True story of Vichai Trangkhasombat, former Senior Vice President
of Coca-Cola Southeast & West Asia Division
By Vachiravan Vanlaeiad
Vichai was born into “Nam Phud” family, in Trang Province (a Southern Province of Thailand). This last name was specially created according to Nam Phud District by a former governor for his father as a result of his various benefits rendered to the Province. Later Vichai’s family name was changed to “Trangkhasombat” and it has been his last name since.
After graduation from a university in Bangkok, he had worked at Department of Sciences, the Thai Ministry of Industry. On 18 July 1964, Vichai had married Phanni Pestonji at Wattana Wittaya Church in Bangkok and subsequently had 3 children: two sons and one daughter. When his wife was 13 years old, she had made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. So, before marriage, she had him make a vow that he would let their future children become Christians and go to church with her.
During his marriage, his wife had told him about God all the time but he was so confident in himself that everytime he would burst out and brush aside her effort. After his wife had been constantly witnessing and praying for him for 10 years, Vichai was finally converted into Christianity. However, before his conversion, there were many experiences regarding the supernatural powers of God he had encountered, resulting in his absolutely undenying of the existence of this Great and Powerful God.
While spending his marriage life with Phanni, he had often seen many miracles happening to his wife and children. Moreover, Vichai had known about God when he was a boarder in the Bangkok Christian College for many years and one of his sisters was also a Christian! Nevertheless, he was so self-confident, never believing in any god or having faith in any religion (except in himself). As a result, he would deny all the miracles and always gave all credit behind them to coincidence. One day, he was so furious when being confronted by his wife about his possible conversion that he snapped at her, trampling his feet and shouting, “In this life, I’ll never become a Christian!”
After arriving Bangkok from the US following his further studies there, Vichai had continued working at the Ministry of Industry. Seven years had passed when he was delegated as the Ministry’s representative to attend a conference in Germany. There Vichai met a person who at that time worked with the Coca-Cola Southeast & West Asia Region, and that person had invited him to work with the Company. So in 1969, Vichai had resigned from the government and started working with Coca-Cola Export Corporation (Southeast and West Asia Region) since.
Throughout 1969 – 1975, Vichai had made various business trips to Laos, Cambodia, South Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. During these times there were various wars occurred both in Cambodia and South Vietnam, urging his wife to pray so hard for him all the time, especially during a few days before South Vietnam was defeated. Despite the serious situations, during 1974 – 1975 Vichai had to travel to South Vietnam often since Coke had a very good sell there. This had nearly caused him being arrested by Vietcongs while making business trips in various cities in South Vietnam. And many a time he had to run for his life amidst bullets and bombs.
One day, by the time the car in which Vichai had traveled was crossing a big bridge and heading to the downtown of Saigon, the Vietcongs had already successfully captured the bridge (they might dive in the River Kong and emerged from under that bridge). The car had to rapidly move backwards and drove away from them (which were like a thrilling scene in the movie!). After this incident, Vichai was hailed as the Company’s hero.
Before returning to Saigon, Vichai worked in Danang which was a city located in the northern part of South Vietnam. At that time the city was surrounded and nearly, in any minute, seized by the Vietcongs. Danang was then the location of the biggest US military base in the country. One night, most people had fled and deserted the city. The next day at about 5 am, Vichai had gone to Coca-Cola factory. However, the factory was closed with only one security staff guarding the door. At about 7 am, the factory manager had arrived and told Vichai to go to the airport immediately. When Vichai arrived at the airport, it was very crowded since Danang was falling. However, he could narrowly escape from Danang and finally arrived Saigon with the help of a Danang’s high-ranking police officer (since the plane’s seats were limited). In the meantime, Saigon was also being seiged by the Vietcongs, resulting in the sounds of gunshot and bombs being heard throughout 24 hours.
A few days before Saigon fell, there had been heavy bombings. During the time of Vichai’s staying in a hotel situated at the heart of Saigon, one day there were bomb sounds being heard all around him and all the glasses in his hotel room were breaking. When looking down from his room’s windows, he saw people fleeing chaotically, causing him fear…thinking about the possibility of returning home. Fear had made him think of life. It had also made him, for the first time, kneel down beside his bed and pray to God, “If God exists, please save my life and help take me home safely!”
