At a McDonald’s about a week ago, I met a Laotian man named Si. We talked about how long we have lived in the Twin Cities and what it has been like so far. He has been here about 5 years.
When we first started talking, he told me that he was from Thailand. I got excited and told him that I hope to be moving there in 2 years. He then said “Well, I’m actually from Laos. But, nobody knows where that is.” He must have met some people who didn’t know that Laos is on the northeastern border of Thailand (picture provided).
I asked him if he was involved with a church in the area.
“I am, how you say … Buddha?”
“Oh, okay! You’re Buddhist?”
“Yes, yes. I go to temple once a year.” I asked him what being a Buddhist and going to temple mean. He said “I think that we need to be better people, and we have different beliefs about how to do that, but they all work. If you believe Christianity, Buddha, Islam, or just nothing, that can be true for you.”
I respond “You know, I think what set Jesus apart from all of those other religions is that the end goal of all things is not the bettering of humanity, but making much of God. Because He deserves it right? Also, the Bible points out that as good as we can get, we can’t be good. Only God is good, and his goodness is far above ours. That is why we need a savior, which Jesus was. What do you think?”
“I think that if that works for you, it’s true. But something else works for me and others, so that is what is true for us.” This begins to sound a bit like a mix of pragmatism and relativism.
“Not everything can be true, though,” I say. “For instance, if Christianity is true, there is one God who is alone the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists. But, if Hinduism is true, there are 33 million gods who play different roles throughout everything that exists. Both of those things can’t be true right? Knowing that not everything can be true, it’s important that we seek out and know what is the truth, and I think I have found the answer. Jesus said that He is the Truth.”
He said he understands what I’m saying, and I asked how I can pray for him. He said that everything is okay and he doesn’t really need prayer. I asked him if I could pray for him anyway. He said yes and thanked me.
Then, they called his order number. We shook hands, and Si left.
We did get to talk a good bit more than is written here about what temple means to him, and what the gospel is. When I told him that Jesus brings forgiveness through his death, he replied “I didn’t know that.” He got to hear the gospel and what it means to surrender to the Lord.
We can still pray for him, that the Truth is shown to him! Pray that the Lord draws him to Himself.