Chiang Mai Trip

This trip to Chiang Mai was the first trip for Gloria to Thailand. I was excited that she was able to go with me on this journey. She has been involved with this ministry since it started in 2010 and we have enjoyed working on this together. Here is Gloria’s account of what we did and accomplished on this trip. -Mike

chiang-mai

I wanted to give an update of our trip to Thailand the last two weeks of October.  Some of you may have seen the updates on Facebook while we were there  but we wanted everyone to know what was accomplished.

We left Sunday afternoon and arrived in Chiang Mai Tuesday mid-morning.   Zeb, Rachelle (our two missionaries that moved over in September) and Terra (our Mission Consultant) met us at the airport.  I remember how hot and humid it was when we walked out of the airport.

Day One (Tuesday October 20):  We checked into the Baan Kaew Guest House and refreshed ourselves.  We had a great Mexican meal at Miguel’s on the square and I (Gloria) had a quick view of the city as we ran errands (had to buy a Thai cell phone and exchange our USD for baht).  We struggled to stay awake but finally had to give in and take a nap before dinner.  We met Zeb and Rachelle for dinner at a cute little diner.  We were in bed early and as we laid down we heard the rain (Zeb and Rachelle got drenched riding their scooter home).

Day Two (Wednesday 21): Enjoyed an early morning walk to the square and then a great breakfast, facebook and Skype time with our daughter and grandsons.  The open air dining room at the Guest House was a great place to prepare for the day.  We had a rental truck delivered to the guest house so we had transportation during out stay.  Hope Bridges recently became a member of a Thai Foundation called Haven Foundation run by a group of Australians.  They have been working in Thailand for about 25 years.  We had the opportunity to meet with Jonathan  Vickers, the Chariman.  We asked a lot of questions about how to do mission work in Thailand.  The foundation will be able to provide guidance in many areas of mission and Thai culture.  They helped Zeb and Rachelle with their visas and work permits.  We look forward to this new relationship.

Day Three (Thursday October 22): We picked up Sarah (our Liaison for Mission Ministry, she visits the children’s homes each month taking food and other supplies provided by HB) and then drove about an hour out of Chiang Mai to visit an intergenerational family living in poverty.  Sarah is currently housing five of the children so they can go to school.  Currently, about 32 people are living in a one room cement house with an outside room.  There is the grandmother who stays home and watches the 23 kids before and after school along with one of the parents.  The other 7 parents are picked up early in the morning by their employer and taken to a cannary and then returned late in the day.  This is a very difficult situation for this family.  We prayed over the grandmother and daughters as they are both experiencing health issues.  We then returned to Chiang Mai, I to Sarah’s for a great Thai meal and Mike to another meeting at the Haven Foundation.

Day Four (Friday, October 23): Leisurely morning and then Teerapong (Pastor at Payap Church) and his two daughters picked us up and we had a quick tour of the museum about the first Christian missionaries in Chiang Mai, Daniel McGilvary and Jonathan Wilson.  We then went to Payap Church located on Payap University campus.  We saw the land where the new Payap church will be built and prayed that God would be present in the building of the new church.  We then went to a great Thai restaurant where Kim (a member of Payap Church) met up with us.  She has a business that contracts with municipalities to teach English to local children and to help empower low income persons.  She is interested in providing a support system for young adults coming to the big city (Chiang Mai) to go to school or find work.  Many come but have no one to provide life skills and spiritual support.  Bui a Thai friend and our interpreter for the weekend met up with us for dinner and stayed at the guest house so we could leave early in the morning to go to the children’s home in Baan Mai.

Day Five/Six (Saturday/Sunday October 24-25): Up early and the three of us (Mike, me and Bui) headed to Sarah’s house to pick her up for the visit to Baan Mai.  Baan Mai is about a five hour drive south of Chiang Mai.  On the way we stopped at the local Big C store (similar to a Super WalMart) and bought chicken, pork, treats and some games to take with us.  The scenery was beautiful as we climbed the hills and viewed the many beautiful sights from forrest to valleys.  Once at Baan Mai we were greeted by the children and caregivers.  We pulled out the treats and games and spent the late afternoon playing BiNGO and badmitten. That evening the boys prepared a great feast with the help of Sarah and the caretakers.  The girls were on clean up duty.  After diner we had a time of devotions with the children.  The next morning we had the opportunity to worship with the children and several villagers who also attend.  We left later that afternoon and headed back to Chiang Mai.  On the way back we stopped in Omkoi and visited a children’s home that HB helped by purchasing mattresses for the children’s beds when Mike was in Thailand in January.  We just wanted to see how they were doing and if there were any needs that we might be able to help with.  Sineena, the caretaker, said new duvets and a rice cooker would be a great help.  The children were not present as it was their “Spring” break and the kids usually go back to their villages (higher up in the hills) and parents or other relatives.

