BY PAESOL VEERAKITTI
I was born and raised in Bangkok, and my mother came to know the Lord when I was 7 years old. Back then I was pretty much considered a Buddhist because everyone else was a Buddhist. When my mom got converted, she started to take me to church and I began to learn more and more about God and Jesus. She got me converted shortly after that, but only for the sake of title of religion. I didn’t really understand the whole thing; it was just a “religion” to me. I was young and didn’t really care much about “the meaning of life”, I just wanted to have fun as a kid.
My mom and dad didn’t at all have a good marriage; they were always fighting and a lot of times
were very violent. My worst fear is that one day my dad would pick up a gun and kill my mom. My mom would often times run away from my dad, but my dad would always find her no matter where she went.
Until when I was about 8, my mom planned to run away from my dad to USA. I remember I had to keep that as a secret for about a year until her plan was a go. I remember we had to be very sneaky about it, and my mom kept telling me that if my dad found out, he would kill her, and possibly me and my sister. I was so afraid that that’s going to happen, so I kept my mouth shut. All along my mom ministered to me about the Lord, she taught me how to pray, before bed and before every meal that the Lord would keep us safe, and provide us with opportunity to escape from our dad. We were living in fear. Until the day came when the 3 of us got the chance to go to USA for the first time, it was such an adventure, my sister and I knew not a word of English and my mom was very struggling, but we made it through. In all these times my mom kept telling us that it was the Lord that’s taking care of us, keeping us safe and providing us with wonderful friends that always helped us no matter what, and with no circumstances and they were Christians. That’s when I really got closer to knowing the realness of God, but still I didn’t really know a lot about God, just the fact that my mom believed that all things came from Him, and I too believed that there was a great guy I couldn’t see helping my mom, and that’s all it mattered, I just didn’t want to lose my mom. I got baptized when I was 9, but the only reason was because my mom was getting baptized and would go to be with God, so I must get baptized so that I too could go and be with my mom. Basically, my mom was the center of my universe.
We stayed in Nabraska, USA for a year and a half. When we got back to Thailand, my mom still went to church, but as I grew older, I grew distance from church, it was boring to me, and I’d rather stay home and play with my friends on Sundays. I eventually stopped going to church, but once in a while, my mom would make a really good deal I couldn’t refuse for me to go to church, but still I didn’t really care about God at all, to me He was just an unreal being that people thought He’s real, but He might be real, I didn’t know, didn’t really care too much. So that was my mind set about God until I was about 15 years old. At that time, I was pretty much a strong believer in evolution; I was a big fan of science, anything that’s scientific, I’d believe it. I used to believe that when we die, that’s the end, no feelings no nothing, just like a blank screen when you turn off the TV. Until one day, I started to wonder about supernatural, I wondered, was this it? Was this? I pondered and began to think about it for a while and began searching for “meaning of Life.” I pondered and pondered about it until I came to a conclusion one day that if all the ghosts and supernatural stuff were real, then God was real, then there was something more to life.
I began searching for “supernatural experiences.” I went to a so called “haunted houses” to look for ghosts, went to well known for “ghost infested graveyards” looking for ghosts, I did weegee boards and all kinds of “ghosts’ games” to look for “supernatural experience” but I found nothing that was solid enough to convince me that there was a supernatural world out there. So I came to a conclusion, there was no such thing as supernatural, only science that was true, if God could not be tested and proved by science, then there was no God. I became an atheist, but still called myself a Christian, I’d tell everyone that I believed in God, just to indicate my “religion”, to fill in paper forms as Christian religion so that I didn’t have to do all these silly Buddhist customs, I could just say “no thanks, I can’t do that I am a Christian”.
I still prayed, before meal, before bed, but out of habit, I didn’t really believe in it, but it made me feel good for some reasons. There was some comfort that I didn’t understand in prayer, even just a simple prayer, usually it was that God would protect my mom, that she’d be safe. God could exist, but I doubted it. That was my mind set for the longest time.
When I was about 16 I was pretty much almost living alone at that period, my mom and my sister came to USA pretty much for good, and I lived across the street from my dad, but he wasn’t really there that much, he was always out in other provinces for his work. The only times I would see him was when he was giving me money for living, usually in the morning, I would go to his house as he was sleeping, and I would wake him up and he would give me money. But there were periods when my dad was home a lot, and I really go to spend time with my dad, those were the good times. A lot of times when he was home, my dad would take me out to dinner or movies, we got along pretty well during that period, I really got to know my dad a lot better. I remember nights that he would teach me for hours and hours of his philosophy of life, and his idea of living. I admired his wisdom and knowledge and the things he learned from life, although some of them I didn’t agree, but still I really thought that my dad was a very intelligent man. My dad changed so much after we got back from USA, he said he learned his lessons. He told me how much he missed us and that for the whole time he could hardly sleep because he missed us so much. How he would have our pictures all over his house and he would sleep with my toys and my sister’s toys in his arms crying. He became a really good dad in my sight during that time.
Until the day came when I was 17, I decided to become an exchange student to USA. I didn’t tell my dad because I knew he would be very upset, but I told him eventually, and he took it surprisingly well. I was an exchange student to California; I got a host family as a very strong Christian family. I learned a lot about Christianity during that one year of stay. I got really close to my host dad, Joe Himden. He was a 5th grade public school teacher. He taught me so much about God, and that’s pretty much all we talked about. I would make me go to church every Sunday for both services, the youth service and the adult service—4 hours of church every Sunday plus 2 hours of cell group at our house every Wednesday evening. I got saved that Spring, really this time I understood it, or at least I thought I understood it.
So I went back to Thailand, and came back here again for collage. I studied in Cincinnati State, Cincinnati, OH for about a year and a half, and then I transferred here at Wright State University in Dayton, OH studying Electrical Engineering. I met a campus pastor Steve Brannan, I got to live with him for the summer of 2004. He really showed me how to really live for Christ, how real God was, and how our lives should reflect His glory. I got involved in Campus ministry called Chi Alpha and still serve there since. I became a discussion group leader, and play in a worship team to this day.