Monday morning, bright and early, our team traveled 6 hours from Phitsanulok to Chiangdao by Sung-Tao (a red truck taxi, common for transport in Thailand). Along the way, we picked up our translator, Beer, a university student who will accompany us for this portion of the journey. Beer worked with a team RIM had in Thailand during June, and we loved her so much. Beer (black t-shirt on the right) is just starting to learn about who Jesus is, and it’s so good for another team to get to connect with her and share more.
Once the team arrived in Chiangdao (chee-ang-dah-oh), they settled in at Fountain of Hope Orphanage, run by Sai and Aaron, a married Thai couple. Sai (pronounced “see”), the wife, has loved children and had a heart for the broken and abandoned ones her whole life. As a single woman and university student, she adopted an orphaned 3-year old boy, even before she met her husband. When Sai met Aaron (“aaa-rone”), she told him that she wanted to always have a home where they took in the children that no one else was helping. If Aaron wasn’t on board, that was a deal breaker for her as far as getting married. He agreed to share her vision and since that time they’ve been helping as many kids as the Lord gives them opportunity.
Presently, they rent a large house and have 13 orphans staying with them. They have also purchased land, which they farm to provide food for their LARGE family. They have a dream to one day build an orphanage on the land they own (a project that will cost about $15,000 US), dig a well, and add some animals to the farm (pigs, chickens, cows). They aim to be pretty much self-sustaining. But for now, they take it one day at a time, trusting the Lord to provide for their daily needs. Each month, it costs about 30,000 baht for their rent and food for everyone. They have a regular income of 5,000 baht from Aaron’s job and one monthly donor. For the rest of their funding, they trust the Lord…
For many of our team members who meet them, this trust really shines of an example of what our faith and dependence on the Lord should look like. Sai and Aaron have stories every month of how the Lord provides the rest. Sometimes he gives them a creative way to earn money. Other times a crop is harvested at the farm. Occasionally someone makes a donation. But for years now, they’ve been trusting the Lord and he’s been caring for 100% of their needs. An amazing example for us to follow when we feel the Lord leading us to action!
While our team is in Chiangdao, they “do life” with the orphans at Fountain of Hope. This means rising early to read the Bible together at 5am each day, helping with chores (cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc.), helping with homework, and having fun and fellowship in the evenings.
In addition, the team will be teaching English and/or facilitating English camps at the four public schools the orphans attend. They’ll also spend a day on the farm helping Fountain of Hope either prep the land or plant a crop for whatever is next to grow this season. (RIM’s June team chopped down bamboo trees and built frames for growing cucumbers! Perhaps this team can check to see how our crop is progressing…)
RIM is also considering the possibility of starting a child sponsorship program for the orphans. Several team members have volunteered to take photographs and write down stories about each of the children to help us if we pursue this venture. We’re prayerfully waiting to see how the Lord will open doors!