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Of Course the Homeless Guy Spoke English

During our first week in Chiang Mai I went on a run to explore around the city. I had spent the whole day working in an office and wanted some time to decompress. I asked the Lord to send me on an adventure and I took to the streets in search of something to do. I ended up passing by a canal that had trail along side of it. Immediately the prospect of trail running peaked my interest and I jogged to see where it ended up. The river that ran through the canal was an unappealing brown color but I saw several people kayaking in it as well as some riverboat tours operating. I brought 100 baht with me as emergency money and that was the exact amount I needed to kayak! It was such an awesome afternoon. I just paddled on the river and prayed while enjoying the scenery and people watching the locals. I was very satisfied with my unexpected adventure, but it wasn’t over yet. As I was leaving I felt the Lord pressing on my heart to vow to him that I would go back another day and share the gospel with the guy who rented me the kayak. I thought he spoke pretty good English so I was excited for the plans God had for this guy.

I didn’t go back to the canal until 2 weeks later but I came with the drive to do what I felt like God called me to do. It was a warm, sunny day and I ran back to the canal praying that he would be there and God would open his heart to receive the good news. I went to his courtyard where he rented the boats and found him watching TV with his son. I tried talking to him and found out he did not speak as much English as I thought. In fact, he didn’t speak a lick of it. I shared the gospel with him through google translate on his son’s phone but I don’t think the message sunk in.

I left confused and discouraged. I thought, “God why would you send me all the back here for this?” I walked about 30 feet from the kayaking place and passed by homeless man eating outside of his tent. He spoke to me in great English, “Hello, how are you?” I thought sarcastically, “of course the homeless guy speaks English but the business owner doesn’t – freaking Thailand.” I talked to the homeless man for a while and learned that God had already recently been working in his life. He had a job as a security guard on the canal and made 900 baht a month, which is like $30. I learned that he had a friend who had been bringing him to church recently and he wanted to get a bible to learn more about it. I was able to share with him who Jesus is and I told him I could get him a bible. He said to come by the next day with the bible and we could read together. For the past month we had been studying the book of James as a team. He had a Thai name, but he said his English name was James. I took this as a confirmation that this is the man that God had sent me to all along.

I got a hold of a Thai-English bible from our church and took my teammates, Jonathan and Malia, to join us for a bible study. We brought James some dinner and sat outside his tent answering questions that he had about Christianity. It was hard for him to understand prayer because at one point he had been training to be a monk. All he had learned was memorizing and saying prayers he was taught. He didn’t understand that he could say his own prayers and have intimacy with the Father. He was very grateful just to have people to visit with him and would not stop hugging us as we left. He didn’t formally pray to accept Jesus but he said that he wanted to convert and that he would continue reading his bible after we left. He said, “when you come back to Chiang Mai, you will find me in church.” It turned out to be an awesome last day in Chiang Mai. Pray for James that he would come to true understanding that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light.



  1. The Lord never fails. My heart is singing to hear this testimonial. May the Lord continue to guide you and His voice always be clear. In Jesus’s name Amen

  2. The Lord never fails. My heart is singing to hear this testimonial. May the Lord continue to guide you and His voice always be clear. In Jesus’s name Amen

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