Story of Preecha Kongkitimanon’s conversion to Christianity
Compiled by Vachiravan Vanlaeiad
I had grown up and lived in the Chinese Sukhawadee Cemetery which is located in Nong Khae District, Saraburi Province, for 40 years. This cemetery is under the supervision of Thailand’s Poleng Chinese Association. My ancestors were Chinese emigrated from Mainland China (with the last name “Lim”) and settled down in Chonburi Province. At 7 years of age, I had since learned Feng Chui science and astrology from various teachers who had performed spiritual ceremonies in the cemetery.
I had started my work life concerning Feng Shui since I was 10 years old. I liked watching several Feng Shui ritual performances, for ex: communicating with spirits, suppressing evil spirits, performing rituals related to the dead, etc. Even at that tender age, I was extremely interested in these things, being able to memorize correctly and accurately methods of divination as well as various procedures of ritual performances regarding cemetery Feng Shui. I had thus started to study the science of Feng Shui, and realized that not only the knowledge was applied to the dead, but to the living also.
After having studied and practiced this science for not so long, I had commenced my career as Feng Shui consultant and leader at 20 years of age. I had been a renowned Feng Shui teacher and astrologer, having various outstanding customers: politicians, civil servants, business persons. Even other cemetery Feng Shui consultants in Thailand had come to consult me. The consulting fees ranged from four thousand to more than hundred thousand Baht, depending on the level of difficulty. Most customers came on holidays and Sundays, my business was thus good and my income quite handsome and considerable. I had been acknowledged as a Feng Shui master. This had rendered me with the opportunity to work with a most excellent and famous Feng Shui consultant and master in Thailand in constructing various cemeteries.
In 1996, I had been hired by Sapan Luang Church to build and keep its new cemetery. While working for the church as head of cemetery technicians, I was also devoted my life to Feng Shui consulting business. However, every time I worked for the church’s cemetery, I could not help myself wondering why, despite these Christians having never used Feng Shui in burying their dead, it seemed they were living happy lives. On the contrary, the cemeteries which had been built using Feng Shui, could not render happiness to the descendents of the dead, resulting in the dead being unearthed and buried again. The reason behind that was, the descendants were not prosperous in both their personal lives and business.
This had rendered a series of questions: Why the descendents of the dead Christians buried in the non-Feng Shui cemetery, were so prosperous and happy despite their loss of loved ones, etc. Also their burial rituals of the dead were interesting: singing songs and preaching, not being so serious and formal like those of non-Christians. At that time I had been pondering these questions until one day I started to survey Sapan Luang Church’s cemetery and noticed that most of the epitaphs said, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’”; “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”; and “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Upon reading these I couldn’t understand the meaning of the words and I did not know, at that time, these were Bible verses.
I had kept all these queries of mine in mind. Soon after that I received all the answers and explanations about these verses from Rev. Wiwat Wongsantichon of Saphan Luang Church. Then I had tried to find the truth whether Feng Shui science could really make people rich. I started by noticing that the ones who came to ask for Feng Shui consultations or services were mostly wealthy because the service charges were very high (if the teachers were famous). I had therefore no doubt that there’s no teacher or master being able to make anyone rich (since the service seekers were already rich). The reasons these wealthy people came to consult the teachers because they were afraid of being poor or wanted to be richer. And if the teachers could make anyone richer, why couldn’t they make the descendants of the dead rich and prosperous. Which resulted in that the descendants had to come back for us Feng Shui consultants to help them unearth and move the dead bodies to other burial sites, etc.
From then on my thought had so changed that I did not want to give Feng Shui services to anyone anymore. But many people had still come to me for help and I had only helped them to feel happy. Not long after that I had been ordered to repair the cemetery building works at Saphan Luang Church (Nakhon Pathom Province), I was at first shocked seeing that the place was located between the railway (at the back) and T-junction (at the front) which is deemed bad or inapplicable. According to Feng Shui principle, this location would render bad luck and poverty to the offspring of the dead. However, after working there for about one week, I had observed that there were many dead bodies of whom their descendants were at that time famous and rich in Thai society. I then asked many teachers/masters why Feng Shui science had no influence over Christians. Most of the answers from these famous teachers were, “They have their God!” And when I had the chance to ask one of the most renowned teachers in Thailand why Christians were not subject to direction setting; picking an auspicious day and time; having their date, month and year of birth foretold; or using Feng Shui, but they were still well-off and prosperous; he reluctantly told me that, “Having God is enough for them (Christians)!”
