Insights from a Teacher in a Thailand Coffee Shop 1This week's guest is Samara Murtaugh I connected with her through Paul Yoder of Donor Elf and it’s great to be able to talk with her.

Samara is originally from the US but is currently teaching 1st grade in Thailand. While that may not seem like a mission to some, it’s a great opportunity to get to know people on their own turf. And it’s an amazing opportunity to share the love of Jesus with people.

As you listen, I believe you'll be challenged by what she shares and inspired by her enthusiasm.

Scripture is alive

Life in Ministry

Prior to leaving for Thailand, Samara studied art and never really considered being a teacher. Now, about two years into her time in Thailand, she is heavily involved in ministering to young children in a lower-income part of town. Many of the students come from families in the mountains and would not have the same education opportunities if the school was not there.

She lives about twenty-five minutes outside of Chiang Mai city in a house with several other people. Most everything they need is within walking distance and most “comforts” are available one motorbike ride into the city.

Key Scripture

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:6-8


After Samara had been at School of Promise for only a couple of months, two of the students had to relocate and were unable to find suitable housing. Because they needed a place to stay, they lived in the same house as Samara for over ten months. But then things took a surprising turn.


Samara's call and commitment to her time in Thailand is to be a church planter. Not in the sense of creating congregations and buildings but by raising up believers and discipling them.

Since so much of her time is taken by her job as a teacher, it can sometimes be hard to reconcile the calling on her life with how much time she spends with children. But God reminded her of something.

You cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you have the faith like a child. Click To Tweet

In our chat, she shared the story of a time when that investment started to pay off. And what she shared reminded me of the time I spent talking with Jay Judson and Rich Frazer.

Current Ministry

One exciting change has been a recently formed small group for teenage girls. They have seen remarkable openness and vulnerability among the girls, which is very uncommon in Thai culture.

Significance in the Marketplace

I believe that if you’re a Christian, you’re called to the Great Commission, wherever you are. Click To Tweet

Take the opportunity to offer prayer to people who are sick or in need. It's uncomfortable but it can really change things.

Level Up

If you're a Christian, the Great Commission is wherever you are. Click To Tweet


Speed Round


  • Samara had to make some strict choices to ensure she was part of Thai culture instead of a subculture of Christians.

Best Advice

  • “Be myself”

Personal Success Habit

  • Samara smiles all the time; it's broken down many walls

Internet Resource

Book Recommendation

Cross-Cultural Ministry

Samara reminds us that we don't need to be scared. Instead, we should get to know our cross-cultural neighbors and coworkers. We can focus on being a friend and allowing God to work in and through our lives.

Parting Advice

Don’t be scared. Don’t worry about looking silly, messing up, or doing things right. When we’re stepping out in faith, God will use those things for His glory.

Contact Info

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As a listener of Engaging Missions, will give you a free audio book when you sign up for a 30-day free trial to check out their service. With over 150,000 titles to choose from, you’re sure to find one you like.

Samara's recommendation of The Shack is just one of the titles that are available. If you're not interested in that, I always recommend getting a copy of the Bible.

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