Day Seven (Monday, October 26): Had a quiet breakfast and Skyped with our daughter and grandsons again.  It was so good to see and talk to them!  I don’t think Wesson was quite sure what was going on.  After the call we decided that I needed to ride an elephant while I was here and so Mike, Bui and I headed to the zoo (the closet place to ride an elephant).  We saw some of the animals and then headed to the elephant ride. They took us up a hill and to a ledge that overlooked Chiang Mai where we could view the beautiful skyline of the city.  I was a bit nervous as the elephants were very close to the edge of the overhang but the elephants seemed to know what they were doing!  After that Bui and I decided to zipline across a large pond which was exciting too.    Bui left us there and we went back to town and hung out until it was time to head to the Lighthouse Children’s Home were we would be staying for the remainder of our time in Chiang Mai.  The Lighthouse Children’s Home is run by Terra Yito who also helps us as our Ministry Consultant.  She is an American who has been living in Thailand for about 7 years and has been involved with children’s homes for most of that time in some type of capacity.  That evening we had the opportunity to have a time of devotion with the children and also help them with their conversational English by allowing them to ask us questions in English and then we asked them questions.

Day Eight (Tuesday, October 27): Tuesday morning we met with Operation Blessing an arm of CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) to see what they are doing in Thailand.  They had helpful information and told us of their plans for the future in Thailand.  That afternoon we went to see about purchasing a truck for our missionaries Zeb and Rachelle to use while they are in Thailand.  We need something that can get them up into the hills where the children’s homes are that we help support. Hope Bridges was a recipient of a grant to help specifically with the truck.  It can be very difficult especially during the rainy season.  We were referred by various people to Elijah who is an American and has a used car/truck business.  He does a lot of work with Westerners (many missionaries) who live in Chiang Mai.  Unfortunately, a truck we had seen on the internet and were interested in had been sold the day we left for Thailand.  Elijah said he would keep an eye out for a Toyota truck preferably 4X4, four door, manual.  That night we had dinner at Duke’s at the Promenade (great American food) with Terra.

Day Nine (Wednesday, October 28): Headed out early and picked up Sarah for a day trip to Nong Tao to visit with Jan Tip, his wife and a local school teacher about how HB might be able to help the children at the children’s home and the village complete their education.  The Thai government is only required to provide school up to grade 6 so many romote areas only have schools with K – 6th grades which is the case for the children at the children’s home at Nong Tao.  We learned that for the government to provide junior high or high school grades there must be at least 250 students in the attendance area.  At this time Nong Tao doesn’t meet that requirement.  It would be expensive and quite an endeavor for Hope Bridges to build a private school and pay teachers, etc.  so we talked about other possibilities.  Possibly helping with the cost of transportation from the village to the school for those who cannot afford it or opening a hostel near the school run by Christian adults to provide adult supervision.  We’ll have to see where this leads us.  We headed back to Chiang Mai and dinner with Rachelle and Zeb to talk about our visit to Nong Tao.

Day 10 (Thursday, October 29): Did some shopping at the Big C and purchased two rice cookers.  Once for Sineena’s children’s home and one for Nong Tao.  We had a nice lunch at a local Thai restaurant and then back to the Lighthouse to pull together our notes from our visits to the children’s homes, Haven Foundation and Operation Blessing.  Put together the agenda for the Thai Team meeting tomorrow night.  Dinner with Terra and then devotions with the children.  We had another chance for the children to practice their English conversational skills and had fun asking questions.

Day 11 (Friday, October 30): Returned the rental truck and then went to the Thai market and found 13 duvets for Sineema’s children.  We then went to lunch at a Thai restaurant that also serves some American items.  We had three of the girls from the Lighthouse with us and two of them tried their first hamburger!  Afterwards we treated them to ice cream Sundaes.  We had a lot of fun.  We spent the afternoon completing job descriptions for the Thai Team: Ministry Consultant (Terra), Missionaries (Zeb & Rachelle), and Liaison for Mission Ministries (Sarah) and finished preparations for the Thai Team meeting.  The finish out the week we had foot massages and then went next door to the Better Butter Diner for dinner and our Thai Team meeting.  It was great to have the entire team all together.  We had a great time starting the night with the “get to know you” game Two Truths and a Lie and then went into our business meeting.  We ended the evening in prayer and a team picture.

Day 12 (Saturday, October 31):  Headed to the airport in the morning to start the trip home.

