The Hitchhiker

She stood alone on the side of the beautiful mountain road. Pastors Isaiah and Moe Aung were on their way to a region of small Chin villages, and seeing the girl hitchhiking, they stopped to offer her a ride.

Once she was in the vehicle, they began to engage her in conversation. Her name was Ma Thida.

Moe Aung, recognizing that she was from his own people group, began to speak to her in the Chin language. Immediately a new level of trust was established. “My village has only an elementary school,” Ma Thida shared. “So, I have to travel to the next village to attend high school.” As they talked, Ma Thida confided that she had once heard the gospel at a small church close to the school. The message of Jesus had touched her heart, and she had given her life to Christ. But, being the only believer in her family, she had been ridiculed and rejected, even by her own father. Ma Thida felt very alone.

“Pastor,” she said earnestly, “couldn’t you share the gospel with my family?”

Isaiah sensed the Spirit of God in her request. Then, looking out of the car window, Ma Thida commented that the pastor who had first discipled her lived close by. Isaiah felt compelled to stop and seek him out. Ma Thida excitedly went with them, and when they at last found the man, Isaiah arranged with him to have an evangelistic meeting when they came back to the village in a few weeks.

Word spread that they were coming. By the time the meeting occurred, over eighty people came from the surrounding communities, some walking up to three hours to hear pastor Isaiah’s message. That day, thirty people made the decision to give their lives to Jesus. After everyone had prayed, Isaiah then shared the story of the girl he had met hitchhiking, and how because of Ma Thida’s desire to have her family hear the gospel, they had come to this village. Suddenly, two men sitting in the front row spoke up. It was her father and her uncle, and they had just received Christ as their Savior!

Ma Thida is now no longer the only believer in her family. And what started out as a kind gesture to one lonely hitchhiker has now led to a new church planting partnership in Southeast Asia.

By Jeremy & Adrienne Penner