Quarry manager finds living stones in Thailand
Andrew Goodman was a Dereham-based quarry manager before sensing the call to become a missionary to the Shan people in Thailand. Network Norfolk caught up with him while he was on furlough in the UK, and he shared something of his story.
My wife and I moved to Dereham in 1990. I managed a pit near Downham Market and started one at Easton, behind the Showground. We were new and enthusiastic Christians, and I felt prompted to join the Anglican church, St Nicholas. I got to speak at Gressenhall and Dereham, and we later got baptised by the Brethren at Dereham Christian Fellowship and developed close links with Eckling Grange.
My wife was just finishing her PhD in chemistry, and we were seeking God for direction. At Spring Harvest, we stepped forward as willing to go on mission, and I began to be moved by the spiritual poverty in Asia. In 1992 we were at an OMF conference at All Nations, and the first Thai person I had met gave a testimony.
I became aware of the lawlessness among the Shan, and as I started praying for them, I got scared. The Golden Triangle where they live is the second biggest opium-producing area in the world, and the biggest producer of methamphetamines. But reading through the Book of Nehemiah I was very struck by what Nehemiah said: “Remember God who is great and awesome, and fight.” (4:14) At the next worship session, the song was about building the kingdom out of living stones, which meant a lot to me as a quarry manager.
Over the weekend I had doubts about the whole thing, but when I went in to work on Monday the weighbridge manager brought out a copy of the Daily Telegraph, which had a picture of the Golden Triangle.
We moved out to Chiang Mai in Thailand in 1995, when our eldest daughter Sophie was two and a half. I spent two years learning Thai and then learned the Shan language. Our work now has four foci: walking with Shan leaders in mutual encouragement, radio broadcasting, producing micro SD cards with the Shan Bible to go in mobile phones, and running an AIDS care programme. We help children with education, because the parents have often died, and the grandparents need assistance.
The Shan are still very much an unreached people. Twelve years ago there were 150 Shan Christians, today there are 1,400. They are a strongly Buddhist group, though they have become more receptive through radio broadcasts and through Shan Christians finding bridges to the Lord from their Buddhist beliefs.
Our radio broadcaster was originally from Shan State in Myanmar. He was a vagrant and labourer and had been in prison for not having the right papers. He found Jesus after a Karen man shared the Gospel with him. He fell in love with the man’s daughter, married her, and had an amazing transformation.
Like people everywhere we’ve had some issues. Our youngest son Isaac has suffered from chronic fatigue for four years, and my wife had a stroke which from which she still has some balance issues. A Thai woman we know was very inspired by the way she’s kept going.
OMF groups in Dereham, Cromer and Heacham currently support us, and I’d be glad to speak with other people who are interested in doing so. In terms of prayer, I’d like to praise God for the way He has been softening the hearts of the Shan, and I would ask people to pray for the ongoing work of the Spirit and the maturing of the Shan leaders. Our heart is to see a movement among the Shan – that salvation would spring up among them.
You can contact Andrew Goodman on firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured above are Andrew Goodman (top), a woman who has been helped by the AIDS ministry, and the radio broadcast.