That night, while Vichai was half asleep (at about midnight), he had a dream, seeing Jesus Christ coming into his room. There was a very beautiful halo of light surrounding His body. Jesus had walked towards Vichai’s bed, raising His nail-scarred hands and talking to him, “Don’t be afraid, I’m with you!” He was suddenly awakened and sat up, wondering why Jesus came to visit and encourage him in this situation despite his having not formally received and believed on Him. Actually, in any bad situations, Vichai would pray for protection and leading from God according to the suggestions of his wife and Christian friends.
One day while departing from Qui Nhon for Saigon by a small airplane with carrying capacity of only 30 passengers (it is a WWII-era airplane) and while the plane was landing at an airport, there was a heavy rain storm. The plane had tried to land for many times but unsuccessful since the storm was tempestuous and raining was so hard that the airport was invisible. The plane swayed like a leaf and shook violently all the time as if it were breaking up into pieces. The passengers could not sit but had to fasten their hands to the rope holders. Everyone was airsick and many were vomiting. The plane’s toilet door was broken and fell to the floor. All the passengers thought they must surely die. Then the captain announced that he had to land the plane since oil was running out. He also asked all the passengers to prepare themselves for emergencies: the plane might crash! Everybody was so afraid. In this crisis, the only thing Vichai could do was pray and ask for mercy from God and his prayers were answered! After the plane had circled over the invisible airport (due to heavy rain) for about 15 minutes, the captain made the decision to land the plane. The plane finally and safely hit the ground with a great sound. The passengers then applauded and cheered with a very lound noise. Thank God!
During the time Vichai worked in Saigon, Coca-Cola factory had confronted many difficult issues. He wanted to solve all the problems and travelled back to Thailand as soon as possible due to the crisis mentioned above. Vichai thus prayed for wisdom being granted to him and his subordinates to tackle the problems. And God had answered all his prayers; Vichai was convinced that God surely must exist.
When all work problems had been solved, Vichai was ready to go home. However, everyday there were many people waiting at the airport to flee from South Vietnam, causing all flights being fully booked. Thank God that Vichai knew a staff of the Thai International Airlines who had helped him obtain a seat on an airplane. Finally, Vichai could return home and two weeks later South Vietnam was seized by Vietcongs.
So, first words Vichai talked to his wife at Don Mueang Airport upon arriving Bangkok were, “God is real!” And Vichai had tremendously changed since. He started to go to church and attend as many rivivals/seminars as possible to study the Words of God. At one time when he saw a banner behind the pulput at a church, saying: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7), he wondered how he could ask God since he had not known Him yet. However, when he arrived home, he started to praise God by singing “Hallelujah” since he had not known any other songs.
At one revival, the preacher preached on “Peace in Life”. This had made Vichai wonder why he had everything in life but no happiness. What was happiness? During these times he was very confused and upset. When the preacher had made the invitation for anyone to accept Christ, Vichai was hesitated, telling God: “Give me some time to study more about You and I’ll invite You into my heart.”
Following his seeking God with all his heart: praying, reading the Bible, and singing praises to God, his countenance was gradually changed from seriousness to cheerfulness, which is in accordance with the Scriptures: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And finally Vichai had opened his heart to accept Jesus Christ as his Personal Helper and Savior.
One day, while a woman preacher Maude from Canada was running a revival in Thailand and asked if anybody wanted to receive baptism in the Holy Spirit, Vichai had raised his hand. This was the first time he had been spiritually baptized. As soon as Preacher Maude laid her hand on Vichai, he started to speak in a different language (for half an hour!). While speaking in tongues, he was crying. That day when Vichai arrived home, he and his family had continued praying and God had spoken through Vichai for the first time: “Don’t be afraid, I am your Heavenly Father! I have heard and known your problems. I will help you. You have to believe and trust in Me. I will solve all your problems. Don’t be afraid!” And not long after that God solved all their problems as he had said. Praises be to Him!
