On January 1, 2020, Firman began his 3-year term as an associated worker in Pattaya, Thailand. Firman is sent by Grace Church in Berlin, Ohio, in conjunction with RI, to join a team of three other workers who recently established 58:12 Thailand – a branch of Grace Church’s 58:12 Global which serves the community by rebuilding, restoring, and reuniting broken families. In addition to working with 58:12, Firman is studying the language and culture of his new home.
Firman’s journey to overseas missions in Thailand is not one he always wanted to take. Growing up in an Amish family, Firman was taught about God, but never really had a relationship with God. He knew he could be saved because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but he thought that telling others about that opportunity for salvation was only for pastors and bishops. “I didn’t know following Jesus also means making disciples,” he said. “I thought that it’s normal to work, get married, and have kids; I thought I would do the same, but God had different plans.”
“I thought that it’s normal to work, get married, and have kids; I thought I would do the same, but God had different plans.”
Firman turned away from the faith of his community at age 16 and tried to navigate life apart from the God he was taught to believe in. Eventually, he came to a new understanding of God and was baptized at age 24. After spending time studying the Bible, Firman realized that he could not see God in his own life. “So I asked God to be the God of my life, and to show me that he is still doing the same things today as he was in this book. That is when all my perspectives about God began to change.”
“The first time someone mentioned to me about going on a mission trip, I said no, that’s not for me,” Firman said. He made excuses about his age, his mastery of English, and his Bible knowledge, but that night God led him to Jeremiah 1:7-8, where God says, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.” It was then that he began to pursue going to Thailand.
While Firman has enjoyed the times of prayer, training, and fellowship with others while getting ready to go, he has also faced many struggles. There were failures and changes of plans to work through, and he admits, “I don’t think there is a negative emotion that I have not experienced.” But through all this, he has found God to be extremely faithful.
Firman continues to trust God with the work in Thailand. Soon before he left, Firman said: “I have been praying that God would prepare the Thai people’s hearts, so that the gospel might fall on good ground, that God would continually draw people to himself, and that their eyes and ears would be opened to the truth.”
Please pray that God would give Firman wisdom and boldness to make known the mystery of the gospel in Pattaya, Thailand.