The Green Light: The Prison Ministry has been one of our greatest delights at Disciple Thailand Ministries. We have been a part of this work for many years now and it still amazes us how much favor we receive in these places.
Years ago there was something special that happened while Jonathan was a part of another ministry called Abba House. The Thai government (which operates in a country that is 92% Buddhist) allowed us to go into their prison and share openly about Jesus. We took this opportunity and went there on a weekly basis, ministering to many. It was truly a very exciting time. After some time, we received an invitation to go down to Bangkok to speak with the top leaders who were over all the prisons in Thailand about what we were teaching.
They were so curious about what curriculum we were teaching because people’s lives were being changed! We shared that the Scriptures was our curriculum and it was the Lord who had done all these things! They then gave us the green light to go into any prison in Thailand. As a result, we at Disciple Thailand Ministries have been going into a number of prisons and are seeing God move in very powerful ways.
Background: In the prisons of Thailand we see a very sad state of affairs. For the believers residing in there many live secluded from one another and don’t operate as a church body. They have little or no vision to see the prison changed for Christ.
For the rest of the prisoners we see an even sadder situation. Since most of them are Buddhist, they find little if any reason for changing their lifestyle. In their religion a man is known by his works. If you are good you will be reincarnated into a better being and if you are bad you will come back as an animal. There is no true forgiveness or second chances in this life.
As a result, when you go to prison you are branded for life as a “bad” person by family and friends. You can imagine the hope that rises when we come in and tell these people that they can be new creations in Christ! I believe it is because of this that the Gospel finds very fertile soil in these places.
Our Work and Vision: At the present, we minister to three prisons around the city of Chiang Mai. We have recently hired Supakit, Sangla’s husband, to address the growing needs there. Our vision behind this work is two pronged.
First we are wanting to gather the Christian leaders in the prison together to hear their concerns, provide vision and encouragement, and disciple them. The second prong is to then bring in all the rest of the believers in order to worship and teach them the basics of the Scriptures. It is in this time that we are able to provide communion, baptize them, train them, and encourage them.
Our vision: We desire to see a healthy operating church in every prison we minister to, with the believers envisioned to reach the rest of their fellow prisoners with the gospel. We praise God that He has been moving in powerful ways and that many have come to know, be baptized, and encouraged in these difficult places.
We believe that in the years to come many from these prisons will be set free, equipped, and then sent out from Disciple Thailand Ministries to bring change in their villages and homes for the Lord.
Jonathan Hawk is an Imperial Valley native, born and raised in Holtville who was called by God to minister to the people of Thailand with his wife, Ashley.