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Jesus is worth it


Chris and Dora Barbee live and work at a welfare school campus in Roi Et, Thailand. They teach English, give music lessons, and host a fellowship group in their home each week. Anywhere from 25-65 students gather in the Barbees’ living room every Tuesday where they sing, play games, and study the stories of Jesus.

Jiin* has been involved in the Barbees’ ministry for years. She made the decision to follow Jesus and has been growing in her faith. Over time, Jiin developed into a student leader and disciples other Thai students in their relationship with Jesus.

Each October, Chris, Dora, and their Thai teammates lead any seventh-through-twelfth-grade students who are interested in a Bible camp. During the camp the students learn about Jesus, study the Bible, play games, and fellowship together.

During camp, Jiin wept and said, “It is all so hard. I love Jesus, He is so good to me, and I love growing with Him, but my family makes it so hard."

Jiin’s family are strict Buddhist and believe that their daughter’s life needs to be focused on the rituals of the Buddhist religion. Jiin knows that following Jesus is about a relationship with Him, and many of the things she is being asked to do by her parents seem to be at odds with her blossoming faith in Jesus. She is trying to balance respecting her family by attending different rituals with them and wholeheartedly following Jesus. Jiin knows that she is the greatest hope her parents have of ever encountering Jesus, so she doesn’t want to damage their relationship in any way.

“We grieved with her about the difficulty of her life,” said Chris. “We reminded her that Jesus understands, and He is crying along with her over the hearts of her family.”

During the week of camp, Jiin wept over the strained relationship she has with her family and prayed for understanding. Chris and Dora continued to teach about Jesus and how He provided an example as to how we should live. One night, the Barbees held a foot washing ceremony with their students.

The Thai culture views feet as the dirtiest part of the body, unfit to be touched by anyone. As Chris and Dora told about Jesus washing people’s feet, and as they washed their students’ feet, understanding of His nature swept over the kids.

Jiin approached Chris and Dora with tears in her eyes. She said, "Thank you for reminding me about how amazing Jesus is! It makes all the difficult situations worth it!"

“We want to invest in the lives of our students and help them find opportunities to be a blessing to their families and their community,” said Chris. “Jiin is learning to follow Jesus respectfully inside her Buddhist culture. These students are the greatest hope for their families to ever encounter the love of Jesus. It’s their hearts’ desire that their families know Jesus as Lord, so please join us in praying for that with them.”