Conversion story of Peter Panyachon,
A Thai Christian writer, columnist and editor based in California, USA
by Vachiravan Vanlaeiad
Peter Panyachon was born in Thailand and at present lives with his wife Sunetra in San Gabriel, California. He is a renowned Thai writer, columnist, editor, and founder of the Thai weekly Christian News and Articles located at www.PeterDreamLand.com, which has been on the web since 2002. This website is a member of the US Evangelical Press Association. The web’s propose is to be a mediating forum for Thai Christians far away from home (living in various parts of the world). He is also a Thai columnist of Sereechai Newspaper which is based in Los Angeles, California. He has authored a Thai book titled “Hak Buang Satan” (Breaking the Snare of Satan), relating his life story and experiences of breaking the power of Satan and being delivered into the Hands of God. Below is the English translation of his brief conversion story:
“I have been a curious person since childhood, especially in the matters of spirits and life after death. In the former time, no matter how far the famous exorcists lived, I would press my ways to learn from them or ask them to receive me as their student. I was so zealous in black magic spells that I had observed the precepts and practiced vegetarianism including wearing big strings of beads as well as amulets and charms. I used to be the leader of Thai sacred ceremony of indoctrination and of worshipping of various gods and deities every Thursday night at Wat Don Yannawa’s cemetery (a well-known temple cemetery used for burying the dead bodies of immigrant Chinese in the past, especially the ones having no kith and kin). As a result, I was also famed as a great exorcist. Everyday there would be possessed people coming to see me for my exorcism of evil spirits. Some having been afflicted with dark arts came for their healing, some for making communication with their dead relatives and siblings, and some for fortune telling and astrology reading.
“I used to be so obsessed with black magic that my life was very unhappy and without peace: having been so harassed by evil spirits that I could hardly survive. I had been living my life like this until one day I felt extremely tired and my heart and mind was so upset and confused. As a result, I had given up observing the precepts and practicing vegetarianism and turned to drinking alcohol and visiting nightclubs and bars instead. Finally I was so overwhelmed by desolation, loneliness, downheartedness, and hopelessness that I had thought of committing a suicide. Thank God that before doing that I heard an inner voice suggesting me to leave Thailand.
“I wanted to flee from these predicaments of mine to stay in a faraway land. I thus had decided to leave everything behind and evacuate myself and my family to the United States.
“However, leaving Thailand for the US could not prevent these evil spirits from harassing us. One day, my son who at that time was studying in a high school had deliriousness without a cause. At that time I could not do anything to help my son since my strings of beads (my last weapons of fighting the evil spirits) had already been given to my friend. I then had to send him to a hospital. Both doctors and my son’s school teachers had concluded and agreed unanimously that he had to be moved to the school for the abnormal. Hearing this made my knees wobble and my heart sink.
“Then one day while my son was treated and taken care of at our residence, there was a young man who knew my wife visiting us. He wore jeans and brushed beard. I had noticed his sitting and talking attentively with my son and after awhile seen him put his hand on my son’s shoulder and prayed (with his eyes shut).
“My wife had related to me that this weird guy was named Sherman. He owned the tents selling second-handed cars on Valley road. He was surely not a hippy or vagabond as I first thought. Both he and his wife were so kind-hearted, using their free time picking up teenagers from various places to church. They had also opened their house as a gymnasium for the youngsters to do exercise. Every Sunday, Sherman would drive his old van to pick my son up and send him to church. As letting him take my son to church every Sunday morning, I had observed that my son’s symptom was improving day by day. Not long after that he was completely healed. At that time I thought that Sherman’s God had mercy on us by sending him to help our son.
“Then my wife started to follow my son to church. This church was a Thai church located in Pasadena which was situated about 20 miles north of Los Angeles. Even though I did not believe or trust in this God, however, I had followed my wife and son to make observations at the church every Sunday. I had also met and made friends with many Thais. Besides, the church’s Pastor was excellent, being compassionate and helpful.
“This had gone on until one day my interest in this God and Christianity was so much that I picked up the Bible and started reading it. When opening the first page, I found a story which caught my attention. That was, when this God dared to proclaim that He was the Creator of the earth and heavens as well as of human beings and all things. Since being a curious person, I wanted to know why God had created all things. I then further read and finished the 66 Books of the Bible within one month. However, my reading was only a skip and skim. Despite this, I had been caught by the stories of Jesus casting out demons and evil spirits with His own power. Because I used to exorcise the spirits with my own power and strength, but they (in the possessed person) had used a screw driver to stab me and nearly took my life!
“I was also astonished when finding out that the Bible had almost every answer I wanted to know: Where human beings had come from? Where would man go after death? As well as the matters concerning spiritualism that used to obsess over me so much. The answers to these questions had been made in the Bible more than 2,000 years ago.
“Wanting to know this God, one day, I had made the decision to pray, submitting my body, mind, thought, and spirit to Him. Not long after that, I had asked the church’s Pastor to pray for me one more time. While he was laying his hand on me and praying, I started to shake, my both feet stomping the floor with great sound. I had tried to control myself but without success. Finally when I calmed down, the Pastor had asked me to pray and invite Jesus Christ into my heart. While I was praying, the pastor was also casting the evil spirits and demons out of my life. Then the Holy Spirit was invited to dwell in my life instead.
“After I arrived home that day, I slept soundly. Since the day I was born, I just really knew and experienced, on that night, the meaning of the word PEACE.”