Each person’s journey to discovering Jesus and ultimately accepting both His love and His divine direction is as unique as he or she is. Some people are intrigued by the analyses they hear in prophecy seminars, while others become friends with Adventist neighbors and slowly begin asking questions about their faith. One person may surrender to Christ’s leading within a matter of days or weeks, while another may take years to work through issues and doubts before reaching a decisive turning point.
It’s particularly intriguing to compare the journeys of people who come from similar backgrounds. Such is the case with Prakasit Lekasuwan and Kharom Promutit, two AWR producers in Thailand … who first were Buddhist monks.
“I Wanted the Same Kind of Life”
“I come from a Buddhist background. The main reason why I was ordained as a monk was for my mother’s sake. Also, I wanted to study Buddhism, and becoming a monk gave me this opportunity.
“As a young man, I spent about three years in a monastery. But I began worrying about my future, so I resigned from the monkhood and began looking for a job. Finally, I got a job with a television company, where I had the opportunity to work on many kinds of productions.
“Through my work, I had a chance to come in contact with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I met many Adventist church members, and as I got to know them, we became friends. I found that they were good people – kind and humble.
“I had questions in my mind about why these people were being so nice to me and why they were such good people. I wanted to know what made them be like that. I met Dr. Rapeepun David, the director of the Mission Health Promotion Center in Muak Lek, and asked her, ‘Why do your people act and live like this; why are you so kind and humble?’
“She said, ‘That is the way of life of the Christian.’ And I thought to myself, ‘This is the kind of life I have been looking for for so long.’
“After I finished my work at the health center, I had to go to Bangkok again to make another tape. There I worked closely with the chaplain’s department at Bangkok Adventist Hospital. I asked one worker, ‘If I want to know more about Jesus, whom shall I talk to, or where can I find the best answer that I am looking for?’ That is when I met Mrs. Pranee, one of the chaplains, and she began to talk to me and give me Bible studies.
“After that, I had the chance to go back to the Mission Health Promotion Center. I met an American Adventist family – the family of Mr. Byron Raynold – whom I grew to respect. Through them I became convinced that I had to become a Seventh-day Adventist. Their life so impressed and inspired me; they were always helping people and smiling at them. The way they raised their children made me feel that I wanted to have the same kind of family for myself. Their acts, their words, made me so inspired that I wanted to have the same kind of life in the future.
“That was the beginning for me to start studying Christianity seriously, because I wanted to know more about how to become a Christian. It took some time for me to learn the Bible studies, but after a while, I was baptized as a church member in the Bangkok Adventist Hospital Church. I resigned from my former work and joined the marketing department at the hospital. Later, I studied theology at Asia-Pacific International University, and when I graduated I became a pastor.”
At the time of this interview, Lekasuwan was working in Ayuthaya Province, which is considered a center of Buddhism in Thailand. This is a new area, where there are no Seventh-day Adventists. He was making plans to move to the Philippines, to work on a master’s degree in theology and public health.
“I Would Take this Opportunity to Study”
“I came to know God when I was a student at Mission College (now Asia-Pacific International University). I was not an Adventist, but what impressed me was seeing the life of my teachers who lived on campus. They had lovely Christian families; other friends of mine who were Adventist were also nice and kind. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to know more about Christianity and study more about Jesus Christ.
“I began to think of my old friends, and I told them, ‘I have found something different from what I have … a new kind of life.’ Some of them said, ‘Well, you think you have found something new, and you think you are impressed by Christians because you don’t know the real Buddhism. You do not totally understand the teachings of Buddha.’
“So I thought that someday I should be ordained as a monk to learn more about Buddhism. When I turned 20 years of age, I took the chance to become a monk – not only to learn more about Buddhism, but also for the sake of my mother. She wanted to make me read for myself, and at the same time, I could study Buddhism and compare it with the teachings of Christianty.
“I told my friends that I would be ordained as a monk. I would take this opportunity to study Buddhism, and what I learned I would share with them later. So I took about three months to be a monk in a Buddhist temple and study Buddhism. But I found that it was not enough, so I extended for another three months. All in all, I was in the monastery for six months.
“I found that the teachings of Buddha are very good for our lives and are applicable in our everyday life. I found that morally, Buddhism and Christianity are both good religions. One thing I found that Buddhism does not have – and that the Christian religion could give me – was the Savior. We really need the Savior, and I found that I too needed the Savior. I knew that I needed someone who had the power to deliver me, who could help me.
“That is how I felt, and I realized that yes, there is a living God. He made so many miracles come into my life, and I must learn more about this living God. So I spent a lot of time studying with Adventist teachers and pastors. Finally, I decided to be baptized and become a church member.
“After I graduated from college, I went out and began to work, but deep down in my heart, I wanted to serve God. So someone suggested that I had better take theology, so I could become a pastor. I went to study at our college in the Philippines, and when I graduated, I came back and began to work with the Thailand Adventist Mission. Currently, I am a pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Chinese Church in Bangkok.
“One thing that made me want to join the work of AWR was because I want to make use of my talents in IT (information technology). I wanted to do something to spread the good news of the Savior – through the Internet, video, and radio.”