Location: Northeast Thailand
Language: Thai and Isaan
Sometimes referred to as "Isaan," northeast Thailand is geographically the largest region in the country and is home to 22 million people.
About Hope Village Thailand
Sometimes referred to as "Isaan," northeast Thailand is geographically the largest region in the country and is home to 22 million people. In a nation whose steadfast belief is "to be Thai is to be Buddhist," most of the Isaan people have never heard the name of Jesus or had the opportunity to begin a life-changing relationship with Him.
Our mission is to reach the children and families of rural villages in northeast Thailand with the good news of Jesus Christ.
The objectives of Hope Village Thailand are to:
Build and maintain lasting relationships among the Isaan people living in rural villages while introducing them to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Create a foundation of trust and reputability in the villages, surrounding communities, and beyond by providing children, teens, and their families with a safe place for personal growth and development such as English classes, music lessons, mentorship programs, computer classes, etc.
Serve as base for evangelism, discipleship, prayer gatherings, and Bible studies where young Isaan leaders will be trained, equipped, empowered, and sent to reach the unreached people of their own villages.
Buddhism permeates life at home, work, school, and government.
Religion is an important aspect of day to day life in Thailand. Over 98% of the population adheres to the Buddhist faith. Buddhism permeates life at home, work, school, and government. Thais believe strongly in Karma and how actions produce either good karma or bad karma. While good karma can bring prosperity, spiritual enlightenment, and possible eternal life in heaven, bad karma brings misfortune and suffering.
Thai Buddhism has been strongly influenced by Hinduism, folk religions, and superstitions. As a result, Thai Buddhism has become a mixture of many varying beliefs. Many Thais in rural areas worship regional deities, hold superstitions unique to their villages, consult witch doctors, and have strong beliefs in evil spirits and ghosts.
Village Life -
Although many Thais live in prosperity as the nation modernizes and industrializes, most of Thailand's rural poor live in the northeast
Isaan Thai villagers live closely together in small communities surrounded by friends, relatives, and neighbors. Northeast Thailand is a collectivist culture, emphasizing the importance of the needs of the entire community and family over the needs of the individual. It is not uncommon for grandparents, parents, and children to share one family home.
Although many Thais live in prosperity as the nation modernizes and industrializes, most of Thailand's rural poor live in the northeast. Over 27% of Northeast Thais depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Due to environmental challenges in Northeast Thailand such as flooding and droughts, many families must contend with the elements to produce good harvests to support their families.
Employment opportunities in rural Thailand are scarce. Because of this, many parents seek work in larger cities, leaving their children in the care of their grandparents in the village. As grandparents age and care for their farms, many village children are loosely supervised and are, as a result, more at risk to become involved in gangs, experiment with drugs, and engage in other risky behaviors.
Women of northeast Thailand and Human Trafficking
Women in the Northeast face their own unique challenges. In Thailand, dowries are still a common practice. When a daughter is born, some parents have high hopes she will one day marry well and bring honor and financial blessing to her family. Women must cope with the pressures of finding an acceptable suitor and becoming a desirable bride.
Thailand is infamously known for its cities filled with brothels, red light districts, sex tourism, and human trafficking. There is an estimated 200,000 sex workers in Thailand servicing an industry with an annual revenue of 6.4 billion dollars. The majority of Thailand's sex workers are northeast Thai women.
All too often, northeast Thai women find themselves in great financial distress with limited education and few options as a result of divorce, becoming the sole caretaker of her children, or taking on the responsibility of caring for her aging parents. In response to this heavy financial burden, many northeast women choose to leave their hometowns in search of wealthy husbands or foreigners with deep pockets to help her support her family. What may begin as a job working at a restaurant or bar to make connections with wealthy suitors can lead to entrapment in the world of prostitution.
Hope Village Thailand
Building a Community of Hope
The goal of this mission is to reach children, students, and their families in the rural regions of northwest Thailand with the good news of Jesus Christ. Our Hope Village Thailand team, consisting of Manit and Hannah Attakul, arrived in the Nong Khai province in February of 2021 began connecting to the people of their new community.
Since the beginning of the year, our team has begun a weekend Kid's Club with the children and teens of their rural village. On Saturdays and Sundays the children and youth meet in the morning and afternoons for interactive English classes. Building proficiency in the English language is highly valued in Thailand as it opens up more opportunities in education and the workplace.
Teaching English also allows us to bless our community with practical skills, open doors for us to connect with more students, and build relationships with the children and their families. On Sunday mornings and afternoons our team shares the Gospel with the children and teens and teach Christian values such as generosity, responsibility, kindness, patience, self-control, and dedication using Bible stories and Scriptural truths.
During their first year of serving their new community, our team has seen God working among the children and families in the community. Our small group of students has become a safe place and the children now think of the Attakuls as their own family. We are thankful for the opportunity to begin sharing the Gospel, and look forward to serving the community in greater capacities in the coming years.
Our vision for Hope Village Thailand is that it will become a thriving community where children and families hear the Gospel, are discipled and cared for as they grow in their faith, and have the opportunities to learn practical skills that will help future generations break the cycles of poverty and addiction so prevalent in northeast Thailand.