She was the “person of peace” — someone who would welcome them and help in their ministry efforts — for Jason and Robin Ebeyer when they entered a region in Thailand where the Village of Three Temples is found.
Tia, a mother and wife in her mid-40s, came to faith last October after meeting the Ebeyers in a coffee shop. She opened the doors for the International Mission Board missionary couple to enter her village. There, they started an outreach, providing eyeglasses to villagers along with the hope of the gospel and a steadfast missionary presence among the Issan of Thailand.
Even as Tia has only just begun to grow in her new faith, she has met challenges. Spiritual warfare is real for Tia, but God’s provision is just as real.
A few months ago, Tia’s daughter, who is in her 20s, was involved in an accident. She’d paid for transport in an open-bed truck with multiple passengers in the back. The driver fell asleep and went off the road. One in the back lost his life.
Tia’s daughter survived, but she suffered serious injuries.
Later, Tia herself was in a motorcycle accident. Another driver hit her, knocking her off the road and into a sign. Thankfully, she was wearing a helmet, and the damage to the helmet was visible, showing what would have happened to her face had she not been wearing it.
Her friends and family told her, “This has happened because of your decision. You’ve upset the spirits.”
Tia asked her missionary friends their thoughts.
Their response was honest and encouraging.
“We believe in the spirit world,” Jason answered her. “But you now serve the Most High God. We call on Him for protection. Your daughter’s life was spared, and your life was spared.”
Not only did these incidents strengthen Tia’s faith, but she also saw how God’s church rallies around her people and how other believers partner to meet each other’s needs.
After Tia’s accident, the Ebeyers reached out to friends in the U.S. and other believers in Thailand, asking for prayer for Tia’s healing and for the man responsible for the accident to pay for repairs on the motorcycle for Tia. This was crucial for her to get to and from work to earn a living.
Without being asked, believers began donating to repair the motorcycle and help Tia, who’d had to miss work as well. In the end the man who caused the accident paid for the repairs and the money went to replace income for the work she missed.
When the Ebeyers handed her a white envelope, she was overwhelmed and tried to reject it. Why would people she didn’t even know help her?
“This is what Christians do for one another,” Robin explained. “We help.”
This type of generosity didn’t make sense in Tia’s social construct. But the missionaries were able to explain to her that things in God’s family often do not.
What the devil meant for evil, God used for good to strengthen this new believer’s faith and teach her what it really means to be part of the family of God.
“There is truly something great about the cooperative focus and efforts of Southern Baptists,” Jason said. “With the modern day ability to instantly call on prayer support from our fellow believers around the world, we know that we are never alone.”
Jason continued, “It has blessed my heart tremendously while on Stateside Assignment for people to ask about things we have written in our monthly newsletter. When we thank them for giving to the cooperative efforts of Southern Baptists, we mean it with every fiber of our being.”
Pray for Tia as she continues to grow in her faith and learn what it means to truly be a member of God’s family.