Adventist Church Reaches Out to Buddhist Community

Church members exemplify ‘Christ’s method’ in Thailand, leaders say.

Reben Huilar, Southeastern Union Mission, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
Adventist Church Reaches Out to Buddhist Community
An initiative of Adventist church members in Thailand is helping them to connect to Buddhist neighbors through health information and awareness. [Photo: courtesy of Reben Huilar]

With the world’s population currently well over 8 billion people, promoting a wholistic approach to healthy living and well-being is becoming increasingly important. Many people continue to face various health challenges as a result of their lack of access to such knowledge.

Recognizing the significance of encouraging a healthy and full life, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Thailand launched its first health program at Singburi Buddhist Temple in conjunction with the cluster of four provinces known as SKUS (Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi, Uthai Thani, and Singburi), Bangkok Adventist Hospital, and the church region health team. The initiative sought to expand care and compassion across ethnic and religious borders.

The Adventist churches in SKUS organized a small-scale health check in August 2022. This event, however, was more than just a health exam; it marked the start of a transformative path toward genuine community ties. Recognizing that Christ’s method of ministering crosses cultural, racial, and ethnic lines, members of the Adventist Church have been building bridges to reach out to the entire community, organizers said.

The health screening effort in SKUS communities proved to be a watershed moment for the Adventist group. Invitations were extended to everyone, demonstrating the group’s genuine desire to serve and connect with people from all walks of life. Among those invited was a Buddhist nun who graciously accepted the offer, unintentionally setting off a chain of wonderful occurrences.

Following their initial contact with the Buddhist nun, members of the Adventist Church decided to broaden their outreach efforts. They returned to the temple, not only to see the nun but also to see her colleagues and other members of the community. This conscientious effort resulted in a cascade of joy and mutual understanding as they shared books and prayers with people they met.

The Adventist Church members invited the Buddhist nun to participate in their worship sessions, inspired to develop bridges of understanding between faiths. In September 2022, she attended Adventist worship, where she was welcomed with warmth and acceptance. Participating in worship activities, learning God’s word, and enjoying fellowship helped her to develop a sense of belonging within the group.

Small-scale health checks are helping Adventist members in Thailand reach out to their mostly Buddhist communities. [Photo: courtesy of Reben Huilar]

Recognizing the need for continuing growth and knowledge, the Adventist team gave the Buddhist nun a copy of Bangkok Adventist Hospital’s “Blue Zone Health” book, a volume that explains principles often followed by those who live well to an old age. This gift not only provided new information about health but also opened the door to more discussions about faith and spirituality. The nun stated her eagerness to discover more about the teachings of the Bible, sparking a path of study and spiritual growth.

Throughout various church outreach initiatives, Adventist members in Thailand realized the power of Christ’s approach in engaging with people from various backgrounds. They practiced compassion, caring, and empowerment, concentrating on building true relationships and understanding among people from all cultures and origins. This method not only enriched people’s lives but also touched many hearts, bringing a sense of trust and solidarity.

The Adventist members’ exceptional endeavor in reaching out to the Buddhist nun shows the strength of Christ’s method in breaking through cultural and religious barriers. Christians may bridge differences and build understanding with people of other religions by taking an approach built with true care, compassion, and respect. Recognizing and embracing the plurality of opinions is the road to promoting harmony and shared ideals in an inclusive and linked world. The Adventist community stays constant in its mission to deliver the good news with compassion and love to all.

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.

Reben Huilar, Southeastern Union Mission, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review