A Kentucky Baptist doctor is using his medical practice as a form of “tent making” to support his true calling: training national pastors on the mission field.
Kit Putrakul, an emergency room doctor originally from Thailand but now working in Manchester, and his pastor, Andrew Dyer of Corinth Baptist Church in London, recently spent two weeks in Southeast Asia conducting expository preaching and discipleship seminars.
The seminars drew approximately 60 leaders from various countries in Southeast Asia. Many traveled long distances to attend. Three years ago, Putrakul oversaw a similar event in Cambodia.
“We talked about doctrinal philosophy for expository preaching, why preaching matters, and why God’s word being true makes the pastor’s responsibility simply to tell people what God has said,” Dyer said.
Kit Putrakul and family
The team wanted to convey that “the pulpit must not drive us to the text, but the text must drive us to the pulpit,” Putrakul added.
The team held 12 sessions, and Dyer preached every night, providing an example of expository preaching. Putrakul helped with training sessions and translating.
The ultimate purpose of the seminars was to “help equip pastors to better teach the word to their people” and to teach small group, relational discipleship so the nationals can “better make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission,” Dyer explained.
“In a lot of ways, I feel unequipped to be there,” Dyer said. “There was so much that I needed to learn from them.”
Buddhism heavily influences the region, and many of the pastors attending have experienced imprisonment for their faith. The day before some of the Laotian pastors came to the seminar, five of their colleagues were arrested for “practicing medicine without a license,” Dyer said.
The pastors had simply prayed over a woman dying of cancer. After she passed, the authorities arrested them and set the bail for around $1,300 American dollars, he said.
Describing it as “kind of a Paul and Silas attitude,” Dyer recalled how the pastors were adamant about the bail not being paid. The pastors reportedly had stated, “God has sent us here to this prison, we know we’re in His will and His plan, and He’s going to take care of us while we’re here. We’re just going to take advantage of the situation and share the gospel.”
Putrakul has been working with missions for more than 10 years. A former Buddhist monk, he was saved after coming to America for medical training. God allowed him to return to Southeast Asia for a time, before calling him back to America.
He and his wife are now members of Corinth Baptist.
“In order to be a better advocate to all these national pastors, God had opened a door for me to work as an ER physician,” Putrakul said.
However, he travels to Southeast Asia two to three times a year. Additionally, he oversees the curriculum that provides theological training to untrained pastors.
“The need is great in the world, but the gospel is going forth. Christ is building His church,” Dyer said. “I think it’s just a great encouragement for Kentucky Baptists to join Him.”
Individuals interested in being a part of a mission trip to help train pastors in discipleship and expository preaching in Southeast Asia may email inquiries to [email protected].
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This article appeared in the Western Recorder, westernrecorder.org, newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Myriah Snyder is a news writer for the Western Recorder.)