SERVING IN: Thailand, Asia
MINISTRY FOCUS: Evangelism
Andre and Karen Provost have a long tenure in missionary service. As a single person, Karen worked with children in Honduras from 1976 until 1985. Andre graduated from Liberty Bible College in 1984 as valedictorian and a year later earned his Master of Theology Degree. In 1985, they were married and moved to Thailand.
The first seven years in Thailand, they assisted local churches while learning the language and gaining knowledge of the culture. In 1992, burdened by unchurched areas, they moved to Bang Bua Thong, an unchurched district, where they planted their first house church. Here, Andre was introduced to the Train and Multiply program developed by George Patterson which he uses until this day.
In 1995, Andre developed a new approach in bringing Christ to Thai villagers: Breaking into the Thai Culture Joining a family from the Eastern Mennonite Mission, they move to an unreached district in Ubon Rathathani Province in Northeast Thailand to implemented the plan with the Isan people group. The plan was successful in planting a network of thirteen contextualized village-based house churches. In 2002, the network was placed into the hands of local leadership whom they raised up. (As of August 2018, that network has expanded to 22 churches located in five districts in the southern sector of the province.) With four children, Andre and Karen then relocated to Bangkok, where Karen assisted in an international school while Andre coached leaders, evangelized, started an English center and assisted the Thai Natural Church Development Organization.
From 2006 to 2008, during a sabbatical in Los Angeles, Andre took courses at Fuller Seminary, preached and taught in Thai Churches while Karen got her teaching credentials.
From the fall of 2008 until 2013, they lived in Quito, Ecuador where Karen taught at Alliance Academy International while Andre evangelized and started a disciple making movement among Colombian refugees, impoverished Ecuadorians and prisoners. The Ecuadorian work continues under the leadership of an Ecuadorian worker whom he trained up.
In 2013, they moved to Vancouver, Washington where Karen supports English Language Learners while Andre is implementing a disciple making movement among the homeless and impoverished at the Friends of the Carpenter friendship center. They also take trips to Ecuador and Thailand to train leaders.
God is speaking to them about returning to Thailand in 2019 to continue their work with the rural Isan people. Their plans are to move to the adjacent province where they previously worked to expand the village-based church planting movement into that province. Their long-range goal is to train nationals to plant churches throughout the thousands of isolated villages scattered across the twenty-two provinces of Northeast Thailand.
When we went to drop Mr. Nimit off, he invited us to their home. There, Mr. Nimit broke out with enthusiasm “We have been praying for three years for someone to come and help us start a church in our district. Just last week, I remember even praying extra hard. Then you show up! I believe you are the answer to our prayers.” Mr. Nimit and Mrs. Mai are venders at the farmer markets which rotate from place to place. They now have decided to take Thursdays off, believing that God would provide for the loss in income, as they join Ms. Ying, Karen, and I in evangelizing their district.
Earlier this month, while talking with our pastor about the opposition we have been experiencing, he asked us if we had a dedicated prayer team who pray specifically for us while we enter these villages. We had not established such a group. Then, last Saturday, I was meeting with a men’s online Bible study group. The leader, without knowing that we were seeking volunteers to intercede for us, asked me to send them detailed prayer requests to pray over during the week.
I preached in a small church last Sunday challenging the believers to get involved in the task of reaching the villages. They need training in presenting the gospel. Pray that God stirs some of their hearts to be trained by us and join Him in completing the task of getting the gospel to the villages.
The task is great, and we cannot accomplish it without you. We covet your prayers to see it through. Please keep praying with us into this vision. Pray for God to lead us to the people and leaders He has chosen to initiate these movements. Pray for wisdom and guidance for us as we go forward.
Since the “Book of Acts” movie has already been translated in Thai, it would have been a remarkably simple matter to bring it to them on our next visit. That is if it had not been for the intrusion of the COVID-19 virus. In order to eradicate the pandemic in Thailand, we have been required to stay home, except for essential travel, for an undetermined amount of time.
Our plans were to return to this village on March 17th after returning from Malaysia. Well, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into those plans. We returned to Thailand on March 13th to find that we needed to quarantine ourselves for fourteen days. We are now on day five. The good news is that I now hold a religious affairs visa which is renewable yearly in Thailand.
We have shared some Bible stories with Swaeng, Oth, and some of the other villagers. We also left them some
literature. This Saturday evening, February 29th, we will show the Jesus movie in the village meeting shelter where
we will speak more on these matters. Please pray that God reveals Himself to Swaeng, Oth and the Kui people as
they hear more Bible stories and testimonies.
As many of you know, Karen fell on New Year’s Day while exercising with our landlady. She tripped over a 3-inch rubber
hose which crossed the jogging track. She broke her arm and wrist. She is now home recuperating with a large cast and
a metal plate in her wrist. Please pray for her healing.
While waiting for our new tourist visas to be processed, Karen and I are now enjoying the week with Naomi until we return to Thailand on December 8th. Naomi is treating us to a hike through the Lord of the Ring’s Hobbiton movie set and then a relaxing time in New Zealand’s thermal hot springs in Rotorua. Thank you for your prayers and financial partnership.
We are applying to the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand for a missionary visa. Please pray that we get selected for one of their open slots and that the process goes smoothly and quickly. Pray also that we find a house to rent soon. Thank you for allowing us to be your hands and feet to the Isaan people.
We are now back in Vancouver, WA with only a month left before we board our plane to Thailand. We are in a whirlwind
of sorting, packing and getting our mobile home ready to sell. We want to thank everyone of you senders who have now
brought us to the 90% mark of being fully funded and for those who are praying for us. Please pray for a quick sale of our
mobile home and for a peace as to how to fit our lives into six suitcases. Thank you for your prayers and
Isan villagers are still eagerly waiting to hear the gospel for the first time. We will not postpone here longer. Therefore, we now have our one-way tickets and will be leaving on October 28 to Thailand.