Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of Rescued Compassion-Sponsored Student Say “Thank You”

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 20, 2022: The Epic Tale on Screen
Several years have now passed since the incident. Since then, a movie has been released that shows the full extent of this rescue mission. Highlighting the stunning display of resilience and unity of those involved, “The Cave” reenacts the Thailand cave rescue of 2018, one of the most recent famous cave rescues.

This heart-stopping film retraces the gripping journey of pulling the Wild Boars soccer team boys from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave to freedom. The film employs what feels like authentic Thailand cave rescue photos and accurate Thailand cave rescue map details to create a lifelike experience.

The film shows the incredible courage and strength it took to rescue these boys. “The Cave” movie trailer itself attracted a worldwide audience, bringing renewed attention to this extraordinary tale of human spirit and the power of unity.

UPDATE JULY 20, 2018: The Wild Boars soccer team and their coach have returned home! Amongst the grateful boys and coach, is 14-year-old Adun, who is part of our Compassion family.

smiling young man

Meet Adun: Sponsored through Compassion and a member of the now-famous Wild Boar soccer team.

Adun is the bright, resilient, and multi-lingual young man who has captured the world’s attention* alongside his coach and teammates. But Adun has had the attention of the staff at our local church partner for years. They have had the privilege of being part of his incredible journey before and after the Luang Nang Non cave.

Adun’s church, led by Pastor Go Shin and his wife, has around 100 members.

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

Pastor Go Shin faithfully ministers to many children like Adun in the Mai Sai district of Northern Thailand.

In addition to the programming as a Compassion Child Development Center, Pastor Go Shin’s church also has a learning center where 30-35 children ages 6-14 come to learn. Children who attend have the opportunity to learn English, Burmese, Chinese, music and the Bible amongst other subjects from volunteer teachers.

Several of the children who attend the learning center are non-Thai citizens who live at the church because of the transient nature of their parents’ work. Most of these children come from families who live in extreme poverty. Their parents desire their children to receive a consistent education at Thai schools, learn about God and be equipped as young leaders.

Adun’s parents are part of an ethnic group known as the “Lua” or “Wah” group. As the oldest of their five children, Adun’s parents encouraged him to live at the church where he could receive the best opportunities and decided to enroll him in the Compassion program to build towards a promising future.

In addition to being a gifted student, Adun regularly leads music at the church. He hopes one day “to be a doctor and a famous professional soccer player for Chiang Rai United Club.”

Adun was discharged from the hospital on July 18, 2018 along with the other 11 boys and their coach. He will continue to stay at the church under the care of Pastor Go Shin and his wife. They, along with Compassion Thailand, are working to help Adun receive his Thai citizenship.

“We will keep everything simple and help Adun have a life like what it used to be for him,” Pastor Go Shin says. “Adun is a child and student and his responsibility is to study and return to a normal life. We have other children here who are from similar backgrounds or poverty levels as Adun and receive regular support. We will continue to care for all the children, while also making sure Adun has the support he needs.”

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

Thank you for your continued prayers for the recovery of the Wild Boar soccer team! You can specifically pray for Adun and Compassion Thailand in the following ways:

  • Pray the citizenship process for Adun will be completed successfully and quickly.
  • Pray for Adun to continue to heal, learn and grow in this season of his life.
  • Pray for Adun’s parents and his four siblings who live with them.
  • Pray for Pastor Go Shin as he navigates this situation and the other challenges in his community.
  • Pray for Compassion Thailand and the local churches as they reach out to more vulnerable children.

Read below to hear from Adun’s parents and learn more about how our local church partners in Thailand supported the rescue operations.

UPDATE JULY 10, 2018: All 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from the Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiang Rai, Thailand! We are giving thanks to God for the answered prayers!

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

The entrance to Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiang Rai, Thailand where the 12-boy soccer team and their coach were trapped for over 2 weeks.

Having been trapped in the cave due to flood waters since June 23rd, the remaining four boys and their coach were brought out by the brave rescue divers on Tuesday, July 10. After the 72-hour rescue operation, the entire Wild Boars soccer team and their coach have been taken to a hospital in Chang Rai to receive medical and psychological care.

