Steve and Bethany (Tobin) Horst (Anjali, Emmanuel, Tierzah)

Serving in: Bangkok, Thailand

Program name: Long-term service

Serving since:

Steve and Bethany are working with the Life Enrichment Church – a cluster of locally led village-based worshipping groups in the far southeast corner of Thailand’s rural rice farming region of “Isaan.”

After four years of service in Bangkok, during which time they prioritized relationships with Isaan persons, especially those with connections to the Life Enrichment Church, the Horsts are now poised and eager to relate more closely to Isaan people in their home culture. The Life Enrichment Church has invited the Horsts to move to the town of Nam Yuen in order to help establish worshipping groups in this district where there is little to no Christian witness. They will work alongside a small and young team of LEC believers who have likewise moved to Nam Yuen for evangelism and church planting.

The Horsts are also advising VMMissions in future ministry in Bangkok as their relational capital there remains strong.
From their featured Worker Profile, published in the Fall 2016 issue of Transforming:

To see a discipleship movement spread among Isaan migrant workers in Bangkok, Thailand, leaving behind a church that is authentic, can sustain itself and owns its mission, but without many monetary resources. It should be contextualized and about life-change, disciples-making-disciples in a simple church with empowered leaders. Our next step is to find the people who are longing for God’s redemption, and lead them through basic discipleship lessons. We are present to over-worked Isaan people and other destitute refugees, living in a city that boasts ostentatious luxury. We connect with so many diverse classes; it’s rather dizzying, but whether it’s the emptiness of wealth or the pressure-cooker of poverty, there’s good news to hear!

Biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge is ourselves. Our faith is often small and faltering. Bangkok can be an intimidating, fatiguing place to be. Thai people are historically impervious to the gospel. Relationships are complicated by dynamics of wildly different classes and cultures. In particular, friendships in our neighborhood have been slow to grow. Our challenge in the last three years has been having hope and faith. We simply cannot do this alone. There are demonic strongholds that whisper words of condemnation and inadequacy to see us full of doubt and self-pity. The challenge is to put on the armor of God and rise up with hope that God is really going to do a miracle in bringing forth fruit from our lives here in Bangkok.

Biggest joys:
We love seeing delight on our children’s faces, and seeing their joy when we have a chance to see close friends. When our friends and neighbors drop in unannounced. When we hear and share testimonies with our Isaan brothers and sisters of what God is doing. Fresh, delicious fruit. The growing relationship with our Isaan house-helper, Pa Wan, who has been such a joy and helpful resource to have around.

A typical day:
We’re not sure there is such a thing. But a day at home generally includes a combination of housework, drop-in visits by friends and neighbors, correspondence, homeschooling, coffee, market run, prayer and Bible-study and laundry, lots of laundry. If we have an “out day” it will involve hours of commuting across the city (by foot, subway, bus, foot, motorcycle, boat, taxi, bike, and lots of walking) and meeting people whether in a small room or in a massive mall, finding food to eat, and negotiating naps and travel home. These sorts of days are “come what may.” It’s always an adventure living in Bangkok!


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