I have grown up in a Christian family, I have experienced Gods presence as a child, and I have seen miracles being performed by God in front of my very eyes, but still I drifted away from Him in my teenage years. The world was luring me with everything it had to offer: money, parties, and adventure! I had a great childhood with great godly parents and grandparents, so I have no obvious reason to blame my behaviour on. I believed that I was a Christian even if I was living as a non-Christian. I prayed every night and asked for forgiveness for the same sins over and over again. I also requested a lot of other things from God. One of them always was, “Please give me a Christian wife!” I did not understand at that time that being a Christian was so much more than following rules and having a lot of requests of God; in my life there was no relationship with Jesus! My emptiness became bigger and bigger, and the solution was more parties, more money, more girls, and more adventure! I always worked hard and spend it all on the above. I believe that when people looked at me, they saw a hardworking, honest, and responsible man, a clown to make the parties funnier, but just a normal guy. And really, in Sweden I was normal according to Swedish standards, and in Thailand I was normal by the standards held in those circles. For me also there were not really any abnormal behaviours on my side, I just enjoyed life.
After dating my wife for a couple of years, we decided to take the step of marriage. She got the visa to Sweden, and now the focus was on building the perfect family life with houses, cars, vacations, etc. She was not a Christian, but I accepted her anyway and started to tell her about God, what Jesus did on the cross, and gave her the foundations. But still my life was a mess, and my testimony was not affirming my beliefs. And yet, the words grew in my wife’s heart and became a foundation for a much later conversion.
Life went on, our daughter was born, and everything was good, except that the hollowness in my heart was still there. Finally, after 10 years in Sweden, everything started to fall apart. My business went bankrupt and a lot of other difficulties came up, which brought me to the escape plan: let’s move to Thailand; that will fix our problems!
A new life began
Since we came to Thailand eight years ago, God has worked miracles in our lives. We came running away from problems and wanting to start fresh. We were not living as Christians at that time, and we were really not planning to change that. We absolutely did not expect God to meet with us and start His transforming work in us.
But God had other plans, it was not long after we arrived here that things started to change. Our ideas, plans, business, and finances all crashed. Every way around us started to close, and finally I had a bad accident and ended up in the hospital. There was no way to turn except to turn to Jesus! I told my wife there in the hospital that now things had to change, that when I am out of here we will start to attend church! And so we surrendered to Jesus, and it was just amazing to be filled with the peace of God, feeling His love and presence. The emptiness was filled with the Spirit of God, and know I found out what it was all about. It was all about Him and not about me. It was all about humbling myself and letting God start to transform me into the likeness of Christ.
We both got baptized (I got the Christian wife that I always prayed for!), and we started an amazing journey together with Jesus. He started to talk to us through His word, dreams, and visions, and He directed us into ministry. We still had a very tough time financially. Some days we did not know how to buy food. We basically had to trust God for everything, and He always provided, many times in very miraculous ways! These struggles went on for about two years. I call that period of our lives a “kick start with God,” and I am really thankful for it, because we had to learn how to trust and rely on Him and His promises for us as His children.
God led us to the sea gypsies, a poor and mistreated people group who are not very well accepted by the community. We went there to help them with basic needs but mostly to teach them about Jesus. Every Thursday we were meeting there for fellowship, teaching, worshiping, and praying. After a while, we were a group of about 20 people, and many non-believers came with their sick to be prayed for. It was an amazing time to see how the Holy Spirit started to work in the group. After about two years, we withdraw from the village and the group started to attend local churches.
Besides this, God led us into starting a home church. In the beginning it was only our family, but slowly there came more and more people. After a two year period, I met a Canadian missionary who was sent here to start an international church. He basically had the same vision from God as us, so we decided to do the work together, and it resulted in All Nations Church Phuket, which now has about 70 people attending regularly.
We are also running a small construction business as a way to provide for ourselves. God blessed that business a lot, and for a while we had 25 employees who we were able to bless in the same way. Things have been changing drastically though. Lately, for some reason, work has totally run out, and we start to see ourselves coming to a point where we need to decide how to go about. We realize that whatever we do, we need to do with Jesus in focus, to expand His kingdom and not ours. We are created by Him and for Him to give Him glory. By expanding His love and bringing people to Him, we will do that in a very practical way. We have been praying a lot for God to lead us, and He has revealed a way for us to serve the community around us, in a way that we can use our previous experiences as non-believers to be a blessing for two groups of people in great need: foreign male expats or tourists and exploited Asian women.