“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” — 1 Corinthians 3:7
Unbeknownst to Ann Hatchaboon, God had been pursuing her since birth. But because she was raised in a Buddhist family in Thailand, Ann’s knowledge of God was non-existent. Nevertheless, God graciously planted seeds in her life that He would one day bring to fruition. One of those seeds was when a close friend, “Mr. K,” converted to Christianity. A few years later, she randomly attended a church service on Christmas and heard the gospel but chose to ignore it. Again, a few years later, Mr. K shared the gospel with Ann personally, piquing some interest, but she still remained strictly Buddhist.
However, a turning point came after the death of her father in early 2016, which brought such grief to Ann that she decided to come to America on a six-month tourist Visa to get her mind off of her sadness. During her stay here, through a mutual friend, she met Chris Matthews, who had recently begun attending Colonial and was sorting through some of his own faith struggles. Ann asked Chris if he would like to attend the Christmas service together. Despite not being a believer, Ann was curious about Christianity, and she was also curious about Chris.
He recalls of their first meeting, “She seemed to be indwelled with the Holy Spirit already. I remember thinking, ‘this girl is Christian, but she just doesn’t realize it!’”
Nevertheless, despite Ann’s increasing interest in Christianity, she was still wrestling with the guilt of what her father would think about her investigating this foreign faith. On the anniversary of his death, she decided to go swimming to help relieve some of her stress. She talked in her mind to her father saying, “Dad, all the good things I did in my life, I pass it to you to support you to rest in peace.” (Buddhists believe in good works to help one go to heaven.) “As I opened my eyes,” she recalls, “there was a man looking at me in the pool. He smiled and asked, ‘Are you a Christian?’ I answered, ‘No, I’m Buddhist.’ But I wondered why he asked me such a question.”
The two sparked up a conversation and the man shared that he sensed the Holy Spirit in her, that’s why he asked if she was a Christian. He shared with her that he hadn’t been feeling well that day, but decided to go for a swim. After talking with her, he knew why he was compelled to go there that day…for God had given him a mission to meet Ann and plant another seed.
A few weeks later, at church where Pastor Davey presented the gospel, Ann had some stirring questions that would ultimately lead her to accept Christ as her Savior. Because her time in the United States was coming to an end, Ann requested if she could be baptized before leaving the country in a just a few short days.
Due to Ann’s unusual set of circumstances, the church heartily agreed, and she was baptized the following weekend on March 12, 2017.
While it may have seemed like a whirlwind of events culminating with her baptism, the reality is God had been pursuing Ann for years.
It was His loving pursuit that led to Ann’s eventual conversion, as well as her eventual marriage to Chris! They were married in January in Songkhla, Thailand. However, due to the delay of Ann’s immigration paperwork getting approved, they had to maintain a long-distance relationship for several months before being reunited this summer.
Ann is excited and thankful to be back in the U.S. where she hopes to be a bridge between Thailand and America to share the good news of Christ’s love to all those who don’t know Him yet. And of course, to be a loving wife and helpmate to Chris!