In May 2019, years of working, saving, and prayer came to fruition. God graciously provided the gift of a piece of land that would become the home of Cool Shade of Life Church of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
It is Cool Shade's desire that this land become a center for gospel ministry in Chiang Mai and for church planting work throughout all of Thailand.
This website is the story of how God made this purchase possible and how you can participate with us in this exciting calling!
Cool Shade of Life Church was planted by Pastor Ogaat Soiraya in 2006. It started as a small Bible study in his home and has grown to a congregation of around 50 people.
Six months after the church was launched, Pastor Ogaat asked his brother-in-law Pastor Yut Tumsumgnern to join him in growing and caring for the members of Cool Shade.
Pastor Ogaat and Pastor Yut have a passion to see Thai people come to faith in Jesus Christ. They understand the struggles Thai people have with their families, their culture, and their communities when they accept Jesus Christ as Savior.
As a church, Cool Shade of Life is passionate about the
Bible. It is the center of who we are as people and as a church. We believe the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ motivates us to reach the people of our community and the rest of the nation of Thailand.
Not long after launching, Cool Shade outgrew Pastor Ogaat's home and moved into a store front on Chiang Mai's southern suburb of Hang Dong. This location puts Cool Shade of Life in the center of incredible growth taking place in Chiang Mai.
But like before, we are quickly outgrowing our current location. The purchase of land where we can build our own ministry home will allow us to grow beyond our current facilities and continue to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the community around us.
People often make the argument that the church is the people, not a building. To understand why a church building is important in a place like Thailand, one needs to picture a Buddhist temple.
In Thailand, the Buddhist temple is a center of activity and relationships within a community. People gather at temples. Local markets even pop up in the courtyard of the local temple. Most small neighborhoods have a local temple that is the center of life for that community.
As Christians, we want to be part of our local community. We want Thai people to see the church as a center of life and relationships. But for that to happen, it is important to have a building. In the minds of Thai people, if you don't have a building, you don't exist.
We also see a church building as an inheritance that we can pass down to future generations of Cool Shade of Life members. Every month we spend in a building we own outright, is a month that we can invest the resources God has given us into reaching and caring for our local community and our nation rather than paying rent.
The story of how Cool Shade of Life was able to purchase this piece of land was truly a tale only God could write!
Pastor Ogaat began encouraging Cool Shade to save toward the purchase of land back in 2016. But the church soon realized that the price of land in Chiang Mai was increasing in value faster than they could give and save.
Pastor Ogaat spent years shopping for land that was reasonably priced. But the only reasonable plots were either too far away from the city and people or unusable for a church.
But in early 2019, a friend of Cool Shade of Life approached Pastor Ogaat with news of property for sale right down the road. A local Christian International school had recently been forced to move to a new neighborhood. A Christian man who had purchased this land to build a home close to the school was now looking to move nearer the new campus.
Not only was this man willing to sell his land to a church, he was willing to sell at a fraction of the cost he could have gotten for the land! He was excited to see his land used to build a church. And we were amazed to see our generous heavenly Father at work!
Before COVID, Chiang Mai was the 6th fastest growing city in Asia.
Anyone who has lived here more than a year or two can see, visibly, how quickly things have exploded. Much of this expansion is happening on the south side of the city. Cool Shade's new land is right in the path of this incredible urban sprawl.
The new land is right on the main road between downtown Chiang Mai and the southern suburbs. It's also just a short distance from the city's outer ring road. This also means it is also just a short 15 minute drive from Chiang Mai International Airport.
While it is perfectly located on transportation thoroughfares, it is also set back from the road in a very green peaceful field. This will make it a very attractive place for people to come, worship, and build community together.
To get a better view of just how well located Cool Shade's new land really is, just click on the button below:
Cool Shade's new land is perfectly positioned to help us build relationships with people in our local community. It is close enough to our current rental building so that we can maintain the relationships we already have and expand into the future.
The new land is next to a Thai neighborhood that does not have a church of its own. It is our plan to get to know the leaders and residents of this community and help them see that we and our faith will be a rich blessing to them.
Pastor Ogaat is also very passionate about planting new churches in Thailand. We are currently working to organize a new church in the Thai province of Chayaphum, in a nearly unreached village. We also partner with Siam Blessing ASEAN Foundation, which has member churches and church plants all over Thailand.
It is our desire to use our new land and the future building as a center of ministry, not just for our community, but for church planting efforts nation-wide. It will be a hub for equipping and training of Thai church planters who will open churches in places far outside Chiang Mai.