Mitchell Jennings, 19-year-old sophomore cross-cultural ministry major, shares how he found his place this summer in Thailand.
OBU sophomore Mitchell Jennings, a cross-cultural ministry major, traveled with other students and mentors to the other side of the globe this summer to the bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand, as part of OBU’s Global Outreach program. The trip took them to the metropolitan area in and around Bangkok, where the students met with and served alongside Thai Christians as they cared for Pakistani refugees. Many of these refugees were Ahmadi Muslims or Christians who fled to Thailand to escape religious persecution.
The students worked with a local church to provide desperately needed supplies to the refugee families. Due to limited resources, the church was only able to provide one bag of provisions per family every two weeks.
“We met several times a week with the refugees from Pakistan,” Jennings said. “They had little to nothing, so their physical needs were extensive.”
Although resources were limited, Jennings said the gifts of food and supplies gave the refugees a great hope that God will continue to provide for them. In addition to distributing the supplies, the students worked with refugee children at a small school set up just for them.
Jennings’ said his faith was strengthened as he worked with the refugees. He could see that their faith in Jesus was strong, despite a lack of material possessions.
“Hearing the Pakistani refugees tell stories of the persecution they faced, and then seeing how strong their faith remained even in the face of that persecution, encouraged me so much in my own walk,” he said. “Many of them were staring death in the face simply because they professed to be saved by the blood of Jesus. I was reminded that the blood of Christ offers the same salvation for me as it does for them.”
Although he found it difficult to hear about the hatred and persecution they suffered, Jennings said God used it to teach him valuable lessons.
“I’ve grown up reading about Paul in the Bible,” he said. “This summer, I met a modern day ‘Paul,’ a man in an immigrant prison who prayed for and shared the gospel with the prison guards and his fellow inmates. God used this man’s testimony to show me the importance of allowing God to use me as I help others grow into a faith worthy of persecution.”
Jennings hopes to one day serve and work with the people of northern Africa.
“My experience in Thailand taught me many things that I will be able to apply in the future,” he said. “My heart is encouraged, because I know that although I may face persecution, God is faithful to His followers.”