We met Nuea when she was just 8 years old. She came to the children’s club at our Thai co-workers’ house. She was very different from the other kids in that she was respectful and had a sincere interest in Jesus. She was there not only for the fun, but we also sensed that she actually listened to what she was taught. Besides coming to the Children’s club, she regularly came to our Sunday meetings at our house. And not long after, she brought both her grandma and Grandpa with her. We were overjoyed. When she turned 11, she and her grandparents made the decision to follow Christ and they took baptism. Nuea stayed with us (the church) long after all the other little boys and girls were no longer little and left us. Although she no longer had Thai friends, she still had our two daughters to hang out with, and that was enough for her. She played the box drum and often helped us with worship. She went to church camps and followed us everywhere, even on our Wednesday outreach programs. Even when our two daughters went away for education, she faithfully came to church and to our activities, although, most of the time, she would be the only child in our group. We thought we would never lose her like we did the others. But we were wrong. Nuea bloomed into a strong teenage girl. She learned to sing with the worship team in church and in the process, she became quite a good singer. She first started singing with the band in her school and as she became better, she got invitations to sing at bigger functions, weddings, and eventually in religious functions. Because most of these functions were organized on Sundays, she and her grandmother (her grandfather died not long after he became a Christian) came less and less to church until eventually, they stopped coming altogether. We were hurt and discouraged but we continue to pray for her.
Many times, when we go on outreach or when we distribute tracts, we meet people who tell us that they had gone to church when they were young, or that they had been handed tracts by Christians or missionaries and that had had an impact on them. There are many people like Nuea, who have known the Lord but have gone astray. It is very hard, especially for young people, to stay strong in their faith when all they see in church are grandmas and grandpas. We do not know what lies in her future, but we have a hope that one day, God will bring her back to him. We have stopped trying to bring her back and have instead given the burden to God, who loves her more than we do. Maybe, in her future, sometime, somewhere, she will have another powerful encounter with God and come back to his loving arms once again.
Pray for young Christians, especially in villages, where the community of believers is small and peer pressure from friends in school and the society around them is very strong. Pray for Nuea that she will find her heavenly father again before it is too late.