The children of the labourers came back in the schoolbus to the dusty, grey shacks in the quarry where they are living. I waited for them, and started the children’s club in the shadow of the only tree. When the children’s club ends, most fathers return from their work. Then I continued with a Bible study geared towards the adults. I only had one hour between the return of the men and the moment they would be drunk again.
But it was mainly the women who came and listened. They had very little in their dreary lives, and this seemed to offer a glimmer of hope. But in the course of time one by one they disappeared. One found another man and left her family. One came to the church once, but never returned. One was disappointed God did not cure her AIDS. In the end only one became a member of the church. For a while the light of the Gospel seemed to break through in the darkness of this factory. But the people loved the darkness more than the light. That was the end of one of the few openings I ever had in the great mission field of Bangkok’s factories.
A few million Isaan moved to Bangkok and surrounding provinces for work. Most of them hold manual jobs. In many factories, the majority of the workers comes from Isaan. Because they make long hours and do not have time off on Sundays, factory workers are not often reached with the Gospel.We would love to find people who think of creative ways to start Bible study groups in factories or in the apartments of the workers.
As Isaan labourers become Christians in Bangkok, a link can be made with the ministry in Isaan itself. In that way the relatives of the new believers may be reached with the Gospel as well.