To Americans, time is money. But in Thailand, particularly in rural areas, time is not generally equated with earning a living… By knowing this orientation, allowing sufficient time for developing an intimate relationship, diffusion of the gospel and evangelizing whole families rather than evangelism of individuals, affirms this cultural value… Delaying of a water baptismal service for a new convert in order to win the whole family is affirmed by the suggestion of this cultural value. (Mejudhon 2005, 161)
Taken from the work of Dr. Nantachai Mejudhon who summarized Fieg’s work in an article that was published in Sharing Jesus Effectively with the Buddhist World.
Implications for a missionary:
- Be careful of using your schedule as an excuse to stop conversations. Americans would permit this, but the Thai might think its rude.
- Plan your schedule to allow for longer time expectations, but don’t allow their concept of time to be an excuse to be lazy!
- Consider the multiple barriers when setting your expectations for their growth. Cultural, spiritual, relational.
- Work on your patience!