It was great to finally have the opportunity to go and see what Mike is so passionate about.  It was eye opening to see the various children’s homes that we visited including the two homes that we help support on a monthly basis and two other homes (Sugasem (Sineena’s home) and the Lighthouse).  Interacting with the children at Baan Mai and the Lighthouse and having the opportunity to worship with them was awesome even with the language barrier.  It was interesting to see the difference in the cultures of Thailand and the US.  Even though it seems that Americans have move away from being a Christian nation it was interesting to see the difference between the two countries.  Although many Americans do not have a personal relationship with Christ they still live by basic Christian principals.  In Thailand they do not live in a country based on Christian principals causing a different way of life.  This is something that Westerners in Thailand need to understand and be aware of when working with Thai organizations and individuals.  There is a great need and opportunity for us to provide a better life for the children living in poverty by meeting their basic needs and then working to take them further by helping them continue their education and learn skills or earn a university degree so they can be self sufficient and productive adults.

Gloria

Kids Korner – Nong Tao

Dar, the new caretaker at Nong Tao, is settling in and is proving to be a great source of help and enthusiasm.  She has been tutoring children in their school work especially helping them with the Thai language.  By acquiring a better command of the Thai language it will allow them to be more successful in their school work.  Dar has been very active during worship including leading music and giving the sermon.

Thank you to those of you who sent funds to help meet her monthly salary.  It looks like between donations through Hope Bridges and a donor in Thailand Dar’s salary will be covered for the next few months.

Overall the children are doing well with the exception of one child that contracted Dengue fever and was hospitalized for five days.  To help prevent further cases of the fever the area round the home was sprayed to kill the mosquitos.

kid's corner

We continue to seek sponsors for our child sponsorship program, Bridges of Hope.  A $40 monthly donation helps provide food, clothing, health care and eduction for a child.  We have several children who have not been sponsored.  Click here to learn more about Bridges of Hope or to sign up to be a sponsor.

Kids Korner – Baan Mai

Baan Mai continues to be a positive Christian influence for the children at the home, neighbors and communities surrounding the home.  Approximately 20 neighbors have been coming to the children’s home for worship each Sunday.  The teens at the home have become an integral part of worship leading the congregation in music.  Malachi one of the caregivers is also the pastor of the small congregation.  Malachi also travels to the villages and communities near Baan Mai teaching and preaching the gospel.

Our employee, Sarah, makes two visits to the children’s home in Baan Mai twice a month during the school year bringing food and other supplies as needed, for example rain gear during the rainy season, which are provided for by your generous gifts. She also provides some tutoring, health information and anti-trafficking classes to these children.

We ask for prayers for Malachi’s safety as he travels teaching and preaching the gospel.  We also have learned that the teens are praying for funds to pay for several guitars which would enhance their worship time and we especially ask for prayers for several new believers in nearby Pya-ka-chay who recently came to Christ through Malachi’s preaching and teaching.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers!

If you’d like to help support our children with a donation you can do that here.

Kids Korner – Nong Tao

We are excited that the children’s home in Nong Tao now has a third adult caregiver for the 42 children living there. This is definitely an answered prayer! This allows the caregivers some respite time! Hope Bridges would like to provide for a small salary of $125 each month for the new caregiver in addition to room and board. Unfortunately, we haven’t obtained a source of funds to do that yet. 

Dar is a graduate of a four-year Bible school, which would be equivalent to high school. The opportunity for her to work at the children’s home keeps her from having to return to her village where there would be little chance for sustainable employment and more of a chance of succumbing to the ravages of poverty such as illness, trafficking, and drug addiction.  She is currently helping the children with their schoolwork and learning Thai language because their native language is Karen. She also helps with meal preparation and general adult supervision.  

Please be praying for Dar’s funding and if you would like to help with this you can donate here. You can also send a check via mail if you prefer.

Hope Bridges
P. O. Box 4764
Olathe, KS 66062

Our employee, Sarah, continues to visit the children’s home in Nong Tao twice a month during the school year bringing food and other necessities which are provided for by your generous gifts. She also provides some tutoring, health information and anti-trafficking classes.

Maybe Jesus was Wrong…

It seems to me that we make a lot of things important. But in scripture, Jesus mentioned one thing more than anything else. 

The Poor. 

At the beginning of His earthly ministry Jesus made a very direct statement about His purposes here on Earth. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim to the year of the Lords favor.” 

Luke 4:18-19

We know of course that he was reading from Isaiah 61, regarding the Jubilee year and the the Day of Salvation. The message of mercy and grace being wrapped up in one for the blessing of the poor and the poor in spirit, those who are very important to Him. 

Just how important? Well, over 2,000 times poverty is mentioned in the scriptures. That’s a lot of lip service for one issue. Yet, Jesus himself spoke on it more than any other subject. Call me crazy, but I tend to believe that’s because he thought it was important. They are important.

Does that sounds backwards? Maybe it’s because the verse more often quoted is Matthew 25:35 where Jesus explains that what you did do was all for Him. But what if you did nothing? What if the poor just isn’t your issue, your problem? Maybe you are the poor. 

