In 1948, Dwight Martin’s parents left the United States called by God to serve as long-term missionaries among the people of Thailand. They left not knowing if they would ever return home. Committed and ready to give their entire lives for the sake of making Christ known in Thailand, they would become the first Protestant missionaries to ever step foot in the Nakorn Phanom province of northeast Thailand. They spent the majority of their adult lives engaging the Thai people, sharing the gospel, and making disciples. The work was hard and often slow, but the Lord blessed it, and many believed.
A few years after they arrived in Thailand, Dwight was born. A blonde-headed American child ran around with his Thai friends, not knowing he was any different from them. He spoke the language, embraced the culture, went to school, had lots of friends, and participated in the work of their family. Dwight could be found either spending time with his mother as she translated Scriptures into the Thai language or following along with his dad as he drove their small truck to remote villages.
After high school, Dwight left Thailand to attend college in the U.S. He married a girl named Mary Kay, started a business career, raised a family, and received an MBA in Technology Management. Eventually, he co-founded a successful software company in Birmingham. Though away from Thailand for many years, he never forgot the place he’d grown up and—like his parents—began to sense God’s call to serve the Thai people. In 2006, he and Mary Kay were sent out by Brook Hills to Thailand.
Dwight and Mary Kay quickly connected with the Church and people of Thailand, due to Dwight’s experience with the language and culture. In fact, he met many men and women who had heard the gospel and believed as a result of his parent’s faithfulness. He was able to quickly establish key relationships with leaders who had been impacted by his parent’s ministry. Using the business skill and experience he gained from many years in the software industry, his initial focus was to bring thousands of Christian materials that were not accessible to the Thai people “back to life” in a digital form.
Within months of arriving in Thailand, the value of their work was recognized by Thai church leaders who asked Dwight to join them in other ministry projects, including maintaining the statistics on the church in Thailand. Many other ministry projects requiring the business and technical skills he possessed soon followed. This growth also increased Mary Kay’s ministry as she used her background in library science and office experience to manage the operations of the business.
A few years ago, with the help of Dwight and Mary Kay’s research and statistics, local leaders of the Thai church began to see that there were thousands of villages around them unreached with the gospel.
A group of pastors and leaders of churches in the area began to pray for God to show them how to remedy this. They began to realize they were not equipping the believers in their church to share the gospel and make disciples. So they shifted. Pastors began to teach their people what it means to be a true disciple. Churches began holding training sessions with resources Dwight and Mary Kay translated on how to share the gospel and make disciples. A few books like “Radical” and “Follow Me” were thrown into the mix. As Thai believers began to commit themselves to the work of the Spirit and go out into surrounding villages that had no gospel presence, something incredible happened. People started believing.
Over the last year, hundreds of people have been coming to faith in Christ each month. House churches are forming in these villages to disciple the new believers. It truly is a work of God. Dwight cannot contain the joy of what God is accomplishing. For the first time, the Thai church is actively involved in getting the gospel to the unreached in their own country. It’s not just foreign missionaries doing the work. It’s the local church.
Dwight and Mary Kay continue to help lead in equipping the Thai church with resources through their research center.
As one Thai pastor said, “if you want to know something about the Church in Thailand, Dwight is the person to ask.”
God is using Dwight and Mary Kay to expand the kingdom throughout Thailand. In fact, other believers in surrounding countries have heard about what God is doing in Thailand and want to know how they can be faithful to share the gospel and make disciples. Dwight and Mary Kay are now praying through opportunities to participate in resourcing believers in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.
Through the Global Offering, we are able to personally support Dwight and Mary Kay and the operation of their research center. Through your sacrificial giving to the Global Offering, many have been saved. The Thai church has resources to help them grow and flourish as they make disciples and plant healthy, multiplying churches among unreached people groups.
Upon their arrival in 1948, Dwight’s parents could’ve never imagined that their son would be their greatest legacy in the work they started. Through their faithfulness to share the gospel, God has expanded His kingdom among the people of Thailand. Praise God for Dwight’s parents. Praise God for Dwight and Mary Kay. Praise God for the local believers and their faithfulness to see their neighbor know Christ. Praise God that He allowed Brook Hills to be a small part of this.
Written by Callie P., Coordinator of Global Partnerships at Brook Hills