Seeing a new future for Ayutthaya
By Chad Loftis and Brian Yung | Thailand in Pacific Asia
For more than 400 years the city of Ayutthaya stood as the large, cosmopolitan capital of the mighty kingdom of Ayutthaya or Siam. European visitors to the city at its height were awed by its size and sophistication which some said outshone London and other European capitals. It was not only the political capital of this important kingdom but also the religious centre. King Ramathibodi I introduced Theravada Buddhism to Siam during the time the city was founded and it was soon full of many impressive temples and shrines - the ruins of which are, in some cases, still standing today.
But in the late 1700s Ayutthaya was sacked by a Burmese army and the Thai capital moved to Bangkok. Since then, although it remains a historically and spiritually significant place, the living city of Ayutthaya’s star has faded - it has become just another town on the far outskirts of sprawling Bangkok. In some ways, forgotten.
Perhaps this is why there are so few churches and barely any Christians in Ayutthaya and its surrounding province. With an estimated few hundred Christians in a province of almost a million people the chances for a resident of this once great town to hear the good news about Jesus are slim indeed. Along with Thai Christians SIM International is working hard to ensure that Ayutthaya is no longer forgotten. We are building a multi-ethnic, multi-skilled team to live in and help serve the community of Ayutthaya through English teaching, sport ministry and community development.
We see a new dawn for the old city of Ayutthaya and its people. If you or your church is interested in supporting the work of bringing good news and new hope to this city contact firstname.lastname@example.org.