Hope Village Thailand
Location: Northeast Thailand
Northeastern Thailand, near the Laos border, is sometimes known as Issan. The Issan people create the largest region of Thailand with 22 million people.
Language: Lao Thai
Industry: Farming & Agriculture
Out of the 22 million Issan people living in this region, only 0.27% are Christian.
The steadfast belief in Thailand is that "to be Thai is to be Buddhist". This means that the large majority of Thai citizens have never heard the name or story of Jesus Christ and the hope he brings.
The majority of Thailand's rural poor live in northeast Thailand. Because employment opportunities in rural Thailand are scarce, 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, or engage in other risky behaviors.
Another serious issue Thailand faces as a nation is the problem of human trafficking. Thailand is infamously known for its cities filled with brothels, red light districts, and sex tourism. 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 northeastern Thai women.
Our mission is to reach the children and families of rural villages by building lasting relationships, discipling new believers, and equipping and empowering indigenous leaders to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the surrounding villages, regions, and beyond.
We mentioned our idea of starting a Kid's Club in the village to Manit's parents. They were excited and said they'd ask around. A few weeks later, Manit's mom came to us and said "The kid's are coming tomorrow to learn English, what time would you like them to get here?" Taken by surprise, we asked her to tell them to come in the morning. We quickly got to work preparing English lessons not knowing how many students we would have or their ages!
The first week, two 15-year-old girls came to class. The following week, we had 6 students. We now consistently have 9 students from ages 5-15 studying English with us Saturday and Sunday mornings. For now, we have separated the children into two age groups for beginner and intermediate learners. Right now, we are using our living room in Manit’s parent’s home as a classroom.
We have quickly bonded with the children and teens over the last month and a half. Although we only officially teach English Saturday and Sunday mornings, they typically hang out with us at our house every day. We play board games together, draw, color, or make crafts. Manit has also been able to teach music workshops to the older students. In such a very short time, the Lord has already allowed us to mentor this precious group of children, and we are so incredibly thankful to get to know them.