Welcome to wdbydana.com the website of Dana and Cindy bratton, missionaries
December 26, 2004 a tsunami struck Southern Thailand
following an earthquake in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. At the time I was serving as
a hospital chaplain at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana. As I
watched the news reports on television, it was just like my pager going off to
come to the hospital for a death, I needed to go to Thailand to see what I could
do to help. I tried to go with the Southern Baptist disaster relief, but
couldnt because I hadnt been through their training, same with the Red Cross.
I searched on the internet and found a website of a Thai government officer in
Krabi province who recruits native English speakers to come to Thailand to teach
English. I emailed him to tell how I had seen what had happened in his country
and wanted to help. He invited me to come and assured me he would put me in
contact with many people who could use my help. I arrived in Krabi on December
31 and stayed for three weeks. I stayed at first in a guest house in Krabi town
and assisted at the makeshift morgue where they were trying to identify
bodies. Then I went out with disaster relief workers to Phi Phi island. I sat
next to a young man on the boat and introduced myself. He spoke good English
and told me that he was the islands medical doctor. I shared the gospel with
him and he later gave me book on Buddhism. I asked him if I could hang out
with him. He said that I could and showed me what was left of the hospital and
his office. We then spent the day in a hospital lobby where he and his nurses
had a first aid station for any disaster relief workers requiring assistance.
My host then suggested that I might teach English at a school in a neighboring
village that had never had a native English teacher, and live with the school
principal and his family. Some of the schools students had been affected by
the tsunami and I agreed to go. In preparation I had three long sleeve shirt
tailor made for the next morning and went to various book shops new and used
looking to buy a Bible for my new host. There were none to be found. This
really bothered me, how will the Thai people ever come to know Jesus if there
are no Bibles here? I thought. Somebody had to do something about that, kept
going through my mind. I did find a Baptist church who had been given some
Gideon New Testaments. I gave my host one in English and one in Thai. I had
five classes a day, and asked the principal, Pi Yong, if I could teach Bible
stories and songs to the children. He said, Yes, no problem. I thought,
wow, I cant do that in the USA. The school had a Thai English teacher, who
served as my translator. The teachers were all Buddhist and the students were
all Moslem, coming from a jungle village and seaside village. Two teenage girls
accepted Christ after four or five days of teaching. I became very excited and
more burdened for ministry in Thailand, desiring to come full time. But I must
approach it gently with my wife and be sure that God would call her to.
In August 2005 my wife and I made an exploratory trip to Thailand
with a team which included our oldest son Nathan and two women. We ministered
in Bangkok and Krabi, revisiting my new friends. While in Bangkok we went to
the Grand Palace which consists of many buildings overlaid with gold leaf and
mirrors. Outside the temple of the emerald Buddha was an altar supported by
black bulls and a pigs head on the altar. This reminded of the abomination of
desolation in the book of Daniel and all the gold reminded us of Heaven. Cindy
said, the Thais are wanting heaven but dont know how to get there. The next
day we taught English a large private secular school. They had a marching band
and they were playing the school anthem at the beginning of school. The song
was the hymn, Send the Light by Charles H. Gabriel
call comes ringing oer the restless wave,
Send the light! Send the light!
There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save,
the light! Send the light! Refrain:
Send the light, the blessed
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine forevermore!
We moved to Thailand
in August 2006, after spending a year studying TESOL at Biola University in La
Mirada. Our first task was volunteering at the Step Ahead MED center in Khao
Lak, where we taught English and shared the Gospel, as well as helped people to
recover from the Tsunami. Since I would no longer be doing hospital chaplaincy
work, we affiliated with YWAM Thailand. After five months in Khao Lak, we moved
to Perth Australia for three months of YWAM training called Crossroads
Discipleship Training School. Then we returned with them for two months of
outreach, one in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai. We then moved to Bangkok and
studied Thai in language school for seven months.
live in Thachatchai on the island of Phuket. Where Dana pastors
Calvary Chapel at the
bridge, an international Phuket Church, and Cindy teaches English and leads
Thachatchai is a small village on the north
end of Phuket island that was hard hit by the tsunami. About five years
ago, Calvary Chapel Ban Khem started an outreach and Bible study there. There are many new homes built by Habitat
for Humanity. The church has a core of about 30 people. Mercy Ships
raised funding to build a large community center that set vacant for a year. It
is a huge two level building with two auditoriums, class rooms. We have a
church service on Sunday and Bible study on Wednesday, we also sometimes run a Kids Club
Very few people in our village speak any English at all. Cindy teaches
English at two schools in Thai Muang in Phang Nga province, four days a week.