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

The four remaining boys and their soccer coach arriving via caravan at the hospital in Chaing Rai the morning of July 10.

Thank you for praying with us and the parents of one of the boys who is sponsored through Compassion. Throughout the dangerous rescue operation, his Compassion community at his local church has been united in prayer and assisting the Air Force by providing food and shelter. (Read below to hear from his parents and learn more about how their community has supported them and the rescue).

Let’s continue to pray for the team and their coach as they begin their recovery process.

UPDATE JULY 9, 2018: Praise to God! Four more boys have been brought out of the cave, including the boy* who is a sponsored through Compassion!

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

The happy parents of the sponsored boy who has been rescued from the cave in Thailand standing outside of the church where their son attends the Compassion program.

“Thank you to God who helps us to see our son very soon. We are so happy to hear that our son is out of the cave and to welcome him home. It’s the love that God gives to our family. God is great love and there’s nothing He can’t do,” his parents say.

Thank you for praying with us and his parents for his safe return!

All eight boys who have been rescued are receiving medical treatment in Chiang Rai. Families are not allowed to see the boys until they have been cleared medically.

Let’s continue to pray for the boys’ physical and mental recovery and for the remaining rescue efforts and safety for the five people left in the cave.

UPDATE JULY 8, 2018: Four of the boys have been rescued! Praise God!

Eight boys, including the boy sponsored through Compassion, still remain trapped in the cave. (See an interview with his parents below.)

Racing against the weather and potential increased flooding in the cave, rescuers began bringing the four boys out on Sunday, July 8. On Saturday evening, the boys were assessed by a medical professional and deemed both physically and mentally ready for the journey.

The rescue teams have pumped enough water out of the cave for the boys to make it out but the journey is still dangerous. It is an 11-hour round trip for the rescuers to go into the cave and come out with the boys. Using guide ropes in complete darkness, the process includes a mixture of walking, wading, climbing and diving.

Because it takes 20 hours to prepare for each round of rescues, it is expected to take 2-4 days to get the remaining six boys and their coach out. And with the current rainy conditions threatening to flood the cave, time is imperative.

Please continue to pray with us for the safety of the rescuers, the remaining brave boys and their coach as they journey out of the cave!

JULY 5, 2018: The world watched and prayed for 10 days while 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped in the recesses of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiang Rai District of Thailand. On Monday, July 2, we rejoiced as rescuers finally penetrated into the room of the cave where the boys are trapped and found them alive. Thank you to all who have answered the call to pray for these precious lives!

One of the boys* is a Compassion beneficiary, and our photojournalist in Thailand had a chance to interview his parents.

“Thank you so much for all prayers and all the encouragement. Thank you to God. I’m really thankful that they found my son and all 13 are alive,” says the boy’s mother. “I’m so happy and so thankful to see my son again. Thank you so much to everyone that has been praying for us and the boys and helping us; thank you.”

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

The Director at the child development center the boy attends, Nasou (pictured in the photo above), says, “As Center Director, I want to say thank you so much for all your prayers as we have heard that [the boy] is now safe inside the cave. I’m so thankful to God and know that they will come out very safely.”

The soccer coach and boys have received food, blankets and medical attention. With the possibility of more rain to come, rescuers are working around the clock to find solutions to get them all to safety.

Rescue crews have been removing water from the flooded cave, but they believe the boys’ best chance to escape is to learn to dive to journey through 2-3 kilometers of the mountain. But this will be a considerable process, potentially taking months.

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

Map source: BBC

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

Rescue teams have been working diligently since June 23rd to locate the boys and their coach.

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

US Marines arrive at the cave site to aid in the rescue efforts.

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

Surayut was one of the first to report the boys missing and enter the cave in the search.

Eighteen-year-old Surayut Puengpadung, another Compassion beneficiary and member of the Chiang Rai Rescue Academy Team, was one of the first to report the boys missing on Saturday and one of the first to enter the water to search for the boys.

