Thai Church Holds Record-Breaking Baptism Despite COVID-19

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“We believe it is the merciful hand of God to allow the gospel to spread at this crucial time.”

Things weren’t looking good for the Thai church at the start of 2020. The southeast Asian nation was the first outside China to report a coronavirus case, and analysts feared a long, overwhelming outbreak.

Instead, Thailand is now being praised as one of the only places that was able to effectively contain the pandemic. After a countrywide lockdown in the spring and continued precautions, it celebrated 100 days without a case COVID-19 at the start of September.

Later that week, an evangelical church-planting movement in central Thailand celebrated a milestone of its own—one that wouldn’t be possible without the word of mouth conversations, house gatherings, and in-person testimonies it relies on to spread the gospel.

The Free in Jesus Christ Church Association (FJCCA) held the largest baptism in its history and, it says, the history of the church in Thailand. FJCCA, a Thai-led movement that focuses on village-level evangelism, baptized 1,435 people in a single day on September 6.

Twenty ministers lined up across the same waist-deep reservoir waters that some of them were baptized in, waiting for new believers to come one-by-one from the shore to proclaim their faith and be submerged for the sacrament. The event took two hours.

CT covered FJCCA’s historic growth in a 2019 cover story. That year, the association held a baptism of 520 people that national church leaders said was the largest they’d ever seen in their majority-Buddhist country. This month’s baptism was nearly triple its size.

“It is truly a mystery to the world as to why Thailand has been spared during the COVID pandemic,” said Bob Craft, whose Reach a Village ministry supports FJCCA. “We believe it is the merciful …

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