Buddhist Monk Becomes Ordained Minister

Southern Asia-Pacific Division

Buddhist Monk Becomes Ordained Minister

Thailand | Mamerto Guingguing, SSD Communications

Kharom Promutit hoped and dreamed that one day, he would get a bachelor’s degree and work as a professional agriculturist. He planned to study at one of the state universities located in the province of Chiang Mai. Soon enough, after high school, he decided it was time to go to Chiang Mai to pursue his ambition. While preparing to travel, he suffered an accident that prevented him from leaving home. Therefore, he instead decided to study at a nearby school in his home province of Saraburi. Mission College, now Asia Pacific International University, a school run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Muak Lek, Saraburi, was the closest college to where he lived, so he decided to give it a try.

Most people in Thailand are Buddhists, and Kharom was no exception. He was taught early in life that he alone was responsible for his karma and can determine the journey that will lead him closer to or further away from nirvana. Therefore, he focused on being a good Buddhist by performing rituals, giving alms, doing sacred rites, learning the sutra, getting amulets, and so on. 

While in Mission College, Kharom observed that the residents living inside the campus embraced separate sets of truth, completely different from that in which he believed. He was shocked to be in a Christian community! He reckoned perhaps he was enrolled in the wrong school. However, the teachers and students were so nice, welcoming, and accepting. ‘So, it is possible to be a loving and caring person even though one is not a Buddhist,’ Kharom thought. The Christians residing on the Mission College campus showed him it is possible. 

Because Kharom stayed in the dormitory, he found himself enrolled in a Bible study group. For the first time in his life, he encountered the truth about a Creator God who lovingly created this vast universe; he also learned one can actually communicate with God through prayer anytime. It was far different from his Buddhist beliefs.

Kharom also believed in a repeated cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth, which is different from what the Bible teaches about being born again and eternal life. He shared this new teaching with his Buddhist religion teacher from the school where he attended before. His teacher challenged him: “If you know more about Buddhism, I can guarantee you will never change your religion to Christianity!” Kharom trusted his religion teacher and believed Buddhism is a good religion. Since then, he quit thinking about this God in which the Christians believe and stopped staying in the dormitory to avoid undue influence from his Christian friends.

To reinforce his Buddhist faith, Kharom decided to be ordained as a Buddhist monk and strived to be a good follower of Buddhism.

One day, Kharom was invited by his teachers and friends from Mission College to attend an evangelistic camp meeting. It was there that the yearning for God was rekindled, and it became so intense that he decided to spend more time in prayer. One Sabbath, there was an old man who gave a powerful testimony about how God changed his life and how he struggled to become a follower of Jesus. He mentioned he should have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of his life a long time ago, when he was yet young and did not have to wait for old age. Kharom thought, ‘Why should I wait for old age to follow Jesus?!’ He made the decision to be baptized before his graduation from Mission College.

In 2000, Kharom graduated from Mission College with a degree in business. In 2003, he attained a Master of Divinity at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS), and in 2015, he was ordained as a gospel minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. At the present, Pastor Kharom serves as communication director of Thailand Adventist Mission (TAM).

This article was originally published on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s news site