“Pray for all the rescue operation teams who are making progress,” Surayut says. “They are working very hard through this weather, and it’s very dangerous. The water runs fast and there are strong currents.”

Compassion’s church partners in the Chiang Rai District have been constantly gathering to pray for the lives of these precious boys and their coach. Compassion Center at Baag Jong Church is also being used as a base for the search.

three military men walking towards helicopter

The soccer field where the boys practice at Baag Jong Church is being used as a base of operations for the Air Force. The church is providing accommodations and food for the hard-working Air Force team.

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

Center Director at Baag Jong Church, Mheega Chemuegoo prepares a traditional food for the Air Force team.

“Because the parents and I are seeing the rescue teams working hard, through the days and nights, that’s what is giving us hope. We have the strength to stay here at the cave site to see the boys. Many times the parents felt hopeless after they had been waiting and hearing that nothing had accomplished in searching for their boys. So, we didn’t know whether the boys were going to be alive or not. But we kept on praying constantly and really trusted God that they would be found alive. When we heard that they found the boys, that was the most exciting moment and giving us more hope,” says Nasou.

Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of trapped boy on soccer team say "Thank You"

A mother of one of the trapped boy’s prays for their safe return.

Let’s stand in solidarity, and continue praying for the boys, their coach, the families and the rescue team in the months to come.

    • Pray that the boys and the coach will return to safety and their families soon.
    • Pray the rescue crews are able to find the quickest and safest solution.
    • Pray that the weather will remain stable so that there will be no more flooding in the cave.
  • Pray that the boys and their coach will remain healthy and grow strong enough to make the dive through the cave.

What is Compassion?

As one of the world’s leading child development organizations, Compassion partners with the local church in 25 countries to end poverty in the lives of children and their families. Today, nearly 2 million children and their families are discovering lives full of promise and purpose as they develop in all aspects of their lives — minds, bodies and relationships — while discovering God’s love for them.

Want to respond to some of the most pressing needs facing children living in poverty? Our “Where Most Needed” Fund addresses the needs our church partners have identified as the most urgent in their communities.

Give today to our Where Most Needed fund.**

Field reporting by Piyamary Shinoda, Compassion Thailand
*Compassion Thailand has verified that the spelling of the boy’s name is Adun, not Adul. The political opinions stated in the linked article do not reflect those of Compassion.
**Funds will go to Compassion’s Where Most Needed Fund, not toward the rescue of the boys.

8 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Jim Allis July 15, 2018

    What bravery and such hazardous conditions for the rescuers who it appears that some were very young themselves laying their lives at risk. What an incredible amount of prayer was staged especially at the local church where one of the boys attended. What faith and perseverance in prayer with so many odds against an escape? But God both heard and answered prayer and victory was gained. Each rescuer should be awarded a gold medal and I for one will never forget this amazing escape and rescue mission. Mission impossible became mission possible with God. Jim.

  2. Emile July 10, 2018

    Praising God for the miraculous rescue of these 13 young men. Continuing to pray that God will give them full and speedy recovery physically and mentally. Also, praying that He will guide them to safety and security in Him as they now navigate the precarious labyrinth of media attention and instant worldwide fame.

  3. Melody July 10, 2018

    God is faithful! All praise to him, all the boys and their coach are safe and sound, at the hospital.
    Now praying for the remaining divers to exit the cave safely!
    What a wonderful miracle!

  4. jojo July 9, 2018

    I have been crying everyday we R so smart but we can not save 11 boys

  5. Emile July 8, 2018

    Thank you so much for your updates on this. I am praying!

  6. Yajaira July 6, 2018

    Estaremos orando constantemente por estos niños y su entrenado. El Señor los cuidará y permitirá que regresen bien.

    1. Shannon July 6, 2018

      ¡Muchas gracias por sus continuas oraciones!

  7. Damon Shattuck July 5, 2018

    Praying that these kids and their coach will be safely brought from the cave and reunited with their families.

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