All of our children and preparing for the mid-term exams at present. Thaew and Wi have both been hospitalized briefly with dengue fever recently, please pray that we will be spared from more of our children contacting it. Father has been very loving in protecting us from the worst effects of it, as it is of epidemic proportions in our province. He has also answered our urgent need for rain without us losing any of the rice in Eden. How good is the God we adore!
Witoon and the boys are doing a great job in Eden and our chickens, pigs, corn and fruit trees are an encouragement to all of us. When we have enough rain he plans to rear fish also.
Thank you for your many comments on last month’s newsletter written by Jessi-Ann Michaelson. We are deeply grateful for the Lord’s presence amongst us, without which we are powerless, and for the encouraging and God-honoring report she gave.
We face many challenges also, and this month I would like to take the opportunity to speak to you about our College Students and to ask you to pray for them. Each year when we give education scholarships to children, both girls and boys, we offer each child a 10-11 year scholarship. This includes 6 years of high-school and 4-5 years of college up to undergraduate degree level.
We require in return that they are diligent in their studies, are of good character and accept that we are a Christian organization and with Christian morals and principals. In one sense that is not a lot to ask in return for a free education, but it has proven to be too difficult for many of our children in the past. Our 10 college students deserve great credit for remaining with us for 7-11 years now. When we selected Mao, Um, Thaew, Saa, Wi, Pat, Mae Yai, Duan, Noot Lek, Thaa, they were included in a total number of 50 children.
The pressure on all of our children to drop-out of school or college is intense, and comes from many sources: Each of them comes from a family that has been under the bondage of chronic debt for at least two generations and exhibit all the symptoms associated with this sad and deprived background. They suffer from fatalism and defeatism that is very hard to overcome and they do not have the coping-mechanisms that a good-education would have brought to their parents and families and to themselves. At best their mothers are inspiration to the family and play a vital role in keeping the family unit together, at worst they are manipulative and mercenary. Their fathers are far too often absent, or when present are totally self-absorbed and extremely poor role models.
Mao and Noot Lek come from the Kymer Tribe (Cambodian Thai), here in the Northeast. Mao’s family history is tragic and includes substance abuse, domestic violence, immorality and witchcraft. She is an outstanding young lady to be able to withstand them. Noot Lek comes from chronic poverty and debt.
Duan, Pat and Saa come from the Akha Tribe. It is a small tribe of about 25,000 people in Northern Thailand. Duan has been transformed during her time at GMFT and is an exceptional girl both academically and in her walk with Jesus. Pat, a Christian, is struggling in a number of areas that threaten to ship-wreck her. Saa, a Christian also, left our care for a period of time due to some irresponsible behavior and we were delighted to receive her back recently.
Mae Yai, a Christian comes from the Lisu Tribe. It is also a small tribe of about 20,000 people in Northern Thailand. Her father repairs leather goods while sitting on the sidewalk of Chiang Mai city. She is an excellent English student.
Thaew and Wi are both Christian’s and are members of the tiny Tin Tribe numbering no more than 5,000 people who live in the southern part of Northern Thailand. Thaew is the first GMFT-child to be given a five-year college education and we long to see her come into more of the reality of an intimate walk with Christ. Wi is girl full of character and of leadership ability, her father is a very poor role model.
Um and Thaa, also are Christians and come from the large Laos Tribe in the Northeast. Um’s mother is mentally challenged and Thaa’s father took his own life many years ago. We are very proud of them for resisting the huge pressure to leave us and to take an easier route. It has been very difficult for them not to do so at times.
Each one is the first member of their family to have a college education and it is by no means certain that all of them will resist the various influences in their young lives to compromise in one area or another and drop-out of college and prematurely leave the safety and nurture of GMFT.
Please pray for our precious children.
Thank you for your prayer and support of all kinds,
Yao, Witoon and Ewe, Noot, David, Doi, Jim, Jonathan and Sharon, Charles and Yoke Fong