Following his buying the new and present home, Vichai and his wife had invited Rev. Dr. Wirachai Kowae, presently Senior Pastor of Romyen Church (Bangkok Evangelistic Centre), to join his family in celebrating the new house. At that time, Rev. Dr. David Yonggi Cho was the preacher in a big revival organized in Bangkok. Dr. Wirachai had also invited Dr. Cho and his entourage (including Rev. G. L. Johnson and Rev. Heston from the US) to the celebration party.
After Rev. Johnson had prayed, thanking God for the food and asking for His blessings upon Vichai’s family, Dr. Cho received a prophesy from God: “I (God) am working in Thailand and will pour out the Holy Spirit onto Thailand. As a result, there will be many converts and this family will be the one I choose to bring blessings to Thailand.” And then Dr. Cho had embraced Vichai, saying: “This is a prophecy from God!”
Later in June 1979, Vichai and his family had moved to Hong Kong as a result of Vichai’s having been reassigned to work in the Headquarters of Coca-Cola Far East Ltd., which was located in Hong Kong.
At that time Hong Kong was the gateway to Mainland China. Christian missionaries from all over the world had traveled to and stayed in Hong Kong to prepare to move God’s works into China. Since China had closed its country for 30 long years, this was the most opportune time for them to follow the great commission of Jesus Christ in spreading the Good News.
During first year in Hong Kong, Vichai had not served God yet. However, God had granted these times for him and his wife to learn the methods and technics of serving Him from these missionaries.
In 1980, Vichai had been assigned to work in China. During the first few years, he and his colleagues had encountered difficulties. They could not open up factories according to the Company’s plan. As a result, some senior staffs had resigned. Vichai was so discouraged that he informed his boss of his desire to be transferred back to Thailand. And if his desire were not granted, he would resign from the Company. His boss thus told him to think twice, giving him 2-week time.
After that Vichai and his wife had prayed so hard for God’s guidance and God told him to return to China one more time. This time God told him to change his work attitudes and rely more on Him.
During the first 3 years in China, Vichai had approached the Chinese and talked business with them only. However, this time when he had arrived China, he would go straight to the hotel and pray hard to God, asking for His leading. Then he would not only make friends with the Chinese, but also talk to them about their families, asking about their family members’ welfare. Finally Vichai could make good friends with them. Vichai had asked God’s guidance for these encounters as well as for all meetings and works, resulting in contract singing for the construction of several Coca-Cola factories in China! This had made the Company’s Hong Kong staffs so awestruct that he was summoned back there to give the accounts of his great and amazing successes.
Therefore, a university in China had invited Vichai to be a guest speaker/lecturer in an international conferernce attended by business persons and academicians from all over the world, on the subject regarding the successs of opening up China’s market. In this meeting Vichai had shared his most important secret with the attendants: Building sincere relationships (that is, to love his neighbor as himself) with his co-investors had rendered him this great success. Moreover, a Bible verse was also his key to success: “…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Vichai had worked with Coca-Cola Co., Ltd. until he was 60 years old and the Company had asked him to further his service for another 5 years in the position of Advisor. However, after 2 years of working with the Company as an advisor ended, Vichai’s contract had not been extended due to Thailand’s buble economy during the time. Vichai had worked with the Company for 32 years. Three years before his retirement, he was promoted to be the Company’s Senior Vice President of Coca-Cola Southeast and West Asia Division. Since he is the only Thai who had been in such a high position, he has always been so thankful to God for this.
Throughout the life of walking in the supernatural with God, Vichai had also experienced God’s miraculous healing innumerous times, both in his life and the lives of others and of those very dear to him: his wife, sister, etc.). And God had also lavished him with the gifts of healing the sick, driving out the evil spirits, prophesying, preaching, etc., as many as specified in the Bible.