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but if you’re reading this, you aren’t poor. You may have less than you’d like, or less than you feel is just, but the truth is, “…the poor lack access to information. They do not have book stores or libraries. Most can not read. Those who go to school often leave at an early age to help support their family. And many suffer from impaired vision because they lack simple nutrients in their diets or suffer a small infection that goes untreated. Being poor, it turns out, is much more complicated than lack of money.” (The Skeptic’s Guide to Global Poverty, Dale Hanson Bourke)

The 2015 poverty level for a family of four in the United States is just shy of $25,000 a year. By comparison, almost 6 of the (over) 7 BILLION people on planet Earth lives on less than $2 a day, many on less than $1. Try, just for a moment, to image how you might survive on less than $400 a year. 

Mind boggling, isn’t it? 

In light of the problem, it’s east to despair. It’s easy to feel hopeless. I mean, really, what can one person do? The truth is, you are one person and YOU can do A LOT! 

This is a post about Hope. I wrote it to help you connect with the world around you. To empower you to see your world, good and bad, and to change it. To make it better. 

Right now, I want you to stop. Take a second and realize that you have power. 

Poverty is not about numbers. It is about inequality, and specifically about inequality in power relationships.

Jayakumar Christian in God of the Empty-Handed

You are not without hope. But…many are. Right now, today, you have the power to help them. All it takes is your decision to start. What better time than Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, is there to listen to His words and follow in His footsteps?

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.” 

The good news for the poor is this, that the redeemed of Christ care for them, that Christ Himself loves them and has called us—His followers—to do the same. 

You. YOU are the answer! You can choose to be the hands and feet of Christ to the poor and hurting in this world. And I encourage you TODAY, take that step, get plugged in, start! 

There are a wealth of places you can help. But if you are interested in being a part of the hope-giving that Hope Bridges does in Northern Thailand to care for children and prevent sex-trafficking, then visit our home page at www.hopebridges.org

However, if you don’t feel called to help there, it’s not an egg hunt to find a place to start serving. The world is waiting. Pray and ask God to lead you to the place you should serve.

To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing in every person and face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely. And you are, dear brothers and sisters, in the face of Jesus.”

(Pope Francis, Address during Visit at the Homeless Shelter “Dona Di Maria,” 5/21/13)

This post was written and designed by Pam Black. Pam is an author, photographer, mom and wife and has a heart for children! I am thankful to call her friend and sister in Christ. 

Water: Essential for Kids, Essential for Coffee

This post was written and designed by Pam Black. Pam is an author, photographer, mom and wife and has a heart for children! I am thankful to call her friend and sister in Christ. Today is also her birthday! Happy birthday Pam! Mike Lane

It’s easy to imagine that our lives have no purpose and our actions no impact. However, in reality, that is very far from the truth. Every choice we make is like a ripple in the world. 

In America, we take for granted the presence of many things, food, shelter, and clean water. This morning when I woke up, I didn’t have to wonder if I would be able to make coffee, or bathe, or do laundry. Those things are a given to me every day. But in areas such as Northern Thailand, and many other third world countries, access to clean water is a privilege, a gift, and one that this never taken for granted. 

I want my time and efforts here on earth to matter. So when I found Hope Bridges, and the work they do, I was excited to jump in and be involved. While there are a number of places you could concentrate your efforts, the best way to truly make a difference is to choose an organization that is doing good, and get plugged in. 

So, what if I told you that by making a small change in something you already most likely do every single day could help bring clean drinking water to impoverished children in Northern Thailand? See, if you’re anything like me, you wake up and begin your day with a hot cup of coffee. Sound familiar? If so, let me tell you how you can impact children in the Nong Tao children’s home by enjoying some of the best coffee you’ll ever taste. 

We will be replacing these tanks with new ones! Nong Tao has 42 kids and will go through about 10,000 liters per day!

We will be replacing these tanks with new ones! Nong Tao has 42 kids and will go through about 10,000 liters per day!

Hope Bridges is making it easy for you to partner in the life giving work they do by offering you coffee that is shade grown, handpicked, harvested and processed in the mountains of northern Thailand. There is no deforestation, which promotes genetic diversity. 

Right now, $6.50 of your purchase of a pound of Hope Bridges coffee will go to fund a new water purification tower for the Nong Tao children’s home. The total cost for this project is $2500 which covers the tower, including delivery and installation. The project has already been given $500 so there’s only $2000 left to raise. This means that it only takes 308 bags of coffee to fully fund access to safe, clean, drinking water for the children in the Nong Tao home! 

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of doing good while enjoying good coffee? 
Who can you share HOPE BRIDGES coffee with today?