A Broughton man and his wife are back in the U.S. for the summer months, taking a break from their missionary work in Thailand, located in Southeast Asia.
Dwain and Becky Anderson — currently vacationing in a camper trailer in Benton — teach at Lanna Theological Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and spoke at Raleigh First Baptist Church Monday evening.
"Thailand has changed since we arrived in 1984. Back then there were no phones and one had to go to the post office to make a call. Later, there were phone stores with about three phones per store. Now those phone stores have become Internet cafes with about 30 computers. Most of the changes we have seen have been in technology and infrastructure, like roads. There are four-lane roads now in Thailand. These major roads are not everywhere and they are not like our Interstates but they are better," said Dwain.
An area in which technology is making changes in Thailand is agriculture. The water buffalos have been replaced in many fields with petroleum powered machines that farmers walk behind to do their work in the rice fields. These machines are replacing hand labor.
"In the larger cities we have many American chain restaurants like McDonalds, We also have Dairy Queen, Outback, Pizza Hut and KFC," he said.
Thailand, a longtime U.S. ally, was formerly called Siam until 1939. Its current monarch is Bhumibol Adulyade, who has ruled since 1946. He is the world's longest reigning monarch and is respected and revered by the Thai people. Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary democracy system since 1932. It is similar to the British system.
"The main religion is Buddism. Monks in orange robes are a common sight on the streets. Our family spent from 1981 to 1991 working as overseas missionaries. The biggest part of that time was spent in Thailand. We worked mostly in the mountainous North," Anderson said. "Our work was mostly with tribal people. We taught the Bible and preached the message of Jesus."
The two returned to the U.S. for several years, before being led back to Thailand.
"We came back to the U.S. when our daughter and son reached high school age in 1991. Since 2005 we have been back in Thailand, in the North, teaching at Lanna Theological Center, a Bible college for training evangelists. I teach class and my wife, Becky, works in the library," Anderson said.
Anderson said missionary work is a challenge in a country full of idol worshipping.
"The really important message we want to bring you about Thailand is that it is a nation full of people who are loved by God but don't even know it. The streets are full of people who have never heard the gospel message in a meaningful way. From the oldest to the youngest, they are bowing down to worship idols. Thai people need the message of Jesus," said Anderson.