Temper Trouble in Thailand
“I don’t know who to thank, your college teachers or God,” Mother told Ann. “I have been given a new daughter.”
From a young age, Saengsurin “Ann” Phongchan was stubborn and struggled to control her temper.
She chose to get an incomplete in a high school class because she despised the teacher. She sawed the chain of her mother’s motorcycle when her mother forbade her from riding it.
So, when she moved across Thailand to study at Mission College (now Asia-Pacific International University), it was no surprise that her mother followed to make sure she stayed out of trouble.
“Mother didn’t trust me,” Ann said. “I had temper issues, and I tended to do whatever I wanted. She was afraid that I would end up in jail because of my temper.”
Ann learned to pray at the college, and God answered her prayers in remarkable ways. After graduating, Ann gave her heart to Jesus and was baptized.
Her friends, who weren’t Christian, mocked her decision.
“You are so stupid,” said one.
“You have joined a cult,” said another.
“I am not stupid,” Ann replied. “I don’t want to waver over my beliefs anymore. I have chosen to be a Christian, and I will be one.”
The biggest trouble came at home. Mother was angry that Ann had abandoned her childhood faith, and she tried to convince Ann to return. She banned Ann from going to church. She took her to the temple and forced her to sleep there.
Ann put down her foot when Mother ordered her to write a letter to the family god.
“I have only one God now,” she said.
Furious and frustrated, Mother locked her in their house in Bangkok.
“You stay home,” she said. “I can feed you. You don’t have to go anywhere.”
Ann could have escaped by opening a window or picking the door lock. But she didn’t. Unlike her old self, she didn’t lose her temper. She did chores around the house and calmly read the Bible. She didn’t understand much of what she read, but she found the words strangely comforting.
One day, Mother asked, “Are you going return to our god?”
“No,” Ann said. “I already trust in the Lord. I’m sorry, Mommy.”
“Fine,” Mother said. “You can go to your church.”
Ann joyfully went to the Adventist church — and was surprised when Mother asked to accompany her. Gone was Mother’s anger. She was smiling and happy. Only later did she tell Ann the reason for her happiness.
“I don’t know who to thank, your college teachers or God,” she said. “I have been given a new daughter.”
Ann said it was the power of God.
“I used to be hot-tempered, but Mother didn’t see this in me anymore,” she said.
Today, Ann is the principal of Adventist International Mission School, a K-9 day school with 150 students in Korat, Thailand.
Saengsurin “Ann” Phongchan talks about how God calmed her uncontrollable temper. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)
Part of the 2018 fourth-quarter Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help the school construct a new campus on recently purchased property, allowing it to expand to the 12th grade and to accept more students. Thank you for your mission offerings.