Porntip Trai-nateepakdee’s Story of Deliverance from Spiritualism
and of Building a Church
By Vachiravan Vanlaeiad
(This English writing is based on the Thai version written in July 2004.)
Porntip was the eldest daughter with one older brother, two younger sisters and two younger brothers. She was born into a middle class and very conservative Chinese family migrated from Mainland China. Her older brother was the most favorite of her parents, Porntip thus had to work extremely hard since childhood and been constantly treated badly by her mother. This had made her always yearn for freedom.
As a result, Porntip had sought consolation and peace of mind from various gods since childhood. She had been living very religious life: fasting after the Chinese fashion, observing religious precepts, attending Buddhist temples, yearly ordaining as a nun (without shaving one’s head and eyebrows), constantly making meditation, consulting mediums, regularly making votive offerings, etc. Even though all these things had rendered her with peace but this kind of peace lasted for only a short time, and was not worth the times and money she had been squandering since young.
Since graduating from a vocational school, she had worked with an import company. During these times she had been gradually freed from gigantic responsibilities and abusive life at home. Porntip always wondered that although her family members were religious, why they did not love and live harmoniously…why they always quarreled and fought with each other!
While working, Porntip had a chance to know a Christian who was one of her boss’ friends and an elder in Romyen Church. He and his wife had often invited her and her colleagues to have dinner at his place, telling them about God. Anyway, she was not interested in Christianity since she had been implanted (by her parents) with fear and hatred towards this foreign religion.
Although she was over 30 years old, she was still single because she wanted to hold on to her freedom she had highly treasured for as long as possible. However, after seeing Somchai, the owner of renowned ABC Records Partnership Limited, she had made the decision to marry him which would change the course of her whole life. Somchai had divorced his wife, and was 13 years older than Porntip. There were various reasons behind this marriage, ranging from her mother’s insistence, her own yearning for freedom from her family, to Somchai’s and her extreme belief in superstitions. Before deciding to marry her, Somchai had brought this marriage to consult with an astrologer and the result was positive…that was living together would bring good luck to his life and business, etc.
After marriage, Porntip had resigned from work to assist in her husband’s business. Somchai was a very conservative and superstitious Chinese husband. He was a self-made man and had been very successful in business without any help from his parents. He thus was highly self-confident while Porntip was independent and free-spirited. Even though they were very religious, their family life was always in serious conflicts, resulting in constant quarrels and fighting. Sometimes the brawling was so severe that the neighbors once had to rush Porntip to a hospital because of her cracked skull (as a result of being beaten by her husband).
Though their business was prosperous, their family life was in chaos and without peace. Somchai was also a stingy husband, never giving money to his wife. Porntip had to steal her husband’s money gained from selling the cassette tapes and records in the shop to open up a gift shop in a nearby department store. She and her only son had only depended on the income received from that gift shop.
Throughout 11 years of marriage, Porntip was in hell (from which she had thought of successfully escaping once she was married!). During these times her already religious life since childhood had been greatly emphasized. Not only she consulted with the mediums, she herself also acted as a medium! However, it seemed nothing could rescue her out of this miserable life. During the final years of Somchai’s life, his business went downward. He had lost his gigantic amount of money in various ways: losing of law cases (copyright law violations), losing money invested in a closed down trust company, etc. These had forced Somchai to buy out his business. From these reasons plus his unhealthy habits (eating high fat foods, smoking heavily, etc.), he had died of heart attack at the age of 55, being survived by his wife and only son (12 years old). This had ended Porntip’s miserable marriage.
She and her son then rented an apartment room in a Bangkok’s business center which was located within walking distance to her gift shop at a department store. As day went by, her business kept on prospering.
One day while tending to her business (after her husband’s death for 3 months), her former boss’ friend, Elder Theerachai Saranrom of Romyen Church, had invited her to church. At first she refused since she had already been participated in the possession ceremony by two spirits of male and female Bhramin. After the ceremony she constantly felt pain and big weight pressed down upon her shoulders. She felt like those two spirits having clung onto her shoulders all the time, causing slouch while walking and swarthy countenance. While being possessed, she would feel goose bumps and could not control herself, and sometimes could see the faces of these spirits.
Thank God that she went to church on one Sunday. While Christian brothers and sisters were singing praises to God, she felt so uncomfortable and cramped like something was going to gush out of her bosom that she couldn’t stand any longer. Despite feeling terrible all the time while worshiping God, she wondered who this God was and why He was so great! She also wondered why there were no idols or images inside this church building. Her feeling of discomfort was so great that she had to cry out loud while her tears were gushing from her eyes. She was so uncontrollable that Rev. Dr. Wirachai Kowae, the church’s senior pastor, had to walk down from the pulpit to lay hand and pray for her until she could sit calmly to listen to the sermon.
After the preaching, Dr. Wirachai asked if anybody wanted to accept Jesus Christ as his/her Savior, Porntip wanted to walk to the pulpit but felt her hands and feet being tied so tight that she couldn’t walk nor do anything.
A week after that, Elder Theerachai had brought Pastor Winit Wongsonsern of Immanuel Baptist Church to see her. When the pastor read the Bible verses about the results of being obedient and about the Gospel, Porntip felt like being cut to her heart.