Since converting into Christianity in 1975 at Jaisamarn Church (Sukhumvit Soi 6), Vichai had been so showered with God’s grace and blessings that he wanted to serve God. Vichai thus started from giving testimony, leading worship, and acting as a committee member in various groups both inside and outside the church. After being baptized in the Holy Spirit, he has commenced his serious prayer life since. Everyday he would pray and speak in tongues for hours. Then he would prophesy according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and lay on of hands to heal the sick. As time went by, God had granted him with more spiritual gifts and he himself had more clearly seen the manifestations of God. He had also been led by God to help in the construction of various church buildings: Romyen Church (on Pattanakarn Road) and Hope of Bangkok Church (Klongtoey area).
During many months in Hong Kong, Vichai had not served God yet. However, Hong Kong was then the Headquaters of Coca-Cola Far East, supervising several Asian countries. As a result, Vichai had the chance to learn many things both from the missionaries based in Hong Kong and from Christians in various countries under the supervision of the Company (South Korea, etc.).
In March 1980, Vichai had been sent to work in China (according to God’s revelation to him in advance). In the meantime, God had also led him to serve in the position of committee member of Asian Outreach International (AOI) which was headquartered in Hong Kong. The AOI was then an International Christian Organization which played the important role in China, with the objectives of spreading the Good News throughout Asia. Vichai thus started his God’s service by serving with other God’s servants from various countries as a director. And many years later, he was elected to be the AOI Chairperson and had been in the Board of AOI for many years even after returning to Thailand. While working in Hong Kong, Vichai was serving God in Victory Christian Center (as the Pastor’s advisor and occasional preacher).
All his changes, movements and transfers (after his conversion), both in work and life, had been made known to Vichai in advance by God. For ex, many months before the end of 1986, God had told him he would be transferred back to Bangkok (after working in Hong Kong for 8 years) and that he would serve Him in the important works there. The first one was being the director organizing a big conference of Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International Group, which, more than 30 years ago, Vichai was one of its 7 founding members. Vichai had prepared this conference for one full year and invited many famous overseas speakers to speak at the conference. There were hundreds of participants from all over the world plus approx. 2,500 Thais.
Later in 2002 Vichai had the chance to serve God with Rev. Samorn Ruangchan who had set up the evangelistic caravan team, travelling to various provinces throughout Thailand to proclaim the Good News of Jesus. As a result of this evangelism team, the Promise Baptist Church (Paknam) has invited him to preach on every 5th Sunday of the month until now.
Two years later (about 2004), God had led Vichai to serve Him with Teacher Thaemporn Lertkulwat at Thiansang Church on Tuesdays. Vichai had learned from her how to drive out the evil spirits and God had used him more in praying for the sick and cast out the demons. Vichai has preached to the Church’s Tuesday group every Tuesday and to its congregation on every 4th Sunday of the month for nearly 8 years.
Moreover, Vichai had been invited to preach and serve God in foreign countries: Cambodia, Korea, etc. The reason Vichai has seriously and continuously served God is that he has constantly experienced the manifestations of God since the day he had opened his heart to accept Jesus Christ and these experiences have absolutely confirmed the existence and great power of God.
On 26 December 2004, Mr. Wanchai Jiratraithan had organized a special evangelism at the Nimibutr National Stadium on the subject of “The Miracle Christmas”. On that day there were many diplomats from various countries participating in the event (which was broadcasting via satellite to viewers all over the world). In this event, even though Vichai had preached a short sermon, there were nearly 400 persons opening their hearts to accept Christ. Praise the Lord!
Over the past 20 years, Vichai had been invited from various churches, both in Bangkok and other provinces, to preach, proclaim the Good News, and arrange the revivals and seminars. He has sincerely and wholeheartedly served God because of His grace being granted to him throughout his life of believing. For him, serving God is excitement and happiness, especially when God has confirmed his works and responded with various signs and wonders.
On 14 May 2011, Mr. Sompob Trisiripisarn had organized a special evangelistic event at Avana Hotel on the subject of “the Power of Life”, and there were nearly 30 persons converted. This kind of evangelism has been organized every 2-3 months at the hotel and, by the grace of God, it will be continually held according to the great commission of Jesus. In the same way, Vichai’s ministry will not end here, but will go on until the last day of his life on earth or the day of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.