Bryan and Sommer Lowery with High Plains Baptist Church recently left on a six-year mission trip to Thailand.

Along with their five children and two dogs, the Lowery family left March 18.

"We took our first trip to Thailand in 2008," Bryan said. "We have officially been planning this trip for two years."

Bryan has been an associate pastor at High Plains Baptist Church for eight years.

"Sommer didn't have as much of a desire to go," he said. "So I prayed that God wouldn't give her the desire if he wanted us to stay in Hays. If he did, he would give both of us the same desire." Both Sommer and Bryan saw the need for ministry in Thailand, and said God put love in their hearts for the people.

"We prefer ministry that is relational," Sommer said. "We like talking to people, doing bible studies and hanging out and playing games. That is very much the ministry in Thailand. Its nickname is 'the land of smiles,' so it just felt like a good fit for who we are."

Sommer said less than 1 percent of Thailand citizens claim to be "followers of Christ," and the country is 98 percent Buddhist.

"There have been generations and generations of Buddhism, so that's what seems natural to them," Bryan said. "Even though they're sincere with Buddhism, God is sending us with the message we're convinced he has given us."

The children Alie, Izaac, Jonah, Kinzie and Maggie are excited for the adventure. Kinzie referred to the trip as "sappy, because it's happy and sad." Jonah wants to buy an elephant. The majority are looking forward to trying new foods and making new friends.

After arriving in Thailand, the Lowery family will spend the first few years learning the language, culture and getting to know the people.

"We'll be working with a Thai pastor and learning from him," Bryan said. "After a couple years, we'll be moving to an area where there are no other pastors or churches. I may work in a university teaching English and we'll be making friends, telling people about Jesus and seeing the responses. We'll see that the Lord would convince people of the truth."

The Lowery family is receiving their support through churches and individuals. For more information, call High Plains Baptist Church at (785) 628-2558.