This past summer, at my denomination’s General Assembly meetings in St. Louis, I enjoyed getting to know a Korean brother who was a committed Buddhist until he came to Christ at 55 years old. As he tells it, he wasn't a nominal or cultural Buddhist either, but was dedicated to meditation and studying Buddhism in Chinese. I asked him what finally brought about the change in his life. "The grace of God!" was his reply. I said "Amen!” to that but pressed him further. What was it that attracted him to Christ? It is no small thing, after all, to be dedicated to one religious faith your whole adult life and then suddenly change.
He said that he ultimately found Buddhism to be incomplete and unsatisfactory. In Buddhist meditation, which he practiced often, he sought to empty his mind. According to Buddhism, it is thought that all suffering is caused by desire. Thus, if you want to be free from suffering, you need to be free from desire. Do not want anything or be attached to anything, whether good or bad. Emptying your mind is a way of detaching oneself from the world and its desires. However, he said it was very hard to do because when he tried to not think about anything, all sorts of other thoughts immediately flooded in... or he fell asleep because he had been trying to meditate too long.
As an outgrowth of teaching church history in Bangkok, in 2020 I completed a Ph.D. in World Christianity at Centre for the Study of World Christianity at The University of Edinburgh.
The thesis title is "Conservative in Theology, Liberal in Spirit: Modernism and the American Presbyterian Mission in Thailand, 1891-1941" and a full-text PDF is now available for free download at
It is my hope that this piece of research will be both interesting and informative for both Thai Christians, missionaries to Thailand, and others who want to see the Gospel advance in Thailand and around the world. Hopefully, this thesis will at some point appear (in modified form) as a published book.
This past month I was interviewed by Mike Falkensine for the One Eight Catalyst podcast. We discussed my testimony and my journey into missionary service, including the fact that I stepped into the whole world of long-term missions without a crystal clear call. A lot of people seem to think that God's call to missions is somehow distinctly different than the way people end up in other lines of work. Do I need to hear an audible voice? have a vision of a particular country? experience a strong tug on my heart towards a particular people group? I am convinced that the way that God normally leads people into missionary service is not nearly that mystical. You can listen to the podcast here or by clicking on the image below.