My name is Shane, and I was born in Bangkok, Thailand. My mother is a government official and my father, a lawyer. My family seemed like any other on the outside, but inside it was not. My dad is an alcoholic. He always used to fight with my mom. When I was 5 years old, I saw my dad try to shoot my mom three different times. He was always destroying my house. I had no hope, no one to talk to.
When I was 12, I started to drink, smoke and use drugs. I became addicted and soon began selling drugs. I would wake at 3 in the afternoon, play video games until 6 and then meet my friends to do things together. I came home and drank from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Then I would wake again at 3 p.m. During the school year, I failed almost all my subjects because I didn’t even try. I knew I was a failure in every area of life. My life was an unending, meaningless circle.
English: a way to get more money from Mom
One day a friend invited me to study English. I was interested because, according to traditions in Thai families, I could get more money from my mom if I went to an extra school — and I could use that money to buy cigarettes or drugs. I came to Santisuk English School Jan. 3, 2013. I could not understand any English at all. I wondered why my teacher wanted to teach me and treated me nicely.
Even when I asked very stupid questions, she didn’t mind. Sometimes she didn’t know the answer to my question. The next day she would come to class and give me the answer. I started to wonder why these people were so nice. I heard there were Christians in this school, and I wanted to see what Christians looked like. So Feb. 8, 2013, I went alone to my first Santisuk church meeting, even though I was not invited.
At first I didn’t like the people. I thought they were too nice, too smiley and too friendly to me. I thought they lied to themselves and lived in their own world. That first night, before the service I sat by one of my teachers, who couldn’t communicate much with me. Later, when we were eating, I sat by a foreign stranger who had a bright book. I asked him, “What is that?”
“This is the Bible,” he said and opened it and showed me the first chapter. I could not understand what he said at all, but at that time I always carried a dictionary. He translated all the words for me. I was amazed he wanted me to know about God that much.
After the meal, I went to the service. They sang songs about God. I looked around and could not find their God image. I stood up and sat down and stood up and sat down again, just doing what they did. And then I saw the offering bags and thought, They are robbing people of money again.
‘Never met the guy named Jesus’
Suddenly, one guy went up front and preached about the Old Testament story of Joseph. He told how Joseph didn’t sleep with Potiphar’s wife because he loved God. I was stunned and had many questions about Joseph and God.
Then the speaker asked, “What is love?” I had no idea. I had never received love from my parents. I had never been loved by my friends. The speaker said, “God is love.” I can’t explain my feelings in that moment. The speaker asked, “Do you know how much God loves you?” I thought, I don’t know. He told the crowd, “God sent his only Son to die on a cross for you!” Again, I couldn’t explain my feelings.
I had never met the guy named Jesus, and I had never done anything for him. Why would he want to save me? If he was God, he would have no reason to forgive me. I was totally unworthy. I was nothing. I was not the kind of person he should save. I wondered who God was and why he did that for me. I decided to seek God.
I came to church again and again and attended one of the cell groups. I thought: Why should I wait for him. He already saved me at the cross, and he blesses me every single day. Why shouldn’t I accept him to be my God and my Savior? I desired to accept Christ, so on March 10, 2013, that’s what I did.
After I came to Christ, my life changed a lot. I stopped drinking, smoking and using drugs. God used me to help save my mom, my neighbor and my best friend and his brother. I realized I could catch on to English quickly. I could have never come this far without God and the people God used to change my life. I thank them, and may God bless them.
Shane, English teacher, Santisuk English School
Shane is an assistant cell leader, worship translator and part-time English teacher at Santisuk English School, Bangkok, Thailand. He attends the main campus church, Peace Fellowship.