Thachatchai is very poor many are fishermen, they harvest jelly fish, shrimp,
and squid and dry the squid on a large wire screens on the street. Some people
work at the Marriot Resort which is just a few miles from us, some work in
downtown Phuket about an hour away or in other neighboring villages. Also there
is a very large police station and border patrol in our village, and one public
school. There are a few small shops in our village and some people have
motorcycle carts selling food, ice cream, soda, or snacks.
I have been in ministry for 30
years. I surrendered to the gospel ministry in 1983, the same year our youngest
son was born. I led a home Bible study, taught Sunday school, drove the church
van and started a children's church, and began studying for a bachelors degree
in religion in those early years at the First Baptist Church of Woodcrest..
Then the Lord led to full time ministry in 1989 when I became the director of
Child Evangelism Fellowship of Greater Riverside and subsequently became a
hospital chaplain. I pioneered the Caleb Community, the senior adult ministry at
Magnolia Avenue Baptist.
The Lord led us to be a part of several churches - Gavilan Hills Community
Church, a church plant, children's ministry at
Harvest Christian Fellowship,
children's ministry at Faith Bible Church, Sunnymead Baptist Temple where I was
ordained, and Magnolia Avenue Baptist. The Lord led me to pursue a
seminary degree at Golden Gate and TESOL studies at BIOLA. Then in Khao
Lak Thailand we affiliated with Calvary Chapel Ban Nam Khem, then in Bangkok
with Calvary Baptist where we taught the new believers and English learners
class, and now pastoring
Calvary Chapel at the bridge. The Lord has blessed during these 30
years, I have a wonderful wife, three great children, two daughter in laws, one
son in law, and two grandsons. and two granddaughters. I have done
Mexico, Nairobi Kenya,
New York, and
New Orleans. I went on
study trip with Talbot to Greece and Rome.
We had intense study and application in a
YWAM Crossroads Discipleship Training School in Perth Australia. This
is the abundant life. A YWAM motto sums it up, Cindy and I do what we do
"to know God and to make Him known". My heart is for
Currency data courtesy
Time now in Thailand
But there is no large Christian outreach in the South. I am not sure why but it
seems that the South has been neglected largely by mission agencies. I think it
is because up until the tsunami this region was very resistant to the Gospel.
Many of the churches in Phuket and the neighboring province of Phang Nga did not
exist prior to the tsunami. Thai Buddhists are very happy and peaceful,
outwardly open to the Gospel but inwardly most want to remain Buddhists, it is
such a major part of their culture and history. In February of 2008 we moved to
Phuket after studying Thai for six months in Bangkok. I am now the pastor of
Calvary Chapel at the Bridge. Sunday morning I preach in English and a
translator, translates it into Thai, we are studying through the New Testament
and on Wednesday evening we are studying through the Old Testament..
Monday is our day off, Cindy and I go into Phuket Town about an hour drive and
go shopping, eat some American food like Sizzler, and maybe see a movie.
Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I volunteer at the airport with Thai Tourist
Police Volunteers. I study most mornings and some evenings and pray
and prepare detailed notes of the Bible study and sermon, plus Power Point
presentations for Sunday and Wednesday plus the four radio programs.
