The Monk who became a Pastor

Testimony of a Thai monk who became a Christian pastor..

The Thai word “Wan” means “today” and is pronounced like the English word “won”, an appropriate name for this 77 year-old Thai pastor with a permanent smile on his face and victory in his heart every day of his life.  It’s impossible not to grow fond of this man who has walked with God for half a century, leading literally thousands of Thais to Christ during his life’s journey.

Orphaned at a young age, he grew up in a temple and became a Buddhist monk by the age of 17.

After attaining the rank of “teacher of monks” and spending another seven years in the monkhood, he left the monastery to work as an elementary teacher. During this time, he heard that he could study English for free at a Baptist church in Thonburi on the outskirts of Bangkok to improve his skills.  So, having no money, he decided to take the opportunity to better himself with hopes better financial prospects for his future.  Needless to say, this is where he first heard about Jesus.

At first, he tried to find ways to persuade Thai Christians to abandon their faith in Christ to return to Buddhism, so he wanted to know as much as possible about the Word of God.  But finally, he made a personal decision to become a Christian in 1963.  A year later, he decided to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord and studied the Word of God for three years at the Baptist Bible College in Bangkok.

He worked as a pastor for eight years before taking the post of Director of the Baptist Bible College for five years.

He also did a lot of evangelical work during that time and became one of the pioneer Thai evangelists during that period, preaching in most of the provinces during his ministry.

While working at the Bible College, he was selected by the board of American missionaries for further training in the USA;  he was sent to America for a period of one year where God gave him a vision with a clear directive to establish a church in the “heart of Bangkok”.  Despite offers from the Baptist mission to secure financial security and green cards for him and his family to immigrate to the US, he was compelled to return to Thailand to fulfil the vision that God had undeniably given him.

He returned to Thailand and was expected to resume his former post as Director of the Baptist Bible College.  However, he was forced to resign from the position in order to be obedient to the vision God had given him.  So, with only 500 baht in his pocket (the equivalent of USD $20 at that time), he took his first major step into the darkness ahead by faith, with his hand securely in God’s.

The Lord kept His promise to supply the needs of his family as they stepped forward in faith to establish a local church.

From the simple obedience of this man of God, the church has grown into a great tree, spreading its branches to the far reaches of Thailand.

Without any foreign mission support to finance the work, all glory goes to the One who gave the seed to plant this work for His glory.   With over 10,000 members nationwide, God is “adding to His church daily”.  We are blessed to witness this every Sunday as new believers step forward to give their hearts to Christ.  In a country where more than 95% of the people are Buddhist, this is nothing short of a miracle. We see the grace of God being poured out on these people…on this nation.

One man’s faith and obedience to God can shake an entire nation.

We’ve seen this so many times in the Bible history, and now I’m seeing it with my own eyes!  In spite of the blessings on his ministry, I can honestly say that Pastor Wan is one of the most humble, servant-hearted people that I have met in my life.  There is nothing boastful about him. His message is always based on the simple Word of God…nothing more, nothing less…anointed by a living God.

“The word ‘discouragement’ has no place in my life as I strive to serve the Lord. This is because I always receive satisfaction and refreshment from the Lord when I serve Him in love. Serving others brings happiness and joy to my life.  My goal in obeying the will of God is to be a blessing to the people of Thailand and the world by sharing the good news of the gospel and testifying to others about the saving power of Christ. It is my desire to develop and grow in Christ so that His greatness, blessings, joy, and victory are revealed in my life.  The greatest blessings in the life of a true believer are the spiritual blessings which come from the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost in the depths of the soul.”

His favorite song is “Amazing Grace” because it expresses his appreciation for God’s grace. It relates to a scripture he loves which describes his life in Christ:

His testimony has touched my life in a personal way and I hope that it will do the same for you.

Remember that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from.  Whoever and wherever you are, God loves you… And that is more than enough to make you a victor and a conqueror in life!

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  1. My name is Pat and I grew up as a missionary kid in Thailand knowing Adjarn Wan. He always struck me as a true and humble follower of Christ. I am not surprised by what God has done through him. It was good to read this article and hear about his life.

    1. Cool, one of my friends just finished his memoir/autobiography in English and it will be available on Amazon soon if that’s something you will be interested to read..? Would love to hear more of what it must have been like to grow up in Thailand as an MK back then?

      1. I would be and so would my father. He is the one who pointed out this article. He resigned from Thailand missions in 1975. He is trying to get Wan’s phone number to talk with him. Thanks again for the article.

  2. Pastor Wan, this is John Patten. I love and appreciate you more than words can express. I remember our history together with gratitude. I recently have made efforts to get in touch with you to express my love and appreciation. I would be delighted to hear from you.My email address is

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