John Mark Caner shares the gospel in Thailand
By Vicky Kaniaru
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) - While most kids were daydreaming about summer plans at the beach, 8-year-old John Mark Caner was headed to Chiang Mai, Thailand. He left the States in July with one goal in mind—to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially with Mr. Wii, a Buddhist monk.
John Mark joined his parents, Emir and Hana, and a team of 25 from Truett-McConnell College (TMC), who traveled to Thailand on July 6. Emir Caner is president of the college, located in Cleveland, Ga.
The boy learned of the monk from his parents, who met the Buddhist on a previous mission trip. He then rallied some school friends to pray for Wii for the entire year of 2010.
Wii and John Mark finally met, and the young American asked Wii, who was surrounded by statues of Buddha, "Who do you worship?"
After the obvious answer, John Mark informed the monk that he was breaking the Lord's commandment: "You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3).
Wii rebutted with the Buddhist tenet claiming many paths to God.
The 8-year-old evangelist replied with the words of Jesus: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Though Wii didn't profess faith in Christ, the culmination of personal contact and prayer has fostered in Wii's heart a desire to engage in Christian studies at TMC.
"Watching John Mark testify of our Lord and his unconditional love for Buddhists, Muslims, Animists—for all people—gave me an even greater passion to share my own faith," said Emir. "Through his witness, he reminded me of the words of Jesus who said that the key to the Kingdom comes by having the faith of a little one."
The rest of the TMC mission team encountered a 95-year-old man who had preached the gospel in Thailand for 75 years, particularly among members of the Hmong tribe. When the preacher noted that four of the families in his Hmong village were not yet Christians, John Mark jumped at the chance to share the message of Christ with them.
"I loved watching how unafraid he was," said Hana. "It made me wish I was a kid and didn't have the barriers of wondering what people will think about me. It was pretty amazing watching him go to the temples, and witnessing him tell people about Christ."
John Mark also distributed tracts and demonstrated an EvangeCube among children, who returned with their parents. He then shared his Christian testimony with the parents, as he later did at a day care with kids ranging from preschoolers to teenagers.
"I want to go to Chiang Mai again," said John Mark. "I also want to witness in Bangkok. After that, I want to go to China. I want people to know God so they can go to heaven and live with God forever."
Truett-McConnell College equips students to fulfill the Great Commission by fostering a Christian worldview through a biblically-centered liberal arts education.