“I’ve always been inquisitive,” says Tan with a mischievous smile. “When I was a girl, I asked a famous monk in town how humanity came into being. I remember feeling disappointed with his reply, and that may have been when I determined to learn the truth to the many questions whirling around in my mind. I began studying the Bible, and 20 years later, I decided to become a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.”
Recently baptized, Tan was bursting to share her new faith with others, so she became a program host on the local Adventist FM station in Bangkok.
“It’s funny,” Tan says. “When I was young, I never dreamed I’d be working in radio one day, but for some reason I’d practice reading the newspaper in front of the mirror.”
At New Life Radio, Tan began hosting a live program every morning, and her voice could be heard across the sprawling, sweltering metro area of more than 14 million people. She had no way to know how many listeners were tuning in or who they were, but she took her new role seriously.
“I spent a lot of time in prayer before each program,” says Tan. “I wanted to be sure that each word I said was inspired by God’s Spirit.”
One of the people listening to New Life Radio was a woman named Pensee. She had been scanning radio stations one day when she came across Tan’s program. She became interested in the messages she was hearing and signed up for Voice of Prophecy Bible lessons.
“Pensee sent in many completed lessons until she got her certificate,” Tan says. “She was very curious. She wanted to know everything about the Bible.” Later, Pensee’s husband, Suwit, joined her in studying the lessons.
Initially, Tan talked with Pensee and Suwit on the phone almost daily. “They knew me as a friend, but only through the radio and phone,” says Tan. “Then they invited me to their house. Later, they wanted to take me to their church, and I was happy to go. When they went to another province to do evangelism for their church, I went along.”
Finally, Tan invited Pensee and Suwit to visit her church, but she never pressured them to take action on the new religious concepts they were learning.
Another radio announcer invited listeners to join a new Adventist group that was meeting next to the station. Pensee and Suwit began attending that church in addition to meeting with their own church family each week. “At that time, we had two hearts,” Suwit says, “but eventually we made the choice to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Today, Pensee and Suwit live in the countryside near Asia-Pacific International University in Muak Lek, Thailand. Although they had spent their entire adult lives in the big city, they felt that God was calling them to come to Muak Lek. Their Adventist pastor in Bangkok had bought land in Muak Lek, and Pensee and Suwit bought a piece of property there on short notice.
“We were scared at first,” Suwit says. “We were used to Bangkok, and it was very wild out here. But we were sure God was leading us.” They worked on clearing the land, building an attractive house, and planting an assortment of fruit trees.
Where was their dear friend Tan at this point in the story? She had moved away from Bangkok some time before and had lost touch with Pensee and Suwit. But it turned out that she was not far away at all: she was studying at Asia-Pacific International University, minutes away. The three friends, along with Tan’s husband, were overjoyed to be reunited.
“Pensee and Suwit don’t have children of their own, so they’ve adopted many students into their home and become a real center of warmth and hospitality,” Tan says. “They’re very active as elders in the church, and the community is blessed by their outreach.”
Looking back at her experience with New Life Radio, Tan says, “I received such joy through doing the radio program and from hearing listeners say, ‘The Bible verses you read really encouraged me.’ I still keep the letters from people who wrote to me. This is my joy!”
“There are 64 million people in Thailand,” says Dr. Surachet Insom, Adventist World Radio’s Asia/Pacific region director for Thailand and Laos. “How else can we hope to reach all of them, except through radio?”
Adventist World Radio (AWR) is the official global radio ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its mission is to broadcast the Adventist hope in Christ to the unreached people groups of the world in their own languages. AWR’s programs can be heard in more than 100 languages through AM/FM and shortwave radio, on demand, and on podcasts at awr.org and iTunes.
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