Welcome to wdbydana.com the website of Dana and Cindy Bratton, former
missionaries to Thailand.
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 too.
In August 2005 my wife and I made an exploratory trip to Thailand with a
team which included our oldest son Nathaniel 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
Theres a call comes ringing oer the restless wave,
Send the light! Send the light!
There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
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 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 in Perth, Australia. A YWAM motto
sums it up, Cindy and I do what we do "to know God and to make Him known".
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.
We lived in Thachatchai on the island of Phuket. Where I pastored
Chapel at the Bridge, an international church, and Cindy taught English and
Thachatchai is a small village on the north end of Phuket island that was hard
hit by the tsunami. About eleven 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
Very few people in our village spoke any English at all. Cindy taught
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 fish 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 the village and some people have
motorcycle carts selling food, ice cream, soda, or snacks.
I have been in ministry for 34 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. My heart is
evangelism. I pioneered the Caleb Community, the senior adult ministry
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 Baptist 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 then pastoring Calvary Chapel at the Bridge
There is no large Christian outreach in Southern Thailand. 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 was the pastor of Calvary Chapel at the Bridge. Sunday morning I
preached in English and a translator, translated it into Thai, we were
studying through the New Testament and on Wednesday evening we were studying
through the Old Testament.
I was affectionately known as ajan taat yaa (the pastor who cuts weeds).
When we had 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 we made 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. 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.
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.
We were led to return to the USA March 14, 2017 to help with our family
and seek the Lord's direction for the next chapter in our lives.
Before we left we called a Thai pastor to take my place, he has merged the
church with two cell groups to make a good strong body of believers, now an
extension of the Seed Church in Cheng Thalay. The church is now
known as the Seed Church Thachatchai.
Prayer concerns: Pray that the church will continue
to thrive and many more people will be reached with the Gospel and discipled.
Pray for the dear brothers and sisters we left behind.. Pray for our next
chapter as we have settled in Desert Hot Springs, CA.. Pray for the leading of
the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Word of God. We need the Lord's
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 martyr "
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. Psalms 34:12-15
I am 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. We also were missionaries with Child Evangelism Fellowship for
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
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
"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
The perfect storm refers to a particularly bad or critical state of affairs,
arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors. It is an
expression that describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances
will aggravate a situation drastically. In my case, it was a coming together
of physical, spiritual and emotional issues at the same time, started by
dengue fever while on the mission field in Thailand. Depression troubles
many Christians. This book describes my struggle with depression and
provides some biblical answers to deal with it.
Legacy writing is a way of documenting your family background, life
experiences, values, and opinions to share with others. To write about what
is most important to the author, while still alive rather than at the
funeral. At the age of 61, I am writing this to share the personal legacy of
my life. My intention is to let you know my thoughts and feelings about the
life I have lived, to honor the relationships that have enriched my life, to
express my gratitude for friends and family and my love for God. To know Him
and to make Him known. I am very thankful for those who have prayed for and
supported Cindy and me through the years. The most important thing in all of
life is knowing God, having a relationship with Him. My life experience has
taught me that God can always be trusted to guide and provide. God can use a
sinner with not many abilities to do great things for Him and take you
around the world doing it. If you surrender to Him. My special memories and
cherished moments are mainly of my wife Cindy, she has been the love of my
life since meeting in her in 1974, she is my lover, and my best friend. She
has been faithful 42 years. She has completed me, loved me during the good
times and bad, bore and raised our children, homeschooled them. She has
labored beside me. gone where I have gone or worked and allowed me to go.
She has cared for each of our homes, cooked the meals, done the laundry and
sewing. She helped me with my broken legs, my eye surgeries, and with other
health problems. She prepares my daily medicine box. She has brought her
insight, wisdom and decisiveness to our relationship. She has brought great
joy to my life. We have been able to serve God together. I greatly love and
appreciate my parents. I love my children, and my grandchildren. I love
every time even just one person come to faith in Christ after I shared the
Gospel. Some of my special memories are of my marriage to Cindy, the births
of each of our three children, Gods call on my life to be a pastor,
answered prayer at a hospital bed many times. Gods call to go to Thailand,
and Gods provision in 28 years of faith ministry. What has given me
strength in difficult times is my faith in God, prayer, the Bible, and
Christian music. My hope for all who would read my autobiography is for you
to have a close relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. I pray
that you will step out in faith and trust Him to use you, and guide and
provide for you, as He has for me. I hope this book will encourage aspiring
pastors and missionaries; and will draw attention to the great need of
evangelism especially among children, the sick, the elderly and in countries
like Thailand, that are sometimes neglected by main stream Christianity.
Ephesians 4:11-12 And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists,
the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for
building up the body of Christ, Verse 12 gives the main job description of
apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers that is to equip the
saints for the work of the ministry. That has been my life work to equip the
saints, through preaching, teaching, and providing resources such as songs
and flannel backgrounds, and web sites so that other believers can also do
the work of the ministry. Find out what it's like for an ordinary man to do
extraordinary things through pastoring, child evangelism, and hospital
ministry. Read of how God worked to bring thousands of people to faith in
Fear is a big part of many people's
lives today, and Christians don't seem to be exempt. What if you could
overcome fear and live in boldness? This book will be a springboard to all
kinds of adventure!