“Come to Chiang Mai!”, two pastors from Chiang Mai invited Joshua and Sharon Khoo when they were looking at where to serve in missions overseas.
“Well, is there a good school for our kids there?”, the Khoos asked.
The two pastors enthusiastically answered right away, “Grace International School!”
Since that conversation, Joshua and Sharon Khoo have been serving with Acts Church of Chiang Mai in a variety of areas with the core of their ministry being to strengthen Thai Christians.
Josh heads the church’s Family Life Ministry as well as being in the leadership of their Worship and Young Adult ministries. With the advent of Covid many things moved online and the church has managed to pivot into online ministries quite effectively with the church having over 10,000 subscribers and Thai people from many different countries also watching. Josh recalls one story of a Thai woman living in the UK who had to return home due to a debilitating inner ear condition. One day she found the Acts Church Youtube channel and flew to Chiang Mai to attend the church after listening to the sermons online. She eventually gave her life to Jesus and her condition has improved greatly!
Sharon focuses on Pastoral Counseling, Mental Health and Inner Healing. Just earlier this year, she published a book called “Hope in Despair”, which is a memoir of her personal struggle with depression and complex trauma stemming from childhood abuse, and how she overcame and healed from it with God’s help through various ways including pastoral and clinical counseling. “I counsel and mentor women (in Thai!) in various stages of life and have seen lots of women going from being broken and needing a mentor, to becoming whole and even stepping up to be leaders and mentors themselves!”
Josh, who grew up as a child of international Christian workers in Thailand, said that God had always told him that he will one day return to serve on the mission field in Thailand. However, the thing that he and Sharon were most concerned about were their children’s education. It just so happens that the parents of GIS alumni, Pastor Kriengsak and Pastor Sidney, invited the Khoos to Chiang Mai and GIS. “If not for GIS, we would be homeschooling our kids and might not have a ministry to the Thais!” Josh says. “The fact that not only is GIS academically strong but also mission-minded just like us makes us feel confident and at peace in sending our kids to school. Our girls love it here and the teachers are so warm and welcoming.”
It is because GIS exists to meet the educational and spiritual needs of their children that international Christian workers like Josh and Sharon Khoo are able to follow God’s calling to heal and strengthen Thai Christians.