Later some servants of God from the Immanuel Church had visited and prayed for her. Once while they were praying, everyone was crying. Not long after that when Porntip was alone in her room, she would cry so hard all the time for three days. At last she had to get down on her knees and talk to God, “God, I wanted to surrender to You. But if I had come to You, my parents would possibly kill me. But if You want to choose me, could you please take away my crying now. I’m going to die. I couldn’t stand any longer.” After that her tears were instantly dried. She felt so overjoyed that she wanted to jump up and down and dance and praise Him.
One day a friend of hers had persuaded her to go worship a Chinese god and thus came to spend one night with Porntip at her place. That night Porntip had dreamed that she was transported to the high plains. She felt like flying up through layers of clouds, passing huge amount of dead bodies. She finally arrived at a very white and clean place which she had never seen before in her life. She then saw an arch door. She also saw many men in white robe and all had shoulder-length, brown hair. However, there was only one man in white robe who wore a beard and whiskers and a crown on his head. In that dream she herself had also worn white robe and knelt before that bearded man. Then that man had removed his crown and put it on her head. She also remembered that all around her were golden, beautiful glittering sparks, causing tremendous excitement to her which woke her up instantly.
Her friend asked about the dream and she related it all to her, resulting in the conclusion from her friend that this God must have surely called her. Despite the dream, she and her friend went to worship that Chinese god and Porntip had also used this opportunity to make farewell to this god. After that Porntip had called a minister and told him that she wanted to accept God into her heart but didn’t know how, causing extreme joy to him.
The next morning, Pastor Winit had come to pray for her to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savoir. While Porntip was praying aloud as well as believing in her heart, the feeling of two spirits clinging onto her shoulders had been immediately disappeared.
Even though she had worshiped God at the Immanuel Baptist Church for one month, Porntip still kept all her images and idols at her place. One day she had heard an audible voice (which she believed it was God’s), telling her to collect all those idols and images and gave them to the church. This time she was obedient.
During her first year at church, every time during worship everyone was startled and surprised by hearing Porntip’s loud shouts. This was because of her extreme stubbornness, not fully surrendering and yielding to the Lord Jesus Christ despite constantly perceiving a voice saying, “Love and surrender to Him with all your heart!” Later she finally and wholeheartedly surrendered everything to God.
As soon as she had made the decision to yield all of her life to God, her shouts during praising God in Church were immediately stopped. She then had sought God with all her heart. Before converting she always woke up at 4 or 5 am to chant prayers to her various gods and make meditation. After knowing Jesus she still woke up early and spent a huge amount of time worshipping and praying to Him as well as studying His words in the Bible. The more she knew Him, the more she loved Him because He always gave good things to her (compared with all her former gods who always wanted something in return). More miraculously was that her bitterness and strong resentment towards her parents and siblings were gradually gone. She could forgive them and finally be reconciled to them. Furthermore, after 4 years of attending church, she told her family members about this true God. At first she was severely offended. However, with her persistence and perseverance, her mother and siblings were converted (her father had died before her encounter with God).
Porntip was a very strong and serious Christian, seeking God with all of her heart, soul, and time, resulting in her participation in prayer meetings at church on Wednesdays and Fridays. Being a widow with a son, she had to be both father and mother and head of the family. She had strived with the full help of God to survive in this wide and cruel world.
Since the second year of conversion, Porntip had read the story of building the house of God by Solomon (David was prohibited by God to build it because of his bloodshed hands). This had greatly inspired her to build God’s house as a commemoration of her love towards Him.
Porntip was very sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, she thus was aware that this gigantic task would be accomplished only by the full support of God (labor, financial, physical, mental, etc.). It was like Nehemiah whom God used to build and renovate His house. However, after receiving this vision and inspiration, she had since asked for intellect and guidance from God because she was only a merchant with vocational education and no management experience at all.
God had first led her to buy a plot of land of 4 rais and 57 square wahs (note: 1 acre equals 2.529 rais and 1 square wah equals 4 square meters) at Baan Phrik Sub-district, Baan Na District, Nakorn Nayok province (a province near Bangkok) in the amount of 1,000,000 Baht. This was against all odds since since her husband’s death, her income had been gradually decreased. However, after 6 months of conversion, God had turned over the seemingly bad situation by miraculously increasing her income which was not only sufficient for supporting her son and herself, but more importantly enough to buy the said land plot.
After buying the land, God had wonderfully and constantly rendered her with various kinds of supports in constructing the church building. Praises be to the Lord that her church was eventually completed (with the same style and size as the Immanuel Baptist Church’s).
Looking back it was greatly amazing to Porntip that God had led her every step of the way to fulfill this gigantic task. Anyway there were sometimes that she felt like reaching a dead end, being highly in need or extremely desperate, she would ask God what she should do next to continue with this divine task assigned to her, and He would always deliver her or opened up the way for her to step forward. Finally the church was completed and dedicated to God as a commemoration of love from a widow with low education and no experience or skills in building construction.
She has given all praises and thanks to God who had made this possible and stressed that the secret behind her success is the story recorded in Luke, chapter 18 (the widow and the unjust judge).