It all started with a coffee run.
On a trip to the closest city to the Village of Three Temples, International Mission Board missionaries Jason and Robin Ebeyer were praying to find a “person of peace”— someone who would welcome them and help in their ministry efforts.
The Ebeyers have been working for the last few years with the people in Isan, a region in Thailand where the Village of Three Temples is found.
In this village, there is no Christian presence of any kind, and they needed someone to give them an inroad to meet the people. The village is surrounded by rice fields, sugar cane and yucca. A rural market offers locally-grown produce.
As the Ebeyers stopped to get coffee about five miles from the village, they met Tia.
Tia is a mother and wife in her mid-40s. She was a Buddhist; and she knew the cost of leaving her religion. She’d essentially be betraying her family. In Buddhist traditions, no one would attend her funeral when she dies.
When they met Tia, she was extraordinarily kind to the Ebeyers as she served them coffee and was patient with them as they stumbled through the language barrier.
They repeatedly returned to Tia’s coffee shop. As they did, she answered their questions about the language and culture, giving them invaluable insight into the villagers God had led them to serve.
In bits and pieces, the couple explained the gospel to Tia. They started sharing with her in January 2022. She’d been weighing the cost of following Christ since she started to hear the good news of Jesus.
A changed heart
In mid-October, the Lord did a work in her heart, and she prayed to receive Christ.
“She is the quintessential ‘person of peace,’” Jason said. “She opened her heart, opened her home and opened the door to the village where we’ve been ministering.”
Tia has blazed the trail for the Ebeyers outreach to the Village of Three Temples, distributing prescription eyeglasses to those who need them.
Through this project, the IMB missionary couple has seen seven people make professions of faith in less than two months.
By their meeting physical needs, the doors to meet spiritual needs and solving the world’s greatest problem — lostness — have also been opened.
With other IMB missionaries, they’ll be hosting a Christmas celebration for the village, sharing Christmas traditions and the love of Christ with those who are hungry to hear.
While the missionaries have been hosting Christmas celebrations for years, this will be the first of its kind in the Village of Three Temples.
Tia was instrumental in introducing the missionary couple to the village leader who has given them access to the village to do this type of outreach.
Pray for the Ebeyers as they host the first Christmas celebration for the Village of Three Temples on Dec. 18.
Some names may have been changed for security purposes.