In Thailand, Christians make up less than 1 percent of the population in a predominantly Buddhist country. But every Thursday evening a small group of Christian university students gather together to worship and glorify God at Naresuan University.
During this time of praise and singing, Maneenoot and Ittipol from the Leadership Development Program observe their college friends who attend this small group. Some students walk in casually, and others enter in a hurry, rushing from their previous class. A handful of students sit by themselves nearby.
The hearts of Ittipol and Maneenoot are crying out to bring back all the lost souls to their heavenly Father’s kingdom.
In 2005, a group of Leadership Development Program students decided to join together to form a group in order to fellowship and support each other while attending Naresuan University, located in Payao province.
At the time, out of the 20,000 students who attend the university, there were only a few Christian students who met for weekly Bible studies and prayer together near the university reservoir.
Maneenoot was one of the students who attended the Bible study group. She has been attending for the past two years, ever since she first entered Naresuan University.
Deep in her heart Maneenoot knew that her arrival at Naresuan University was not arbitrary. On the contrary, God had a specific purpose for bringing her to this university. Despite attending the weekly Bible studies, Maneenoot felt that this was not enough to satisfy her desire to serve the Lord.
“On November last year  we planned to host a Christmas party and we wanted to invited our non-Christian friends. We wanted them to have fun and meet new people.
“Most importantly, we wanted our non-believer friends to hear about the true meaning of Christmas day and ultimately come to accept Jesus into their lives.”
When the Christmas party took place on Christmas day it attracted a large turnout. There were 50 students who showed up to the party held at the local church.
Pastor Nachared shared the story of Jesus, explaining why He was born on earth and His sacrifice for all mankind — the ultimate Christmas gift.
It was evident that God was working among the students. Eleven students accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior after the party.
“God had answered our prayers for revival in this university. God has enabled us to hear His call and evangelize to our friends. I am so thankful to God that He is moving in my university.” — Maneenoot
The small Christian Bible study group has grown to become a Christian club, the Give With Love Club, that now has more than 60 members, half of them believers.
“I still know that God has plans to expand our Bible study group. My friends and I share a common burden and desire to glorify and expand His kingdom. We want to bring salvation to all our non-believing friends.” — Ittipol
There are four Leadership Development Program students who lead this club. They are responsible for all the programs and the activities.
At times things seem difficult and are beyond their control. Yet time and again God has proven Himself faithful by opening doors for those who seek and serve Him.
God provided the club with two precious assets to help lead and guide them. God brought His faithful servant, Pastor Nachared, and a Christian professor, Sudarat, to serve as mentors and consultants to the four students and to the rest of the Bible study club.
Pastor Nachared always provides counseling and guidance for the students. He attends the weekly club meetings at the university.
“There are now many students who come to the club. During some weeks the chairs in the meeting room are all occupied and there are hardly any available seats left. The club has grown immensely.”
One Thursday evening at around 6:45, more than 50 students came to the huge, sloped lecture room completely soaking wet as it was raining cats and dogs that night.
Despite the dismal weather, half an hour after the program started at least five new students decided to join the club. Even the rain could not stop them attending the Give With Love Club.
Maneenoot begins the club meetings by singing songs and playing games in order to establish a relaxed and fun atmosphere. She has observed how important it is to make people laugh and unwind, especially if they have had a stressful day. Then, an invited special guest shares his or her testimony.
On that rainy Thursday evening, the special speaker was a policeman who was in charge of patrolling the university area.
The policeman’s testimony was easy for the students to relate to. He was born into a Buddhist family. He shared how he decided to believe in Jesus, accepting Him as his personal Lord and Savior, and how God has transformed his life as well as in the lives of his family members.
Before the meeting ended, Pastor Nachared challenged all the non-believers to develop a personal relationship with Christ and encouraged the Christians to stand firm in their faith.
“The club exists for two main reasons: The first is to evangelize, and the second is to build a strong and powerful Christian group within the university.” — Ittipol
“I love sharing the Gospel to others because it is my life. Even though most of my friends are Buddhist, they have never rejected me because of my faith. I strongly believe that God never fails in helping me and is constantly by me when I speak about Him. Most importantly, all of my friends know that I am Christian because they see God working in me.” — Maneenoot
Studying in university is no easy task. Students have many responsibilities. They are constantly busy with never-ending papers to complete, the many classes they must attend, as well as the many lessons they study.
In times of weariness, God has strengthened the Leadership Development Program students and shown His delight toward their passion and calling to serve Him. God has worked to soften many students’ hearts and has harvested the lambs that have been lost.
“I became a Christian because of this club [Give With Love Club]. When I first attended this club, I could feel the friendliness and warmth from the Leadership Development Program students and the rest of the club members. After I confessed my sins and received Jesus Christ in my life, there was a remarkable happiness that emerged from within my body and soul. I am so happy and privileged to believe in God and to be apart of His family. — Nantapol, a new believer
The club not only serves to unite new believers but it also helps to gather together Christian students to build a strong fellowship group. One Christian student says,
“When I first entered the university I searched for a Christian group. Then God heard my prayer and brought me to this club.
“Every time I attend the club meetings and interact with fellow club members, I am always left feeling very invigorated and renewed. Especially after all the stress that I encounter after each busy day.
“For me club meetings are a time that allows me to be close to God, as He washes away my tiredness and fatigue and replaces it with renewed energy. I know that I am not alone because I have God and I have wonderful friends whom I can share His love with.”
The Leadership Development Program students have proved themselves worthy of the title “leadership students” because they have dared to make a difference and have strived to be fruitful in every circumstance they face.
Professor Sudarat observes,
“I notice that the Give with Love Club has something that is different than all the other clubs. I can feel that the club members are united together and each member has an inner strength and joy that really stands out.
“They focus on creating a joyful and positive atmosphere that encourages its members to feel comfortable. They are not afraid to be open and unveil themselves to others in order to connect with and establish close relationships with other club members. This sort of atmosphere enables them to be honest and open with each other, as trust is a natural byproduct of this God-inspired club.
“I know that managing the club can be difficult but they do it because their hearts are filled with God’s love. Each and every one of them possesses a determination and willingness to serve the Lord. I have never heard a single one of them complain.
“Their willingness to serve God is just one of the tangible ways that I can see and feel God’s spirit working through them. I am very impressed with and inspired by the Leadership Development Program students.”
Another big vision and burden for these Leadership Development Program students is to establish a church in front of the university. This church would serve as a center for evangelism and worship.
They wish to follow and fulfill Jesus’ great commandment from the book of Mathew 28:19-20 (NIV):
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”