2.5 hours north of Bangkok, along a major highway headed north. Chiang Mai much further north of us, about an eight hour drive from where we are located. In the map below, point A is Pra-putta-bat, Point B is Bangkok, and Point C is Chiang Mai. If you are familiar with American geography, it would be like driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. So no, we're not close to Chiang Mai.
You can sign up to receive a hard copy (paper) and soft copy (email) of our prayer letter through the link on our Prayer Letters page.
This is difficult question because, as a non-native speaker, we will always be learning Thai. But for practical purposes, it took about six months to get to a basic conversational level on some everyday topics, and about one to two years to begin to share the Gospel, pray, and enter into some deeper issues. Starting at about the three year mark, I (Karl) started to preach in Thai.
Can I receive only the email version of the prayer letter? I prefer to read it online rather than regular mail.
If you would like only the email version and not the paper letter that comes in the mail, then please either notify OMF directly or send us an email and let us know. We can ask OMF to take you off the mailing list. However, please make sure that you tell us if your email address changes, otherwise we will have no way to contact you and you may unintentionally drop off of our prayer letter list.
Donations may be sent to:
10 W. Dry Creek Circle
Littleton, CO 80120
Please include a note with your check indicating that your donation is for Karl & Sun Dahlfred
Monthly or Annual Support may be pledged by signing-up on OMF’s Website at www.us.omf.org/partner