The detailed notes really help my translator to be prepared. I write out all the
scripture text in both Thai and English, using copy and paste from a computer
Bible software program. Cindy also makes Power Point presentations of our
worship music in Thai and English. Most mornings I also cut down weeds to help
our neighborhood look better. This has been a great neighborhood outreach. I
am affectionately known as ajan taat yaa (the pastor who cuts weeds). When we
have YWAM teams, World Race teams or church teams come we put them to work
cutting weeds also in addition to helping at church, teaching English and
sharing their testimony on the radio. Plus I make visits with both church
members and those not saved yet. The desire of my heart to supply Bibles to the
Thai people has been realized in some amazing ways. I found a source of King
James Thai translation Bibles. I approached several book stores in Phuket
offering them free Bibles. The Se Ed bookstore said I needed to contact the
corporate headquarters in Bangkok for permission. The director of foreign
publications said,I have never seen a Bible could you send me one. I sent it
and then called him about three weeks later. What do you think? I asked. I
read it, and I liked it he replied. My boss read it, and he likes it too. So
we have already contacted the store manager, made a poster for you, and directed
her to receive you and your Bibles. She will put the Bibles on the front
counter. So for nearly four years we have been giving away Bibles at that
bookstore. Perhaps someday, if the Lord provides we will be able to get more
Bibles distributed throughout the Se Ed nationwide chain of stores. Those
Bibles led to an invitation from the Gideon Camp of Phuket for me to become a
Gideon which gave me many more Bibles to distribute to all the resorts that are
near us in Thai and English.
Prayer concerns: Pray that more people in our
community will respond to the Gospel. Pray for our radio program on
Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. Pray for our Thai language study. Pray
for the leading of the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Word of God.
We need the Lord's wisdom in leading and overseeing this ministry.
Pray that many more Thais will come to know the Savior. Pray too for outreach to
the foreign visitors and expats and the teams plus the teams who come to help
us. Pray for the Gideon Bible distribution in the resorts,
hospitals, and Se-Ed bookstore.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
"If you and I both were dying of the same disease and I found the cure,
shouldn't I tell you? If I saw your house on fire and knew you were inside
sleeping, shouldn't I try to rescue you?" -- Dana Bratton
"The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" --
Carl F. H. Henry
"As long as there are millions destitute of the Word of God and knowledge of
Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for me to devote time and energy to those
who have both." -- J. L. Ewen
"The command has been to 'go,' but we have stayed -- in body, gifts, prayer and
influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth
... but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland." -- Robert
Savage, Latin American Mission
"People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste
our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives
... and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal
significance to show for the years they have wasted." -- Nate Saint, missionary
That if you shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in
your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with
the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
What man is he that desires life, and loves many days, that he
may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking lies.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD
are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
There are about 20 churches in province/island of Phuket
with a population of 500,000. The statistics overall in Thailand are the country
in 95% Buddhist, 4% Moslem and less than 1% Christian, however in the South the
percentage of Moslems is much higher, at 35%. Thai Buddhism is mixed with
animism, there is a great fear of spirits here. Many homes and businesses have
spirit houses where they place food and drink for the spirits to try to appease
them. There is a pretty good networking between the churches in Phuket
especially for major events such as Christmas and Easter.
Previously we spent 6 months studying Thai in Bangkok. We are long term
missionaries to Thailand. Dana is a licensed and ordained Southern Baptist
minister who worked for 16 years as a hospital chaplain. Cindy was a school
teacher. She taught home school for our three children, kindergarten, and
middle school science. They also were missionaries with Child Evangelism
Fellowship for eleven years. Dana enjoys helping Christian ministries with
web design too.
Did you know? There are 1.3 billion
Moslems in the 10-40 window. There are 400 million Buddhists. There are
800 million atheists adopting Western consumerism. Who will go tell them
about Jesus? How about you? Isaiah 6:8 8 Then I heard the voice of
the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said,
"Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8 (NASB)
Missions - What compels missionaries to leave home and family and go to the
other side of the world? Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his
disciples, "Let's go over to the other side." To go takes us out of our comfort
zone, to the unknown, to the risky.
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the
earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the
waves, (tsunami?) men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things
which are coming upon the world ; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
"Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great
glory."Luke 21:25-27 (NASB)
How do long do we have to tell them before Christ returns?
"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather
burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light" --
John Keith Falconer
"Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us." -- Keith Wright
"No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who
has not heard it once." "We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never
heard of the first." -- Oswald J. Smith
Donation checks for our missionary support should be
made payable to Shepherd's Staff Mailing address: P.O. Box
53640, Albuquerque, NM 87153-3640 Reference account #2067 or online at
www.ssmfi.org, monthly EFT is available.