At the age of 84, Richard had to move to a retirement village where there are people who can assist him. He had to leave his cats and his familiar life behind, so the only thing he had left was his sponsored child. Richard longs to receive letters from his “grandson.”Continue Reading ›
“I am very proud to work alongside the villagers. I sacrifice myself, my knowledge and my time into the savings groups. All my work wasn’t wasted. But it is growing and it can help poor villagers.” — YamsukContinue Reading ›
Fourteen registered children, three Child Survival Program (CSP) mothers and one CSP father from the Rom–Prakun Child Development Center were recently baptized.
“I felt so lonely in this village. I did not know anyone and I did not have any friends due to the language barrier. My family who I can count on is in another country so they could not help me. I was so hopeless. I felt like Ruth in the Bible who lives in a country that is not her own with her husband’s family and faces hardships,” says Sudaphorn.
Suppakit and his family are a part of the Karen tribal group, which is a minority group in Burma. Because the Burmese government oppresses numerous ethnic groups, his family lived in extremely difficult circumstances and eventually fled to Thailand. Now Suppakit’s family is recognized as Burmese refugees who have limited rights in Thailand.
Marisa is a member of a the Lawa tribe, a minority group with its own distinct dialect and tradition found only in certain isolated areas in northern Thailand. She lives in Laoop, a village located in a very high, remote area.
Even though Marisa finished grade nine, the quality of education she received at the school in her village was poor compared to the education she could have received at a school in the city.
As a member of a minority tribal group, Marisa’s options after school were limited. Most villagers in Laoop are educated only until grade six or nine, and after their brief education they usually find jobs and begin working. Marisa chose to work for a brief period, and when she turned 18 she married one of her neighbors and began her role as a housewife and a mother.
“Being pregnant made no difference to my work schedule. I still worked in the fields because I believed that it would strengthen my unborn child. I also ate the exact same meals I had before I was pregnant. My meals consisted of rice and boiled vegetable with spicy sauce. I did not eat anything special.
“After I got home from the hospital, I went to a health center nearby my village to attain information on how to raise my baby to be healthy and how to increase his weight. At the health center the nurse assistant briefly informed me on some basic guidelines, but she explained the information too quickly and I only understood a little of what she said.”
Mai-treejit Sawang-dandin church is located in Sakon Nakorn, a region in northeastern Thailand. It is commonly known as the barren region. Numerous people of all working ages move here to work in the big city, where they can earn a decent income to support themselves and their families.
Noppadol and Ladda Surin were a young couple who had just graduated from Bible school and had come to serve God in this area. The first time they held a Sunday service at Mai-treejit Sawang-dandin church, there were only five members in the congregation.
As they walked away from the church grounds after the service, they could see the large Buddhist temples that surrounded the community and the church. They silently prayed,
“What can we do to bring salvation to the people in this community?”
“The villagers considered Christianity a western religion, and building in-depth relationships with them was initially very difficult. Another major concern was that the villagers were strong Buddhists, and there were temples existing in every village,” explains Pastor Noppadol.
About 98 percent of the communities in Sakon Nakorn are Buddhist. Every morning it is common to see villagers waiting along the road in front of their houses to make merit by putting food into the bowls of Buddhist priests as they collect their alms for the day.
In every Buddhist ceremony, the community gathers together to celebrate for the entire day, much in the same way holidays such as Christmas are celebrated in western cultures. Everyone in the community participates in helping and preparing for the ceremony weeks in advance. The community’s collective effort ensures the ceremony is a success.
In this environment, the church needed some help to reach out to the poor and bring glory to God. Compassion provided the solution.
In Thailand, Christians make up less than 1 percent of the population in a predominantly Buddhist country. But every Thursday evening a small group of Christian university students gather together to worship and glorify God at Naresuan University.
During this time of praise and singing, Maneenoot and Ittipol from the Leadership Development Program* observe their college friends who attend this small group. Some students walk in casually, and others enter in a hurry, rushing from their previous class. A handful of students sit by themselves nearby.
The hearts of Ittipol and Maneenoot are crying out to bring back all the lost souls to their heavenly Father’s kingdom.
In 2005, a group of Leadership Development Program students decided to join together to form a group in order to fellowship and support each other while attending Naresuan University, located in Payao province.
Veerachai Nimmitthamrongkul, more commonly called Bee, was sponsored by Compassion when he was growing up. But now Bee has been working as a Partnership Facilitator (PF) for Compassion Thailand for six years.
Bee still recalls the letters he received from his sponsor from Canada. The letters always encouraged him to keep on studying and stressed the significance of education.
The support and letters of encouragement from his sponsor enabled Bee to break free from the chains of poverty.
Now Bee has been blessed with the opportunity to serve the Lord in ministry.
Bee’s life was radically transformed because of his sponsorship, and he now gladly serves as a bridge between sponsors and children.
He hopes that each sponsor can make a difference in a child’s life in the same way that his sponsor dramatically transformed his.
A typical day for Bee starts at 6:30. He wakes up and spends about an hour getting ready for the day.
At 7:30 he leaves the quiet and tranquility of his room and heads to his busy and activity-filled job at Compassion.
Every morning Bee starts work with a time of devotions with fellow staff from 8 to 8:40.
Then he begins work. Bee juggles many tasks as a PF.
A middle-aged woman was riding her motorbike roaming the streets of Nongki village. Everything about her appearance looked ordinary and did not illicit any suspicions. She looked around. Suddenly, her eyes fixed on one small house near a barren farmland.
The woman drove to the house and greeted the young girl who was sitting at the front of the house alone. She asked the young girl questions that are typically asked among the people in this area.
“Do you want a new cell phone?” “Do you want to live in a bigger and nicer house?”
The young girl was surprised by the lady’s questions and remained silent.
“If you are interested in these things, I can give them all to you. All you have to do is come work with me. You will earn a lot of money so that you can have pretty clothes to wear and you will have a nice car to drive. It is a very easy job. C’mon. Trust me and come with me.”
“No, thank you,” replied the young girl, Supattra, a 14-year-old Compassion-assisted child. This situation is repeated over and over.
Some people say that being a champion is hard, but that remaining a champion is even harder. A little warrior champion named Siriporn was going to prove this in her second tae kwon do competition.
This match was very different fromSiriporn was burdened by the expectation of others.
She was known as a champion from having won her last tournament. Everyone in the child development center and from her province expected her to return home a champion again with a gold medal hanging from her neck. She felt like she could not return home unless it was as a winner. She wanted to bring glory for her hometown and to her family.
However, no one knew that the champion was not prepared to fight.
Photos by Ratchana Suksabye.
It was night at the Chiang Mai 700 Year Stadium, and the quiet evening was disrupted by a loud voice coming from the tae kwon do gym.
The spokesman announced the names of the new northern region competitors for the final round of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s cup.
There were many people shouting and cheering in celebration of the finalists who had been announced. Amidst the storm of voices, finalist Siriporn stood still.
She did not hear a single word from the crowd, but was focused on her whisper to God. She silently prayed, “May this competition glorify your Name.”
As she opened her eyes, she was ready for the last battle in the spotlight.
Siriporn is a young girl from Thai Chareuntham Child Development Center, located in the rural area of northern Thailand. While she walked onto the floor, all she was thinking about was that the day she had been waiting and training for had arrived.