His answer had made me very confused and I thought, “Whoa! What about us? What about all these things we have studied, learned, and practiced. And what about an enormous amount of time we have spent on our knowledge? What is true and genuine – Feng Shui or Christianity?” The more I thought about this the more I wanted to know the God of Christians; however, I still had no chance to know Him since I did not know where to start! I did not know how to know Him!
I was astonished that even though I had worked at Saphan Luang Church’s cemetery for 8 years, why I still had not known God. During the time, around in the middle of 2005, I had confronted with many challenges, especially in my works, which were so serious that I was shot by a mark man but I could survive the shooting. Although I had known my own fate in advance that I would have misfortune on a specific date, I could not alleviate the seriousness of my bad luck or fix my fate.
When I was very distressed, being unable to solve my problems, I would make meditation to find peace in order to seek some solutions, but without success. Then I had the chance to read the book titled “The Power of Life” which was full of testimonies of the famous Thai Christians from all walks of life. At first I did not believe anything written in it. Anyway, I was like the one who was going to drown, having no way out and no answers. I had no choice but picked the book up and read until I found the sentence stating “…if we don’t confess our sins to God, what would our lives be?” Suddenly I realized that I was a very sinful man since the life I had lived rendered me with the possibility of doing great and disgusting sins. Then and there I thus confessed the sins I had committed for all of my life and prayed to God, “I am a sinner. I want to ask for the chance from You to be a good man and to receive a new life.” After the prayers, I felt spiritually and mentally encouraged.
Then in July 2005, the cemetery’s committee members of the church had made a regular visit to the cemetery on the last Saturday of the month. This time I had so eagerly looked forward to their visit. On that day I had received a copy of Bible as a gift on which I immediately made the record, “Received from Rev. Wirat Wongsantichon on 30 July 2005.” I asked the giver about the occasion of the gift and the answer was, “I don’t know!” While having lunch with the committee members I had thought, “Why there’s nobody inviting me to church?” No sooner than I finished asking that question in my mind, Elder Tawee Suwatpanit had spoken to me, “Preecha, you should go to church once.” I immediately made the answer that I would go to church tomorrow (Sunday).
On the morning of 31 July, I, accompanied with my son, had driven for long distance (nearly 250 kilos to and fro) to the church which is located on Rama IV Road in Bangkok. That day I had experienced and seen Christians worshipping their God for the first time in my life. I had told my son that from now on we would hold tightly to the Christian principles and be devoted and dedicated to this Christian God. And we must be brave to tell others that we were Christians and must read the Bible regularly. After I had opened my heart and soul believing in, and submitting my whole life to, God, and received water baptism in 2006 (followed by my wife and daughter), a miracle happened. That is, my father who had not been living with us for more than 20 years, had come back to stay with us, making us a complete family. And after I had signed up for the class “Following Christ”, I started to understand Christianity more.
Not long after this I had been contacted by my previous benefactors to help them with Feng Shui science. After consulting with Elder Suwat, I felt relieved and eager to meet with them in order to tell them about God. However, one day I was so worried that if I quit being Feng Shui consultant, what I would do to support myself and my family. That night, I had flipped the Bible to the page on which a verse was shown, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1). When I had finished reflecting on this verse, my heart began to strengthen and then not long after that I was awarded with the building works of Maitreechit Church’s cemetery and Piamrak cemetery. Since then my life had been changed. I had the chance not only to proclaim God’s Words to non-believers (Feng Shui consult seekers), I also encouraged some weak Christians (who had sought my services as Feng Shui consultant!) by convincing them that our God was great because even though I, myself a Feng Shui master, had already made a 180-degree turn to worship Him. And I always told them, “Don’t give up your faith in God.”
If you are God’s children, don’t worry about your lives or your future. Neither Feng Shui nor the stars in the sky has influence over you because the Almighty God has guided and lead you and is the Lord of your lives. For “I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods” (Psalm 135:5).