Pastor Gary Johnson has invited missionary Dr. Jeffrey Lange to speak at Liberty Baptist Church in Ogilvie at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, July 21. Following the morning service, Lange will hold an open meeting — not a fund-raiser, he stresses — from 1 to 2 p.m. to talk about his experiences serving in Southeast Asia. Both events are open to the public and will be held at Ogilvie Elementary School.
Dr. Lange is the son of Dr. David and Nancy (Troupe) Lange, both 1964 graduates of Ogilvie High School. Prior to arriving in Thailand in January 2004, Dr. Lange and his wife Theresa earned Master’s Degrees in linguistics in preparation for intensive, accelerated Thai language training during their first year in the country. They have worked in Bangkok, a mega city of more than 12 million people, and in several tiny, remote jungle villages of less than 100 families.
In all his works Lange said that he has tried to pass on the message that changed his own life. He took a roundabout path to Thailand and a life of serving the Lord. Although he grew up going to church, religion did not make much impression on him. When he left home to study mechanical engineering at North Dakota State University, he fell into bad habits. “Let me put it this way — I was living a carnal college lifestyle,” Lange said. “I knew in the depths of my soul, the things I was doing were not right in God’s sight” he said. “I tried to stop but I couldn’t. Then the desire to know God became more important than the sin in my life. I knew that God was real, but he wasn’t real to me.”
All that changed in 1995 when Lange, began attending Fargo Baptist Church where he experienced a real conversion, became a genuine believer, and professed Jesus Christ as his personal savior. Although within months he graduated from NDSU with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and found a job in his field, he soon after knew he was meant for something else. He went back to college and earned a degree in Theology from Masters Baptist College in Fargo, ND, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Cross-Cultural Education from Great Plains Baptist Divinity School in Sioux Falls, SD. That education and a 10-day mission trip to Thailand as a Bible college student in 1998 helped shape his future. “After I graduated from Bible college in 2000, Theresa and I were married,” Lange said. “It was then that we felt the Lord leading us to serve as missionaries in Thailand.”
Since January 2004, the Lange family has been based in Bangkok working with both Thai nationals and different tribal people groups from Burma, Laos and rural areas of Thailand. In addition to learning the spoken and written Thai language, the Langes have had to overcome many cultural differences. “For example, if I were to ask people from the United States if they know where they will spend eternity when they die, culturally most people will understand the question even if they don’t like the question. But when you begin to ask a Thai person, ‘If you were to die today …’, their world view interprets this, ‘I just put a curse on you’ and basically have offended them. Also, it would be considered too assertive in their culture because it is too much as we say ‘In your face.’”
Dr. Lange said the results they have seen during their years in Thailand have been worth the challenges they have faced. “We have worked with people who have been fearing demons and trying to appease evil spirits their entire lifetime who not only found freedom in Jesus Christ, but more importantly, found salvation from the power and penalty of sin.” He goes on to say, “It is rewarding to see God work in lives to restore marriages and families as well as to heal individuals from all kinds of addictions, fears, doubts, moral impurity, and emotional abuse.”
The Lange family is back in the United States until the end of the year to report on the progress of their mission work. He hopes that his presentations will help Christians realize what kind of impact they can have in the world around them. “I would like people to leave thinking, ‘Wow, if God did this in his life, what could God do in my life?’ There are all sorts of opportunities for people to serve God, including in small towns throughout the United States.” To learn more about the Lange family and their ministry or to contact them, you may do so through their website: http://www.vfmsea.com